Wednesday, October 24, 2007

HazMat Fingerprints

Today I went to have my fingerprints taken for the DOT. As a swing driver at Fedex, I am required to have at least a class "C" Commercial Drivers License, with a Hazardous Materials Endorsement. This is so that I can legally transport a 3-bar radioactive package (also known as medical equipment) or any shipment of hazardous materials over 1000lbs. or something ridiculous like that. What a bunch of garbage. In the five years that I have been working at Fedex, I have only seen one 3-bar radioactive package that I couldn't transport. That's not to say that there haven't been more shipments than that, just one's that I couldn't be directly responsible for. So in order to get a CDL-HAZ license, you have to go to first apply online to get your fingerprints taken by the Dept of Homeland Security, pay $90, spend your money on the gas it takes to get to the nearest Fingerprint Collection Station (in my case, an hour away in Bellevue), wait for the government to do a background check, go spend another $100 to take the CDL test, then spend more money to take the HAZ endorsement test, THEN prove you can drive the vehicle you are going to be using to transport the HAZ in. And don't get paid for your time. They reimburse your expenses to actually take the tests and get fingerprinted, but it's on your own time, when you have time. Then they are going to make me come in on a Saturday (and not get paid) to do the driving portion and waste that day. What a load of junk. Needless to say that I'm not too thrilled about the whole process, and more than the process, the time I have to spend getting something for work and not getting paid for it. When I had to get my TSA Badge to access the airport, they paid for my time and driving costs. What makes this any different....?

Monday, October 22, 2007


Ok, so last time I said I would talk about my VW Bug. I got it about 6 (wow has it already been 6!?!) years ago when I heard it calling out to me from the side of the road. I looked back and there it was, all gold and shiny, calling my name. I pretty much stopped the car I was driving and and turned around to go look at it. I called the number on the car to find out more and set up a test drive for the following day. Now you might think from the way I have described it that the car was in pristine condition. I mean who would be interested in buying a used car that looked all beat up, right? No the Bug had obviously been around the block a few times. The speedometer didn't even work right. There were rust holes in a few spots, and the exhaust wasn't completely hooked up, so it was pretty loud. But I could see that it needed me, so I bought it. It was a good thing too, because the other car I was driving conked out on me a few days later. But I love my 1974 standard Beetle. It needs a lot of work. I blew up the engine driving it on the freeway, or at least that's what it felt like when the valve broke in the combustion chamber and punched a hole in the piston. I am in the process of repairing the rust holes in the body. I have to do body work on the front end because I got into a minor fender-bender because of some slick roads and squishy brakes. I have replaced all five tires, and am going to replace the drum brakes with disc brakes. The original engine was 1600cc, and I am building a 1904cc to replace it. I have to replace all the duct work for the heater and all the carpet. The dash pad and interior plastic parts, ie. vent covers need help too. Then I am going to paint it dark forest green. Oh and it needs a new steering wheel, new windshield washer/wiper, dome light, upholstery, fenders, signal light covers, bumper, side boards, ect...
But don't get me wrong: I am not discouraged. I enjoy working on it. I just can't buy all the stuff I need all at once. It comes in bits and pieces. But when it's done, it'll be a real looker, just you wait.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Stuff And Things:

It's Friday! Fridays are good, because after a week of lifting heavy boxes at work I'm pretty tired. The only problem is that Saturday I have more to do, so the weekend is not about getting any rest. That's ok though, because the things I do on Saturday are much more fulfilling than the work I am doing during the week. Like building furniture. I really enjoy building things I know are going to be useful. The idea that I can make with my own two hands what most people will purchase from a store, and make it exactly how I want it, not how someone else wants it is a good feeling. My only problem is that I need a bigger workshop. My little shed in the backyard is really not big enough for all my tools AND the stuff I'm building in it... Maybe in my next house. And I can't convert my garage into a shop like most people would because I have yet another project in there: My '74 std VW Bug. It is in pieces right now because I am rebuilding the engine and just about everything else on it. But that is a story for another time. Probably next time.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Well, recently I have been spending a lot of time on Facebook. It's kind of addicting, but I think that is the point of the whole thing. Making people come back because you have all sorts of mindless interesting things to waste your time at. For instance, those that know me well know that I am a pretty big Star Wars fan. I have a rather large collection of action figures in their original packages, I have movie posters, I have a few lightsabers, I have life-size cutouts, ect.
This was my Christmas card from about three years ago. The point is, on Facebook, there is a Star Wars application. It is Jedi vs. Sith. There are ranks, trivia, you can use the "Force" to send someone a message in the form of an attack, and more. I have become addicted to it. I have probably answered a bajillion trivia questions (most of which I get right, by the way). I don't have a lot of friends right now who have added the application, so most of my Force attacks are directed at a few people. But they keep coming out with cool new additions to the application, like an interactive role-playing universe, text based. Most people don't get how to use it, but it's a good idea. They also have a Strength section in development, so I hope to rise through the ranks to become a Jedi Grand Master. I am a Jedi Knight now.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because that would be the ideal for my blog. I would like people to come back and spend time here and see what I have to say. I want people to come back to see if I have added anything interesting since they were here last. I think that this format is a good way for people to get to know one another, or at least to get to know me and the kinds of things I think about. Anyway, thats enough deep thought for now, back to Facebook.