Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bridge Update: Piece by Piece

When I was here a week ago, I saw the cranes hooked up to span number one, and figured they were getting ready to lift it into place. Boy was I off track! Instead, I guess they were lowering pieces down to the riverbed in order to build up the spans before dropping them into place. I hope they have protections and protocols in place so they don't tip one of those spans while trying to place it and pop one of those bladders! I'm not saying I would wish that to happen at all, just that it would DEFINITELY happen if I was operating the crane. Whoops! Tear! DRAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN. That's the kind of thing that happens to me when I try things like lowering a bridge span onto piers over a poppable rubber bladder that's holding back a gagillion gallons of water: gurgle gurgle gurgle.

It's probably because I have some kind of klutz gene. I had a summer job a long time ago running a deburring machine, knocking the burrs off of metal parts. It started early in the morning, I was sometimes sleepy or otherwise out of it, and I should have just told them: it's no good having me run the deburring machine early in the morning. If I manage to avoid deburring my own hands, feet, and other parts, which I barely did manage, I would probably accidentally deburr a passing forklift driver or something. 

I learned to drive a manual transmission when I was just a kid by operating a large piece of farm equipment with working kids hanging off of it. Again early in the morning. I probably should have told them, not only do I not really know how to operate a manual transmission, but you should not have me attempt to operate a piece of farm equipment with kids hanging off it early in the morning. 

Another time, a man who did not know about my klutz gene asked me to drive a dump truck to carry loads of horse manure out to the back of the property and dump them there. Guess what time of day that was. I should have told him: no, if you have me do this, horse manure will probably end up in remarkable places, in remarkable quantity, and we will be spending the afternoon trying to figure out how to the get the dump truck out of the pond.

Riding a bike is about the only machine I feel confident interacting with early in the morning. I think my muscles are doing all the thinking on two wheels. Even when the klutz gene is active. Get up. Go ride. 


  1. From on Phoenix bike commuter to another, how about this cooler weather! Although I'm a giant fan of the heat, if you don't like riding in weather like this, you should find some other way to get around.
    I've just found your blog and I'm really enjoying the pictures of my commute back yard. Keep it up!


  2. I once hit a car while driving a fork lift.

  3. A lot of people parking their cars around Bournemouth must have the klutz gene, judging by the number of minor impacts I see.
    Thinking about it, quite a few drivers had the klutz gene on todays training ride......!


  4. Yeah, muscle memory is a wonderful thing, and so important to bike riding.

    Mixed blessing in the case of computer passwords, though. I use a couple of important passwords several times every day, never even thinking about what they are, the fingers just find their way to the proper keys. Of course, every once in a while I have a brain f@rt, the fingers become dumb, and I can't log into that important machine because I don't consciously know the password!

  5. The klutz gene is widely spread around. I seem to recall the crane guys at Boeing once dropped a 767 wing.

  6. jt, I don't want to gloat openly, but yes, this weather is crazy beautiful. I'm trying to fit in as many extra minutes on the bike as I can. I also love the heat, which will be here soon!

    limom, that sounds painful. At least for the car.

    Trevor, that may be an avenue for future OSG investigation: rather than assuming that drivers are being willfully aggressive toward cyclists, ignorant of most or all traffic laws related to cyclists, perhaps they are just klutzes, driving two-ton steel machines? The streets are actually filled with limoms driving forklifts? Perhaps with artful ceramic hood ornaments?

    BluesCat, for whatever reason it happens to me when I try to type in the same teleconference passcode I use a zillion times of week. Once in a while I just blank. Being observed by a room full of people doesn't seem to help it.

    Steve, the good news is, as I understand it, 767 wings are built so well that they can withstand just about anything, even being run over by limom with a forklift, for example.


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