Friday, December 19, 2008

Looking into forklift training and certification

I liked driving a forklift. I don't really know why but I found a sense of satisfaction from being able to move objects that would ordinarily be impossible to move, plus I had a stellar record of zero accidents and was getting a pretty good feel for how different freight behaved on the forks, such as 12 foot drywall sheets, buckets of roofing tar, cinder blocks, roofing shingles, bags of concrete, and stacks of lumber.

So, I'm looking into getting officially trained and certified on counterbalanced gas and electric forklifts. I was rooting around the OSHA website and came across their "Summaries of Selected Forklift Fatalities Investigated by OSHA." A gruesome collection of accident descriptions involving forklifts crushing people in various ways.

There are reasons why you have to follow the rules, no matter how inconvenient. I was a Boatswain's Mate in the Navy, a rate that dealt directly with the transfer and handling of cargo from a pier to a ship, and between two ships in the middle of the ocean. We never lost any cargo or men overboard due to mishandling of the rigs.

I finally found a company called Ives Training Group which appears to provide training programs for trainers. They do offer open enrollment for beginning training, but you have to go to Canada to get there.

I'm still looking for something more local, but I don't see anything so far that doesn't offer a certification that might be widely accepted.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 3

It's only been three days since I got the notice. The notice said "immediately." and I was done.

I was told that it was not a performance issue, and I accept that. I'm not unhappy about having all this extra time off around the holidays but I am right now in a position where I must make some crucial decisions.

I tried to build a career on creating multimedia presentations and putting together the technology for those presentations, and it turns out that most of the people who need media technology to help them persuade the public one way or another, are assholes.

I thought about journalism, but the newspapers are crumbling under the weight of the Internet, and I wouldn't know how to get paid for blogging. I have some Google ads on my blogs, but so far they have not paid a penny.

This blog has been floating around in Limbo for quite a while. It even had it's own website at one point, but I let it lapse for lack of activity.

Well now it's back. So, what I'm going to do is create a Google calendar and embed it into this blog. If I receive notices about job fairs or seminars, I'll try to keep the calendar up to date. I may add some other widgets such as Digg which can be quite helpful.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Laid Off!

Sooner or later we all get laid off. It's a fact of life. GM is getting laid off by its customers, or lack thereof. What is happening to the millions of us who are getting laid off? We are actually accelerating the process by changing our habits. Which is good. It's about time.

Since gas prices went up really high, everyone started thinking about gas prices and they have not stopped. Many people changed their spending habits permanently because they know that gas prices, even though they are down now, will always climb higher.

I changed my habits too. No more will I buy brand name products. It turns out that off-brand or generic products are even better in quality than brand-names.

Aldi's stores were once the cheapest place to get groceries, and some are still cheaper than Shop-n-Save, but since last year they have discovered the Wal-Mart baiting tactic and raised prices on half or more of their most desirable products.

Another tactic is not putting prices on the product. County Market stores have what appear to be generic-like products that have only bar codes. I really like their Chocolate covered Bridge Mix. a sixteen ounce container costs over seven dollars, but you won't know it until you get to the register.

Time to stop the snacking.

I have to say that County Market has reasonable salads at the deli for around five dollars, but you need to make them last for more than one day to make them worth their price.

A day's worth of meals at McDonald's you might think will be more expensive than the grocery store, but the trick is being able to cook and refrigerate the food from the grocery store. When you add in the expense of having access to a refrigerator and a stove, McDonald's may be cheaper, if you stick to just one item.

You will need to carry water with you, so it might be a good idea to buy two bottles of water, then alternatively refill them at what ever tap you can find.

Always have an extra pair of clean dry socks somewhere.

I think we're in it for the long haul. Get whatever benefits you can, then hunker down and watch your wallet.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


The truth about the subprime mortgage industry

I’m sure you heard about being able to get loans with bad credit. It was all the rage after the Enron and Worldcom scandals. The banks and money lenders were getting paid anyway, if not by the people who borrowed the money, then by the tax payers.

Does anyone remember the Lincoln Savings and Loan Scandal? Remember Senator John McCain’s involvement in that? That little steaming nugget will be dredged up soon enough; it’s not the story right now.

Lending money to people who are known not to afford it has been reported in the news as a “disaster”, reported as a “mistake,” and journalists and pundits alike have been scratching their heads wondering why it was done. Why were all those poor people allowed to borrow money they couldn’t pay back? What were those bankers thinking? Were they stupid?

No. They knew exactly what they were doing. They were investing in living, breathing people who would be forced to sweat and toil to pay them back, plus interest of course, as long as they lived, and if they didn’t, it would be their children’s burden.

It’s like switching investments from stocks to bonds or gold during hard-times. You can switch your investments from manufactured commodities to entire living, breathing families to pay you back, because it’s the law.

Another word for it is indentured servitude. If you have a credit card, a mortgage, a car loan, or are mandated by your state to get car insurance, or you pay rent, you qualify as an indentured servant if your expenses exceed your savings.

Debt Equity is the possession of the living breathing entity (in this case, multiple generations of families) that pays the money, not the money itself.

Banks and other lenders can track you down anywhere in the country with the help of their police (you don’t have any police.) because you need money to try and emulate the so-called “American Dream” as taught in public schools. As comedian George Carlin said “It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

This is the dirty little secret of the “free market economy” that republicans desire so much. They keep complaining that regulations are keeping down the power of the free market. Regulations are the products of lessons learned from deaths and disasters. Just pick up a book by John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair, or Mark Twain and you can read about what it was like when the economy was really free.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Warning to Temporary Employees in the state of Illinois

In Illinois, if you are a temporary employee with an agency like X Personnel Service and you are assigned to work at say, a large insurance company, you can be harassed for your beliefs (or especially the lack of beliefs) by Insurance Company employees with impunity, and even have your temp assignment terminated because of your beliefs.

They can simply say you were "too slow" and "had a bad attitude" never having directly confronted you with any issues.

But, because you are NOT actually employed by the insurance company, but by X Personnel Service, the Illinois Human Rights Commission cannot do anything for you because you were not technically directly an employee of those who harassed you and caused you financial injury by having your assignment terminated.

They call it a "Juristdictional Issue."