Thursday, 28 July 2011


The way that my scheduling works is that my service coordinator gives me a stack of envelopes with the info for different sites.  I call the on-site contact for each site and schedule when I do each job.  I was going through my stack and saw this site, "Van Horne", and I got a gut feeling that I didn't want to go to this site.  I knew I had been there before but couldn't remember what I didn't like about it.  Maybe it is dirty... maybe it involves a ton of stairs.. it could be a number of things.
I call the on-site, Doug, and he has one of those voices where you imagine he lives off a diet of whiskey and cigarettes.  It must have jogged my memory because I realized what I didn't like about this site... It's a pet friendly building and the generator is next to a little patch of fake grass where all the dogs go to the bathroom.  The entire courtyard stinks of urine!
I schedule with Doug and then see that I am also replacing the battery.  The batteries we use range in size and are all pretty heavy.  The 8D's are 130 pounds so luckily this one was a 4D (which is still 100 pounds!).
I get to the site and it is in the alley between Cordova and Hastings.  For those who don't know Vancouver very well it is an extremely bad area of Vancouver.  I was in the alley behind "United we can" which is the bottle return station so homeless people gather around this block like it's prime real estate.
Here is a google street view shot down the alley.  It doesn't totally describe the feeling of pulling down there.  I can only compare it to playing a zombie video game where you turn down a dark alley and there are suddenly 30 zombies there ready to eat your brains.  Only in this case, they are not zombies only people with dirty needles but I think that is still pretty scary.

Luckily Doug was a nice guy and didn't mind meeting me in the alley but he couldn't stick around the whole time while I was walking back and forth grabbing tools.  I definitely made sure I locked every door!
Oh and that battery change?  Well.. not so easy.  The battery was mounted at chest height.  Who does that?!  Luckily there was a rickety ladder on site to help me lug 100 pounds of lead and acid!

I also want to note that in that picture you can see I am doing a very bad thing.  I have a metal baking sheet (used as a drip pan) sitting on top of a battery without the terminals covered.  Never do that!  
Anyways I told my service coordinator that I don't exactly love the site and she wrote in the file "Don't said Danielle here alone because it's GHETTO".  Haha glad that she understood :)

Monday, 25 July 2011

Fails to start

Last Thursday I had two easy jobs scheduled- a load test in the morning and a small oil change in the afternoon.  I get to the load test site (another Save On Foods).  The unit doesn't start.  I check the fuel solenoid, the run relay, any reset buttons, the coil, pull a spark plug to make sure it's sparking and it isn't.  Call up Woody, in our electrical department, and he helps me check a bunch of wiring in the panel.  Finally decide it's the breaker points in the distributor.  I adjust their gap and clean them out and the thing ran perfectly.  Yay!  Here's a crappy picture of the Onan.

Friday was a nice easy day.  I did tests on three units for a food testing lab in Burnaby.  The largest of the three was a Coleman.  I had no clue Coleman made generators that large (25kw).

I'm on-call this week which sucks.  Heading up to Whistler to work on some Telus and Bell sites.  I'm pretty excited for that since it's beautiful up there!  Could be tricky watching out for cougars while working on a generator though.  The main thing will be to not get lost while trying to navigate through logging and service roads up mountains :)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

More Friday Pictures

On Friday I went to Harbour Center downtown Vancouver.  The building has seven Generators (including this beast in the picture).  It's a huge building on the waterfront with amazing views and what's inside?  Data centres.  Not offices.. just floors of computers, computers, and more computers.  When fiber optic cables were brought across to Vancouver this was the first building to be connected with fiber optics so it filled up quickly with various data centers.  You can assume the security is pretty high.


 I had to go to a service call in the afternoon at the Jericho Beach Sailing Center.  The Jericho beach Folk Music Festival was also going on so there were lots of interesting things (and people to look at).  At the sailing center there were lessons going on for handicapped people and the boats are controlled by tubes that they breathe into.  Looks pretty fun.

Just a couple shots of the beach.

There were tons of bunnies everywhere.  Different colours and sizes too.  You have to look closely and you can see the brown bunny and a little white one running away in the background.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Jellyfish mishap

My mom sent me a forward the other day. It was kind of cheesy and a bit hard to believe that it's "true". But it is still pretty funny. Reminds me of one of my favorite shows "dirty jobs". It also kind of reminds me of when I was in highschool and had no clue what I wanted to do with my life I was complaining to my cousin, Christina, that I need to give a specific answer to the "what do you want to do after highshool?" question. She suggested saying I wanted to be an underwater welder and so I did! It worked perfectly because it's so specific that no further questions were asked. Anyways here's that email:

"Next time you have a bad day at work think of this guy.
Bob is a commercial saturation diver for Global Divers in Louisiana
He performs underwater repairs on offshore drilling rigs.
Below is an E-mail he sent to his sister.
She then sent it to radio station 103 .5 on FM dial in
Indiana, who was sponsoring a worst job experience contest.
Needless to say, she won.
Read his letter below...

~Hi Sue,
Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother.
Last week I had a bad day at the office.
I know you've been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it's not so bad after all.
Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job.
As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office.
It's a wet suit.
This time of year the water is quite cool.
So what we do to keep warm is this: We have a diesel powered industrial water heater.
This $20,000 piece of equipment sucks the water out of the sea.
It heats it to a delightful temperature.
It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose, which is taped to the air hose.
Now this sounds like a darn good plan, and I've used it several times with no complaints.
What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my wet suit.
This floods my whole suit with warm water.
It's like working in a Jacuzzi.
Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my butt started to itch.
So, of course, I scratched it.
This only made things worse.
Within a few seconds my ass started to burn.
I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done.
In agony I realized what had happened.
The hot water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit.
Now, since I don't have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn't stick to it, however, the crack of my ass was not as fortunate.
When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into the crack of my ass.
I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator.
His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with five other divers, were all laughing hysterically.
Needless to say, I aborted the dive.
I was instructed to make three agonizing in-water decompression stops totalling thirty-five minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber dry decompression.
When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing but my brass helmet.
As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub it on my butt as soon as I got in the chamber.
The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't shit for two days because my ass was swollen shut.
So, next time you're having a bad day at work, think about how much worse it would be if you had a jellyfish shoved up your ass.
Now repeat to yourself, 'I love my job, I love my job, I love my job.'
Whenever you have a bad day, ask yourself, is this a jellyfish bad day? "

May you NEVER have a jellyfish bad day! !!!!"

Monday, 11 July 2011

Please never do this!

This is why you follow the instructions that are conveniently posted right on the filter and don't over-tighten your filters.  It took three of us with three different filter wrenches to get this thing off.  Not exactly what you want to run into on a Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Friday adventures

Fridays are always exciting.  This Friday we had a BBQ in the shop which automatically made it pretty great.  A little less great since I had to work Saturday too.. but here are some happy friday pictures.

The staircase of doom in Save On Foods.  I had to climb up and down those things way too many times not to mention while carrying tools and load banks!  Most people probably know this but I had no clue that grocery stores had little jail cells in the back for shoplifters.  When I told someone at work this they told me they actually got put in there when they were a kid for trying to steal a chocolate milk and that they even have handcuffs.  Now you know.

On my way home I was driving behind a van with this piece of artwork thing on the back.  I promise I was stopped while I took this photo.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Why working outside in beautiful British Columbia is pretty sweet

Don't get me wrong there are times when working outside in Vancouver can suck pretty bad but overall it's pretty great.  Here's some scenic shots.

From the base of Grouse Mountain

Mount Seymour

Abbotsford City Hall

En route to a generator on a mountain in Abbotsford

Downtown Vancouver