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BetaAnt

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Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« on: May 19, 2014, 11:37 »
This is only an observation.

Outages are staffing RPT at least 20% or more short. There is little time for the tech to perform job coverage, count smears and document the survey. You can spend 8-10 hrs. in containment or drywell covering multiple jobs because You are the only 3.1 to cover a high risk job (HCA, LHRA, DLHRA, L3 alpha). You can spend the extra overtime writing the survey, but it cuts into your rest/sleep cycle. And RP supervision does not recognize the problem. Even if they do, most RPMs do not have the guts to stand up to Ops or OCC to get more help for the outage or adjust the schedule to not burn out the techs. Heaven forbid if you delay critical path work taking a 15 min. lunch (some plants automatically deduct for a 30 min. lunch - saves 3 hrs. of overtime pay per week) or bathroom break (Depends to be issued with scrubs).

Training has been shortened to 2-3 days (CBT) and less than a day on plant RP procedures.

Before the trolls chime in, Jr's count smears - there are no Jr's, or you don't need to document the survey - by all plant procedures, the RCT must document all job coverage that is not routine.

More of my fellow 3.1 techs have died during outage this year than ever before. I have notice more techs falling out (heat exhaustion) than usual. Understaffed and overworked??? I know the 3.1 tech avg. age is 50+.

Corporations do not seem to understand that assets should not be overworked. The 'fatigue rule' is a joke. Most plants will state 'RATs are exempt' and 'Can you work your day off?'. The FR covers ERO personnel only.

I'm counting the days to retirement. I do not desire to 'do more with less'. People get hurt or die.

Offline Bonds 25

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 11:40 »
And where are these plants you are referring to? I like to think we do things a little different here at Columbia.

I agree with the fatigue rule being a "joke"...........for the most part.
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surf50

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2014, 06:39 »
Quote
And where are these plants you are referring to?

Mostly in the South; I've been to two of 'em.

My rule of thumb is, if I feel unnecessarily overused simply because of their budget constraints, I don't go back. Every plant has a bad outage, but more than one outage? sorry, no.

You know all this, Beta, things are different now. It's ALL budget driven, and you can be sure the RPM's know they're handcuffed. They don't like it, either.

As for techs dying from overwork? I don't think so. I read the paper's obits every morning, and there's lots of people dying waay younger than me. We're just getting older, and for some of us, our past behavior is catching up.

This is only my observation.... 8) ;D

Offline Old HP

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2014, 07:19 »
The bottom line in Health Physics is " mismanagement on their part does not make it a crisis on our part. We do what when can when we can. The more experience you have the easier it is to juggle multiple jobs. That being said it is up to the individual tech to accept the degree of risk they are comfortable with.
Remember in our line of work every day is another career ending opportunity.

BetaAnt

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2014, 09:05 »
At least three happened this year (see fallen). Two of the three plants are not down South. One tech was found dead the next shift in the RCA. One tech found at his hotel room. And the last collapsed after a drywell jump (he was out at the smoking area). The injured are never recorded.

Death by 'budget restraint' is a poor epitaph on a headstone.

Offline btkeele

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2014, 09:26 »
I think you are being dishonest in blaming the plants for these deaths...and the industry as well...

Go off on all the rants that you want but leave other people out of it, especially those who cannot defend themselves.   Do you think these fine people would have worked any different if they were in another industry?
NO!   I think you owe them and their family and friends an apology...

Offline hoghunter

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2014, 07:19 »
I think you are being dishonest in blaming the plants for these deaths...and the industry as well...

Go off on all the rants that you want but leave other people out of it, especially those who cannot defend themselves.   Do you think these fine people would have worked any different if they were in another industry?
NO!   I think you owe them and their family and friends an apology...



Amen!! well said! I've been in the Nuke world for years and have not seen anyone let go or punished due stopping job for over heating or any other physical reason.We are our own enemy and have to realize as we get older our limits, some push from pride others from job scared or other reasons.To say outages are killing us is far from true.we can't be sure of tomorrow.People die everyday on jobs such as                Micky-D's,Walmart and so on, thats life. We don't need to as J-Fox said play a blaming game and keep in mind those you talking about has family's so please be respectfull
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 07:37 by Marlin »
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radbrat

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2014, 01:28 »




 



More of my fellow 3.1 techs have died during outage this year than ever before. I have notice more techs falling out (heat exhaustion) than usual. Understaffed and overworked??? I know the 3.1 tech avg. age is 50+.

 Clue # 1 Yes some of us are getting older.



Amen!! well said! I've been in the Nuke world for years and have not seen anyone let go or punished due stopping job for over heating or any other physical reason.We are our own enemy and have to realize as we get older our limits, some push from pride others from job scared or other reasons.To say outages are killing us is far from true.we can't be sure of tomorrow.People die everyday on jobs such as                Micky-D's,Walmart and so on, thats life. We don't need to as J-Fox said play a blaming game and keep in mind those you talking about has family's so please be respectfull

Maybe true, you just don't get invited back for future outages. In the 33 years I've been doing outages as a rent a wreck, and the 52 ManRem lifetime dose I've acquired....I am going to safely say that half of it is because they always call out the more experienced tech to avoid problems and outage delays...and more recently its because they have people that refuse to perform work because it falls outside their comfort zone. As an observation I've noticed a trend in that 33% of the HP techs are what I call the lower tier. Ones that are medically challenged or so inexperienced that holding their hand during an outage is non-productive. Warm bodies with a pulse that perform control point duties, routine surveys and minor job coverage. Then there's the upper 33& that are more than capable, experienced, usually >7 yrs HP time, and are willing to dress out in respirators and plastics to go anywhere in the plant and do their job. A lot of these people are also in the middle age or greater, so its damned if you do damned if you don't when it comes to risk. The middle 33% can join either tier as time goes by. There's another 1% out there but they are at the bar challenging ffd.
I think you are being dishonest in blaming the plants for these deaths...and the industry as well...

Go off on all the rants that you want but leave other people out of it, especially those who cannot defend themselves.   Do you think these fine people would have worked any different if they were in another industry?
NO!   I think you owe them and their family and friends an apology...

This sounds like a "rant"
Clue # 2
This is only an observation.









BetaAnt

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 01:48 »
Blame the culture or the corporate mindset. We do not want to stop or delay jobs.

I made the first layoff list by raising a confined space issue (worker grinding I/S a 24in. unventilated pipe). "We've always done it that way" was matched with "Why do you want to stop work? You do want to work, don't you?".

Seeing a boilermaker caught in gas explosion (using a leaking MAPP gas handtorch to dry-off a pre-heater tubesheet - permitted confined space) changes your view on safety.

I guess the young kids have never answered the disability identification form. How many techs have shown up to work barely functioning due to severe flu - The Crud? Some techs will not take the pay cut (OT $'s) to get well or see a doctor. The limited work techs are RIF'd or not rehired.

Two of the three techs were friends of mine. Both were hard workers and were known for superior pushing-the-envelope performance. I will miss them. They were good people. If more techs were available to share the work load, would the outcome have been any different?

To get the plant back online, management will push the schedule (no time pressure, hell). Management views RP as an impediment to the schedule and will beatdown the RPM to stretch manpower or pressure the crafts to continue or start work without RP coverage; RP can catchup their work. "RP doesn't do anything" is the OCC and senior plant management mindset.

Management is fixated on shortening the outage. Performing 48 days of work in 28 days (layoff at day 21). The new AP1000's will have a 14 day outage window. I will be working D&D on all the old plants. No time pressure there.

Offline GLW

Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2014, 02:30 »
Blame the culture or the corporate mindset. We do not want to stop or delay jobs.

nobody "wants" to stop or delay jobs, it does happen though,...

..... "Why do you want to stop work? You do want to work, don't you?".....

That would be a "chilling" statement, the NRC would be interested in that statement, perhaps you could report it,...


....Seeing a boilermaker caught in gas explosion (using a leaking MAPP gas handtorch to dry-off a pre-heater tubesheet - permitted confined space) changes your view on safety....


I don't remember that O.E., can you reference the nuke plant where it happened and when?


....I guess the young kids have never answered the disability identification form. How many techs have shown up to work barely functioning due to severe flu - The Crud? Some techs will not take the pay cut (OT $'s) to get well or see a doctor.....


FFD is a personal responsibility, unless we are proposing that a site nurse or PA screen all workers prior to the start of shift and clear those workers as FFD, I'm not sure how this example is part of an improper corporate mindset,...



...Two of the three techs were friends of mine. Both were hard workers and were known for superior pushing-the-envelope performance. I will miss them. They were good people. If more techs were available to share the work load, would the outcome have been any different? ....


Three of my close colleagues have passed on in the recent past and I know for a fact that all three enjoyed sexual relations with the same woman (not at the same time - I'm pretty sure) within the last ten years,...

I'm having every bit as difficult a time justifying an obviously flawed cause for their demises as I do the notion that more techs standing around the refuel floor will assure other techs live past their fated number of days,...


....To get the plant back online, management will push the schedule (no time pressure, hell). Management views RP as an impediment to the schedule and will beatdown the RPM to stretch manpower or pressure the crafts to continue or start work without RP coverage; RP can catchup their work. "RP doesn't do anything" is the OCC and senior plant management mindset....


This is a very old saw which has always been in the background for as long as I have been in the picture and I'm sure it was before also,...

There is undoubtedly some truth somewhere at some time for this saw, then again, I'm sure operators, riggers, boilermakers, shippers, carpenters, machinists, IH, I&C et al have a similar perception about their work at some time or the other,...

i.e.,....RPs are not special snowflakes,...

.........I will be working D&D on all the old plants. No time pressure there.

well,.....I have DnD'd seven old plants,...

no time pressure?!?!?!?,....BS!!!!!!

you have just been fortunate to have held low expectation jobs at these old plant DnDs where wether you performed on time and as needed did not matter to any measurable consequence for the project's success,...

me and my colleagues?!?!?!,.....not so much,.... [coffee]

been there, dun that,... the doormat to hell does not read "welcome", the doormat to hell reads "it's just business"

Content1

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2014, 08:34 »
Whether it is mismanagement or under staffing, we just do not have time for breaks anymore.  In my last 15 day outage I usually was up and running all 12 except for the morning meeting and the usual 15 minute lunch break.  I am not complaining, it beats being unemployed but I was glad to get laid off just to get a break.  Money-wise these short outages with small bonuses make me apply for long term sites.  I know we have competition with gas plants now and management is under the gun to get the plant back on line.  I do so much running up stairs, then to the basement and back I don't have to go to a gym anymore, and lost weight from my last outage season.  This is probably the new way business will be run and if you don't like it and don't have buddies to get you a light duty, time to find something else to do.

radbrat

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2014, 08:57 »
Boy..If we can keep from bashing or "ranting" each other and keep Marlin the maleficent out of here we could let off some steam. I worked an outage out east last fall and burned up ~4 miles/day running up and down stairs providing for the outage efficiency and developed plantar fastidious in both feet. Not knowing what it was at first, I whined in the office and...to my surprise...ALL the returnee ctmnt techs knew what it was and the remedies. I hadn't been to this plant since 85' and back then we had a tech for each floor in ctmnt (4). There was only two of us and on the other techs day off...you got screwed. "Do more for less"

Offline Marlin

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2014, 10:34 »
Boy..If we can keep from bashing or "ranting" each other and keep Marlin the maleficent out of here we could let off some steam. I worked an outage out east last fall and burned up ~4 miles/day running up and down stairs providing for the outage efficiency and developed plantar fastidious in both feet. Not knowing what it was at first, I whined in the office and...to my surprise...ALL the returnee ctmnt techs knew what it was and the remedies. I hadn't been to this plant since 85' and back then we had a tech for each floor in ctmnt (4). There was only two of us and on the other techs day off...you got screwed. "Do more for less"




Offline GLW

Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2014, 05:43 »
Here’s my observation and sorta what sticks in my "hmmmm craw" about these ruminations,…

Let’s take a trip back to the 1980’s when most of the techs who are the subject matter of this thread were somewhere between 25 and 35 years of age,…

How many times have I listened to these old war horses tell war stories relating how the contemporary techs have no idea what it was like to pull a six hour stint dressed out in plastics or a bubble suit, breathing stale forced air while pissing in your boot during a mondo generator jump?!?!?!?

It was the time of Randy Savage, Hulksters, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Die Hard, Cyborg, Robocop and mondo macho RP techs if you listen to the tales and the stories,...

And then I read this:

...I hadn't been to this plant since 85' and back then we had a tech for each floor in ctmnt (4). There was only two of us and on the other techs day off...you got screwed. "Do more for less"

........In my last 15 day outage I usually was up and running all 12 except for the morning meeting and the usual 15 minute lunch break.....

So what is it?!?!?!

Were the current gaggle of greater than half a centuries really spheres to the vertical surface monster techs in their prime?!?!?!

Or were they a bunch of pampered wussies working three in and three out with company sponsored keggers and hundred dollar cheeseburgers getting ‘em through the horror of being dressed out 50% of the time, then running the cribbage board the other 50%?!?!?!

‘cause they way I’m reading it today; yesterday was a walk in the park, and now it’s bust ‘em down and ship ‘em out with no breaks between,…

A 15 minute lunch break as SOP each and every day of work?!?!?!

If you say so,…

Maybe it's a Region 2 thing,...

I'm just saying,... [coffee]
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 05:51 by GLW »

been there, dun that,... the doormat to hell does not read "welcome", the doormat to hell reads "it's just business"

Offline GLW

Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2014, 06:15 »
@ BetaAnt,...

thanks for the PM,.... ugly stuff,... +K

been there, dun that,... the doormat to hell does not read "welcome", the doormat to hell reads "it's just business"

Content1

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2014, 11:02 »
Here’s my observation and sorta what sticks in my "hmmmm craw" about these ruminations,…

Let’s take a trip back to the 1980’s when most of the techs who are the subject matter of this thread were somewhere between 25 and 35 years of age,…

How many times have I listened to these old war horses tell war stories relating how the contemporary techs have no idea what it was like to pull a six hour stint dressed out in plastics or a bubble suit, breathing stale forced air while pissing in your boot during a mondo generator jump?!?!?!?

It was the time of Randy Savage, Hulksters, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Die Hard, Cyborg, Robocop and mondo macho RP techs if you listen to the tales and the stories,...



And then I read this:

So what is it?!?!?!

Were the current gaggle of greater than half a centuries really spheres to the vertical surface monster techs in their prime?!?!?!

Or were they a bunch of pampered wussies working three in and three out with company sponsored keggers and hundred dollar cheeseburgers getting ‘em through the horror of being dressed out 50% of the time, then running the cribbage board the other 50%?!?!?!

‘cause they way I’m reading it today; yesterday was a walk in the park, and now it’s bust ‘em down and ship ‘em out with no breaks between,…

A 15 minute lunch break as SOP each and every day of work?!?!?!

If you say so,…

Maybe it's a Region 2 thing,...

I'm just saying,... [coffee]

AH, I miss the 3 in/out days, probably gone forever.  People are not getting cool downs and I saw more heat stress then in the past.  The being essential "dogged" the entire 12 did not bug me as much as the tiny bonuses for constellation sites.  Excelon pays you at least for ruining your health.  I used to like the 84's like at Peach Bottom; however, actually working hard without a day off eventually gets to you and you end up with a "sick" day off instead to recuperate.  I think it has to do with who you are.  Some can still line up cushy spots like the step off pads, yet most places a senior will not be wasted there.  So it comes down to it expect to work. . .work. . .work at outages as the rule, not the exception.

chuckdhuff

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2014, 01:36 »
So from all the ranting this is what I have summarized:

Nuke outages are becoming more like a real world job, where you have to work hard from whistle to whistle and actually earn you paycheck.

Short lunch breaks, when/if you can get them in.

Maybe we will come close to being competitive again as we reduce the labor hours paid for the "Hurry up and wait."

Offline Rad Bimmer

Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2014, 06:28 »
I agree but disagree at the same time. Yea there are some plants out there that understaff and overwork people and yes the average age of an RP these days are 50+years old, but the problem is that RP techs fail to take care of themselves health wise. They eat alot of junk and processed foods and that in itself worsens their health and puts a damper on their performance. I worked an outage 6 years ago where an RP fell and died instantly but he was also severely overweight. Safety personnel fail miserably in preaching proper nutrition to us RP's and the industry as a whole. You can also factor in the cost of healthcare which is on the rise even with the ACA being implemented, there have been no differences in prices and its all going up and may possibly bankrupt that industry as a whole where we the people will be paying  for the bailout of that industry to come. I personally eat as much organic as i can and exercise faithfully and maintain great health because i think the best person to take care of your health and you is YOU and not some beauracratic govt.

Offline HydroDave63

Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2014, 08:36 »
Nuke outages are becoming more like a real world job, where you have to work hard from whistle to whistle and actually earn you paycheck.

Not many other 'real world jobs' include prolonged heat stress exposure coupled with up and down lots of stairs (especially BWRs). Those that do, like ironworking and other construction trades, are listed as #5 and #10 on the '10 Deadliest Jobs List'.


http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/08/22/americas-10-deadliest-jobs-2/

Short lunch breaks, when/if you can get them in.

Which means, if the outage workers aren't getting adequate breaks, how can the utility credibly claim that they are properly hydrated and not under heat stress.


Of course there is a variety of causal factors, including health, lifestyle, etc. , but in 'real world jobs' where there is a death on the job site, OSHA goes to the jobsite and investigates. Since OSHA inspectors can't/don't/won't go into nuclear power plants and NRC can't/don't/won't enforce industrial hygiene, then that stuff in the OSHA Tech Manual like http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_4.html gets ignored.

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2014, 11:10 »
Not many other 'real world jobs' include prolonged heat stress exposure coupled with up and down lots of stairs (especially BWRs).

Exactly!   :(

FFD is a personal responsibility, unless we are proposing that a site nurse or PA screen all workers prior to the start of shift and clear those workers as FFD...

Great idea!  And not a new one.  For several years now, Diablo Canyon has required every worker going into a heat stress environment to clear medical prior to work.  I'd love to see every plant implement that practice.

« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 11:10 by UncaBuffalo »
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Offline Roll Tide

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2014, 05:52 »
I love 3 in and 3 out.  :D
Just get an SRO License, and don't run when they look for someone to qualify Refuel SRO / FHS.  8)
And then take a stick and drive away all the potential replacements, and then you too can be with the only licensed operators that even own scrubs...  ;D
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Offline Marlin

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Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2014, 05:55 »
I agree but disagree at the same time. Yea there are some plants out there that understaff and overwork people and yes the average age of an RP these days are 50+years old, but the problem is that RP techs fail to take care of themselves health wise. They eat alot of junk and processed foods and that in itself worsens their health and puts a damper on their performance. I worked an outage 6 years ago where an RP fell and died instantly but he was also severely overweight. Safety personnel fail miserably in preaching proper nutrition to us RP's and the industry as a whole. You can also factor in the cost of healthcare which is on the rise even with the ACA being implemented, there have been no differences in prices and its all going up and may possibly bankrupt that industry as a whole where we the people will be paying  for the bailout of that industry to come. I personally eat as much organic as i can and exercise faithfully and maintain great health because i think the best person to take care of your health and you is YOU and not some beauracratic govt.

...Mostly on the mark but a "24 safety culture" and "wellness programs" are very problematic for companies who provide staff augmentation personnel for short term work.

Offline GLW

Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2014, 08:13 »
.... Safety personnel fail miserably in preaching proper nutrition to us RP's and the industry as a whole.......

I'm smart enough to know how to eat properly on my own,... [coffee]

Next someone'll be harping how they fail miserably in preaching proper screwing partner selection,...[whistle]

(sic)

been there, dun that,... the doormat to hell does not read "welcome", the doormat to hell reads "it's just business"

Offline GLW

Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2014, 08:22 »
FFD is a personal responsibility, unless we are proposing that a site nurse or PA screen all workers prior to the start of shift and clear those workers as FFD, I'm not sure how this example is part of an improper corporate mindset,...


Great idea!  And not a new one.  For several years now, Diablo Canyon has required every worker going into a heat stress environment to clear medical prior to work.  I'd love to see every plant implement that practice.


Is it?!?!?!

I would have to understand how that is implemented,...

If it is a condition of employment for all RP techs that would be fair, as I see it,...

If it segregates the techs into the healthy $36/hour techs spending 2/3 of their time dressed out in high heat cycles and then the unhealthy $36/hr techs sucking up the air conditioning at access for 2/3 of their time,...

not so much,...

but you did twist this thread into a good direction with that post Unc,...

back to the notion of what is "fair?",...

that notion keeps the contract RP ranks a polyglot of "highest bidder mercs" and makes forays at organizing, standardizing and/or consolidating those ranks akin to herding cats,...

BZ's general observation on Internet forums/threads etal, By the 5th post in any thread it starts drifting off topic. By 12 to 15 it has nothing to do with the original topic and if it surives to 30 or so it magically gets back on topic. This applies almost everywhere.

Mike

...guilty as charged...
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 08:24 by GLW »

been there, dun that,... the doormat to hell does not read "welcome", the doormat to hell reads "it's just business"

 


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