Workplace Safety

Safety on the job has been a hot issue here in the Bay Area lately, especially since the recent rail accident that cost the lives of two BART employees. As I listen to the news, read the internet, and listen to people on the street, I get the impression that people feel that the BART establishment should be fully responsible for providing a 100% safe environment for their employees to work in. Believe it or not people, that is not possible.

What I find ironic is that when I was working for Chevron, the company believed that it was the employees’ responsibility to provide a completely safe environment to work in. So much so, that some employees were afraid to report safety incidents, for fear of losing their job.

Safety is very important, but it is not the sole responsibility of one person, or one group of people. Everyone has to work together to ensure the safety of everyone. The company must provide the right equipment, provide training, issue safety procedures (and update said procedures when needed), and be willing to listen to employee suggestions and complaints. Employees must be vigilant. They need to wear the proper safety gear, use their senses, and not only look out for themselves, but their coworkers as well.

When everyone works together to ensure the safety and efficiency of the entire company, everyone turns out better for it in the end.

Curiosity

I had a discussion with my significant other and I wanted to know what other people thought. If a story were to be written from a first person view, as if it were a diary, of a modern day girl who got caught up in mysteries and adventure, would that be more intriguing than finding the long lost diary of  a pre-Civil War plantation princess who had similar adventures during a different time and place, but traversing different obstacles? Feel free to leave your anonymous opinions at the poll below.

Trucking Through Rush Hour

Rush hour(s) is a really frustrating time here in the Bay Area. What I’ve been noticing lately is that it isn’t necessarily the commuters that cause most of the issues, though. Today, as I was coming home, a semi-truck was turning off of the highway. This truck did not have enough room to make the turn, so it blocked the entire intersection. When the light turned, this truck was blocking four lanes. This is only one, small example of how these trucks complicate rush hour.

What frustrates me is how law enforcement seems to look the other way. A commuter can go slightly over the speed limit, and law enforcement is ready and willing to write a ticket; the truck backs traffic up for miles and law enforcement is nowhere to be found. Which is more harmful to society in the longrun: one lone commuter going a few miles over the posted speed limit, or the truck that congests traffic, potentially causing multiple minor collisions and preventing the smooth flow of traffic for who knows how long?

If anyone wants my opinion (which they probably don’t, lol), I think trucks should be limited concerning when they can do their deliveries. These trucks should not be allowed in these high traffic areas during rush hour times. That way they cannot cause these kinds of issues. If law enforcement is not going to do anything about these trucks blocking traffic and causing a public menace, perhaps the trucks shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Simple Cars, Simple Minds

I’ve often complained about California drivers, but I’m beginning to think that the issue goes beyond poor drivers on the west coast. Technology makes driving increasingly simple. Not even the people who are supposed to be experts in the field of driving truly understand what they are doing.

I didn’t drive for years. I had a variety of reasons, but in the end, public transportation is cheap and less worrisome than driving. When I decided to get my drivers license here in California, I was floored by how difficult it was. Not because of my lack of ability, but because of the lack of knowledge in the DMV. I was failed twice while driving my 1994 Toyota Celica with a manual transmission for things like removing my hand from the steering wheel too often. Um…hello…it’s a manual transmission. I have to remove my hand from the steering wheel to shift gears! Finally I borrowed my significant other’s car which has an automatic transmission. The only thing I was counted off for that time was not being aggressive enough. Anyone who knows me is probably sitting with their jaw on the ground at this point, but yeah, that was my one mistake.

That’s getting a little off topic. Over the years car technology has made driving easier and easier. My mother insisted that I learn to drive on a car with a manual transmission. She said that in a “stick,” each action the driver makes has a very tangible reaction. That is not true in an automatic. The fact that your actions in a stick are so relevant to the cars movement makes you far more aware of your surroundings. In an automatic, you’re more removed from the mechanics of the car’s movements, therefore people feel more comfortable, and are more easily distracted.

Now we are coming up with technology that allows cars to park themselves and detects if others cars are within collision distance. In my opinion this will make drivers even more complacent. Even worse, it will, at least in their own minds, absolve them of responsibility in collision cases. If a self-parking car collides with another car, there is no way a sixteen year old will willingly take responsibility for the collision. The same is true if collision detection fails.

Technology is a good thing; it enhances our lives and creates progress. Where my issue lies is with the concept of trying to use technology as a scapegoat. We still need to use our own senses, be aware of our own surroundings, and take responsibility for our own actions. Just because the technology is designed to help us do something, that doesn’t mean we should stop supervising the technology. When the car is parking itself, we have to watch it to make sure it does it right. When the car is detecting collision proximity, we have to keep an eye to be sure that the system is in good working order. Technology is there to back us up, just as we are there to back the technology up. It’s a symbiotic relationship, and we cannot become complacent, because when we do, the whole system falls apart.

Link

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We’ve had Link longer than both Ganon and Zelda. He is a good cat; the only one we have who can regulate his own food. The other two we have to watch like a hawk to ensure they don’t gorge themselves to death. He is beautiful, with gorgeous long fur and fluffy tail. His favorite game at this point is chasing Zelda around the house. He also likes to startle her (it is pretty easy). He used to like the laser pointer, but since we got Zelda and Ganon, he seems to have lost interest.

I’ve always thought it was interesting, and a little funny, that Link is scared of bubbles. Zelda will go crazy popping bubbles. Ganon mostly likes to watch Zelda. He will pop a bubble here and there, but every time the bubbles come out, Link will run and hide. He is one of only two cats I’ve ever known who didn’t like to play with bubbles.

Link is set in his ways. He does not like change. He likes his schedule to be solid, and when there are variations, he gets cranky. If food is not served on time, he will let you know. I am required to brush my teeth, go to bed and spend some alone time petting him at 10 pm. If that doesn’t happen, he let’s me know, in no uncertain terms, that I screwed up.

I am his human. He is very possessive. If I start to pet another cat, he will crawl out of the woodwork to see what is going on and why I’m betraying him. He is not really a lap cat. Rarely, he will sit on a lap just for attention, but he will do so every so often to make a point. If I pet another cat a bit too much, he will sit on my lap to make it clear that I belong to him. Once he’s made his point, he will nonchalantly go about his business. Maybe I’m a sucker for dominance, but I think he’s cute.

Zelda

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This is Zelda. I often wonder if she dips into my coffee cup when I’m not looking. This cat startles at the slightest noise. You can watch her jump a mile when a fly buzzes by her. She is constantly whizzing from one side of the house to the other, trying to knock as many things over as she can in the process. Her ultimate goal is to knock over the television while trying to reach the top of our seven foot tall entertainment center. She hasn’t succeeded…yet, but efforts are continuing every day.

Ganon may be twenty pounds, but Zelda is the one who puts the food down. This is probably the most unladylike little girl I’ve known in quite a while. She will eat her own portion of food, then push her way into eating the boys’ food, too. After that, she tries to beg for table scraps from us. The unladylike behavior doesn’t stop there. This cute picture I have here, is one of very few. When she lays down, it is usually in sprawled out, contorted positions that a sweet, dainty little kitty should never be pictured in. (Of course, I still take the pictures. I must have evidence, ya know.)

She also seems to have a fascination with wonderland. Every night, just before bedtime, she frantically scratches at the mirror as if she’s trying to get in. I managed to get it on video once:

Ganon

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Let’s talk a little about Ganon. I only named my blog after him because I thought he was so photogenic. For twenty pounds, he carries his weight quite well. What I want to know is how such a good-looking cat can be so darn needy and annoying.

He will suck up to me, get me to forgive him for whatever horrible things he’s done in the past, just in time for me to find something important chewed up on the floor. We have to spray our furniture with organic cat repellent to keep him from chewing it. We must double check all of the closets and ¬†cabinets to ensure he doesn’t get into them–and tear up the contents. Unfortunately for me, I tend to fall for his sweet disposition, then get lax in my duties just in time for him to go on a destructive rampage. He’s manipulative that way. That face may look sweet, but there is a calculating little mind behind those eyes.

He spends much of his time sucking up to my significant other. That way when he gets into trouble, it’s more my fault than it is his. Again, he’s a calculating one. My significant other has always had a weakness for fat cats, and Ganon uses that to his advantage. He can purr on cue, making himself seem even more cute.

What I find worrisome is the fact that he doesn’t exercise as much as I think he should. He will play, but only on his terms. Often he will simply watch the other cats play. I’ve seen him stop to rest in the middle of playing. I know he’s fat, but he’s also young. I think he should be more vibrant and energetic than he is. I want him to lose some weight and become a bit more healthy. My significant other says that I’m overreacting, but I’d hate to think that Ganon’s destructive behavior is a result of frustration that I’m ignoring.