Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Categories

It will come as no surprise (at least if you read Tam's blog, too) that today at work I stumbled across some old, small cardboard parts bins once used to sort various small starship-repair items labelled variously "Weevily," "Smells Like Cheese," "Probably Burnt," "Velcronia," and "Makes Me Itchy." Sure looks like my handwriting....

13 comments:

Turk Turon said...

Relics of The Great Fire?

Roberta X said...

Nope, they'd just accumulated in the workshop downtown. About half the labels were written as jokes -- I left out "We Think Somebody Messed With It," another ever-popular tag for malfunctioning items that arrive on the repair shelf.

HTRN said...

What? No box labeled "Dilithium crystals need reallignment"?

What kind of space ship are you running? :)

On a slightly more serious note - I have "junk" in one of my Kennedy boxs that I know I put there, and evidently I thought it was important, because I wrapped it up carefully, only I have no idea what the hell it's for. So I can empathize with the "What the hell did save this for?" feeling

Turk Turon said...

When I worked at a public TV station I was trying to trouble-shoot a tally light problem. The tally lights worked from Control Room “A”, but not “B”. A crossover switch problem, obviously, but where was it? The tally light system was completely homebrew, with dozens of little Radio Shack relays mounted on a rackmount panel, with open wiring on the rear. And no documentation.

So I went around to the back of that rack. I was looking for some labelling, perhaps, or just by examining the wiring I might be able to see “which one of these things is not like the others” (we played Sesame Street, remember). But there was so much coax in there, 'cause the DA's were mounted above the relays, that I couldn't see anything useful.

Just then the intercom said, “Hey, Turk, we really need those tallys!” so I said, “Oh, crap,” and just stuck my head in there with all the coax so that I could see the rear of the relay panel.

But there was nothing there to indicate the presence of a crossover relay, and now my head was stuck. There was coaxial cable caught behind my ears and I had to twist my head to get out. And as I twisted, I saw a single Radio Shack relay, mounted on its own little “L” bracket, attached to the left rear upright of the rack. And attached to that relay was a paper tag, hanging from a short string. And on the tag someone had written, “Secret mystery relay #17.”
Obviously, this was not the first time this had happened.

Mark said...

A friend of mine's got similar collections. I'm particularly fond of the tea-chests labelled "Probably Important" and simply "Don't Know"

Dr. StrangeGun said...

It reminds me of the Venture Brothers episode, where the space station has... a trouble light.

Rob K said...

Turk's story reminds me of this tale ofmagic switches.

Roberta X said...

Sadly, Turk's story is in general, completely typical of the state of affairs at most TV stations -- too many cooks in the soup, and always a director or producer (or worse) on the 'comms imploring or commanding...!

The whimsical label is a nice touch.

Sometimes such labels are born of sheer, 20-hour-day frustration; we just janked a huge sheaf of coax cables labelelled "video server in (or out)#n to DESTINATION UNKNOWN." Who knew Erehwon came with optonal rack-mount adopators?

Roberta X said...

Or even "adaptors?"

1. Do not post when sleepy
2. It's a sad life when your are reduced to commenting on your own blog.

og said...

Cool! Can I get a box of those adopators? and some live steam? Maybe a box of each.

Roberta X said...

"WARNING: CONTAINS LIVE STEAM. Please keep out of children. Do not store near the electric."

...We used to crate it for shipment until redwood got so consarned expensive and we had to switch to yaws. That's why the Boss brought in the first brass adopators; but it developed into a profitable sideline. All it really takes is a bright kid, a small lathe, a length of string and about five pounds of chewing gum -- cinnamon or Dentine, depending.

Turk Turon said...

The poor techie who wrote that label was probably weeping with pent-up frustration.

Por les Québécoise -
En français:
"AVERTISSEMENT : CONTIENT LA VAPEUR À HAUTE PRESSION. Svp subsistance hors des enfants. Ne stockez pas près de l'électrique."

og said...

You know, if I had a skyhook here you could atach a couple of those adopators with some bubble gum, dip the whole works in a bucket of steam, and use a left handed hammer and a metric crescent wrench to tighten the whole thing up.