Specific Best Practises

Dearest Readers,

I woke up this morning, feeling transformed. Then – it snowed! – how great is that?

It was bitter bold sleety snow – English, despite it’s many variations, is such an impoverished language, only one word for snow. Pity.

Anyway – the memory of the blood work that I had done earlier this week, is behind me now – and I am now able to move on to new and better things.

So, I want to share a story about how much my self-management has improved – because I have finally become comfortable enough with my daily routine that I am no longer upset when I have to leave my house to drive my spouse to – you remember the song, right?

but – since this is about women’s working blues:

and – I had a power thought – about two particular women, and these are their stories – and these women – I read that first book many years ago – and just knowing that the second book existed, was enough for me:

Because – I was only bullied (and I am specifically not talking about that, it’s just mentioned in passing, or merely, as an appetizer, not even that much, just an amuse bouche, if you will) – and these women – experienced much worse and they have fared well in the aftermath of their experience – so with all due respect to the workplace subject matter experts – there is really no reason why anyone can’t recover from being bullied.

It’s only when people have trauma upon trauma – combined with having been or being bullied – that they do not recover.

Knowing that people survive – far worse events – goes a long way – towards letting go.

And music – it soothes the savage beast and the aching heart – you just have to smile and be willing to laugh at yourself and from time to time, reinvent yourself- just like Dolly did:

hey, it worked – I played songs that make me feel happy and powerful – and the story about my conversation with the woman who parked so close to my car at the grocery store this morning – and how I made her laugh when I showed her that I could not squeeze between her rear bumper and my rear bumper – I guess she liked the chilli pepper red of my car so much that her car just wanted to almost kiss bumpers….

well, dearest readers, I am going off line for the rest of the day

And if you need another laugh, check out – my worst poems ever!

Inventions and Userability

Things that someone should invent:

– an alarm clock that releases smells like coffee, bacon, and other morning scents to get people moving

– car key fobs that not only lock/unlock, but also are beepers that alert you when your car alarm is going off

– a steering wheel with sensors that check your heat, sweat and heart rate and if it determines that are you too angry to drive, gives you a two minute warning to pull over because the car is going to shut off if you’re driving – or not start if you’re trying to – sort of an increase in the breathalyzer thing that lets you start your car to ensure you’re not drunk.

Userability Designs

Being able to use anything should be simple and not require reading a manual or having to think too hard about it.

– keys cut on both sides, so it doesn’t matter which way you put it in.

– digital camera that don’t take pictures unless the memory card is in it – and the lens cap is off.

When did Drivers become the New Smokers?

Reading the various coverage about traffic in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics, I was struck about how social attitudes change.

In the 1970’s, if you recycled, you were pretty much a hippie freak. A scant couple of decades later, if you didn’t recycle, you were an earth hating jerk.

Again in the 1970’s, most adults were smokers – decades later, a minority (at least in British Columbia) that’s become so powerless that the majority of anti-smoker groups seem to have moved on to their new target:

Car Drivers.

There was a lot of pressure on drivers during the Olympics – parkades and roads closed. Easy information for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users – but generally scant information for drivers other than be one of the other three commuters.

What was frustrating was the utter lack of regard for drivers who drive for a living or commuters for whom transit is actually not a reasonable option.

For myself, a transit commute would be twice as much time as driving and since there’s two of us, cost about the same as driving and parking.

So, not actually any benefit since I don’t really want a nearly 2 hour commute at each end of the day – or the motion sickness that goes with transit.

The other reason that I don’t like transit is pretty much the other passengers. They bathe in perfume, reek of hair and hygiene products or from the lack of same, performance talk inanely and loudly on cell phones as if cells were a status symbol rather than the ubiquitous annoyance that they are, be forced to be a captive audience for teens who don’t realize that no one else cares what happened in school or in their life lessons (clue, you haven’t lived long enough to have wisdom to share with the class) and on rarer occasions, the other passengers are dangerous.

I’ve been on transit were 2 young men got into a fist fight, where men have been sexually aggressive to women – verbally, exposing themselves or actually rubbing up against anything female. And that’s before you get into muggers, random assaults, crazy people. There was even a twosome of young teen girls who would lure older men for a sex romp and then beat and roll them instead.

In our car, my spouse and I share quality time, listen to audio books, and are comfortable seating and temperature wise. If traffic is bad, we can take another route or pull over and have a meal or coffee or run an errand.

On transit, you are just trapped and stuck. Unless you can get off and catch a taxi….

Back to this attitude shift.

Drivers in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (“GVRD”) (basically all the cities in the lower mainland of BC) are being tapped and not even kissed on the mouth.

We are compound taxed (that’s a tax that on other taxes) at the gas station, we are getting a 35% parking tax hike, we are paying insurance and on new car purchases, there’s a vehicle levy tax.

Pretty soon, there won’t be any drivers left to squeeze. And that is not a good thing, considering how much tax revenue is derived from drivers.

So, here’s some suggestions for government levels and transit boards:

1. Make cyclists buy insurance and have licenses & plates too.

Use the revenue to underwrite the creation of bike paths that are separate when possible from roads. A collision between a cyclist and pedestrian results in less damage than a vehicle and a cyclist.

This also changes the assumption that it’s always the car to blame for any collision between the two.

Personally, I live in fear of a cyclist coming out of nowhere – and usually through a stop sign – smash into me and the cyclist dies and leaving me to sue their estate to cover my vehicle damage and trauma. Let them carry insurance to respond.

Let cyclists get tickets for bad driving as a revenue stream and to weed out the bad ones.

If they want to use the same roads, then they should share in the costs as a user. Even a 10 to 15% of what vehicles pay would make a big difference.

2. Transit Fees Restructuring and Transit Boards.

I don’t know about other places, but in the GVRD, you pay for how many transit zones you cross. They classify 3 zones, but if you travel from Surrey to West Vancouver, it’s technically 4.

Each transit ticket gives you 90 mins of travel.

You pay more for how many zones you cross. So, if you live close to a boundary that you work on the other side of, you pay for two zones for maybe 10 mins of travel.

Who wants to do that?

Why not get rid of the zones and have people pay in increments of 15 minutes of travel?

That seems fairer to me, the heavier the user, the more they pay for the service they get.

Paying on buses is good because a driver it there to ensure the person does pay – but the rapid transit system is on your honour. Put in turnstiles or put in an employee ticket checker at each platform entrance. It took them long enough to make the tickets only work in the stamping machines one way.

Replace the paper tickets with plastic cards with magnetic stripes – if coffee shops can use refillable cards, transit can too. That alone should be a cost savings over time.

Oh, and for translink specifically, reduce the number of board members and their salaries – better yet, make the boards be mayors again so there is some accountability and repercussions for their decisions.

Eliminate fake costs by not giving politicians, high ranks transit employees and other VIPs lifetime transit passes that they are never going to use.

Oh, and anyone on the transit board should be forced to use transit for all their travels – if you’re going to force anyone out of their cars, then these are the people who should be leading the way.


Here’s a place to tell them:

thanks Kim for the link!