MEET UP TO ORGANIZE FOR NO TANKERS


As a recently certified welder, I have been thinking deeply about my own choices of what kind of work I want to apply for. I am certified as a ‘structural welder’ by the Canadian Welding Bureau which boasts the highest standards when it comes to structural welding. I can choose to work with any small or large company that have need for welders to weld things together for good!

For example, I have applied to work as a welder for maintenance of BC Ferries, another example would be working with Marine Worker’s Union No.1 for a company that belongs to under the banner of Seaspan. Working in the shipyards would be a unique experience and one that I would welcome. Everyday in the news we hear about Port Expansion and development, I am learning about these issues, about our economy and where the jobs are for British Columbians.

There are three reasons I chose to go into welding. To use the skill of welding in the field of art, to apply it to creating public art and to work with other artists. The second reason I chose it is to have the ability to make more than ‘the living wage’ (which is 18.00/hr). The third and last reason, is that I wanted to challenge myself personally, to learn a practical skill that I could build on and get better at by practice. I look forward to working within the marine environment and hope to use the certification that I worked hard to attain. 

I am supporting the Dogwood Initiative because I will be a part of helping to conserve and preserve the Fraser River Estuary, the wetlands and marshes, and the coastline in general. I have decided that conservation is more important than development and prosperity. At the same time, I think that we can have a decent balance between the two. In the weeks ahead up to election day, I hope to have ongoing conversations with friends, neighbours and co-workers to further educate myself and continue to consider the near future, to understand what expansion and development means for BC’s coastline, so I can make informed choices for my livelihood for the environment and future generations.

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Each one is like a trophy

To give a visual I made this ‘mountain range’ based on what I have been working on at school. It is best understood like the journey of a marathon. Peaks and valleys are sharp some days you are coasting other days you swear you will quit or get left for dead on the side of the road without one of those nice people who will give you a cup of water! I am not certain what has been harder the mental or physical demand for certain it has been a complete workout or work over of mind and body!

Once upon a time I used to be afraid to light the barbeque, not anymore. Many days I light the oxy-acetylene torch and track cutter at school, which I thought I would never feel okay about and then marvel at what I am doing. “It is unnatural”, one Instructor said, here we are banging metal, joining it, working with it and learning how to make a structurally sound weld. At UAPICBC there are 32 welding booths, well equipped with ample room for the welder and/or Instructor and even a couple of other students who may want to watch a demonstration.

I was so happy to complete the SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding) ‘family of bends’ and am now well on my way to completing the GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) ‘family of bends’. Every welder who is working towards Level C must complete this and then go onto finish a CWB test and fulfill 1000 hours to obtain the ticket.

Each one is like a trophy, a terrific amount of work goes into the ‘coupons’. Measuring, cutting, grinding, welding and grinding again. Only to pass or fail. I have not yet come up with what I will do with all of them when I am finished, maybe put them in the garden or make some sort of sculpture.

I like the combination of science, functionality and creativity that exists in the trade. In the middle of the bend is the weld, which you can’t see. The welder who is successful will join two pieces of steel together making them one. Then you will go to the ‘heart breaker’, a press that tests the strength of the weld, aptly named by students and have it tested to see if it is structurally sound. It’s a pass or fail every time.

Thankfully safety gear is the best it has ever been and is getting better all the time, after a while I get used to wearing all of the equipment, if I ever get lax and don’t want to or forget because I am in a hurry, one small accident will solve that, whether it is slag in the eye or a burn.

First lessons learned: Safety, Setup and Comfort.

Live dangerously in a small Village

The title might insight you to think of the bygone days of youth when you were free spirited and did not think about the consequences of your choices or actions.

The phrase was spoken to me as I crossed the fancy intersection at No. 1 Road and Moncton. It was just the two of us there, even though there are eight different ways to cross we just happened to be crossing on the same side at a specific moment. He was a ‘come from away’ or cfa as they say in Nfld. Not of the Vil, just a visitor. He had a favorite cafe that he frequented and now he was crossing on the red hand, before the white man appeared.

I hesitated. Looking at the lights, the corners, the myriad ways before me of crossing one of my favorite intersections.

“Oh go on, he said, live dangerously” “Yes …. yes in a small Village!” I chimed in. We laughed and wished each other a good day

It got me thinking about living dangerously.

To look at a stranger, greet someone whom you don’t know with a smile, or look a person straight in the eye and say, hello, how are you, really, tell me. This isn’t living dangerously, or is it? It is a common occurrance, a kindness given.

ImageOn the subject of welding, I came to the conclusion that although it is ‘dangerous’ as a job and pursuit, I put it on the same level as mothering and caring about people. I think to live dangerously is to care about people since it requires the most from us.

I am learning the only way to make a good join that is industructible is to pay close attention to every angle, to the placement of the weld bead, travel speed and correct amp temperature coupled with a immense steady patience that gives you enough time to run the length of the rod into the metal are some key components. I make parellels between the two realms for the reason that I know about mothering and caring for people.

I see a similarity where the inherent commitment involved in bearing and caring for a family like learning the trade of welding, is nothing short of life threatening and unpredictable.

A film that portrays this well and is worth viewing at least twice — the second time with the Director’s comments, is Ron Howard‘s, Cinderella Man based on the true story of the famous boxer and family man James R. Braddock, it is truly a remarkable story which gave me hope and inspiration in these last weeks. Happy Canada Day to you, your family and those you care for in your community. ~e

Monsters spawn in the darkness

Kagen was busy revealing to me the secrets of Minecraft (not just a game for hipsters) all in a matter of seconds before he set off for school one morning.

The title of the post is what he said nonchalantly in a manner only an 11 year old can; not being concerned, nor displaying any anxiety, he proceeded to introduce me to the monsters.

Go to the mobs section, you will need some time in order to understand the passive, neutral and hostile characters.

Be fore warned, only go the the sandbox if you have some time, not just for a view because likely you will not get out of the wiki space before lunchtime if you visit on your coffee break. The phrase tweeked my interest and cued me to think of various kinds of monsters I have become acquainted with.

They go under the modern names of depression, ocd and anxiety.


I do not sneeze at any goodness that may come my way in the form of many fine small gestures throughout the day because monsters that spawn in darkness shrink back from certain brightness. I choose to play the game of life while I very nearly regularly encounter un-foreseen monsters that dare present themselves in light of day, those are the trickiest ones! Alas after a while, whether hours or days or weeks pass the monsters are swept up and deposited into a bin where they are not recycled.

Like Susan of Narnia, I aim to point my arrow straight at them. Most diminish fast at the sight; others are more stubborn and can only be dealt with by special weapons and tactical. Nevertheless I am given a chance to practice my hand eye coordination.

I have liked to play darts for a long time since arriving in Vancouver in the mid 80’s when John Ottmann and I searched for just the right ones to begin practicing with. Not until many years later did I pick up the darts again. At local pubs I had to make do with broken ones. Some nights I would just go there and throw and throw until I could not anymore. All I wanted to do was hit as close to the centre as I could. I was not thinking of anyone, nor was I fantasizing about individuals while throwing darts. Although the feeling of nailing the mark gave deep satisfaction.

My point is that practice makes good and perfect for you. If not on the mark then very near it which has its own kind of pleasure. That practice of vanquishing the monsters that spawn in the darkness calls for a victorious celebration, every time. When practiced, you are strong becoming stronger. Though the slippery slope of falling into a ravine is a very real possibility, the ground on which one stands soon is still and even because you’ve been standing and keeping on regardless of the ravines to your left and right for quite sometime. I do not attribute my small successes to my ‘keeping on’, although it helps my self esteem!

I attribute it largely to the One who charts my path.

Laser welding vs spot welding

Carmen Electrode Blog Carmen Electrode Blog » Because Women Welders Rock!™

Carmen Electrode Blog Carmen Electrode Blog » Because Women Welders Rock!™.

E ssential skills

Posted on March 13, 2012 by Erika Koenig-Workman

Welcome to the first day of ‘The Journey’ the instructor said.

Five women and seven men sit in room 102 at UAPICBC on our first day of orientation. I am in a covert operation beginning with strangers who embark upon a voyage of work, dedication and pure determination to learn and train ‘to be’ welders. Indulge me for a moment, you know I have imagination!

I travel to far away Annacis Island through an industrial corridor which puts me in the mood to learn about welding and the industry. At the moment I am public transiting which is its own kind of curious experience, except if one is sleeping! It is a journey worth embarking upon and I have all confidence that I will learn ~e ssential skills for welding and life!

As I can I will keep you in the know, with short posts from time to time. Thanks for coming along on this maiden voyage with me. ~e