Sunday, April 25, 2010

Section, Row, Seat

My brother-in-law offered us his tickets to Friday night's game between the Houston Astros and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Being as I was not planning on working the weekend, I jumped at the offer and had a great night of baseball with just the boys, me and my son Russ.

Since Cindy, my wife & Russ' mom decided not to go, we had the choice of all four seats. Called a good friend of mine that had recently moved just north of Houston, but he and his wife couldn't make it. Maybe another time.

Figured we could spread out if we wanted to just in case there was some big guy sitting in front of us and we needed the angle...which worked out good, since there was a couple of big guys sitting in front of us.

Which leads me to the seat sizes. Now these seats were field seats, yet in the outfield. The area is known as the in real terms not the Field Level seating but the Bullpen. I guess the seats in the Bullpen area are about 4 inches more narrow than those in the 'real' Field Level seating area because I had to hold my cell phone in my hand all night due to the fact that my body mass wouldn't allow the cell phone to remain. No, my shirt didn't have any pockets either.

Speaking of body mass. I recently had an appointment with the specialist doctor that would determine the permanent impairment to my shoulder from the injury I experienced last May. The good doctor did analyze and project me to be 1% permanently impaired. Reckon I will have to live with the pain in the shoulder and the slap in the face description he alluded to in his summary, and I quote:

"I examined Mr. Chambers, a 56 year old white male who appears to be fully developed and well nourished...."

Fully developed AND well nourished?? What are you trying to say doc...just spit it out. Geeze.

After finding our seats in Section 154, Row 6, Seats 19-20-21-22 and finishing watching the visiting team take batting practice, which is always fun since it's almost as good as watching the home run derby prior to the All-Star games, we knew it was going to be a good night.

Section 154 is a pretty good area to catch a fly ball during batting practice we soon found out.

Weather was perfect in Houston last Friday. They began to open the roof in preparation of the evening's game which always is followed by Friday Night fireworks, especially if it's Friday and weather permits.

Incidentally, lots of folks from other areas of the stadium, found their way to Section 154 after the game to get the good seats that were emptied for the fireworks.

But now I must tell you about the guy behind us.

The guy in Section 154, Row 7, Seat 24.

The aisle seat...with a microphone.

Do you have a stereo system in your car or truck that adjusts automatically with the road noise as you drive? Then you will understand this part of the story.

This individual proceeded to drown out all the other noises of the game within a radius of about 42.5 feet. Literally, the couple of big guys sitting in front of us, reacted to the sound of his voice.

Now it may have been the fact that in order to talk to his buddy next to him, he had his sound projection orifice or pie hole...pointed in our general direction.

Which is probably a good thing, because if he was looking the other direction, I am certain the Astros pitching staff would of had the guy removed due to the obnoxious level of sound emitting from this guy. The Astros bullpen was just a few feet away and I am sure the echo of his voice would of been deafening like yelling into a canyon or towards a mountain range...had he been facing that direction.

He was obviously a fan of the game. Everyone around us knew that he was involved in a fantasy baseball league and had been for years and in essence kept the same group of 'team owners' in their group to keep it interesting and most of the group was from his work and only a few from outside of work and that he without sounding like a know it all had won at LEAST 60% or 65% of all his games which is the best by far to date....

Then he started talking about the NFL draft that was happening this weekend and how all the players and teams were going to benefit from the choices while in between the short gasps of oxygen he needed to continue his self proclaimed position of color analyst he was giving a play by play of what was happening on the field of the game we were all trying to watch.

Man oh man what I would give for the mute button...

It was almost comical listening to this guy talk and pound his chest in sharing his knowledge of the game while expounding on the strengths and weaknesses of each player.

I was thinking of getting him some popcorn to see if he could eat and talk at the same time, but then it wouldn't have been fair to the lady that was sitting right in front of him and his sound booth. To have the smaller particles of uneaten popcorn spewing into her hair and her adult beverage as he would have surely choked on with the speed of singular conversing that was taking place.

But he did have the matching seat.

Row 7 Seat 24. He must of thought it meant being able to talk 24 / 7 about sports in general.

Fortunate for us and the rest of the peanut gallery, he and his buddy left to go somewhere else. They were gone for at least 2 or 3 innings.

Totally pleasant it was. Then they returned. With a vengeance.

Russ was sensing my ire and asked to go get something to eat around the 7th inning stretch. Gladly my boy, gladly. Let us walk until we find the finest personal pizza we can discover at the ballpark and we did.

Upon our return, the sound machine was gone and hoping against hope, never to return. We re-captured our seats and watched the end of the game.

Pirates 3
Astros 4

The Friday night fireworks show was worth the price of admission.

Even with the talk show we experienced, we Americans still are able to enjoy the freedom of speech. I just need to have access to the mute button every once in a while.

Thanks to my brother-in-law for the tickets and the wonderful seats. It was a night to remember.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Quiet Passing

A quick check of the folks that frequent my blog...IIWII ( It Is What It Is) always amazes me of the fact that our world seems to be getting smaller as we become closer through technology. The world events can and do effect everyone of us as humans.

Take the volcano in Iceland. It has touched lives from probably every continent on the face of the earth. A gentle reminder that we are simply guests here on this earth and the Creator, GOD Almighty will and can cause us to have an opportunity to examine our emotions and priorities.

It ain't all about us any it?

Just an update to my list of IIWII blog visitors for your casual reading. Some of you are becoming regular readers...OR you're bored to tears and have no life....and I welcome you and your comments anytime. Drum roll please.......(make the drum sound in your head now)

Netherlands, Amersfoort Utrecht
Netherlands, Ten Boer Groningen
Russian Federation, Moscow Moscow City
Paris, France
Worcester, Worcestershire UK

Mountain View, California
Brattleboro, Vermont
Tyler, Texas
Flower Mound, Texas
Flushing, New York

There are others, but I won't completely bore you out of your skull. Actually, I find the visits from the Netherlands a connection to my story today. A small town that sits just south of my hometown of Beaumont, TX is a settlement by the Dutch. It has great heritage to the Netherlands and even boasts of its own windmill in their downtown area. The town, it's called Nederland. (with a long EE sound at the front end)

The chemical plant I have been employed at for over 20 years is closing the doors. Or to put it in corporate terms..."we have decided to exit the business." I give to you my sentiments entitled:

A Quiet Passing

I would wager a guess that most of the residents that pass by the numerous area industrial sites have no clue as to what is actually being produced inside the fences. Oh sure, the refineries make the fuels and lubricants that touch our lives, but what about those smaller facilities that are hidden by a stand of Chinese tallow trees and the entrances marked by overhead signage that eventually goes unnoticed.

There's one chemical plant that takes several different types of solution, solvents, and a base polyethylene to make a product that has touched virtually everyone that ventures by.
As a matter of fact, this single unit has been the primary site that supplied the entire world and has been safely located inside the same set of fences for over 52 years. The product is called HYPALON®.

The DuPont unit between Beaumont and Nederland has quietly been making great strides in the elastomers industry for years and for your information, the product has probably touched every one's life that is reading this. Oh really, you say. Let's do a quick checklist of a few items. Automotive belts, hoses, spark plug wiring insulation. Today's popular athletic style footwear finds our product being used in the adhesives. Inflatable boats, roofing, water treatment facility holding pond liners, snow shoe bindings, and fishing rod grips.

Have I named an application that touched your life? Surprised? Well that's okay too. Just so you will know our corporate management has made the decision to 'exit' the business and production has now ceased and the last bag of product has been boxed. Yes, another local business is quietly passing by and I wanted you to know that we were actually here.

Thanks neighbor, for allowing us to use the small two block area inside the DuPont Beaumont Works Industrial Park.

It's been a good run.

Over the history of HYPALON®, this small unit has produced well over 1.9 Billion pounds of product. It began in 1957 at the flagship facility in Beaumont, Texas. The very name of HYPALON® rings of quality and characteristics as a benchmark for the competition. HYPALON® has proven over time to resist the effects of ozone, heat, chemicals, and also its unique ability to withstand the elements of weather to maintain its coloring.

It is my humble and personal opinion, that the product is still viable and useful in our world, but other factors obviously figured in to the decision of DuPont to simply...exit the business.

Over the tenure of HYPALON®, the team dedicated to operations peaked at 160 employees. Today, just on the edge of extinction, that number stands at 81. Some whose careers will cease with the 'exit' of HYPALON® while others will continue in new directions.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The end is near

Here it is almost the end of April and I have posted just one time this month. Sorry about that, I have been a bit busy...working every day since before Easter...yes, seven days a week. Either days or nights, the whole month has run together.

I only worked 4 hours today and start nights tomorrow. It's really a wild ride out at work. Today actually marks the last day of production and then the product will be bagged and boxed for some customer across the globe.

More than fifty-two years of a run for this little unit near my hometown of Beaumont, and I will have close to 21 years with them by the time we turn the lights out later this year. Maybe in tomorrow's post I will tell you about the little article(s) I penned for the end of the run my management asked me to write.

One thing that keeps passing through my head is the last time I badge out of work, enter into and complete the final rotation of the turnstile leaving work...not sure how that may feel to me. We have been knowing that the 'end' was coming since May 7th, 2009...and here it is almost a year later, and we are still kicking and breathing.

First it was the end of, better make that September...oops, we still have customers that need product. Absolutely and no way in hell will anyone be here past the end of 2009...


It's April, 2010...who the heck is in charge here anyway? Talk about having your emotions jerked around like a rubber ball attached to a paddle. Geeze Louise.

Stay tuned, I will tell you a bit more about the wonderful little product that existed and provided for most everyone reading this post...yep... everyone.'re coming back again ....yeah...thought so.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

If I could ...

I never know where my next idea for a posting is likely to come from. This one is from a comment I added to a column I read regularly on a bass fishing web page I frequent.

Ken Duke, Senior Editor with B.A.S.S. posed the simple question to one of the many audio-video technicians working for B.A.S.S. while having lunch one day.

If you could watch any sporting event in history, what would it be? The technician responded with the first Super Bowl between Green Bay and Kansas City. I guess the fact that the individual was/is a die hard Packers fan may have swayed his decision.

One of the few times, Ken was caught off guard as he was asked the same question in conversation.

Being the avid bass fisherman that Ken is, he kept his selection to a top 3, with the number 1 slot going to the day that George Perry caught the world record bass in Georgia. A record that has stood for better than 77 years since Mr.Perry boated the 22 pound 4 ounce bass in June of 1932.

As I scanned my memory of an event in history and keeping to the lines of my favorite past time of bass fishing, I stumbled upon a slightly different event.

Not one of actual fishing, but the beginning of a historical landmark.

Sam Rayburn Dam & Reservoir.

Or as I like to refer to it as simply, Big Sam.

Lake Sam Rayburn is the largest man-made lake that is situated completely inside the boundaries of the great State of Texas. Named after the political giant known through his tenure as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Samuel T. Rayburn.

My dad moved us to Jasper, TX in the early part of 1965 as I was finishing 5th grade. Little did I know of the event taking place a few short miles northwest of Jasper and the role it would play in the shaping of my life.

Going back to the main topic of this article, I would have loved to seen and document the Angelina River creeping along, leaving its banks and laying claim to the surrounding rural area. Timberland, hay fields, roadbeds, creeks, and homesteads to name a few. To visualize the humps and drop offs the flooding would produce along the miles of shoreline.

There are several places around Big Sam that anglers refer to as landmarks. One that comes to mind is a set of 40 plus year old concrete steps that led up to and inside an old country church. We call this place simply, 'church steps', and depending upon the lake level at the time of any given day, will it be determined if Big Sam will let you see the actual steps of long ago.

I can only imagine the white clap board building, standing on the top of the rising knoll as the faithful members made their way to congregate and celebrate their Easter Sunday sunrise services of so many years ago, because today, the sunrise from this point looking just fabulous. From the front of the church the landscape was a rolling valley down to the river and up to the now far side of the lake itself.

The actual 'deliberate impoundment' of water began in March, 1965 and initially reached the full pool level sometime the next year in 1966.

Big Sam has a mystical draw on me still today. The sights and sounds are truly nature at its finest.

I have seen deer playing near the waters edge. Caught glimpses of otters playing along the shallow water near their home. Photographed alligators sunning themselves on a hump of dry ground in the secluded backwaters of coves.

Watching our National Bird stand watch over his feeding ground. The bald eagle is a treasure in itself. Strong and unmatched in beauty. Majestic and proud. An American symbol of liberty and freedom.

Being able to have and enjoy the freedom of catching the early morning sunrise over the pines as the sun's rays stretch to reach the smooth as glass lake surface, as you clear the end of your cove to turn your boat towards your favorite morning fishing hole.

An osprey dives to take his breakfast from the lake.

The fishing has begun, and I think back to the morning in 1965 that my brother and I drove along the unpaved surface of the earthen levee that runs over 17,000 feet along the south end of the lake...looking out over what level of water there was to see. Not quite knowing the effect the lake would have on me and how life would bring me back to Big Sam.

Yeah, that would of been something to see, don't you think?