Hooray for on-line training!

Wow, never thought I’d utter that sentence.

Every two years, I have to re-take the Health Safety and Environment Orientation for contract employees. In the past, that’s always required me to show up at the HSE office at 7am, sit with a bunch of the type of contractors who do actual work (you know, with tools and stuff instead of computers), and be lectured on the proper way to dispose of dirt or what to do if your backhoe (or computer, in my case) accidentally ruptures a line carrying something nasty. Usually the lecturer is some grumpy old guy who reminds me of Jasper in that Simpson’s episode where he ends up teaching a class in the school. “Using a camera? That’s a paddling. Smoking on the property? Immediate firing, then a paddling. Improperly disposing of construction garbage? First we fine your employer, then fire you, then a paddling.” And of course, I can’t tell you how useful it is to know that I’m not allowed to use $EMPLOYER ladders or oxygen lines in my line of work.

This year, however, they’ve got on-line training. And not only that, but they have different training for outside workers and office workers. So I clicked the link, and got a stupid animated guy pointing at a button on the side menu saying “Start by clicking this button”. “Fuck that”, I thought, and clicked on the button marked “Final Assessment”. I took the test, got 10 out of 10, and got the certificate, all in way less time than I’m wasting on writing this blog post. So hooray for on-line training where you skip the boring bits (ie. all of it) and go straight to the incredibly obvious test questions.

BTW, the test questions were all on the order of “Where do you dispose of waste? A) toss it over the fence onto non-$EMPLOYER property, B) make a big pile and set fire to it C) put it in designated containers or D) Your contract will have instructions on proper waste disposal” And I’m not kidding, that is pretty much verbatim. (BTW: The correct answer is D – sometimes the contract will require you to remove the waste yourself.)


I went kayaking after work today on Irondequoit Creek. The carp were mating, and there were lots of dead ones floating around, thus my little perl joke in the title.

It was a great day to blow off work a bit early, and Rob and I went upstream from Bay Creek Paddling Center up just past the Elison Park dog beach. I was pretty tired on the way back, and it didn’t help that the wind shifted around and got cold, so we ended up with headwinds in both directions. According to the thermometer in my car, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees in the course of the hour and a half paddle, although it felt like the temperature change happened all at once when the wind shifted.

The weir was a bit of a challenge, but nothing like it had been last time I took a look at it. I nearly dug a rail under, and was grateful for my spray skirt. Rob took about three tries, but mostly because he tried hitting it from one side or the other instead of coming right up the middle.

A couple of times we saw a bird that at first we thought was some sort of Loon because it was so low in the water, but it had no white markings, only black, with a bit of red or orange near the base of the beak. When it flew, we could see very long pointy wings. And when it swam it held its beak up at a 45 degree angle to the water, rather than parallel like a Loon does. I guessed it was a Cormorant, and after looking it up, I’m sure of it.

We also saw lots of geese. At one point, we heard a lot of honking up ahead, and as we rounded the corner this goose left the shore and paddled out in front of us, and did a bit of a fake take-off, presumably to try to lead us away from his nest. But this annoyed another goose, who then flew into the first one and attacked him until they both flew off.

Lots of people and dogs in the dog park, including two people who kept asking us all sorts of questions about paddling and seemed put out that we continued paddling instead of stopping to talk after we’d answered a couple. And one canoe coming upstream just as we’d flushed the Cormorant downstream for the last time. They asked us what the bird was, I said Cormorant, and the woman in the front of the canoe said “See, I told you” to the man in the back.

Lots of fun.