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Katlin Profile
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


Tere,

I really enjoyed your description of commuting to work by boat. Unwinding from a shift, decompressing while rowing home, accompanied by harbor seals, strikes me as a poetry-enhancing thing to do.

Gotta say, too, I loved your daughter's astute observation: "That young lady never takes her eyes off the television and with the voice of Cassandra she says: "Isms, Isms. That's all I'm hearing." Her exact words. And the conversation suddenly finds a silent space."

Your customers at Tug's wanting to watch episodes of "The Civil War" every night kind of blows me away too. There was something special about that series. Maybe Burns just found the right way of telling the story at the right time, I don't know.

"In my experience, and I think I said as much above, it is emotionally draining, leaving you coming home late at night with a weird kind of unspent emotional energy."

I feel that way sometimes when I come home from a party. It's as if I absorb other people's emotional energy, and then it takes me some time to release it afterwards. I think it is hard to work in a place where people are drinking, and you are like the designated driver who stays sober night after night. It's a great way to observe human nature, up close and personal though, as your many posts have demonstrated.


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Terreson Profile
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Thanks for the comments, Kat. You remind me of something I maybe should have mentioned when talking about the restaurant I call the Jacaranda. While working there I wrote a novel. The narrator, Richard, is a bartender there. A couple of other characters are also employees of the retaurant. The story line, in part, involves the Jacaranda, with some of its action occurring there. More fully than here I describe night-days in the life of night workers, with particular attention given to the after-hours. Maybe I should have included a scene or two from the novel. But now I am ready to move on.

Tere
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When I think about the next ten years of jobbing, from '92 to '02, I am a little incredulous. Occupationally speaking, there was nothing in my work life that could have prepared me for being a survey entomologist and a caretaker of a fifty acre estate. Except maybe for the people skills I acquired as a server.

After Tug's and before '92 I mostly did not work. What jobs I had were temporary, day labor kind of work. I had saved enough money so that, initially, I did not need to work. Instead I read and wrote. I also extensively revised older work. Second novel finished, a collection of poetry made (first writing of which, some thirty poems, came in 28 days, the month of Feb.), a monograph called American Modern Poetry written. I also self-published a collection of poetry, which I printed myself, having learned how to operate a printing press. I was also reading 8 to 10 hours a day. Specifically I remember reading archeology, cultural anthropology, religious studies, modern physics, conservation, and natural history, specifically of the Pacific Northwest.

Sometimes my oldest brother, a professor, would give me work. Painting his house and working on establishing paths on a forty acre, heavily forested parcel of land he owned up in the hills of Thurston County. Somehow I managed to see to bills, child support always came first. But by the end of '91 it was time to get back into the work force. For several months I had the shittiest, lowest paying job I have ever had. It was working the night shift in a convenience store with gas pumps, greasy food fryers, and a Lotto dispenser. It is the only job I've ever thoroughly hated, especially having to clean the fryers and the food case. And the work was nonstop. No breaks. There is one funny story that took place there.

The store sold Lotto tickets. The state of Washington designated Wednesday and Saturday nights as the big days when the winning ticket(s) got drawn. And tickets had to be purchased by 6:55 PM. Always busy with lottery hopefuls. Soon after starting the job, one night the machine ran out of paper. The manager hadn't gotten around to training me in how to replenish the dispenser. It happened around 6:15 or so. People were by then lined up at the counter. Soon the line extended to the back wall of coolers. Then the line of people was turning down the wall and rounding a corner. I am on the phone trying to get instructions. I am looking at the line and sweating bullets. Finally I figure out the machine and get it reloaded. Somehow I am able to sell tickets to each and every person in line by 6:55. I get a standing ovation. No exaggeration. Man, I hated that job and passionately. As I said, in between serving people, the chores were non-stop. When my shift was over I felt like a ball of grease and could not wait to get home to a shower. The wage was something like 50 cents above '92's minimum wage. But I stayed with it until better work came down the road, which would amount to chasing gypsy moths through out the state. In the course of ten years I would work in all but one of WA's counties. the work was involved and soon enough my responsibilities were extensive. Now for an intro.

Tere
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Christine98 Profile
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


hi Tere,

I too love the commute by water-way. The broken lotto machine reminds me of a broken methadone dispenser at a clinic where I once worked. The stuff kept pouring out, a class-2 narcotic, every drop had to be accounted for with a line about as long as the one you describe. Jobbing. Still a beautiful thread, Tere. I continue to follow along.

Chris
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All these years I've not once made a narrative of my gypsy moth work for the State of WA. The story is there. I've just never figured out an approach. Maybe this is it. In all events it is the first time I've tried.

There are two varieties of the gypsy moth, the Asian and the European. The Asian variety is ancestral, coming from Siberia. And the two can hybridize. There is one significant, determining, difference between the two. Asian female gypsy moths can fly up to almost twenty miles. When it migrated into Europe, crossing the Ural mountains, it entered a once densely forested Europe, very unlike its sparsely treed Siberia. The female no longer needed to fly and over time she lost the capability. I am guessing some sort of evolutionary trade off was involved. There always is. An adult gypsy moth lives for only two weeks. Its sole function is mating and laying eggs.

In 1869 (as I recall) a Frenchman brought the first European gypsy moths to North America, specifically Massachusetts, I think Cambridge. His idea was to develop a silk bearing moth. The moth soon escaped and established itself in a heavily forested New England. To the Frenchman's credit he quickly realized the disasterous consequences of his mis-step. He tried to convince the U.S. Dept of Agriculture of the ecological damage the moth would bring. But they were slow to respond. By the time they did it was too late. Not only was it established but it was spreading. Without natural predators and no effective pathogens to stop it in its new environment populations exploded year after year. By the 1970s or so the gypsy moth had spread as far west as the Mississippi River, into Canada, as far south as Louisiana. There is no greater threat to forestland, not even pine bark beetles and logging than the gypsy moth. Within weeks, and while still a catepillar, the moth can deleaf entire forests, entire mountainsides of forests, entire lowlands of forests. I've seen its consequences in the Blue Ridge Mts of Virginia. Miles and miles of leafless trees creating the appearance of December in June. In years of the worst outbreaks I've heard stories of how the Commonwealth of Massechusetts, say, has had to sand roadways because of the millions of run over catepillars whose oils slick the pavement. There is another story of what happened in the State of Michigan maybe in the eighties. The state had an effective moth detection program. They were able to detect its presnece and eradicate it before getting established. A fiscally conservative legislature downgraded the moth to a nuisance pest and stopped funding the detection and eradication programs. Moth got established, spread, and, predictably, deleafed entire forests. I've heard a third story of how, in an outbreak year, New England residents have said they could be kept awake at night by the sound of chewing.

In 1974 the first gypsy moth was trapped in the State of WA. I think the point of entry was somewhere in King Co., just out from Seattle. The trap is what is called a disparlar trap. Inside a plastic tent shaped box there is hung the pheromone of the female moth. Male is attracted, flies inside, gets stuck on the glue covered walls. In effect, the moth had found a way to jump the continent. The way it found was hitch hiking. People moving to the state from the east unwittingly carried with them on their cars, trailers, tires, even lawn chairs, eggs masses that had been lain in
late summer. A single egg mass, not much larger than a grown man's thumb, can contain thousands of eggs that will hatch the following spring and go larval. The state was quick to respond to the discovery, perhaps realizing the disasterous consequences for a state heavily reliant on forest products. I can't speak for the years after 2001. I do know that every year prior the Dept. of Agriculture's gypsy moth trappers successfuly detected, then delimited the area of infestation, often finding the trees on which egg masses are attached to, and eradicated the moth with an insecticide spray, a synthesized biological compound found naturally in the soil, specific to the moth. For 10 years I was a part of the program. For 6 of those years I was involved in directing the program. Here is how it started.

In the trapping season of 1991, and I think in seven different Pacific Coast ports, from Vancouver to L.A., the Asian gypsy moth variety was discovered. (By the way, the only way to distinguish between the two varieties is with DNA analysis. Physically they look the same.) The introduction is actually a by-product of the end of the Cold War. When Siberian ports such as Vladivostock opened up to Western commercial trading, stow away moths (egg masses) sailed the Pacific. The guess is that, with some Siberian ports immediately adjacent to forested lands, the moths would have been attracted by port and ship lights. Immediately the Feds (APIS) and Canada's national government got involved. Everybody at every level of bureaucracy reacted. Nobody wanted to be responsible for the introduction on their watch. The reason was a no brainer. Since the female could fly no detection program could ever tell where she is. Only where she has been, where she has deposited her egg masses before flying off and laying another. Potentially the female gypsy moth posed a far greater ecological threat than even the European variety. The governmental response, on both state and national levels, is a clear cut case of government working effectively.

For the trapping season of '92 the Feds (APIS) poured millions of dollars into the agricultural departments of WA, OR, and CA. Prior to '92 WA maybe employed 20 or 30 trappers each season. That year there were 200 plus people involved. The moment was historic. Trappers, field supervisors, region supervisors, entomologists, public relations people, administrative assistants, vehicle maintenance people, people in charge of logistical supply needs. The program's needs were such the state's motor pool could not satisfy the demand for vehicles. The state rented vehicles from private rental agencies.

I am remembering now! There were two Puget Sound ports in which the Asian gypsy moth had been detected in '91. Seattle and Tacoma. And so for a radius of 20 plus miles delimiting survey traps got set in '92. Detection trapping called for one trap per mile. Delimiting trapping called for one trap every quarter of a mile, or four traps to the mile. At four to the mile traps got set as far south as southern Thurston Co., as far east as the Cascade Mts crestline, as far north as nearing the Canadian border, as far west as the hinterland wilderness of the Olympic Peninsula.

In the spring of '92, my girlfriend called me at the convenience store where I was working. She said she had heard a public alert announcement on the radio. The state's Dept of Agriculture needed gypsy moth trappers for a massive effort. She at least knew me well enough to know I would take to the job. The next day I applied. Soon got interviewed in a McDonald's by a field supervisor. Then got hired. It was the month of May. I needed to go home to FL to see to a little brother's situation. By the first of June I was a seasonal state employee and would be for the next 10 years.

This is a story I mean to flesh out.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Apr/3/2010, 6:52 pm
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


Thanks for commenting, Chris. I suspect your methadone line might have been a bit more important than my line of Lotto buyers.

Tere
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Looking forward to more on the gypsy moths; the prelude is already mind boggling. To think--the careless introduction of a moth into a non-native habitat--and ecological devastation. All for silk, huh? You can hear them chew? What is the sound of a million moths munching?

Waiting for the next installment,

Chris
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As I've said, gypsy moth work for the state was seasonal. We were yearly hired and fired. Yearly everyone had to reapply. The wonder is that so many workers did. It speaks to how important we knew the work was. Trappers were employed for 4 months, from June through September. Field Supervisors, responsible for a team of as many as 5 people, worked 6 months, from May through October. Region Supervisors (Survey Entomologists), responsible for as many as five teams, worked 8 months, from March through October.

June of '92. As there would be every year, there was a day of orientation, followed by 4 days of training and preparation. At the same time trappers were issued equipment and materials: a vehicle, traps to assemble, maps on which to plot traps set, the very important data sheets on which to record everything from trap placement, to trap visit, to trap removal, to moth catches, and on which to draw a map of trap's location, credit card for fuel, a phone card, pencils, pens, a journal in which the day's activities got recorded. I remember sitting at my desk at home on Friday night following training, not feeling well trained, feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the work, and also feeling excited. I stared at the maps of the area I had been assigned, not knowing how I was going to cover it all setting 4 traps to the mile. I realized I was going to have to preplan both routes and trap locations, which I did and would do every year. And I was also excited. By chance I had been assigned deep forest trapping mostly in the Black Hills of southeastern Thurston Co. My roads would be logging roads. My maps were geological survey maps, or Topos. And I would spend the whole of my days in hills alternating between deep forest and clearcuts.

Within 4 days of being in the field I had the work down. Preparations had paid off. I was soon setting 80 to 100 traps a day: setting traps, plotting their locations on the map, filling out the data sheets for each trap. I always knew where I was going before entering the forest, I knew my routes, I knew where I would come out. And I made my routes in such a way they were logical and time-efficient. There was a certain date by which all traps had to be in place. I think it was sometime around July 4. Mine were in place 2 weeks early, all 900 plus traps. I was then asked to cover an adjacent area after the trapper assigned to it had quit. The work was not for everyone. I covered that area too. Once traps were in place they then had to be monitored, visited regularly and as frequently as possible, through the third week of September, at which time they were removed. The dept. was very sensitive about littering. I found no moths that year, which was a good thing. The pheromone baited traps were like a narcotic for gypsy moths. Absolutely irresistable. Clearly there were no moths in the Blue Hills. In subsequent years I would find more than my share of gypsy moths. I would set a record one year, and the second highest catch of the decade.

I am remembering the flora and fauna of the forest. Oregon grape, vine maple, old growth cedar, varied thrushes, band tailed pigeons. One day a stag jumped over the mountain logging road maybe 30 feet in front of me. He was big but I didn't have time to measure his points. Another day, glancing in my rearview mirror, I caught a cougar crossing the road, back and forth. Classic cougar behavior: switchbacking behind an animal of interest. Coyotes and one gorgeous fox. I was in heaven. I realized this was why I had come to the Pacific Northwest. Not to live in another same-city, but to live and work in a habitat so large and enveloping a man comes to terms with his essential puniness. I've never been the same man I was before that summer since. I remember another day being on privately owned forest land, owned by a logging company from San Fransisco. I soon discovered the maps were outdated and of no use. I was pefectly lost. So I stopped trying to place traps. Instead I drove the logging roads, figuring out where they led and how they gridded, so to speak. In effect I was making a mental map of the forest. The prize was in stumbling onto a waterfall rushing down from the road maybe 200 feet high. I later learned it was called Kennedy Falls. There I saw my first American Dipper, a bird that, in effect, fishes by flying under water. I think its other name is Water Ouzle.

That year was my easiest, most enjoyable gypsy moth season, at least the first part of it. Then all hell broke loose. First, the field supervisor, a man from Texas, brought my work to the attention of the region supervisor who, in turn, brought it to the attention of the Program Entomologist. Later I would learn he looked at my maps and data sheets and said: this is how it is supposed to be done. He would start to groom me. Then in August the field supervisor quit to go home to Texas. At about the same time two of the team's four trappers quit. I was made field sup and I had a team of one. Come take down time the two of us would remove traps that had been set by five people. I didn't mind at all. Again I got to be in more deep forest habitat. I got to visit more of Thurston Co than many life long residents had ever been in. This became a pattern. By the end of the decade I got to drive and sometimes hike through more of the state than most of its life long residents had ever been in. I almost forgot. Sometime that season I was asked to spend several days helping a team in another county. Greys Harbor County as I recall. The team there was not going to be able to meet the dead line for trap installmet. I remember the end of one day coming out of a forest. The topo said there was a bridge leading out. I came to the bridge and it was barely in tact. I had a choice. Spend several hours back tracking or chance the bridge. I must have stood on the bridge for half an hour deciding what to do. I went for it.

Again, the program entomologist had started to groom me. He was a good man, conscientious and honest. After the time I should have been laid off with the other field sups he found office work for me. He not only kept me employeed for another two months. It was also his way of introducing me to the dept's bureaucracy. What he was doing was clear. I worked with vehicles. Justifying all the repair and maintenance receipts. And finally getting the fleet of rented vehicles back to the vendors.

By the end of the season of '92 I knew I was finally out from under the restaurant business. I would never return to it. I also set my mind to, one day, becoming a survey entomologist and region supervisor, which happened in '96. The biggest thing I knew was that I had found the damn near perfect job for a restless writer. The work was seasonal. I could make enough money to almost see myself through the unworked months. If need be I could collect unemployment, which I did some years.

As overwhelmed as I had felt in the beginning of the '92 season, coming back on staff in the spring of '93, I was incredulous at what I had been assigned to do. It honestly didn't seem possible. I thought for sure the program entomologist had made a mistake. I still don't know how I pulled it off. Of course, the program entomologist was testing me, seriously testing me.

Tere
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


I want to tell a story out of place and out of time. This has less to do about gypsy moths and trapping, more to do about a woman who I came to think of as the soul of the state's Gypsy Moth Program. Her name was Stella. She died in the late 90s.

I first worked closely with her in '93 when she was my region supervisor, my boss. She was a shy woman, painfully shy, almost pathologically shy. When I first started working for her I knew immediately we were going to have to find a way of working together. I was going to have to find a way to somehow persuade her that, while I am a strong man, part of my strength is in understanding women are not just my equal, but often better people than I can be.

She decidedly did not like me at first. She did not trust me or my strength or my penchant for speaking up. She was not only unfriendly towards me. There were times when she pointedly exerted her authority. I honestly think she was hoping I would challenge her just so she could fire me and prove herself right about men. It not only never happened but by the end of the season of '93 we were close friends and we looked forward to seeing each other.

I would learn that Stella had forced herself to work for the program. She had been working for the program when she was the only region supervisor for the whole state. She too had started out as a trapper. Working for the state was her way of forcing herself to learn to get comfortable with strangers. I think I remember she said a therapist had suggested she do something like making herself do so. I think that is right. A part of her job was to ride with her field sups, visit their areas of operation, check on their work, and check on the work of the trappers. This meant she would have to regularly ride with me for as many as 8 hours a day. I think I've never met a woman with as inverted a personality as hers. Her fear of people was physical. And yet there she was forcing herself to be with people, to supervise them, to meet with strangers, to take herself far, far out of her comfort zone. Her courage has always blown me away.

So working relations between us were uncomfortable to the extreme. Thank the goddess for my restaurant experience, what taught me how to relate to all kinds of people. I can't emphasize it enough. At first Stella's distrust of me bordered on extreme dislike, maybe even hatred.

One day mid-season I picked her up near her home in Bremerton. It was a day appointed for her to watch and if need be correct me. It was a part of my evaluation. We would be driving further north into Snohomish Co. As far north as Anacortes as I recall. It was going to be a very long day, involving highways, roads, and ferry crossings. Just the two of us in a car. I can't remember how it started. Maybe I said something about having recently made a second novel. In the small way of highway chit chat she asked what the novel was about. Suddenly I got inspired. So I told her the whole story about a woman living alone on the Sound, really for the first time in her life when she hadn't needed a man taped to her side. I told about Ena, how she had made a decision to face her fear of being alone, how she had inherited a cottage from her grandmother, how she would meet and fall in love with an archeologist from Columbia, the discovery he found and showed her in a Nisqually Indian village site, how she lost him when he returned home to Columbia and was kidnapped by rebels, and how she finally decided to leave her safe home and find him.

I told the whole story. It must have taken two hours. I remember crossing the Hood Canal bridge that afternoon. I remember crossing from Whidbey Island to Port Townsend on the ferry. I remember finishing the story, saying something like, that's pretty much it, Stella. I looked over at her in the passenger's seat and for the first time in the months I had been working for her, her face was relaxed and she was smiling. My story had pulled her in. She was able to forget herself. It might have been that day, or maybe it was a subsequent day, when we were on a ferrry and she got out of the car to stand by the rails. The wind was up, her hair was flying behind her, and from the look on her face, so at peace and in her element, I saw just how free she was in her spirit. She was her own woman.

This is a hard story to tell even now. I've never told it before and I've always wanted to. Stella was my age, maybe a few years older. And she was dieing. Cancer in the lungs, not a smoker, working with one lung. Hodgkins disease and Parkinson's. The universe was clearly unkind to her and her own body clearly not her best friend.

Does anybody remember the movie, An Officer and a Gentleman? Remember the women working in a factory? The scenes were shot in Bremerton WA. Stella told me of how it was when she was younger. All you had to look forward to was a job in the naval shipyards. She hated that job, she said. Everybody hated working there. But it's all there was. She said that come clock out time people would run, actually run, to clock out at the time-stamp machine. And so for her working in the Gypsy Moth Program became a kiss of freedom. Freedom of movement with very little that was predictable. That was the trade-off. By facing her fear of people in general, strangers specifically, she could get the feel of the wind in her hair when making a ferry crossing.

The next year, '94, she had to quit. Her body had become too undependable. The last time I saw her was in a park in the town of Edmonds. She was meeting up with her teams and I was meeting up with that year's supervisor to give him my paper work. I cried that day and I am crying now as I tell the story. And I told her what I already said. "Stella, if you quit we lose the soul of the program." She knew she had no choice. I knew I was right. She looked up at me from her car and I knew we understood each other in that nonverbal way.

Some months later she wanted to throw a party in Bremerton to celebrate herself. I was invited but I chickened out. I was already in mourning and I think I still am. But there was that day on the ferry watching her. She so unaware of eyes on her. A tall girl, too thin, her long black hair in wild streams behind her. And free.

There it is, Stella.

Tere

(Coda to my story. It only now occurs to me. The same entomologist who in those years was grooming me had previously mentored Stella. He taught her everything she knew. Well, except for what she would learn on her own. She told me he actually went into the field with her and showed her the how of survey entomology. Told her what to look for, told her where she was likely to find gypsy moths, taught her how to delimit an area with traps once a moth had been detected. And I'll bet a dollar on a donut that he knew of her disability, her extreme fear of people, and that she was determined to overcome it. Something else occurs to me, something I never shared with her, or that we had more in common than she could have suspected. It was my restaurant years that got me over my own fear of people. And something else too mentioned at the expense of getting ahead of the story. I am pretty sure the program entomologist instructed Stella to work closely with me, to show me how to administer to the damn near impossible assignment of '93.)

Last edited by Terreson, Apr/4/2010, 5:38 pm
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


Maybe I should have included a scene or two from the novel. But now I am ready to move on.

Perhaps when you have completed these jobbing field notes, you can post a chapter or two in the Prose Spectrum. I'd like that.

Just finished reading your first installment of the gypsy moth jobbing adventures. Thanks for all the background info to help set the stage for what is to follow.
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'93 Gypsy Moth Season.

According to one source, the equitorial circumference of earth is 25,040 miles. Another gives it as 24,902. In order to administer to both the area and the five trappers on my team I logged over 24,000 miles in less than 5 months. Here is the best map of WA State counties I can find.

http://gocalifornia.about.com/cs/wamap/l/bl_wastmap_cty.htm

I lived at the southern terminus of Puget Sound, Thurston Co. My assigned area of operation started at the Pierce Co line and went north, also including King Co., Snohomish Co., the western third of Skagit Co., and Island Co, not clearly visible, but also known as Whidbey Island. West to east the area extended from almost the shores of the Sound to the Cascades crestline, what is the county line for all the mainland counties mentioned. My assignment involved detection trapping only, no delimiting trapping. And so I was not responsible for the urban corridor also know as the I-5 corridor where typically most gypsy moths in WA are caught. Nor was I responsible for the U.S. Army base in Pierce and Thurston Counties called Fort Lewis. Mine was a suburban, exburban, farmland, and hinterland forest area. The objective was to trap all primary, secondary, and as many tertiary roads as the team could. The emphasis was placed on all main east to west arteries in which both visitors and new comers would enter the state. (Remember that, for western states, the European gypsy moth is a hitch hiker, carried in by people coming from the east.)

On the morning of the first working day in May I was in the field office, staring at the map, feeling like a deer caught in the lamplights of a car. I was stunned. I am remembering, writing slowly. In the course of the decade there was not another time when as much was required of a field supervisor. As a region supervisor twice I was assigned eastern Washington, one of which years I was also assigned the trails of the Olympic Peninsula. But by the time I was a region sup I made damn certain no team leader would have to go through what I went through that season. It was just crazy. Made no sense. I would make certain and forcefully make the case that, to the extent possible, trappers and field sups would work closer to home. The only explanation I have for the assignment is that I was pretty low on the org chart's food chain. I think that was the first time I fully experienced how preferment in bureaucracy can, and often does, kill a new recruit's spirit. But I decided to take on the task and, in the end, the gain was mine.

What does a gypsy moth field sup. do? He/She trains, monitors, checks on the progress of a trapper. He also makes sure a trapper has all the supplies needed in her vehicle. He runs a trap line, making sure it canvasses the area. He collects and reads each and every trap's data sheet to make sure it gives the relevant information. He checks the maps of trapping in progress, on which information he has to judge whether or not the trapper is on schedule, will have all traps placed in time. (Two weeks max is all we had to detect an adult moth's appearance.) Then there is the office mandated stuff such as time sheets and vehicle safety reports. And all of which business is conducted in the field, far from office, far from home.

Thinking about it so many years later, how did I get down so many highways, roads, and some trails? How did I get through the congestion of the I-5 corridor to administer to my trappers up in the Mts and down on Whidbey Island? I made several friends that year, trappers who would say yes when I called them up subsequently and ask them to set out moth traps again. How the hell did I pull off that year?

Stella helped. She showed me tricks. My daughter helped too. I got permission from the Program Entomologist to let her ride with me that summer. He could have gotten in trouble for that, seriously big time trouble. Bureaucracy can be so unforgiving when it comes to rules. I told him in that phone call that were something to happen he was clear, name not mentioned, the wrap would be mine. (I am pretty sure he said in reply he would have no choice but to come clear were there a mishap.) And so I had my daughter with me, driving those roads. And I think she brought me luck. The town of Anacortes.

Tere

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Terreson,

That about Stella was very well written, and worth reading. Have not had as much time to read lately. Good stuff. Is the poetry section on hold for now? I'm glad you're creative drive is there for you. It's important to get this stuff down. Zak

ps -- Just thinking. Many, if not all, of your pieces move quickly enough to keep the reader's attention. It occurs to me that the greats somehow do the same thing with their dialogue. I guess it requires experience or genius, or both to move the narrative along (containing both narrative description and dialogue). So that the reader's attention never flags. You've got the narrative description down. You've written many, many small pieces or vignettes. I guess a novel consists of putting all of the vignettes together. But to do it in such a way that the attention never flags, and in such a way so that the pices fit seamlessly together. But yet another thought occurs to me that maybe the cutting edge lit doesn't worry about being seamless. I know over at the other site, there is a lot of poetry that is posted that is not seamless (to me) and which glories in being disconnected. This, I've told them a couple of times, is as old as Joyce (at least). I think, you, Terreson, have also said as much, reflecting back on the poets of the early 20th century. I'm not certain about the progress in both poetry and prose in that direction, the direction of fragmentation. But I've gotten off on a tangent. I was talking about dialogue and narrative description earlier, which is where I should have kept it. Zak

pps --- Thinking maybe back then they weren't so much disconnected as elusive. Cryptic. Now some poets don't worry about being disconnected.

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Good thoughts, Zakman. And, no, the poetry section has not been put on hold. Speaking for myself, however, all these memories have kind of taken over me. So it is where my attention is directed for the nonce. I am thinking of posting a longer poem in the Spectrum drawn on a late 19th C. mining disaster in WA State this week. I think I'll do it.

I am with you in what you say about the quality of seamlessness and exemplary narrarive and dialogue. On the other hand, in my view, there is nothing seamless about Melville's Mody Dick novel. Dense and lumbering is how it strikes me, but still and unquestionably it is great literature. So I guess there are exceptions. And too, viewed from the narrative standpoint, I would call Joyce's stories seamless, flawless really. Would I call his style fragmented? Again no. In spite of the difficulties involved in his syntax all of his stories have organic unity, what can in the rare work create gestalt. Can I say the same about Beckett, say, or the American writer, Thomas Pynchon, or Asberry? No. As for later, more recent generations of writers and poets, when it comes to this projected dichotomy between the old way of narrative and the new, self-consciously fragmented way, I might as well say what I really think: the proponents of the "new" hide a lack of both protean energy and a singleminded dedication to the craft(s) behind a programatic shield. Fragmentariness for its own sake, to me, is as vacuous as that other pet notion of theirs (what Katfriend has again brought attention to) that words do not relate to what is real, only to other words. Please see the thread she started in Discussion I about 20th C. survivors. She has started up something I think you can sink your teeth into. There is fertility in that woman's thinking.

Tere
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There is not much more to say about the '93 season. I assigned each trapper the area in which they would work. I made their maps for them with boundaries set. They were all returning trappers from '92 and so I didn't have to give them basic training. (Or so I thought initially.) I monitored their progress, on the road, not on the phone, I checked their work, I supplied their logistical needs. And I earned their trust and respect. One trapper, T., would subsequently work with me almost every year until I left the program in '02. She lived on Camano Island, just west and off-shore of Skagit Co. She was up for any assignment. One of the best trappers I would ever have. She had a funny disability, given the career choice. She had no sense of direction, didn't know, could not tell you north from south. So every night, on her own time, she preplanned her routes, preplotted where she would place traps, and premake data sheets showing all the information but what would be needed on the site itself. I can't remember which year it was, maybe '98, maybe '99, maybe 00', but as soon as I had a field sup position open for her she got promoted. She was good at that too. Just like Stella, it seemed, she was out to prove something to herself and overcome a lack.

One bit of an historical moment I can give about '93 (and '92). Mentioning Fort Lewis brings the memory to mind. Above I've said there are two varieties of the gypsy moth, Asian and European. And I said the two can hybridize. I also said how the Asian variety's introduction was a by-product of the end of the Cold War and the resulting commercial links between east and west.

In '92 a hybrid gypsy moth was found near the Port of Tacoma. I can't recall exactly but I think it was in the form of egg masses. With the end of the Cold War military bases were closing throughout the country. This made for a consolidation of both troops and materiels, guns and ammunitions and tanks and personnel carriers, etc. Unlike other bases through the nation Fort Lewis grew. It exponentially grew. Another base's closure became its gain. Its military reserve is simply huge. (Mostly on once was Nisqually Tribal Indian land.) There were also the closures occuring overseas. From Germany came thousands of troops and millions of pieces of equipment. They came in by way of Tacoma's port. Attached to the trucks and tanks, etc. were the egg masses of a hybridized gypsy moth.

In the spring of '93 there was a massive aerial spray of an insecticide called BTK. (I'll explain the nature of BTK later.) I can't remember how many square miles were covered. Not sure I ever knew. It could have been twenty. This is a mark of how seriously state and federal governments took the threat of deforestation the gypsy moth, now a moth whose female could fly, posed. A hundred plus years of population outbreaks and entire forests defoliation makes for quite an experience base.

I wasn't involved in the Pierce Co. delimiting trapping of '93. I wasn't ready for it. I would be after one more season. But a young lady was. She was an entomologist. She implemented the trapping response. She and her teams executed it. No hybridized moths were found. BTK is that effective. But I think I remember correctly she found a suburban residence, somewhere outside of Tacoma, with trees covered in moths. DNA analysis said they were of the European variety. And the story of introduction was classic: a family had just moved into the neighborhood, coming from the east coast, bringing the egg masses with them. Her team would hold the record for the most moths trapped in the program's history.

Is anyone catching a certain drift to my gypsy moth stories? What points to a certain unintended consequence of globalization. By the year of someone's Lord, 2010, there are pythons from South America in the FL Everglades, threatening its food chain because of no effective predators around anymore. An introduced species. There is a species of Asian carp threatening the food chain of the Great Lakes. Another unintentially introduced species. Then there is the case of the Hawaii Islands where a snake from the Philippenes is seriously threatening birdlife endemic to Hawaii alone. Another unintended consequence, an unobserved passenger on a plane, or at least a pair.

Thinking back on my gypsy moth years I think forward as well. The unintended consequences of globalization. In my present line of work, honey bees, we have an axiom. You can sometimes tweak biology. It is called selective breeding. But you cannot control her. And, I'll add, you export her at great peril to all local ecosystems.

Anyone got E.O. Wilson's phone #?

Tere

I forgot to mention the honey bee introduced into the New World in the fifties which also hybridized, the country was Argentina, the scientist was hoping to introduce a bee which could produce more honey, and thus parts of South, Central, and North America have the Africanized honey bee.

tere again

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In winter my honey bee work load is relatively light. Some days I almost feel guilty. Come spring I know I am earning my keep. Queens to make and inseminate. Colonies to create. Tests to run. Swarm pressures building by the hour, requiring more space get added to existing colonies.

The Gypsy Moth season of '94, WA State.

After the '93 season I moved out of the South Sound area. I chose Whatcom Co. which is the state's northern most county, bordering Canada. For a year I, along with my girlfriend, lived on the Lummi Indian Reservation; situated on the north Puget Sound and facing the San Juan Islands archipelago to the west. There I saw first hand the poverty plagued welfare states BIM has made of Reservations, what are supposed to be sovereign nations. We would live there for a year or until we found a deep forest cottage, south and east of Belligham, close to the shore of Whatcom Lake, a glacially created lake, and on the side of Mt. Haner, a 3,000 foot hill. I had chosen Whatcom Co. for two reasons: to get out of town and because WA State's Dept of Agriculture had advertized it needed nematode surveyer's working the fields of Whatcom and Skagit Counties. The job did not pan out because state funding was suddenly not available. Having moved north I was left scrambling for work.

This post is a prelude to the '94 season, what I did between the end of the '93 season and the beginning of '94's.

I had two jobs in those nine months. The first lasted exactly and to the minute 8 hours. One day. With 2 hours training I was made a security guard. I was to man a front gate guard house for a processing plant in the Port of Bellingham. The plant processed and exported chicken, mostly from Arkansas. And it imported and processed fish products from the other side of the Pacific rim. I had conscience problems with the job even while dressing for it. The uniform was brown. Brown pants, brown shirt, brown short coat. Looking in the mirror all I could think of was the brown shirts of Fascist Italy. Then in the guard house with the older man, a retired English teacher, who was my trainer. And him telling me what was expected of a guard. When he said the plant's management instructions included not allowing access to immigration officials was to be denied I got uncomfortable. This told me the plant was employeeing illegal immigrants. In the early afternoon he told me to take a break and walk through the compound and get familiar with the streets and buildings. It was its own little city, with perky titty women in the offices, manager types like straw bosses, and brown skin workers working the quays and the plants and the processing lines and the pallets and the ice houses.

I've had longer days jobbing. Working off-shore for 23 hours straight, working a student rush in a bookstore, working 80 hours a week in the Gypsy Moth scene, working with honey bees. But that 8 hour stint as a securiy guard stands out as the longest shift I've had. I quit and soon found a more congenial job.

It's all just jobbing.

Tere
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hey Tere,

I'm catching that drift for sure--beauty of it is that it's not a heavy-handed one. The characters and settings still come through. I admire the woman who was directionally challenged and took the job anyway. Now there's a brave soul.

Chris
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Thanks, Chrisfriend. Yeah, there is a drift to it all. It is good to hear my treatment of the theme is maybe not too blunt. About T., the woman directionally challenged. She was also in a lousy marriage. I am just remembering something. Her husband was a Jehovah's Witness type and she was not. Nor, in the end it seems, could she abide by the church's regimen required of a churchman's wife. I don't believe she had had a career before, mostly staying at home, doing chores, home schooling her children. I remember once visiting her home, there to pick up data sheets as I recall. It was a bit too perfectly ordered for me, and I am pretty fastidious in my own right, as was the yard, which was her handiwork also. I remember she had a pond for her prized and expensive carp. I learned that day that carp can survive in a frozen pond by going into a somnolent state, something like suspended animation. Anyway it was clear to me she had for long been a restless woman, needing something to sink her teeth into. In effect, the Program gave her just that, and giving her a way out, also giving her the means with which to regain a degree of self-confidence. Such a classically American story, yes?

Thanks, Chris. Your note just added to the story.

Tere

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So it's still the interim months between the '93 and '94 GM season. For eight hours I was a security guard and a brown shirt fascist manning a front gate guard booth. Then I decided on the hotel business. I would do what I knew I could do well, given my social skills treating with the public. I would be a front man and get a job working the front desk. And I did.

It was called the Baron Suites and owned by a religiously conservative and wealthy family, members of what was known as the Dutch Reformed Church. I especially remember Mrs Baron. She loved to sit in the lobby and stare at me. More than once I caught her staring at the part of my body my pleated pants covered. Oh I do so love religious reformations.

I was a front desk clerk working the night shift. On the weekends I was also the night auditor working the late night, early morning shift. So many stories I could tell about the Suites. And I have actually. A few years later I took all the anecdotal material involving guests, compressed the actions into one long weekend, and called the narrative An American Weekend. Motels and hotels are such an integral part of the American experience of traveling roads, wandering restlessly, searching for something better just over the next rise: a real pilgrim's progress, only with no end in sight. Viewed from one stand point it all makes for one panoramic Hotel California.

About my guests:

There was the East Indian doctor on his wedding night with a woman who had just traveled from India for the purpose. An arranged marriage. The night of the wedding banquet he was standing at the elevator, waiting for it to take him up to the presidential suite and his new bride waiting for him. The door opens. The body of a man is sprawled on the floor. He is unconscious. The doctor steps over the man the way he might step over the body of an untouchable on the streets of Mumbai. Tells me to call 911. Pushes the button, ascends to his floor with the unconcsious man. I call 911 then run up the starirs to find the man. I find the elevator, man is still passed out. A woman is kneeling over him, crying. I ask what is wrong. She says he has overdosed on heroin. I run down stairs, give the operator the information, then wait to direct the emergency medical crew. But this also means I have drugs on the premises and I have to deal with that too. The occupants of the offending room had been smart enough to quickly quit the premises. The couple had been stupid enough to return after the situation had settled. They had been doubly stupid to visit the front desk. I said I wouldn't call the sherriffs dept. if they were out of the room in 15 minutes. Not on my watch would somebody o.d.

Then there were the roudy, late night parties to deal with. Protocol was to make a warning call to the room, then call the Sherriffs Dept if the party did not settle down, lead the deputies to the room, knock on the door, door would open and negotiations would ensue. For some reason I had to knock on the door, stand in front of the deputies. It was not lost on me I was the only man standing there not wearing a bullet proof vest. One night the room door opened. The young man recognized the deputies. They recognized him. By the look on his angry young man face I knew he was considering taking all three peace officers on. They knew it too. Always smiling they diffused the situation. The room's occupants left, but not before trashing the room.

Another night there were two parties in progress in adjacent suites. One of frat boys, the other of young Hispanic women. The boys wanted the girls to play with them. The girls did not. I got so pissed off with the racial slurs and the bickering in the hall, I dispensed with the 911 call and threw both parties out. (Sometimes in retrospect I figure somebody has been watching after my dumb cracker ass. But the blood was up.)

Then there were the gamblers up from Vegas and working a card stacking scam in one of the Indian Reservation casinos. Night after night, 3 AM say, the gamblers were in constant phone contact with Vegas, in constant contact with dealers at the casino in on the scam. And check this out. Night after night FBI agents were in an adjacent suite, tapping their phone, then stepping out into the hall and going to a suite on the next floor down. They were always carrying a brief case...at 3 AM. I could see it all from the lobby's big pane window and across the pool. The agents made me think of the old Fuller Brushman going door to door. It turned out I had inadvertently turned events so that the agents started renting rooms. One night, making a security check around the hotel I saw the silhouette of a man sitting in a car. I walked up to the car, asked the man if he was a guest. When he said no I said he needed to leave, which he did. The next night the FBI started renting its rooms. After the bust I read the transcript of the FBI report. With so many people in on the scam, and so many in on the take, it occurred to me not one of those involved could get rich on the proceeds. That's the night I decided either crooks are not too smart or they have some other reason for cheating people. I think it's the latter. I think cheating is a game for some people and its own source of pleasure.

Here is a favorite late night or early AM story. By 5 in the morning I had to have set out the tables in the lobby with a continental breakfast kind of fare. Pastries, coffee, cereal, muffins...the usual. Often a guest, an early morning type, would come down, eat a little, watch the CNN news, then make a tray for his or her spouse and take it back to the suite.

This one morning a Japanese American guest came to the lobby. I don't know how we got to talking. Probably I was being my usual make-the-guest-feel-welcome self. And I don't know how the conversation turned to the Civil War. I do remember telling him that CSA general George E. Pickett, when still a Union lieutenant, and just after he had been decorated for his time in the Mexican American War, had been stationed in the area, Bellingham, Whatcom Co. First sent there because of Native American uprisings in, I think, 1854. Then the first commander of the American Base on San Juan Island during the territorial dispute between American and Britain over Pacific Northwest boundaries. I remember reading a dispatch of his describing the situation. His base is on a bluff, high above the water. Facing him is a squadron of British war vessels. In his dispatch he wrote, if there is action we will not outlast the noon hour. (Unlike the popular presentation, Pickett was not a stupid man. He knew how to take chances. But he also knew when.) Picket would marry his first wife in Whatcom Co. She was the daughter of a Haida Chief from further up the coast come down for trade. And she would give Pickett his first son, Jimmy.

I told my guest the story. He got excited. I told him where to find the house Pickett lived in while stationed in Bellingham, made of cedar, shakes and all. He then proceeded to tell me of all the Civil War battle fields he had visited, from northern Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland to Shiloh in TE and Vicksburg in Mississippi. Think of what this man's example says. A Japanese American whose parents could have been interred during WW2. Possibly whose grandparents or great grandparents had been caught up in the West Coast pograms against Japanese immigrants. And yet the American Civil War was a defining experience for him, telling him something essential about what it means to be an American. More, how it is we are still looking to define ourselves and our national character. My guest that morning taught me a big thing about the whole cauldron of the American experience. It ain't no melting pot. It is nothing less than a cauldron in which we all get cooked up.

I thought of switching jobbing trajectories that year. I reasoned the work was easy enough, congenial to my talents, that it would allow me brain energy left over. Besides, I've always enjoyed studying people, especially close up and personal. In a different time I might have made a pretty good anthropologist, looking at the interface between tribal ritual (the collective) and the individual (the dynamic). But the Program Entomologist called and asked me to reapply. He said the budget was tight, the program indecently small. He said I would have to be a trapper again and not a field sup. He said the assignment would be a !@#$. I said okay, application in the mail.

On the first working day in June a bus got me down to Olympia for orientation, to get my assignment, to take receipt of equipment and maps. The entomologist was right. The assigned areas proved to be a !@#$. '94 was the year that made me a trapper and the test was pass/fail. Nobody could have done what I did that year, certainly not as cleanly or as comprehensively.

A coda to my story. About Mrs Baron. She and her husband lived in a small town called Lynden, just south of the Canadian border. The surrounding land was fertile, dirt alluvial from the big rivers running down from the Cascade mountain range. The area was rich in dairy farms and corn fields. And the town had been started by Dutch immigrants in the early part of the 20th C. They were colonizers wanting a place where they could follow their religious precepts involving the Dutch Reformed Church. One afternoon, and knowing I was soon out of there and working for the state again, Mrs Baron says to me, "Did you know Lynden has the highest number of churches per capita in the state?" A fact she was clearly and self-righteously impressed by. I replied, "Yes, Ma'am, I do know that. And do you know the Lynden area has the state's highest rate of incest per capita?" Both facts were true. Later that summer I would work the Lynden area as a trapper, often visiting dairy farms. The blank, slightly confused, unresponsive look of inbreeding on the faces of wives answering the farm doors, of sons working the milk cows, was unmistakable. I did so love that moment with Mrs B. No more words were exchanged. She knew her righteousness had just been checked by a younger man in pleated pants.

To say it again, jobbing is my theme. The Greek poet, Hesiod, its Muse.

Tere

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Tere,

I'm catching up on this jobbing thread. A chronicle indeed and very engaging.

I enjoyed your observations about Stella and T. It was nice to see your daughter make another appearance as well.

Having seen the impact of globalization on the environment, it's easy to see where your ongoing interest in Gaia comes from.

As I read about the late night escapades at the Baron Suites, it occurred to me that although you quit the previous job as a security guard, you took on the role unofficially while performing your duites as the night desk clerk at that establishment. Many of the jobs you have had were not for the faint-hearted.

I've visited a few Civil War battlefields over the years, and it is not unusual to see busloads of tourists from Japan or Germany, for example, taking in the sites and snapping loads of pictures. This tells me that there is something about the story of America that strikes a universal chord and captures the imagination of folks beyond our borders. I like what you said about Pickett: "(Unlike the popular presentation, Pickett was not a stupid man. He knew how to take chances. But he also knew when.)" He was neither a coward nor a fool. I'll always remember the scene in the film Gettysburg when, after the battle, Lee says to him, "General Pickett, why aren't you seeing to your division?" and Pickett responds, "Sir, I have no division."

So many stories within your story. You have lived in some unusual, out-of-the-way places, and it's all been grist for the writing mill. Your story "An American Weekend" reminds me of that old Simon and Garfunkel song: "And they've all gone to look for America."

I have two friends who are anthropologists, and, yes, I think you would have made a good one, because you have wonderful powers of observation and because you love stories.

"She knew her righteousness had just been checked by a younger man in pleated pants."

Touche. Too bad what you said was true.

Although I enjoyed your beeyard stories very much, I have to say that I am enjoying this series of jobbing chronicles even more. I hope you are enjoying writing them as well.

Thanks again for posting.


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Hey Tere,

This morning over at Harriet's blog I read an entry "Salud, Poeta" by Javier Huerta that reminded me of this thread. If you get the chance, take a look:

 http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2010/04/salud-poeta/#more-10442
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Terreson,

Your usually good stuff. Interesting where the observer points his laser beam. The comment on the Indian doctor said a lot without saying a lot. Like would an American born doctor have done the same thing? A lot left unsaid.

The frat boys and the Hispanic girl encounter too; the Hispanic girls are identified by ethnic group but not the frat boys? Would it have been ok to say, "white frat boys" or were they of various colors like popsicles? I know the canned response is if they are Heinz 57 there is no reason to mention it, but I think in the 21st century it's going to become a more interesting proposition. There will probably be a fluctuation about this.

I get it about the Japanese American following the Civil War. That we are all learning from the Civil War. But that about the guys parents having been interned or not brings to mind that the Irish were ill-treated when they first arrived, but we wouldn't find it amazing that they would be obsessed with the Civil War. The German Americans were discrimated against greatly, which is why so many of them today have Anglo names, but we are not amazed that they might be interested in the Civil War. Even the British Tories were dispossessed, and sometimes lynched, during and after the Revolutionary War but we are not amazed by the subsequent Americanization of the remaining British Americans. Maybe my reaction here has to do with having grown up with Japanese Americans. Again, this isn't to criticize what was said in this regard, merely to put it in perspective. Zak

 
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Zak, I spent a night and a day thinking about your comment. Here's what I got.

About the frat boy grouping I make. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some sociologist has done a study on the phenomenon. It does indeed amount to a sociologically defined group or sub-group, with behavior defined by its own parameters of expected behavior. I can't remember the novel, it might have been his Dr. Faust, but I think the German novelist, Thomas Mann, was the first to depict out the Frat boy thing. My contention would be this: fraternities are as sociologically determining of personal behavior as are ethnic, racial, religious, legislative, money market (Wall Street), feminist, gay, and political groupings. I've seen the pattern too many times. Frankly, man, Frat boys make me sorry for the individual in the group. It is as dehumanizing as all groupings become. Behavior not just ugly but brutal.

About the Civil War and immigrants to America. There were Irish in that war and sometimes straight off a boat buying citizenship by signing up to war. There were Germans in that war. There were recent Norwegian immigrants. Of course, there were African-Americans in that war. So far as I know there were no Japanese-Americans in that war; which was what interested me most that early morning of '04. The man was more American than I am sometimes. He bothered about his country's history.

Tere

quote:

Zakzzz5 wrote:

Terreson,

Your usually good stuff. Interesting where the observer points his laser beam. The comment on the Indian doctor said a lot without saying a lot. Like would an American born doctor have done the same thing? A lot left unsaid.

The frat boys and the Hispanic girl encounter too; the Hispanic girls are identified by ethnic group but not the frat boys? Would it have been ok to say, "white frat boys" or were they of various colors like popsicles? I know the canned response is if they are Heinz 57 there is no reason to mention it, but I think in the 21st century it's going to become a more interesting proposition. There will probably be a fluctuation about this.

I get it about the Japanese American following the Civil War. That we are all learning from the Civil War. But that about the guys parents having been interned or not brings to mind that the Irish were ill-treated when they first arrived, but we wouldn't find it amazing that they would be obsessed with the Civil War. The German Americans were discrimated against greatly, which is why so many of them today have Anglo names, but we are not amazed that they might be interested in the Civil War. Even the British Tories were dispossessed, and sometimes lynched, during and after the Revolutionary War but we are not amazed by the subsequent Americanization of the remaining British Americans. Maybe my reaction here has to do with having grown up with Japanese Americans. Again, this isn't to criticize what was said in this regard, merely to put it in perspective. Zak

 



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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle



The Gypsy Moth season of '94. I need to set a scene, give context.

WA State, a most politically liberal state, has always been financially conservative. In '94 the state had not much money coming in. It had already laid off, and riffed, a bunch of state workers. Riffing was when, with seniority, you could bump the next employee a step down on the org chart and still have a state job. It was bad that year. The GM Program was hit hard because its funding was discretionary and not mandated. Every year the state's legislature would decide how much money was spent on tracking down gypsy moths. The Feds would only allocate monies if an Asian or Hybrid variety of the moth had been found the previous season, which had not happened. '94 was a financially trimmed down trapping season. In reality what this meant was that more was expected of fewer if the state would get coverage.

A second item speaking to the season's context. Above I've pointed to the distinction between detection trapping and delimiting trapping. Detection trapping at a trap every mile is a piece of cake. You follow your odometer. Delimiting trapping is a bit more complicated. You center your map grid on the previous year's catch. From that point you map out a grid of traps at varying densities, more to the center, fewer further out. I am pretty sure I am remembering it corectly. The calculator tells me I set, mapped, and recorded on a data sheet 62 traps for each of the 11 previous year's moth finds. The southern most grid was near Seattle. The northern most was on a spit of land jutting out of Canada and below the 48th Paraellel called Pt. Roberts.

The '94 season to be continued.

Tere
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Terreson,
Your mentioning the frat boy confrontation with the Hispanic girls in the Northwest – Seattle, right? – brings back memories. I was visiting a friend on the UofW campus back in the middle 70’s when there was a confrontation involving a couple of frat houses and the Hispanic groups on campus. Not sure this makes any sense to you; after all, I’ve lived in the South now for 20 years and I would be the last one to assert I can penetrate to an understanding of the relationships between Southern whites and Blacks. I wasn’t raised in the South and so there are things, conversations in the kitchen, or while fishing, that I’ll never be privy to. But I did grow up in the Northwest and have some knowledge of the subtle and varying relationships between/among the ethnic groups there. Anyway, there were small group fights in the bars around the UofW campus but it never did become an all out, all encompassing fight. The point is, the frats were mostly white. It was a time that maybe has passed into historical time. I don’t know what the situation is on campus these days, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were as complicated today as it was then.
  
Concerning the Japanese American, I recognize that you are talking to us from a good place, a good place in your heart and with a clear conscience. Given that, I’m reminded of a British immigrant just newly arrived in Buffalo, New York who told me that Brits don’t consider themselves immigrants. I suppose because they consider themselves the first settlers – though St. Augustine in Florida and Santa Fe, NM both predated Jamestown. Anyway, I mentioned my Brit friend’s comment to my wife, who quipped, “I don’t think the government would agree with him.” There was an article I read recently, which stated that white people in this country still think of an American as being white. No argument with that. In the South, I am marked down by the clerks in offices as “white.” But my identity changes depending on which region of the country I’m living in, and even which tavern I am frequenting. Thus, maybe for this reason, it would not be of particular interest to me that a Japanese American would be interested in the Civil War, though I would welcome his enthusiasm as a fellow enthusiast. It wouldn’t matter to me that he was Japanese American any more than it would matter to me that a German American got his Phd. in Spanish (which he did) and was one of my teachers in one of my electives. Well, those things do impress, but they’ve got to be for the right reasons. Again, I don’t think we’re disagreeing. We’re merely expressing ourselves from our unique backgrounds.

Keep writing. You write good stuff. Zak


quote:

Terreson wrote:

Zak, I spent a night and a day thinking about your comment. Here's what I got.

About the frat boy grouping I make. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some sociologist has done a study on the phenomenon. It does indeed amount to a sociologically defined group or sub-group, with behavior defined by its own parameters of expected behavior. I can't remember the novel, it might have been his Dr. Faust, but I think the German novelist, Thomas Mann, was the first to depict out the Frat boy thing. My contention would be this: fraternities are as sociologically determining of personal behavior as are ethnic, racial, religious, legislative, money market (Wall Street), feminist, gay, and political groupings. I've seen the pattern too many times. Frankly, man, Frat boys make me sorry for the individual in the group. It is as dehumanizing as all groupings become. Behavior not just ugly but brutal.

About the Civil War and immigrants to America. There were Irish in that war and sometimes straight off a boat buying citizenship by signing up to war. There were Germans in that war. There were recent Norwegian immigrants. Of course, there were African-Americans in that war. So far as I know there were no Japanese-Americans in that war; which was what interested me most that early morning of '04. The man was more American than I am sometimes. He bothered about his country's history.

Tere

quote:

Zakzzz5 wrote:

Terreson,

Your usually good stuff. Interesting where the observer points his laser beam. The comment on the Indian doctor said a lot without saying a lot. Like would an American born doctor have done the same thing? A lot left unsaid.

The frat boys and the Hispanic girl encounter too; the Hispanic girls are identified by ethnic group but not the frat boys? Would it have been ok to say, "white frat boys" or were they of various colors like popsicles? I know the canned response is if they are Heinz 57 there is no reason to mention it, but I think in the 21st century it's going to become a more interesting proposition. There will probably be a fluctuation about this.

I get it about the Japanese American following the Civil War. That we are all learning from the Civil War. But that about the guys parents having been interned or not brings to mind that the Irish were ill-treated when they first arrived, but we wouldn't find it amazing that they would be obsessed with the Civil War. The German Americans were discrimated against greatly, which is why so many of them today have Anglo names, but we are not amazed that they might be interested in the Civil War. Even the British Tories were dispossessed, and sometimes lynched, during and after the Revolutionary War but we are not amazed by the subsequent Americanization of the remaining British Americans. Maybe my reaction here has to do with having grown up with Japanese Americans. Again, this isn't to criticize what was said in this regard, merely to put it in perspective. Zak

 






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Thanks as always for commenting and joining in, Zakman. One clarification. The town was Bellingham, Whatcom Co.

Speaking of Whatcom Co., WA. America in the 1990s was the decade of domestic terrorism, of anti-government people taking up arms, and of stand offs between law enforcement officials and people who saw government as the enemy. I've always figured that the so-called militia types of the decade was the fruit reaching maturation of the Reagan rhetoric of the early 80s. Remember what he said? "Government is the problem." These people, these anti-government people, took the words as a call to arms. There was Waco, Texas in '93. There was the Oklahoma bombing of a federal building in '95. There was the Randy Weaver confrontation with law enforcement up on Ruby Ridge in Idaho, '92. There was the Jordan, Montana stand off in '95. There was also Whatcom Co., WA.

The small town of Deming, out from Bellingham and towards Mt Baker to the east, was one epicenter of the militia movement types. But only one of several in the county. I could drive any of the secondary and tertiary roads leading up into the foothills of the Cascades and hear semi-automatics getting fired in shooting range practice on farms. The militia types impacted my job as a gypsy moth trapper in '94, just as they would impact the lives of the trappers I supervised for the rest of the decade. In a state vehicle with a state license plate they would cut me off on the road. They would slam on their brakes in front of me. They would tailgate. They would try to shoulder me off the road. They would, at their farmsteads, provoke me. Once, while trying to set a moth trap on a tree, I had a rifle leveled at my chest.

So there I was, a gypsy moth trapper looking to make sure their trees would not get eaten away, and they so filled with indiscriminant, undirected rage, they could not discriminate between a civil servant looking to protect their land and the cause of their rage.

Keep this story in mind please. Some years later, I think 6, I would get attacked by the other, environmentalist extreme down in Seattle.

The season of '94 continues.

Tere
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I am greatly enjoying eavesdropping on this conversation, dipping in and out of these tales. Thank you for them-
Apr/16/2010, 5:21 pm Link to this post Send Email to MsParataxis   Send PM to MsParataxis
 
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(Ms P., enter into the conversation any time with, and especially with, your own chronicle of jobbing, which was the thread's first intention.)

I need to come clear on something. But I change my mind. Let's kill off the gypsy moth season of '94. It made me a trapper's trapper. For the rest of my career with the program people would respect me and hate me me for what I did.

I think I had 11 delimiting grids to set out, might have been 13, from Lynwood Wa to Pt. Roberts. 64 traps per grid and a whole bunch of miles to drive. I did my map plotting at home so that when I got into the field I didn't have to think. Place a trap, plot it on the map, document it, move on. Lynwood, Edmonds, Everett, an Indian Reservation in Snohomish Co. A town in Skagit Co., Anacortes, Belligham, Lynden, Pt. Roberts. These are the places I remember.

I covered the areas 2 weeks ahead of schedule. I was kind of driven because I needed to fly to VA for my daughter's H.S. graduation. When I got back the Program Entomologist asked if I was up for some more trapping. I said I was. So I set out a bunch more traps from Puget Sound to as far east as Lynden at one to the mile, as far south as the Skagit Co. line. Neither an east coast American or a European can get this kind of milage.

In Anacortes, WA 3 or 4 gypsy moths had been detected the year before. That registered as serious stuff. In '94 I found the tree with egg masses and with egg laying females. No trapper was supposed to presume to as much. The find garnered me big time enemies who never forgot.

Tere

Two more memories come up from the '94 season. About the Anacortes find. The tree to which I found egg masses attached was an apple tree planted in an overgrown, unmowed yard. I think I remember finding dead female moths as well. The tree was close to a fence on the other side of which was a vehicle storage yard. The yard had cars, trucks, and trailers. When I looked around, sure enough there were vehicles with east coast license plates. Remember that the moth is a hitch hiker. Likely the car yard was the point of entry for that particular introduction.

Second memory, a fun one. I was out in Whatcom Co. placing the extra traps at one per mile. On this one road I was desperate to find a tree on which to hang a trap. There were certainly trees enough. But because of the deep ditches on both sides of the road they were not accessible. So there was one residence with trees. I stopped there, saw a man coming out of a shop, got out of the car and walked towards him to ask for permission to install a trap on his property. Before I could reach the man a rottweiler suddenly comes into view from around a stand of trees. She is methodically walking towards me. I stand still. As she nears me I say to the man: "Does she bite?" In that droll way country people have, and clearly enjoying the moment, he says: "Well, she hasn't yet." She smells my leg, then turns around and presents her rump to be petted.

Upthread I mentioned having to deal with militia types and people with an animus against all government. (Animus is chosen deliberately for its meaning: an irrational, illogical dislike.) Anyway, as hate filled as they were they were still in the minority. Most of the people I encountered in those years were like this one country boy. They possessed a sense of humor.

(tere again)

Last edited by Terreson, Apr/17/2010, 12:06 pm
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Re: Jobbing: a chronicle


Today, this morning early, I took receipt of 20 honey bee queens shipped overnight from Australia. They belong to a test that will involve 80 more queens for a total of 100 colonies observed over time. They were mated queens. I needed to put a marker dot on their thoraxes and clip two of four wings so they could not fly away. With task finished I go to my boss and say, half-jokingly, "in which direction am I going now?" So many tests, queens, colonies. Without my records I can't keep up with it all.

My jobbing chronicle is up to '94. Soon after I got promoted in the GM Program for WA State and all hell broke loose for me personally. I'll get back to the chronicle presently.

Today during lunch I was reading an article involving the Scottish poet, Robbie Burns, Scotland's best loved poet and a poet of world-class standing. I don't think I've appreciated enough that he was a farmer, dirt poor farmer renting out land to farm, in the fields from the age of 10. His mother illiterate but orally rich in folk lore. His father rich in lit., home schooled his children, but poor in land and means.

Jobbing. Burns and Hesiod.

Tere
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Those who've been following along chronologically will remember the big lesson I learned in the restaurant business. When you are so busy you cannot control the timing of courses you let go, you flow, you become a shotgun, spreading out simultaneously, incrementally, and see to the progress of each and every one of your parties. You stop orchestrating. You become the orchestra. The lesson is serving me well this honey bee season. I said to my boss this morning: "We'll get it done. We always do."

But I have enough mental energy left this evening to see to the GM interrim months between the seasons of '94 and '95.

When the '94 season was over I got a job in another motel. A young woman with whom I had worked at the previous year's hotel actually got me the job. She remembered me, she liked me, she had become an assistant manager in this motel just off I-5 in Bellingham, WA. It was a piece of cake, as they say. A front desk night clerk with no night auditing responsibilities. All I really had to do was be a clerk on duty, check in the few night timers, respond to room service requests. Security was not again the problem it had been at the hotel with suites.

The hiatus was a good thing. The '94 GM season had taxed me. The '95 GM season would prove to be even more challenging: it made me, quite seriously, a tactician in the field. There was something else that year. By then I was living on the side of a 3,000 foot mt. Haner Mt in the Chuckanut range. Days at home were spent rustling wood for the stove, seeing to the water supply that was creek fed and never stable, and "planting" rocks, granitic rocks beneath the cottage to keep it from sliding down the mountainside. Another kind of jobbing, Robbie Burnes. Those rocks pinched my back.

The one really good thing that came out of that year's motel job is that I had a roomer who published a weekly newspaper. When I told her I was a writer she said I should give her articles and essays. I did and she printed them. She liked them at least, even if her business manager, a booster from Britain and acute to advertisment space, said they were a bit too mystical for his taste. Go figure. Terreson: a bit too mystical.

The one bad memory I have associated with that job is April of '95, Oklahoma City, Timothy McVee. An American lusting to kill other Americans, even children. Jobbing too. We all job never knowing who will take us down doing a job.

Terreson
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Hey Tere,

said they were a bit too mystical for his taste.

That gave me a chuckle.

On April 19th, the fifteenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, I watched "The McVeigh Tapes" on MSNBC:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36633900

He came from a broken home, was bullied at school as a teenager and served in the first Iraq war. When he heard about Waco, he drove there and cryptically spoke to a college reporter, who later, after the Oklahoma City bombing, realized she had talked to him. In the end, he was a "stone cold killer" and showed no remorse.

Last edited by Katlin, Apr/22/2010, 6:04 pm
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