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3MI Club: Spot Checks and Changeovers

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Story by PO3 Eduardo T Otero on 12/29/2017
"The first rule of fight club is you don't talk about fight club."
The first rule of 3MI, apparently, is you talk about ita lot.
As you've probably heard or read or seen by now, 3MI is happening. So we're working on a series of articles where we'll take a look at Fight Club, the cult novel by Chuck Palahniuk, to give you some tips and tricks for the upcoming inspection. Yep, you read that right I still don't know how I got away with it.
Fourth round is performing maintenance during spot checks. So watch out for that second cigarette burn in the top, right-hand corner of the screen; your next 3MI changeover is coming in five, four, three, two, one...
Round 4: Performing Maintenance During Spot Checks
In chapter three of Fight Club, the narrator says that Tyler works a part-time job as a movie projectionist. He explains how most movies are six or seven small reels of film played in a specific order. In new theaters, they splice the reels together into a longer one. But if the theater is old enough, Tyler has to do changeovers in the projection booth. Essentially, he'd have two projectors in the room one of them running. The second would be set up with the next reel of film, which he would switch on at the correct time for a changeover. Tyler actually did a little more than just play movies and switch projectors, but you're going to have to read that in the book yourself (or watch the movie) because they sure as hell won't let me tell you here.
Here's today's excerpt from the novel:
"The old theaters that run a movie with two projectors, a projectionist has to stand right there to change projectors at the exact second so the audience never sees the break when one reel starts and one reel ran out. You have to look for the white dots in the top, right-hand corner of the screen. This is the warning. Watch the movie, and you'll see two dots at the end of a reel.
"'Cigarette burns,' they're called in the business.
"The first white dot, this is the two-minute warning. You get the second projector started so it will be running up to speed.
"The second white dot is the five-second warning. Excitement. You're standing between the two projectors and the booth is sweating hot from the xenon bulbs that if you looked right at them you're blind. The first dot flashes on the screen.
"[] As most of the movie rolls onto the take-up reel, the take-up reel turns slower and the feed reel has to turn faster. At the end of a reel, the feed reel turns so fast the alarm will start ringing to warn you that a changeover is coming up.
"The dark is hot from the bulbs inside the projectors, and the alarm is ringing. Stand there between the two projectors with a lever in each hand and watch the corner of the screen. The second dot flashes. Count to five. Switch one shutter closed. At the same time, open the other shutter.
"Changeover.
"The movie goes on.
"Nobody in the audience has any idea."
Tyler didn't need genius-level intellect to accomplish his job as a movie projectionist. Though he did have to be clever and sneaky enough to do that other thing he liked doing at his job. I know, I know. Just read the friggin' book if you wanna know so bad. What he needed was mental alertness, a working knowledge of his equipment and some amount of precision. All of this would've been irrelevant, however, if he didn't know the proper procedures or followed them to a T. Sound familiar?
According to resident Project Mayhem Maintenance expert, Fire Controlman 1st Class Carlos Aruz, the following are the key rules when performing maintenance during a spot check:
Rules of 3MI Club (Maintenance During Spot Checks):
#1: Read a step, do a step
Picture a bunch of guys issuing a threat: they'll be crashing your home sometime in the future. They'll fly in from wherever probably some place where they can stuff their faces with delicious food, a place where basic amenities like toilet paper tower up to the skies and high-speed Wi-Fi kills their brain cells in a lovely cloud. Sure, these people were just like you once maybe an E-2 or some such thing getting inspected and freaking out over it. But now that they've crossed over to the dark side, they have a job to do and you have yours. Just like the men staring at each other under the one light in the dark basement of their local fight club even though it's not personal when the fight starts, it goes on as long as it needs to. "Read a step, do a step" is not only a way to make sure you don't miss any steps on the maintenance requirement card and that the job is done correctly. It's also a 3MI-sanctioned way to show them who's actually in charge of this maintenance while still making sure it's properly evaluated, which is really the point to all of this. What I mean is read EVERYTHING. All the way from the distribution statement, down. Read slowly with a knowing, pesky smile on your face. Enunciate every number and letter especially the ones you have no idea what they mean. Bore them to death; they can get back to their World Wide Webby human lifestyles after this is done anyway. Did you know there's no time limit for your spot check? This is something straight out of Project Mayhem's Mischief Committee's playbook. Maybe the next 3MI will come around and they'll say, "Naw, fam. Let's just skip Reagan this year."
#2: Do not get ahead of yourself
Again, no time limit. Just like that DRB you went to last month for whatever, dumb mistakes and lack of attention to detail can come back to haunt you, so take your time. You know you did your maintenance well, right? So when you're standing between the inspector and your work center supervisor and the space is sweating hot from the steam pipes with insufficient lagging that if you got too close to them you're heat stressing, make sure you carefully and methodically do your thing during your spot check. Also, keep an eye out for the tiny stuff that can trip you up XO calls them "gotchas." Don't get got!
#3: Don't wait to be prompted by your inspector
Inspectors just like the dude or dudette you horribly attempted to sweep off their feet at the bar last time value confidence (check out the next 3MI Club article for more on this). A big part of this is demonstrating that you know what you're doing, and if they want to keep tabs on you, they gotta keep up. Show them that you're a strong, independent maintenance person that don't need no inspector. Bonus points for sassy head bob.
#4: If you know you're going to use hazmat, have a secondary label ready
Of course you obviously did this when you performed your maintenance; you just have to remember to do it again for the spot check. So, just as a refresher: when you transfer an amount of HAZMAT to a secondary container the one you use to apply it or transport it or whatever you need a label to place on the container. That way, you don't fail your spot check and your Chief doesn't take a sip of that "green tea" that he thought you were drinking from your shaker bottle. Though that'd be on him, because who, in their right mind, drinks green tea anyways when you have options like, I don't know, sitting water in pad eyes?
#5: Tell the inspector how you disposed of hazmat and how you signed off on your maintenance with the work center supervisor and SKED
When you finally finish your maintenance five-plus hours later if you followed the first rule and your inspector thinks he is finally out of the woods saying good work and we're done here and blah blah blah, as he starts to pick up his stuff and eyeing the exit with half his attention on that head break he's been looking forward to for the past three hours, say "Oh wait; one more thing..." Then take your time explaining how you'll properly get rid of the HAZMAT that you used and how, when you performed the maintenance, you informed your work center supervisor of any discrepancies or lack thereof and how you signed off on it on SKED. Otherwise, you're not really done and you might get hit on it.
And there you have it. Simple. To the point. Marla Singer-proof. Now, promise you'll check out our next edition of 3MI club on the Hellcat News sometime soon, ok? Do you promise? Are you sure you promise? Now remember, that was three times that you promised. I'm Joe's itching anticipation!

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