urine testing

Tuesday 26 June 2007

I received an e-mail today with the following comments:
The Urine Test:
“Like a lot of folks in this state I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test, with which I have no problem.

“What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don’t have to pass a urine test. Shouldn’t one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them??

“Please understand I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do on the other hand have a problem with helping someone sitting on their ass. Could you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?????

“Please pass this along if you agree or simply Delete if you don’t.
Hope you all will pass it along, though. Something has to change in this country and soon!!!!!”

I usually don’t respond to forwards, but I thought I’d give a response to this one. I thought I’d share it with you, too, so here it is:

I, personally, have never had to take a urine test for any of my jobs, and I go back and forth between how I feel about them. In general, I think I’m against them, as unless you’re a professional sports athlete and they’re testing for banned substances, then why are they testing you? If you’re capable of doing your job, does it really matter what your urine (or blood) contains? If the reason is to see if you’re doing something illegal, then why don’t we test EVERYONE all the time? However, then you’re @ a place which might be deemed invasion of privacy and/or unlawful search and seizure.

Part of my beliefs, too, might stem from the fact that I don’t see why alcohol is legal (with certain restrictions) and marijuana is not. If something is deemed illegal, as marijuana is, is there really anything that shouldn’t be done to catch people who are breaking the law? I recognize the ideas of warrants and totally support them, but if I haven’t smoked any marijuana, I have nothing to fear by letting you test my urine and thus I really don’t feel it’s any invasion of my privacy because I have nothing to hide. But is it the government’s (or an employer’s) right to be able to check my urine just because they want to? I’d have to study up on the rights pertaining to discrimination based on criminal history and the like, because, as I said earlier, if I can do the job you want me to do at the level which you require, what’s the big deal if I smoked a joint on Friday night when I had Saturday and Sunday off?

So there’s a bit of my mind on the subject. Like I said, I don’t have extremely formed ideas on this and think it’s a good and interesting debate. I’d love to hear if you have any opinion on the issue. Do you have random urine tests @ your job now?

tiny wonders

Thursday 21 June 2007

I caught a bit of this incredible story on the news last night about this microscopic artist Willard Wigan.  It was pretty amazing to see someone doing art this tiny.  I know I wouldn’t be able to get my hand to be steddy enough to do that kind of work.  But all the props to him!

everybody’s free (to wear sunscreen)

Wednesday 20 June 2007

So I was following some links yesterday and stumbled upon the 1999 spoken-work hit “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).” I’m sure you’ve heard it, or at least have read it. (If not, it was actually a column by Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune titled, “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young.”)

Anyway, I listed to the “song” again, and read the article, and while all of it continues to strike me as amazing and true, there was one section that I found quite apt @ this point in my life (and maybe in yours, too):
“Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.”

So I choose not to feel guilty and instead sing, dance, stretch, floss, and wear sunscreen.

i love my alarm clock

Tuesday 19 June 2007

This is a bit of a superfluous topic, but I woke up this weekend when my alarm went off (I definitely don’t love the fact that I need an alarm clock — I much prefer camp “wake up music”) and thought how much I enjoy the specific model of alarm clock I have had since I started college. Let me give you the specs on this thing:

It has not one but two alarms, which can be set to the desired time and each can be given the radio or the alarm — Now, I’ve heard of alarm clocks that you can set up to use a CD player instead of the radio, and that might be the only feature that could make my alarm clock better, but it’s nothing big since I tend to be an alarm person anyway.

It also has your normal “sleep” timer, which plays the radio for a certain amount of time before it automatically shuts off. You can set this anywhere from 1 to 119 minutes.

It has a “nap” timer, which can be used for a quick alarm when one doesn’t want to set an actual alarm. While you can only have the alarm go off and not the radio, it allows one to adjust the “nap” timer from 10 minutes to 2 hours in 10 minute increments. It works well for someone like me who enjoys both 20 and 60 minute naps from time to time.

It, of course, has the obvious AM and FM radio tuner, which is a dial and not digital, perhaps another area which could be improved upon, but let’s remember this thing was (likely — I got it so long ago) under $20.

But my favorite feature, which I’ve mentioned on many occasions to others, and which I have not found on any other alarm clocks, is an adjustable snooze time. Most alarm clocks have a pre-set snooze time of 9 minutes, which my alarm clock has, too. However, I am also able to adjust the length of my snooze! I, for whatever reason, have chosen 4 minutes to be an adequate amount of time for me to snooze, perhaps because even if I hit it twice, that’s still less than the normal snooze. And just the fact that such an option exists I think is praise enough for my alarm clock.

Is your alarm clock better? Do you want more info about my clock so you, too, can own it? Let me know!

the falls (sometimes literal) of biking

Wednesday 13 June 2007

So yesterday I was the advocate of biking to work and everywhere else I could, but as I was biking home, I was thinking that I’d be amiss if I didn’t share some of the negatives biking has to offer, too, speaking mainly from my experiences this year.

First, and possibly the most obvious, is the weather. If it was always clear skies, this would be no problem, but that’s obviously not the case. Although I’ve definitely done some biking in the rain, I don’t recommend it. The worst case scenario is that you bike somewhere and then while you’re there/before you return home, the rain comes and it won’t be stopping any time soon. If you’re @ work, you might be able to leave the bike there and get a ride/take the bus home and pick the bike up the next day. If you’re out and about, though, (or just don’t care about getting wet,) you just have to grin and bear it, knowing that once you do get home you’ll be able to put on some dry clothes. In any case, because you can never fully predict the weather, you have to be ready and willing to get a little wet sometimes.

The unpredictability of weather also means you can’t always count on riding a bike. For me, that usually meant getting up a little bit earlier in case it was raining and I needed to take the bus (which is actually slower than biking when you add the walk to the bus stop and the wait for it to arrive). When planning on biking somewhere in advance, you must either be flexible enough to change the date and/or time of the trip or have the ability to find an alternate means of transportation should biking prove impossible.

And like a car, your bike can break down unexpectedly. One morning after I had filled up my tires with air, I arrived @ my bike to realize one of the tires had popped (I probably filled it too full). Luckily we had a spare bike I was able to ride, but there’s always the possibility that your bike may break down wherever you might be and you’ll have to figure out how to fix it or get it to storage — I guess this is similar to what can happen to a car, so maybe it’s not so bad after all.

And then there is the possibility of an accident. Unlike the situations when you’re riding in a car, if you happen to be in a bike accident, especially when you’re sharing the road with cars, there’s really no such thing as a fender bender. My personal experience was early in the year when I was using a cross walk and the front tire of my bike was run over by a man trying to make a turn. I got his number and information but didn’t report the accident and was never reimbursed for the cost of my repairs. My housemate Aaron has had worse experiences, wrecking a few times because of the bad pavement and was recently also clipped by a car, causing him some minor yet still severe injuries and severely damaging his bike. It is dangerous to bike on roads, and one must always follow traffic laws and WEAR A HELMET!

Maybe I’ll add some more later, but that’s all for now. I still think the benefits outweigh the possible negatives, but there are always two sides to every coin, so I thought I’d give those to you here.

hygiene update

Wednesday 13 June 2007

I think the news people are reading my blog… Check out this “5-second rule” news report.

biking (as a form of transportation)

Tuesday 12 June 2007

Can I tell you how much I love biking as a form of transportation? I love it this (imagine me and someone running to opposite sides of a field with opposite arms and hands outstretched such my left hand and their right hand indicate the huge width of love) much.

This year of biking every day I could (and some that I shouldn’t have) to work has been a blessing to me. The distance is such that it’s a pretty short trip (12-15 minutes) and a place to store my bike inside once I get here. I get some exercise, I save money on bus fare or gas (if I had a car to begin with), and I get to become better in tune with the neighborhood in which I work and bike through. After 9 or so months of biking the same route to work, I really feel a sense of ownership and belonging to those streets. I know I still need to be careful, but I also feel as if it’s my community and there’s no reason I need to hide or shy away from it.

Not only have I biked to work, but I’ve biked to baseball games, see movies, curling and rugby practice, the grocery story, church, and so many other great locations. And now with summer in full swing, I plan on taking some bike “rides” and, hopefully, going to the beach!

I’ve already written about petrol, which biking helps to reduce the need for, and the idea of trying to live closer to where you work, which would make more a shorter bike ride (obviously). And after getting my heartbeat going in the morning, I just feel more ready for the day. I would love to say I want to bike to work for the rest of my life (until I get old and such), but I’m not willing to put that kind of restriction on my future living and working situation just yet. But it will definitely be something I’ll be thinking about, and I suggest you do, too. I can spout out all kinds of benefits, but don’t just take my word for it — if you every have the chance, give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I found a few interesting websites re: biking to work, so check out one or more of them:
BikeCommune, Ken Kifer testimonial and articles, Commute by Bike blog, and many more!
And I won’t even mention my past thoughts of being a bicycle messenger… maybe another time :)