Tuesday, May 14, 2013
So today was day one of my new job. It actually wasn't too bad, but it wasn't the most pleasant either.
I punched in and went off to the deli and introduced myself. There were a lot of customers being helped at the time, so no one was free to train me right away. But they showed me where the meats were, how to slice them and how to weigh them.
Basically it goes like this; you take the customers order, you find the meat, unwrap it, slice it the way the customer wants, guesstimate the weight, weigh it to make sure, punch in the product number so it can print the label, wrap it up, stick the label on it, and give it to the customer. Then you got to take the meat back and rewrap it. Rinse and repeat.
The work isn't hard, just tedious.
Even after just one day I pretty much got the hang of it. The hardest part is finding and identifying the meats, as they are not always clearly labeled, so I kept having to ask the veterans if I had the right meat. The last thing I want to do is screw up a customers order.
Since it was my first day they gave me a 4 hour shift, but typical shifts are 6 hours.
I was hoping that time would fly by if I was kept busy, but unfortunately the opposite happened. I felt like I was there forever. Hopefully, it'll get better over time. It wasn't too tiring, but my feet certainly started to hurt towards the end.
They handed me my work schedule for when they needed me. I ended up getting more hours than I expected. Sure I get more money, but Im not entirely sure if I can handle it. We'll see.
One of my friends also works in a deli at another supermarket. He hates it, he says customers are always nasty. Plus his shifts are 9 hours!
I haven't encountered a bad customer yet. But I know Im bound to encounter one sooner or later.
The pay is $8/hour. I have yet to find out how much taxes will get taken out of that. But I get paid weekly.
I personally think $8/hour is too little. I think $10 or $11/hour is more appropriate for my particular job, but I'm in no postion to complain. My personal expenses are minimal. I can't say the same for the millons of low wage workers struggling to feed their families. Once you've been in their working boots, you begin to understand their plight, and how low American wages really are.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
It's usually an American tradition for a teenager to get a summer job as a right of passage for growing up, at least thats how the baby boomers see it. But no sir! Not in this economy!
I became of working age right when the recession hit in 2008. Job opportunities simply did not exist, even for adults, let alone teenagers. As such, I never had the chance to work in my teen years. This also puts me at a disadvantage. You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to gain experience. Unless you're a teenager, having no experience makes you look lazy, despite the economic climate you were living in.
It seems there are no entry level positions anymore. If you want a job in a warehouse that pays minimum wage, you need a PhD in box lifting with 20 years experience.
I actually was quite surprised when they called up and asked for an interview.
For almost a year Ive been trying to find work, but hardly anyone was hiring, and those who were hiring usually wanted someone with "experience" even for measly, low skilled jobs. It seems employers just aren't willing to take a risk anymore. Not only that, but most companies want you to apply online, where you take a stupid personality test, and then your resume is sent off to some massive database where it probably just gets lost and never reaches the place you're applying to! What ever happened to on site applications? Do they really have to dehumanize the mere process of applying for a job?
It frustrated me because all of my friends had jobs, but I just couldn't snag one!
In the meantime, I did some various volunteer work. I also did some off the books favors for a local business, but it didn't really amount to anything. Thats another story.
After never hearing from anyone I applied to, I began to feel like it was pointless, when suddenly the phone rang from the supermarket and asked me for an interview, and the rest is history.
Today, at the age of 20, I finally got my first real paying job!
Working the deli part time at a local supermarket for $8/hr. Not the best, but I'll take it.
I start next week. I just hope Im not overwhelmed, as this is my first formal job. Im not entirely sure what to expect.
Lets hope this goes well.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Watch in 720p on fullscreen
It has always been my dream to fly a plane and on March 9th 2013, I got the chance. As a birthday present, my parents gave the chance to fly.
We contacted Mid Island Flight School, which offers the public the chance to go up in a plane with an instructor and actually fly it! No experience necessary!
So we went to the airport where we were greeted by the instructor. I was handed a headset and we set out.
I was brought to a Cessna 172R, a small plane which is very popular among recreational pilots.
I was given a basic introduction to the controls, though the instructor was pleasantly surprised to find out that I knew what everything did, even though Ive never set foot inside a cockpit before. We revved up the engine and began taxiing. He told me where to go and I was given the job of taxiing to the runway. You have to use the rudder to steer the airplane while taxiing, which is quite sloppy, and it doesn't turn very sharp. Commercial airliners have their front wheel hooked up to the control column, so it's much easier for them.
We approached Runway 33L and he asked if I wanted to do the takeoff, and I gladly accepted (I was unable to film it for the video above). I pulled back the throttle and once I gained enough speed, I pulled back on the control column and like magic, we soared into the air.
When it comes down to it, flying a plane turned out to be incredibly easy (at least for a small Cessna). Not once did I feel I did not have control, and the instructor seemed comfortable with just letting me be. It just goes to show how safe flying actually is.
We went east along the south shore and then back west along the north shore. There is a lot that you can see from the air, though the landscape was barren because we were in the middle of winter.
After almost an hour and a half of flying, we set down on Runway 33L. I let the instructor do the landing because it tends to be the most difficult part of flying, and so that I could enjoy it more.
We taxied back to the terminal and the flight was complete, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
As a pilot in training, its probably a good idea that I familiarize myself with the controls of an aircraft.
Probably at least once when you boarded a plane you may have taken a glance in the cockpit. Immediately you see a huge array of buttons, knobs, screens and lights. To most people it is remarkable as to how pilots can read and control all of these things. To a pilot however, it is just another day on the job.
A cockpit is not as complicated as it first appears. All of those buttons, knobs and indicators serve a purpose, and many are used much more often than others. A cockpit can be broken down into several instruments. So here I present to you a breakdown of what they are and what they do.
Disclaimer: This is for info purposes only. Please do not attempt to fly a plane using this blog post.
There are two basic types of cockpits, traditional cockpits and glass cockpits. Traditional cockpits used since the birth of aviation rely on analog instruments, and are usually found on small recreational aircraft, as well as older planes of all types. Glass cockpits are much more fancy and have a lot more features. In glass cockpits, almost all of the instruments are digital and many things are computerized. This greatly reduces the workload of the pilots and are essential on large aircraft. Almost all modern airliners, business jets, and military aircraft use glass cockpits. Even small Cessna's have them as an option.
This first example is that of an analog cockpit on a Cessna 172:
The instruments will not look the same on every aircraft, they have different styles depending on the manufacturer
1) Airspeed indicator
stall out, go too fast, and your aircraft will get torn apart.
2) Attitude indicator
4) Turn coordinator
5) Heading indicator
runway post. There is an adjustable orange tab around its circumference that allows you make sure you're traveling in your desired direction.
6) Vertical airspeed indicator
7) Course deviation indicator
8) Radio equipment
Communicates with air traffic control and navigation beacons. I haven't learned too much about radio procedures yet.
9) Magnetic compass
Standard navigation tool since the middle ages!
10) Yoke (Control column)
Sort of the equivalent of a steering wheel (but it doesn't actually steer, thats what the petals are for). Pulling the yoke back makes the plane pull up and fly upwards. Pushing it forward makes the plane dive and fly downwards. Turning it left or right controls the roll of the aircraft.
Just like your old Cadillac!
12) Electric control switches
Turns the aircraft's electrical power on and off.
13) Auxiliary switches
Controls various things such as the external lights.
Controls the steering or yaw of the aircraft. Pushing the left petal makes the plane turn left, pushing the right petal makes it turn right.
15) Trim tab controls
|Trim tabs on an aircraft|
The closest aircraft equivalent to cruse control, though it has nothing to do with speed. It basically puts the elevators (or ailerons or even the rudder) into a fixed position so you don't have to keep pressure in the yoke to constantly adjust your pitch (attitude).
Unlike a car, the gas on an aircraft is not something that needs constant adjusting (at least while in the air). Pushing the knob in makes the plane go faster, pulling it out makes it decelerate.
17) Air-Fuel mixture knob
Adjusts the air-fuel mixture.
18) Annunciator panel
This the equivalent to the part of the car dashboard where the 'check engine' light appears. However if you're engine's failing on a single engine Cessna, you're in serious trouble. Basically its where all the warning lights appear if there is a problem (oil pressure, low fuel, etc)
Now for the glass cockpit. Electronic flight instruments are much more complex so I will break them down a little further.
1) Primary Flight Display (PFD)
This is THE most essential component of the glass cockpit. It combines the altimeter, the heading indicator, the airspeed indicator, the vertical airspeed indicator, the compass, the attitude indicator and turn coordinator onto a single screen.
2) Navigation Display
A digital navigation instrument that serves as a map, course deviation indicator, and most importantly, the collision avoidance system.
3) Yoke (Control column)
5) Flight Management System/Flight Computer
The central computer that automates many essential flight systems. Modern aircraft could not fly the way they do without one. Its made the life of pilots a heck of a lot easier, while simultaneously putting thousands of flight engineers and navigators out of work.
6) Trim tab controls
Levers, (one for each engine) which control the amount of thrust and consequently the speed of the aircraft. Similar to the throttle knob on the Cessna. They are almost always moved together, except during taxiing or in the case of engine failure in flight.
8) Flaps control
Controls the flaps which are used during takeoff and landing (you may notice them if you have a window seat by the wing). They increase lift and drag, allowing the plane to fly at a lower speed without stalling, reducing the amount of runway needed.
9) Auxiliary Display
An optional display, usually used to display airport maps and charts.
10) Engine Indicator and Crew Alerting System (EICAS)
This is the primary safety instrument onboard the plane. It monitors all of the planes systems as well as the performance of the engines. If something goes wrong, the pilots will be alerted via this display as well as the Annunciator.
11) Cup holders
Always essential. Gotta put that coffee somewhere.
12) Mode Control Panel (Autopilot)
Allows the pilots to engage and disengage the autopilot, as well as give it settings for speed, altitude etc.
|An older autopilot system|
13) Cabin Controls
Drops the oxygen masks, controls the lights, the toilets, among other things (just below it is the compass).
And thats the basics of the cockpit, though there are many more specifics one can get into. To learn more about glass cockpits and how they are used, check out this link.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Air Canada is constantly recognized as the best airline in North America, and with good reason. It is the only full service carrier I know of that offer AVOD inflight entertainment at every seat, as well as AC power ports for gadgets, not just on its widebodies, but on its narrowbodies as well, all the way down to their CRJ-700s.
However, in pursuit of higher profits, AC is throwing their distinction out the window (at least on their short haul flights). As the Design Air showed, Air Canada is launching a new low cost subsidiary called Air Canada "rouge". Although they're presenting their new "rouge" product as something fresh hoping people will think New = Good, which is not necessarily the case. Here are a couple of reasons why rogue is bad news for the Canadian traveler:
In order to cut costs, Air Canada employees who will work for rouge will be paid lower wages than their mainline counterparts, despite doing more or less the same work.
Any reduction in fares will be quite marginal, especially in comparison to what flyers are losing in amenities. Lower fares means less profits, so any difference in fares will be minimal. The only thing that will bring down fares is fierce competition, which is extremely lacking in the Canadian airline industry. Air Canada's only real competitor in the domestic market is WestJet, and even so, Air Canada still dominates the market.
Also, the ability to earn Aeroplan points will be limited on rouge flights.
Like most low-cost carriers, amenities that were once free will now cost extra. Instead of AVOD, rouge will offer passengers the ability stream media over inflight wi-fi (for a fee of course) instead. AC says this will save the cost of installing PTV's, which is odd considering most of the fleet being transferred to rogue already has PTV's installed.
Business class will be eliminated, and replaced with "rogue Premium" which is basically a Premium Economy (in other words a downgrade). In addition, more seats will be squeezed onto each plane (142 as opposed to the current 120), reducing your legroom to a tight 29" pitch, as opposed to the more standard 32" pitch on their mainline planes.
But the cost cutting doesn't stop there, Air Canada recently ordered 5 additional Boeing 777's for expanding their international routes. Their current fleet of 18 777's has an excellent cabin, flat bed seats in a herringbone layout in business class, and a spacious 3-3-3 layout in economy. But thats going to change, Air Canada's new 777's will have a truly sardine pack configuration of 458 seats as opposed the current 349 seats. Only Air France packs more seats in their 777's.
This means if you're lucky enough to fly on these new 777's, you get the cozy rouge seating experience for the same cost as a mainline ticket! The good news is, Air Canada has no plans to reconfigure their 18 older 777's to this squished layout.
So, want to avoid flying rouge and stick with the Air Canada you know and love? You can. All of Air Canada's 767's and A319's will eventually be transferred to rouge, but the rest of the fleet will remain the same (Including their A320's, A321's, A330's, 777's, the Embraer's and the regional aircraft). Also, rouge will focus exclusively on leisure routes (the Caribbean and Southern Europe), so normal Air Canada service will remain on all others.
So don't get too excited about Air Canada rouge, because its not really a new venture, just more cost cutting disguised as a marketing campaign.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Another Forever Alone Day Special
In my Senior year of High School I met a Freshmen girl named Alice. One day I was stopping by my old teachers classroom after school and she was there asking for help on her history homework on Ancient China. Being a near expert on the subject, I volunteered to help her the next day during lunch.
I thought we really clicked, we talked a lot about things other than schoolwork. She was always working her butt off trying to do her best at school. She would get extremely frustrated and angry with herself if she didn't get an A on her assignments, even though I kept telling her it wasn't the end of the world. She always put schoolwork first and didn't have much time for friends, except luckily for me, during her lunch period.
Even though I kept telling her what an excellent girl she was, she was always convinced she was bad friend, a lousy student and an irresponsible person.
At the end of the year, I decided to ask her to my senior prom and she said yes. I really hoped to enjoy myself since I wouldn't get to see her often after I graduated.
Still, after I left high school, I tried to keep in touch and tried to do different things with her (when she wasn't busy studying that is). It was good in the beginning, we did stuff on a regular basis. But soon she began to decline more and more. She was pessimistic. She said I should go on to forget about her and try to make new friends in college because when she graduated she would go away to college and we wouldn't see each other again. I tried to tell her that thats not how friendships are supposed to be.
I chatted with her once in a while on Facebook, but apparently, she couldn't take it anymore. Recently, she dropped a bombshell on me. She said that as much as she tried, she never found a real connection with me as she did with her other friends or I did with her (I actually noticed this for a while, she always behaved differently when talking to her other friends than when she talked to me). Even though she realized this long ago, she said she stayed my friend out of guilt and pity, she said she knew I didn't have many friends and she didn't want me to be lonely, so she stayed my friend anyway. She felt guilty for lying to me and only being my friend out of pity, and eventually, she couldn't take it anymore, so she told me the truth, how she really felt.
She said that although she knew I was a good guy, she felt alienated by me. That there was no connection of true friendship. But what really hit me was when she said that I tend to "give off the wrong impression" which is a typical trait of people with Aspergers Syndrome, but she also added that Ive been called "creepy" or "weird" by other girls.
She also said she regrets becoming my friend in the first place and putting me through this revelation. Though Im not really that hurt, but still hurt that I was losing (what I still think was) such a good friend. She said though, that I should feel free to ask her for advice if I ever needed it.
I should feel betrayed, angry and lied too, but I just can't stay mad at her for it. The fact that she decided to stay my friend even though she really didn't want to shows that she cared for me and my feelings, which is something very few people do.
It was a shame, because I thought she was such a great friend, and for a while, I thought I was falling in love with her.
But as it is said, "God givith and God taketh away"
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Today I start my 2nd semester of my Sophomore year. I am just about at the halfway point in my college career. But this semester starts a whole new chapter.
I have finished my core requirements and now I must focus on my major; a B.A. in History with Secondary Education Certification.
The History is the easy part, it is an incredibly easy subject for me. The hard part is the Secondary Education certification, which might as well be a major in its own right.
It requires I take courses in:
Fundamentals of Education
Two speech classes
A Foreign Language
and last but not least
A year of supervised teaching
On top of that I have to write a Thesis for the History degree (though I tend to be good at writing papers)
So yeah, things are only going to get tougher here on out.
The Secondary Education certification is critical for me. Not only will it allow me to teach at the High School level (mainly as a back-up career), but I will give me important skills and experience for my immediate post-college goal, to teach English in Taiwan. Although you don't need such an education to get an English teaching job, it will give me a strong advantage over other applicants and should land me a good job in a good school.
So here's what I have going for me this Semester:
HIS-100 Western Civilization
SOC-100 Introduction to Sociology
EDU-121 Teaching Adolescents
POL-104 State and Local Government
Notice those are all 100 level courses. The reason being that I only took core required courses for the past 3 semesters. Now that those are out of the way, Im beginning to start my major from the ground up. Hopefully 100 level courses will mean this semester will be relatively stress free. Still, things will only get harder here on out.
Now heres the fun part, all EDU courses require that I observe a teacher in the classroom at a public school for 2 hours a week, the whole semester.
Initially I was nervous about this requirement, but then again all I have to do is observe. Im not required to take notes or actually help the teacher. Im free to learn in my own way. In addition, I plan on observing at my old High School which I graduated from only two years ago, so I'll surely see some familiar faces.
People say students studying for liberal arts degrees have it easy. While it's probably not as tough as a STEM major, I can tell you that for students who take their education seriously, it is no cakewalk. Ive got two more years to push through, but I know it will be worth it in the end.