27 June 2007

Berlzebub was WRONG: I AM a gigantic idiot

In a recent post, I described in detail why I'm stupid: I forgot my safety boots, hard hat, and safety vest at work when I went to a site visit ~1 hour drive away; I had two sets of drawings authorized by me that conflicted with each other; and to top it off, I locked my keys in my trunk. Berlzebub was nice and wrote this:
Take it from someone who's been there, almost identically. You are not a gigantic idiot. You were just having a bad day.
That's very kind and understanding of him; however, it's also dead wrong.

I am a gigantic idiot. Want more proof?

I was leaving the office Tuesday evening. As I was walking down the front steps (there are 5 of them) I glanced over my shoulder to see how busy the nearby park was, as I was thinking of kicking back and reading outside for a bit. In that instant, my new shoes (which are somewhat clunkier than my old shoes) dragged on the concrete step, causing me to lose my balance. I tripped - more like toppled - straight over from the next-to-top step, and, without time to think of anything more than, "uh-oh," fell flat on my right shoulder, barely avoiding cracking my head on the sidewalk.

After laying there for a moment or two stunned and in a not unsubstantial amount of pain, I swore loudly and dragged myself off the ground. I realized that I had whacked my right wrist pretty hard on the concrete, likely spraining it, bruised my right shoulder and left knee, and made a substantial tear in my new pants. That part really pissed me off. When I say new, I mean new; this was only my second time wearing them, and my keys had ripped a series of holes up the right thigh.

If I've done the math correctly, my downward velocity at impact was about 25 km/h, which is pretty fast - especially when you aren't expecting it. Plus, concrete is pretty damned hard. I lucked out that I wasn't more seriously hurt, though my wrist is still bothering me. More than that, I further lucked out in that I was leaving 15 minutes early so I could pick up some documents from a nearby office before they closed, therefore absolutely nobody saw me make a giant fool of myself.

Strange thing is, other than ruining my wrist/pants, I think the whole experience was hilarious - I was laughing out loud at myself for the rest of the day) - and I don't think I would change the event if I could. Maybe I did crack my head on the pavement afterall and just don't remember?


25 June 2007

Monday Rant: People taking stuff and not telling me

I'm in the structural department but right now I'm designing the structural components of a job from the mechanical department. It's pipeline support system and part of my job requires me to put together a specifications document (specs) relating to all the materials that will be used to construct the damn thing. In this case, we have sections for cast-in-place concrete, structural steel, concrete formwork, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary, but still I have to tailor our general specs to fit the job.

So I'm marking up these specs by hand last week and I'm just about done. Friday rolls around and all of a sudden the specs have disappeared from my desk. I search everywhere, bother my supervisor to see if I accidentally left it on his desk, turn my office upside-down and inside-out, completely spazzing looking for it. I finally gave up and went home. This morning I come in and have a meeting with the mechanical department people. They inform me that they've printed up the specs I gave them. Oh? How'd they do that? Some damn mech person pinched the document from my desk without telling me. They didn't so much as leave me a freakin' post-it note. How thoughtful. I spazzed out for two hours plus worried for most of the weekend over this damned thing and all they had to do was leave a note. Nothing much, just "I've taken the spec - mech" would do. Is that too much to ask?

It's not even just the waste of my time (actually, my supervisor wasted a little time searching his desk, too); it's also bad business. Turns out I wasn't even done doing the markups yet. I could have told them that much on Friday if they had informed me they were taking it. Instead, it wastes more time because I have to have them redo it again with the additional changes. Now imagine what happens if they believe this is final copy and ready to send out? If they steal a half-done document off my desk and send it out, then what? We're screwed, that's what.

Labels: , ,

22 June 2007

I am a gigantic idiot

In that my recent idiocy is quite spectacular, rather than me being an idiot and also being very large. I assure you that I am of reasonable height and weight.

So why am I a gigantic idiot? Probably because yesterday was one long stream of stupid actions by me. You see, yesterday I had to visit a job site - actually a giant excavation where the shoring system was designed by me. Shoring in this case comprises steel piles with timber lagging in between forming a wall. The wall stays upright because each pile is held to the backill via a very long soil anchor. The soil anchor itself is a steel tendon with a cast-in-place concrete end. Here's a picture of a shoring system. Mine isn't quite so large. When I went yesterday, mine was about 1/4 the height of this one; when done, it will be about 3/4. Note also that this was the first time I had ever been in/on/otherwise endangered by a structure that I had designed. It was frightening. VERY frightening.

The project leader wanted me to go out to the site as the contractor was stressing the soil anchors a) because I designed them and could make sure they were doing things right, and b) because I've never seen such things before in real life and could learn a thing or two about the industry. Fair enough.

I had to get to the job site by 8:30, and given the traffic in the greater Toronto area in the morning, I had to leave by 7:30 - very early by my standards. So I go straight from home to the job site, barely making it on time, walking into the construction supervisor's trailer and immediately realizing that I forgot my safety boots, vest, and hardhat in my cubicle at work. I said "hello" and promptly turned around and drove back to the office. An hour and a half later, I finally returned to the job site and installation could proceed.

By this time, the contractor and the geotechnical consultant were at each other's throats regarding testing procedures for stressing the soil anchors. This was not my fault directly; turns out we did not send the installation specifications to the contractor but that was the project manager's responsibility. Unfortunately, he wasn't there; I was. So the result was much heated discussion directed at me.

Additionally, there was more confusion about the anchor installation that due to me. The most recent set of drawings based on my designs had certain anchor stress levels shown. However, the contractor's team was referring to a shop drawing produced by their supervisors to determine the anchor stresses. My company had reviewed and okayed their shop drawing several weeks ago; however, in the meantime the design had changed somewhat and the stress values were now different. For some reason, these changes, which were communicated to everyone else, did not reach the anchor contractors. So there I am, the designer of the structure, holding an official stamped drawing saying what the stresses should be, and the contractor is arguing back saying that the stresses should be something else, using as evidence a different drawing that is signed by me. So I'm basically conflicting with myself. In short order it's decided that present me is correct and past me is wrong and we go with the proper stresses. Nonetheless, it reflects really poorly on me that I couldn't keep track of my own design stresses.

I eventually solved the testing procedures thing by sacrificing my lunch, using the hour to contact other people at my company, eventually getting the project manager to send me an email with the new procedure on it. This enabled the now happy geotech consultant and the contractor to get down to work at 1:00. Regardless, it still meant a critical two morning hours down the toilet.

Anyway, after a good half-day's work for them and many hours standing in a dusty hole for me, I start to leave at 3:00. When I got to my car, I realized that my keys are gone. In a panic, I ran back to the hole and got all the contractor and geotech people to help me look for my keys. Nada. I then retraced my steps and realized that it's highly likely that I was really, really stupid and locked my keys in the trunk of my car. I ended up calling CAA and one of their service guys came and broke into my car for me (impressively and frighteningly able to do so within 5-10 seconds); however, this did not have the desired effect, at least not right away. The plan was that he'd open the door to the car, then I could us the internal mounted trunk switch located on the driver's door to open the trunk get and my keys. In reality, my car's alarm system went off, not only producing an incredible honking, but disabling the internal trunk switch as well. I still could not get in. The one saving grace here was that my car has pass-through rear seats, which I fortunately never bother to lock. I was able to crawl into the trunk that way and use the emergency interior latch to open the trunk. And behold! my keys were there and not at the bottom of a dirty pit. Huzzah!

Labels: , ,

'Sex' and 'Slut': Keywords to scoring an R rating

I saw this on PZ's: a site that rates your blog in terms of movie rating. So what am I?
What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

The general concensus among bloggers is that this program is very superficial. For instance, most of my susprising R rating (given that I rarely if ever talk about killings or sex-related topics) is due to the presence of Sacred Slut commenting on the blog occasionally, as well as some link love for SexySecularist. That's basically it. Meanwhile, PZ, who shows pictures of tentacle porn on occasion, gets a G rating.


19 June 2007

Sex, Condoms, Christians - Who Would Jesus Do?

If you don't read Friendly Atheist you should head over there now.


Christian Condoms 'Nuff said.

The rational?

"Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery (Matthew 5:28)... (So why just look?)"

The company's website has a couple of other designs too.

Labels: ,

18 June 2007

Nothing going on

No updates for a while. There's a reason for that. Absolutely nothing blog-worthy has gone on in the past week. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

Maybe I'll run across a stupid internet quiz or something that I can post.

It's not that my life is boring (well, my life is boring, but that never got in the way of blog content before), it's just that I haven't done or seen anything sciencey/wooey/engineeringy/atheisty/religiousy that requires sharing in the past week. Maybe I just don't have any opinions on the stuff I've read recently; I'm tired, my allergies are acting up, and I'm really busy at work, so maybe that's why. Maybe I'm just lazy. Yeah, that's probably it.

The only thing interesting that's happened is that I got free pizza at work today.

And it was good.

That is all.


12 June 2007

Chris Hitchens on The Hour

The CBC's The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos had Chris Hitchens on to discuss God Is Not Great. The video is here. They had Richard Dawkins on the show a month ago but I think Hitchens did a better job overall of being provocative. They both have a low-key British-esque way of speaking that is rare in North America and if you don't pay attention to the words it'll put you to sleep, but once Hitchens gets going he's really quite amusing.

Another thing: The biggest argument against Hitchens might be that if he really believed there was no afterlife he wouldn't be drinking and smoking himself to an early grave. That said, my grandfather wasn't much better and he lasted well into his 80s.

Labels: , ,

11 June 2007

Behe's Book in Chapters

I was at a Chapters store over the weekend, and to my dismay, they were heavily promoting Michael Behe's new book The Edge of Evolution. (PZ's been dismantling the book over at Pharyngula) There were dozens of copies on display not only in the New Releases section right when you enter the store, but also in the science section as well (spits). The good news is that absolutly no one was looking at them (except me, of course). The bad news is that no one was looking at any of the atheist books that were also being promoted, such as Christopher Hitchens's God Is Not Great, and only one other person was in the science section of the store at all. And he wasn't even really looking for books - he was scouting to find any youngish people in the section so he could ask them a) if they had a science educational background, b) if so, which university would they recommend for his cousin's son, and c) are they interesting in doing some part time technical work for his company.

I chatted a while, answered his questions ( a) yes, engineering and also did a little biology, b) listed some of the bigger name universities that I trusted, and c) no. ), then left without buying anything. I can't afford to spend $20-30 on a book right now and the discount science section is a single poorly-stocked shelf. One freakin' shelf. The religion and woo discount sections have a large bookshelf each, each with 4 or 5 shelves. That speaks volumes about the scientific literacy of our society.

One thing I did notice was that a large portion of the science books actually dealt with religion. Of course there's the Dawkins et al. stuff, but there were also many books about the biological basis for belief, many books from apologists trying to use science to prove God, and some books that really didn't talk about religion at all but just used God in the title to try to sell more copies. The intersection of science and religion really is a hot topic right now.

Labels: , ,

04 June 2007

Am I a bad person for thinking this is hilarious?

Also from Sexy Secularist!, here the story of the blogger's painful and bloody attempts at evacuating his bladder after he realizes that his wee-wee is blocked by a urethral stricture.

Everything bad is funnier when it doesn't happen to you.

Labels: ,

Where's Level 10 - Morons?

From Sexy Secularist!, I've stumbled upon another one of these stupid intarblag quizzes. Here goes...

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Moderate
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

Heretic followed up by lustful. That sounds pretty good. I was expecting gluttonous to come in higher (I'm addicted to chocolate) but I guess the fact that I'm actually in shape despite eating lots lowered my score for that level of hell. What the hell is Level 8 - Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers and why is my score so high for it?

Labels: , ,

01 June 2007

AiG's Creation Museum on MSNBC

You'll find a review of Answers in Genesis's Creation 'Museum' on msnbc.com. Or rather its travel section =P

The review isn't the standard pandering uncritical slop we've seen from some other media outlets, but neither is it really critical either. The author passes no judgement and quotes AiG's Ken Ham as well as Eugenie Scott from the NCSE. I guess this is one of those "balanced" pieces that equally represents both sides of a story, even though one side is insanely wrong. It's very much an "educators say" vs "AiG says" piece of work.

Some 'highlights' of the article:

-"Ham said critics need to tour the museum before making judgments."
Not really. It's an AiG museum and we've all known for years what AiG's positions on evolution, world history, geology, etc are. Now if there really was something new there, then I'd be really shocked. Oh wait, there is one thing: Adam and Eve are portrayed as brown-haired rather than idealized northern European blonde, so that's a start.

-"Ham maintains the museum exhibits, some of which include fossils, are based on scientific findings. He said the staff is stocked with scientists trained at secular universities"
Really? How many constitutes 'stocked'? Did they get their PhD's at secular universities? Were they already creationists before they got their PhDs and, like Jonathon Wells, just getting PhDs to make themselves sound more legitimate when they attack evolution?

-"Admission for children ages 5 to 12 will be $9.95, and $19.95 for most adults."
Wow, that's pricey. And this is a non-profit organization? The nearby Cincinnati Museum costs only $6 for children and $8 for adults and it's pretty darn good (and not make-believe). What will the money go towards anyway? Paying scientists not to do research? Not tracking down and acquiring important fossils? I know! Paying janitors to clean up the vomit.

Labels: , , ,