Saturday, February 27, 2010


Happy because I installed CyanogenMOD on my Dream/G1 phone. Unhappy because a run-away script of my own making is the reason I can't get to from my home computer. Also unhappy because the blog service that I use, Blogger, isn't going to support FTP publishing anymore. One step forward two steps back.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

For Love or Money

Pets can be expensive. More so if you love them unconditionally.

I love my cats; to an extent. A very specific extent: $300.00. If they need medical care that costs more than that, it is fatal to them.

Yes, I will cry; but I'll also be able to afford to pay the mortgage; and, when we are ready, to adopt another stray animal.

In your opinion is that cold? - Because to some extent a financial sword of Damocles hangs over the heads of most, if not all, domestic animals. But it seems to me that usually it's just ranchers and farmers who, before treatment is needed, think about the extent to which they will spend to help an animal live longer.

Having said this, I should note, my resolve has not yet been tested!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tube Silicone

So I went to go apply silicone sealant to some joints today. The tube we have has a large UPC sticker across the front. As I finish applying it to the second joint, I realize that it's not sealant, its a lubricant. - Doe!

Still don't know what kind of product it was exactly, the sticker completely covered the front, and the back referred to the contents only as "silicone compound". It was fairly easy to wipe off, so no harm done.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Workplace safety share.

So I think today was interesting in both ways. It's not enough to wear safety equipment - You have to use the correct tools, and the correct safety equipment!

Ok that changing a light bulb thing didn't go so well. First; you should understand, this is a big light: 500W! The bulb is about the size of a two liter bottle.

We put on safety gear: steel toe bots with metatarsal covers, durable warm cotton insulated coveralls and coats, gloves, safety glasses, hard hat, climbing harness.

We set up the ladder, my co-worker climbed the ladder, latched his harness to the pole, lashed the ladder off to the pole, and opened the light fixture cover.

While opening the light fixture cover, my co-workers hard hat fell off. He had his hands full, an it was an awkward reach; so he just let it fall instead of trying to catch it. I thought this a good decision at the time and we both shrugged it off. So he begins to descend the ladder to get the new bulb...

Suddenly a noise, and commotion, and out falls the guts of the light fixture. I watch, HORRIFIED, as they tumble and spin not more than a foot past his head. The ballast (specialized type of transformer, a big block of iron and copper wire) weighs about 20 pounds. And it, bolted to a sharp edged steel plate about the size of a skate board, went just flying down past him. My work day almost turned into rush co-worker to the hospital day.

The worst part is that we had just finished having a morning safety meeting, and the client's representative explaining the rules didn't know how we would call 911 from where we were working. On big industrial sites, you _don't_ call 911. You call a local number and they get emergency care to you. However, it's a new little shack of a building, and has no company phone. So, yeah, 20 minutes away from being able to _call_ for help there was almost a severe head wound because, either a screw failed, or someone didn't correctly install a retaining screw; and the person who chose to attempt this work from a ladder mis-judged how difficult that would be.

Sorry this is so long, working safely is important. Sometimes concentrating on wearing safety gear can blind a person into choosing the wrong tools. I'd still wear all that safety gear, of course. But the decision to change that bulb from a ladder was I think, a poor decision; and my co-worker almost paid for that today.

Ok, so, I'm trying not to turn this into a rant. However, this is also important: Don't wear safety equipment that does not protect you, just to meet a perceived expectation or requirement.

A standard lanyard is six feet, stretches to, I think 12, and attaches to a harness between your shoulder blades. This harness will allow you to fall and break yourself if you are working at anything less than about 15 feet above the ground.

Frequently I have been asked to wear a harness and lanyard that offer zero fall protection at the heights that I'm working from. (6 -10 feet up typically.) When I ask for a yo-yo and I-beam clamp (which, as I understand things, does offer protection at lower heights) I'm told that I can go without the harness; because those tools are expensive, would require time to go and purchase, and as long as I'm using my ladder correctly (which I do) the risk should be minimal.

But why can't we rent/buy another little scissor lift, we have several already. A used scissor lift, costs a little more than a yo-yo, and allows more productivity. Or for goodness sake, we do have to do ladder work sometimes, I wish we had a few yo-yo's. I'm going to have to ask my supervisors to buy one (or more, hopefully) again.

When working at intermediate heights my employer sometimes doesn't have appropriate safety equipment. When we should be using a lift, or scaffolding to change a light bulb; we are told to use a harness and an extension ladder.

My co-worker almost paid the price for this today. Maybe we will all learn, that would be nice.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

if they were fishes...

I'm not sure if it's best to wish for a omelette (will come true) or superpowers (probably won't come true). Right now I'm wishing I had already cleaned my desk instead of just having started!

Happy valentines day. (If you are reading this you already are my valentine.)