five miles south of the universe

bloomberg.com
Inside Alabama’s Auto Jobs Boom: Cheap Wages, Little Training, Crushed Limbs
The South’s manufacturing renaissance comes with a heavy price.

Regina Elsea was a year old in 1997 when the first vehicle rolled off the Mercedes-Benz assembly line near Tuscaloosa. That gleaming M-Class SUV was historic. Alabama, the nation’s fifth-poorest state, had wagered a quarter-billion dollars in tax breaks and other public giveaways to land the first major Mercedes factory outside Germany. Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai followed with Alabama plants of their own. Kia built a factory just over the border in West Point, Ga. The auto parts makers came next. By the time Elsea and her five siblings were teenagers, the country roads and old cotton fields around their home had come alive with 18-wheelers shuttling instruments and stamped metal among the car plants and 160 parts suppliers that had sprouted up across the state.

A good student, Elsea loved reading, horses, and dogs, especially her Florida cracker cur, named Cow. She dreamed of becoming a pediatrician. She enrolled in community college on a federal Pell Grant, with plans to transfer to Auburn University, about 30 miles from her home in Five Points. But she fell in love with a kindergarten sweetheart, who’d become a stocker at a local Walmart, and dropped out of school to make money so they could rent their own place.

Elsea went to work in February 2016 at Ajin USA in Cusseta, Ala., the same South Korean supplier of auto parts for Hyundai and Kia where her sister and stepdad worked. Her mother, Angel Ogle, warned her against it. She’d worked at two other parts suppliers in the area and found the pace and pressure unbearable.

Elsea was 20 and not easily deterred. “She thought she was rich when she brought home that first paycheck,” Ogle says. Elsea and her boyfriend got engaged. She worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, hoping to move from temporary status at Ajin to full time, which would bring a raise from $8.75 an hour to $10.50. College can wait, she told her mom and stepdad.

On June 18, Elsea was working the day shift when a computer flashed “Stud Fault” on Robot 23. Bolts often got stuck in that machine, which mounted pillars for sideview mirrors onto dashboard frames. Elsea was at the adjacent workstation when the assembly line stopped. Her team called maintenance to clear the fault, but no one showed up. A video obtained by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows Elsea and three co-workers waiting impatiently. The team had a quota of 420 dashboard frames per shift but seldom made more than 350, says Amber Meadows, 23, who worked beside Elsea on the line. “We were always trying to make our numbers so we could go home,” Meadows says. “Everybody was always tired.”

After several minutes, Elsea grabbed a tool—on the video it looks like a screwdriver—and entered the screened-off area around the robot to clear the fault herself. Whatever she did to Robot 23, it surged back to life, crushing Elsea against a steel dashboard frame and impaling her upper body with a pair of welding tips. A co-worker hit the line’s emergency shut-off. Elsea was trapped in the machine—hunched over, eyes open, conscious but speechless.

No one knew how to make the robot release her. The team leader jumped on a forklift and raced across the factory floor to the break room, where he grabbed a maintenance man and drove him back on his lap. The technician, from a different part of the plant, had no idea what to do. Tempers erupted as Elsea’s co-workers shoved the frightened man, who was Korean and barely spoke English, toward the robot, demanding he make it retract. He fought them off and ran away, Meadows says. When emergency crews arrived several minutes later, Elsea was still stuck. The rescue workers finally did what Elsea had failed to do: locked out the machine’s emergency power switch so it couldn’t reenergize again—a basic precaution that all factory workers are supposed to take before troubleshooting any industrial robot. Ajin, according to OSHA, had never given the workers their own safety locks and training on how to use them, as required by federal law. Ajin is contesting that finding.

An ambulance took Elsea to a nearby hospital; from there she was flown by helicopter to a trauma center in Birmingham. She died the next day. Her mom still hasn’t heard a word from Ajin’s owners or senior executives. They sent a single artificial flower to her funeral.

(Continue Reading)

2

Ted Bundy’s last confessions to the warden of Florida State Penitentiary:

Ted : January 24, 1989 (around 6:40 a.m.). For the Utah detective named ‘Couch’, there’s one more we didn’t have time for. It’s going to be hard. Between Price and Green River, about ten miles south of Price, a road going south out of Price, maybe five or ten miles, there is a side road to the left going toward the mountains, going east. A quarter mile in there’s a dirt road to the left. This is not going to work too well, (mentioning the map he was working with,) but I’ll try to do something with it. A hundred to two hundred yards in, there’s the remains of a young woman who disappeared from Brigham Young University, June of 1975. That’s as close as I can get it from the map that we have here.

The Warden : Do you know her name?

Ted : No, I don’t.

The Warden : Is that it ?

Ted : To Mike Fisher and the Colorado detectives, the last woman they wanted to talk about, Denise Oliverson, I believe. Referring again to Denise Oliverson, or whoever it was out of Grand Junction that Mike Fisher wanted to discuss, I believe the date was in April 1975. The young woman’s body would have been placed in the Colorado River about five miles west of Grand Junction. It was not buried. That’s all the ones that I can help you with. That’s all the ones that I know about. There are no missing ones outstanding that we haven’t talked about.

The Warden : That’s all of ‘em, Ted?

Ted : Yeah, can I get a smoke off somebody?

The Warden : Ted, I have some inquiries from Illinois and New Jersey.

Ted : Okay. Well, let’s just deal with whatever is outstanding like that. I can say without any question that there is nothing that I was involved in in Illinois or New Jersey.

The Warden : How about Burlington, Vermont? Nothing there? Texas?

Ted : No.

The Warden : Miami?

Ted : No.

The Warden : Okay. That’s all we’ve got. Okay, Ted, thank you.

Ted : You’re welcome.

Top 5 Beautifully Tragic Independent Movies

Disclaimer: I’m not a film critic, I’m a photographer who gets excited about pretty, emotional things. 

By the time I was 16 years old, I had become obsessed with drama, independent and art-based movies. This was to the extent that I could barely fathom the fact that - on my first day of film studies class - our teacher informed us that our lessons would largely encompass generic blockbuster titles.

‘But there’s so little to these films…’, thought the younger, less knowledgable me. 'What could possibly be of interest about easily interpretable movies that follow cliche, overused narrative tropes, structures and visual stylings?’

Eventually I learnt the error of my thinking, and how dense filmic scrutiny could extend, even in the most conventional of titles. However, my love for movies that differ a little from the norm never really ceased. If its obscure, super dramatic/romantic, bizarre, confusing and/or beautifully shot I’ll probably be convinced by the end that it’s changed my life somehow. Yes, it’s relatively pretentious of me - at least I’m honest about it.

Since my departure from university, I’ve found myself with a little evening time to watch movies again. Subsequently, I’ve proceeded with my incessant hunt, in which there is no final target, to find films that are worthy of my 'list’. This is a catalogue of cinema that has moved me via nothing less than pure, superlative artistry. To celebrate this continuation, I have decided to share a section of my list so far with you. Whether a positive experience or not, these flicks are sure to blow your mind.

#5

'LOVE’ (2011)

If you’ve heard of a wonderfully talented American musician named Tom Delonge (that dude who played in blink-182 and somehow managed to make bad singing sound great), you might also be familiar with the numerous art projects completed under the alias and associated iconography of his band, Angels & Airwaves. Delonge has crafted a wealth of different media under Angels & Airwaves, but no other manages to compare to the 2011 LOVE feature length movie. Directed by William Eubank and produced by Delonge, LOVE is a truly gripping movie that aims to explore the unconditional human need for contact, connection and companionship.

At the very end of a long space exploration mission, astronaut Lee Miller becomes the last human in existence as an unexplained apocalyptic incident sweeps across the world. This event is insinuated only by Miller’s discontinued contact with earth. LOVE possesses a pace that is binary in nature; utilising calm, suddenly sporadic and inconsistent shots to expertly depict Miller’s descent into madness. These skilfully crafted scenes are successful in simulating feelings of irritability and hysteria within its viewers - perfectly epitomising the human need for raw emotion that LOVE strives to explore and present. In turn, we are guided towards the films resolution: Love is the answer; the reason for our very existence. To truly feel gratitude for those you have in your life, you need to experience LOVE.

Quote:

Why do we struggle to breathe a more righteous breath, when we all end up in the same place?’


#4

'Submarine’ (2010)

This is a movie which is set in a town called Swansea, south-west Wales. What’s kind of wonderfully coincidental to me is that five years after seeing this movie, I am now dating a girl who’s lived in Swansea her whole life (200 miles away from my current location), and roamed some of the locations in the movie during its production. I also met a guy back in university who was actually in the movie as an extra! Kind of strange… anyways.  

As a slightly bleak coming of age comedy about a lovelorn boy named Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), Submarine manages to adhere to, and subvert the conventions of the genre simultaneously. As Oliver tries to work out who he really is, he makes attempts to save his parents marriage and develop his relationship with his equally strange and somewhat pyromanic girlfriend, Jordana (Yasmin Paige). His naivety often results in ill-informed decisions and hilarious results.

I loved the striking performances delivered by the cast of the film; strong portrayals of refreshingly authentic character types. Additionally, the dry humour that remains consistent alongside more serious themes keeps the storyline concurrently sincere, yet humorous.

However, what I found most imposing about Submarine was its unconventional cinematography, visual triggers and narrative structure.

The camera work by Eric Wilson has an idiosyncratic, stylised dynamic; beautiful and often erratic. Alongside the choppy and quirky editing, this helps contribute towards the comedic undertones of the movie whilst remaining superficially alluring. The grain from the use of film cameras, and the use of only natural and existing artificial light, also contributes to Submarine’s 80’s era nostalgia.

Basically… it’s dope.

Quote:

'You’re the only person that I would allow to be shrunken down to a microscopic size and swim inside me in a tiny submersible machine. We have lost our virginity but it wasn’t like losing anything. You’re too good for me, you’re too good for anyone.’

#3

'The Tree of Life’ (2011)

This one is going to have you Googling explanations before the movie has barely begun. Its a CONFUSING film, but an emotional and gorgeously shot one at that. The cinematography is saintly and, as a photographer, I may have wept at little at this movie’s sheer beauty.

The film follows Jack (Sean Penn), the eldest son of a family as he reflects on his childhood in 1950’s suburban America: his relationship with his parents (Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain) his experiences and the premature death of his brother.. however..

The way the movie has been moulded comes across as more of a lengthy video-based art-installation piece, rather than a feature film. The manner and pace in which the films develops, projects an inarticulate dream-like quality; an exploration of themes, ideas and visuals with no real events to drive any gripping or discernible narrative.

It’s damn complex - at times appearing complicated simply for the sake of being complicated. Some might call it art, some might call it pretentious - I call it poignant and moving.

The Tree of Life is a fantastic movie, demonstrating Terrence Malick’s auteurist style.

Quote:

'Help each other. Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Forgive.’

#2

'Never Let Me Go’ (2010)

Much like the central theme of this movie, this is one that I will never let go of (or forget). Based upon Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel of the same name, NLMG follows its protagonists Cathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley). The trio are pupils at a school of children, all of whom were born and raised to be healthy, donate their vital organs and die young. Yeah.. it’s pretty grim. But hold up.. it gets additionally tragic.

A love triangle forms amongst the three and throughout the movies three act structure (spanning about a decade… I think) it becomes evident that Cathy and Tommy are meant to be. Deep down they knew this all along, yet by the time they act, they’re days from beginning their donations.

There is nothing more tragic than true love that cannot be allowed to exist. I’m getting worked up just thinking about it. Seriously, though… watch this movie. It’ll cut you up but you’ll know what it is to feel true gratitude and appreciation to be a free soul.

Quote:

‘We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we’ve lived through, or feel we’ve had enough time.’

#1

'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ (2004)

So on account of its cult status - and being that this is Tumblr - my number one is probably one that you’re already familiar with. For those unfamiliar, however, I will enlighten you.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tells the story of two seemingly incompatible people, Joel and Clementine (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) and the deterioration of their relationship. The films director Michel Gondry, presents a tender, endearing and intimate companionship that becomes reduced to a jealous, frustrated and dispassionate mess.

Sounds pretty conventional so far, right? Well, conventional it ain’t.

Overwhelmed and exasperated, Joel discovers Clementine has visited Lacuna Inc, a company which provides a form of brain damage; allowing her to forget she had ever met Joel. Devastated upon realising this, Joel has the same treatment performed upon himself. Joel’s erasure is what guides the films narrative.

Beginning in the present day as Joel starts his treatment, Eternal Sunshine traces back through the cherished memories of him and Clementine as they are removed one by one. However, as the procedure is occurring, Joel realises that he can’t bare the thought of losing Clementine for good; even if only as a memory. From the depths of his unconsciousness, Joel tries desperately to hold on to this paradigm of his psyche.

The reason I adore this film so much is the muddled narrative structure, the obsessively detailed mise-en-scene and visual triggers. This is to the extent that new little details and easter eggs seem to reveal themselves with every viewing. Additionally, the conclusions, lessons and themes of Eternal Sunshine are most certainly transferable to real life.

Although the movie appears as somewhat incoherent at times, Gondry somehow manages to find a perfect harmony within the films delivery; superlatively demonstrating the importance of love and memory, irrespective of life’s eventual outcome.

It’s kind of difficult to express through words the impact that this movie has had on me, and the cinematic quality I think it possesses. It’s gorgeously shot, magnificently executed and hard-hitting. The soundtrack by Jon Brion is also expedient and gets you RIGHT in the feelings. It’s one of those films that makes you feel as though a deep, innermost element of your being has been changed somehow. It did with me, at least. It’s breathtaking.

Quote:

'What a loss to spend that much time with someone, only to find out that she’s a stranger.’

WHERE YOU HIDE - Prologue

A/N: I’ve been working on this story for a while now.  What I wanted to write about and what the story tells you are a bit different, since the plot has changed significantly from what I had had in mind when I’ve started writing it. It’s still a family-centred, post-manga piece that is made out of angst, tears, laughter, some humour and a lot of family feels.
The prologue you’re about  to read is probably the shortest chapter in this story, because I didn’t want to give you too much information. After all it’s no fun to know the entire plot at the very beginning, right? Just for the record, I want to say that this chapter is the only truly sad one and that the rest will be (hopefully) way more fun to read.
Anyway, I hope you’ll like it. If you do, please reblog, like and comment (you can PM me too, if you want!)~

Also I would like to dedicate this entire story to sasusakuparadise, who is simply awesome. She is my tumblr friend and she always listens to my babbling with an astounding amount of patience.Thank you for being here! <3


***

WHERE YOU HIDE

Now hush little baby, don’t you cry
Everything’s gonna be alright
Stiffen that upper lip up little lady, I told ya
Daddy’s here to hold ya through the night

-Eminem, “Mockingbird”

Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”
-David Ogden Stiers

I’ll find the places where you hide
I’ll be the dawn on your worst night
Only thing left in our life

-One Republic, “What you wanted”

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