Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Switching from Recycled to Finished Product

Departed the Clopay Plastic Products parking lot - on the southeast side of Nashville, Tennessee - at 1:00 AM CDT with a load of recycled film and plastic that will eventually be reprocessed into Procter & Gamble product containers. Dropped this load at Plastic Recycling Technology in Piqua, Ohio (photo above) at 9:32 AM EDT.

Deadheaded to the eastern edge of Lima, Ohio to drop our empty trailer at a huge Procter & Gamble distribution center we've been to many times before. Our outbound load of finished P&G product won't be ready until tonight, so we drove a mile away to the SNI/P&G trailer drop yard (photo below) next to P&G's production plant. I was granted permission to park here on break, until our load is ready and we roll again at 10:00 PM tonight. As you can see by the pictures, it's a beautiful, sun-filled day. Temperatures in the Midwest are cool at night and early morning, then warmer during the day. It's a great time of year for temperate weather.


Yesterday, we brought you a recap of our recent interview with Mike Stock, president and CEO of QualChoice, one of Arkansas’ largest health insurance providers.

A topic of our discussion centered on how the business community is assessing the changes forthcoming in the new health care legislation.

Stock says many questions remain unanswered at this point and businesses are adopting a wait-and-see attitude. However, some firms – such as AT&T, John Deere & Co. and Caterpillar – have already accounted for tax credits they expect to lose related to prescription drug coverage.

From our content partner, The City Wire, Michael Tilley talks with a number of local big businesses in the Fort Smith/Van Buren region. Most expect a negative economic impact, but to what extent they’re unsure.

Cliff Beckham, president and CEO of Van Buren-based USA Truck Inc., said the trucking and logistics company does not extend benefits to retirees and will avoid some of the extra costs on that front. Beckham said the company is in the midst of reviewing what the new law will mean for the trucking company that has financially struggled to survive a national freight recession that began in October 2006.

“There is little doubt in my mind that it will raise costs, but we are not familiar enough with the details yet to speculate as to how and how much,” Beckham said in an e-mail interview.

Officials at Fort Smith-based Baldor Electric Co. also have not determined the financial impact of the new bill, although they anticipate it will add costs for the company.

“We do know, however, that the legislation which passed last week will have a negative effect on our overall health care costs. Health care costs for our company and our employees will increase next year as a result of the new provisions required by the law,” said Tracy Long, Baldor’s vice president-investor relations.

You can read more at this link.


Sometimes, no matter how much preparation you put in, things will still be screwed. Such was the case yesterday with Craig's deliveries. Oh sure, the first one went like clock work, but it was just tempting the trucking Gods too much to hope that the next two drops would go as smoothly.

As was expected, the receiver in Livermore still had the issue of the tight quarters in the dock area, but to add insult to injury, they took well over 3 hours to unload 3 pallets of meat. Then once he got to the receiver in San Francisco, about 30 minutes ahead of his appointment time, they informed him that his appointment was actually 5pm, not 4pm, and that he would have to vacate the premises until his appointment time. Oh yeah, let's see how many spots you can find in San Francisco to park a 18 wheeler!

Driving around for awhile, Craig finally saw some trucks parked along a street and thought he just might as well park there too. It served him well, and at the new appointed time, he pulled into the receiver again to find the docks still full. Inquiring inside, and after reminding them that they had indeed said he would have a dock at 5pm, they booted a Foster Farms driver out, which made him a tad bit upset, but at least Craig was in a dock.

You would think life would be great at that point, but as Craig's 14 hour driving clock was dwindling fast, he started thinking of what his options would be. Since he started the day at 6am to get to his first stop in Sacramento, he could only drive up until 8pm. But as it turns out, driving would be the last thing he would be doing.

Tick Tock.....Tick Tock.....the 14 hour clock runs out and Craig is still in the dock and the last pallet is finally unloaded from the trailer just after 8pm. All Craig can do is pull out onto the street, park, and pray that it is a place he can legally stay for at least 8 hours before he can legally drive again. He notices a couple of trailers parked here and there, and walks the street for a bit to make sure there are no posted "no parking" signs. Feeling somewhat confident, he crawls into bed and hopes for the best.

Awaking around 4am, he does the "peek out the curtain" routine to see if there was a ticket anywhere on the truck. Finding none and breathing a sigh of relief, he proceeds to get as far away from San Francisco as he can, before the morning commute starts. He has an easy drive into the yard in French Camp, where his truck is promptly put into the work bay, and I am waiting to whisk him away for a nice hot breakfast at the restaurant down the street.

It seems all is right in our little trucking world again. Although it had it's rough moments, the last load was successfully completed, with a boatload of detention pay, the truck has been repaired, and Craig has a full belly. It may not have worked out as we planned, but it worked out okay, and we'll take that outcome any day.

Trucking by Lorna Sim – closing soon!

Congratulations to Canberra photographer Lorna Sim on her wonderful exhibition, Trucking, which is now showing at PhotoAccess. Lorna's stunning images of trucks on the road tell an eloquent story about an essential industry we all take for granted and, without ever showing them directly, the people who make it work. Trucking finishes on Sunday, 4 April. Try not to miss it if you are in the Canberra region.

More information, gallery details and the exhibition catalogue are available here. PhotoAccess will be closed on Good Friday (2 April) but open from 12 to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

NJ Court finds Owner-Operator to be Employee for Worker's Compensation Purposes


39-2-7290 Chaverri v. Cace Trucking Incorporated, App. Div. (per curiam) (8 pp.) This appeal concerns whether an injury of petitioner, Guillermo Chaverri, occurred during the scope of his employment with respondent, Cace Trucking Incorporated. Chaverri was the owner and driver of a tractor trailer. He entered into a written lease agreement with Cace whereby Chaverri agreed to use his tractor trailer to perform hauling services exclusively for Cace. Chaverri further agreed to maintain, register and insure the tractor trailer at his own expense. Chaverri was performing maintenance on the tractor portion of the vehicle at his residence when he injured his right eye, causing him to lose the sight in that eye. The appellate panel concludes as a matter of law that the injury occurred during the scope of Chaverri's employment with Cace and consequently reverses the contrary ruling of the compensation judge.”

The Outfit in Chicago

This Sun Times article is a window into how the Outfit (Chicago's Mafiosa) continues to have influence.

He's also the father-in-law of trucking magnate Fred Barbara -- a longtime Daley friend and nephew of the late Ald. Fred Roti, whom the FBI identified as a "made member" of the Chicago mob.

Barbara's companies have been paid a fortune through city deals under four Chicago mayors, and Barbara's wife, Lisa Humbert, was president of Karen's Kartage, a company that was paid more than $2.5 million from the city's scandal-plagued Hired Truck Program.

Barbara himself participated in a 1980s bombing of Horwath's Restaurant in Elmwood Park, according to testimony in the landmark "Operation Family Secrets" mob trial in 2007, though Barbara -- who didn't respond to a request for comment -- wasn't charged.

The article is about several employees that received cushy deals while working at McCormick Place. One of them is the father in law of Joseph Barbara. Barbara was implicated in a mafia investigation, though never indicted or convicted. Barbara's father, former Alderman Roti, was identified by the FBI as part of the outfit. In fact, Barbara's grandfather Bruno Roti Sr once ran with Al Capone himself.

Barbara is a trucking magnet that is also tied to the Hired Truck Scandal. He's identified as a long time friend of Mayor Daley. In fact, they went to high school together. There are just enough Outfit members that know Daley from the "old neighborhood" and from all their high school days. They've used those ties to help maintain influence.

Reuters vs reality

(Reuters) - If you think now is a good time to try your hand as a U.S. truck driver with steady pay and a life on the open road, think again.


The U.S. recession has turned a serious shortage of drivers into a surplus virtually overnight. Disappearing credit has hurt production and shipments of goods of all kinds all at once, idling thousands of trucks.

"When I began trucking two years ago you couldn't throw a dime up in the air without hitting a trucking job," said Brian Short, 26. "Those days are gone."


That's Reuters take.

Reality is that good drivers are hard to find. Who wants to work for the low ball wages of 35-40K that some of these corporations are offering drivers?

No thank you. They'll just sit back and collect their unemployment check instead.

Good truck drivers are hard to find.

You want good drivers? Pay more!

The Reuters story?

It will soon be hopelessly dated.

Idle Pastime: In Off Hours, Truckers Pick Up Stitching

WALCOTT, Iowa—Semi driver Dave White happily sequestered himself in his rig at a truck stop on a rural stretch of Interstate 80, waiting to pick up his next haul: 45,000 pounds of Spam. He used to loathe the downtime in his job.

Then, he bought a sewing machine.

For long-haul trucker Dave White, there's more to life on the road than finding a good rest stop. There's quilting. WSJ's Jennifer Levitz reports.

Since last year, when the economy left drivers with fewer hauls, Mr. White, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound ex-Air Force mechanic with a bushy mustache, has hunkered down inside his truck in his many off hours, making quilts from patterns with names like "Meet Me In Paris." When he's not sewing, he's daydreaming about it, he said as he ran a square of yellow cotton with little violets through his machine. "Oh, there's many a time you're just going down the road at O-dark-thirty in the morning and you just start thinking about a particular pattern."

Some truckers are finding themselves with more spare time on the road. Loads of goods delivered by truckers fell 15% in 2009, to 170 million loads, the largest drop in modern history, said Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations. That came on top of a slow downswing in hauls because of what the industry laments as "miniaturization" of goods: It takes less space to move flat-screen TVs and iPods than their clunkier predecessors.

With declining freight, truckers who drive hundreds of miles to make a delivery may not immediately have a load lined up for the return trip. So they bide time at truck stops, where they can shower, dine and sleep in their rigs. A couple of years ago, a driver might drop off a load and pick up a new one in two hours; now the wait can be two days, said Mr. Costello.

Though evidence is anecdotal, industry groups and trucking-company owners say the increase in spare time has spawned more hobbies. "We've got guys who are into opera, photography, skydiving," said Norita Taylor, spokeswoman for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers' Association, a truckers' group.

Mr. White's employer, Iowa-based Don Hummer Trucking Corp., last year started a loosely organized "sewing club," and encourages drivers who are nimble with a needle to show off their handiwork at headquarters. "We want them to pass the time to make themselves happy, rather than get frustrated waiting," said Dena Boelter, Hummer's human-resources manager, an avid sewer who calls the hobby a great stress reliever that can be done almost anywhere.

Kevin Abraham-Banks, a 37-year-old trucker with a shaved head and dragon tattoos, passes time at truck stops with his cocoa and knitting.

View Full Image


Gretchen Abraham-Banks

Kevin Abraham-Banks, a Sioux Falls, S.D., trucker, likes to knit while passing the time on the road. Here he makes a sweater for his wife.



Mr. Banks, who lives in Sioux Falls, S.D., and hauls romaine lettuce between California and the Midwest, learned to knit last year after load-volumes slowed. Creating something tangible beats sitting around the truck stop "talking about who has a bigger radio," he said. He's finished a scarf and socks, and is working on a sweater for his wife.

"The fact that you can take strands of thread and basically make something out of it, that's awesome I think," he said. "It's pretty cool stuff, man."

Still, trucking can be a macho world that doesn't feel conducive to knitting or sewing. Some 95% of truckers are men, said the ATA. At the Iowa-80 Truck Stop, whose signs bill it as the "World's Largest Truckstop," a top request at the theater is for "Smokey and the Bandit" and the on-site dentist, Thomas Roemer, often sees drivers only after they've tried to yank their teeth out themselves. Crafting with fabric and yarn is "nothing I would do—my mom does that," said Mark Sanchez, 47, a long-haul trucker.

Thomas McConnaughy, a married grandfather from Hemet, Calif., hauls cereal, reads his Bible, plays Sudoku, and talks trout fishing at truck stops. He doesn't let on to other drivers that he keeps 15 coils of yarn in his cab and makes what he describes as "really cute slippers."

"In the truck stops, it's usually a bunch of guys watching football," he said. "If I sat down with my knitting, I think there would be some funny remarks."

Mr. White, the quilter, who is 53, came to his new passion last summer after feeling he was wasting time "waiting on freight."

He drove 2,600 miles a week on average in 2009, versus 3,200 in 2008, even though he spent the same amount of time—about three weeks at a stretch—on the road.


He struggled to find a hobby, having burned out on reading. He tried carting along a remote-controlled helicopter, but it kept falling on him from a shelf in the truck. His wife, Dee, an accountant at their home in Colorado Springs, Colo., is a quilter and suggested he try it. By August, they had outfitted his truck's sleeper cabin with a $179 sewing machine, supplies, and a starter's pattern. "Boy, let me tell you, I created a monster," she said.

Since then, Mr. White has made seven quilt tops, which are finished with a filling and backing between trips. He spends three hours a day on his hobby, sitting on his bed, with his sewing machine next to his mini-fridge. Flowered "project boxes" sit next to neat stacks of blue jeans and baseball caps. Quilting, he said, "gives you a little bit of ownership. You've actually accomplished something with your time off."

He pulled over once to visit the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Ky., and if time allows, visits fabric stores in towns he rolls through.

In his truck, he showed a quilt with illustrations of fruit, and emphasized the importance of strategically placing quilt blocks so that "you don't get three lemons in a row or two plums in a row."

His blue eyes widened behind his glasses as he moved to the topic of thread. "There is a variegated thread that goes purple to white then back to purple," he said. "Oh! Just beautiful."

Kentucky Collision Demonstrates Tragic Consequences of Trucking Accidents

Just before sunrise on March 26th, on a hilly stretch of Kentucky Interstate 65, a tractor-trailer loaded with auto parts drifted out of its lane, roaring over a median, passing into the northbound lanes of the highway, and striking a passenger van head-on.

The van carried a group of members of a Burkesville Mennonite church, who were headed north for a wedding that weekend in Iowa. The passengers included a recently-engaged couple and members of their family, accompanied by several children and grandchildren. Of the 13 total passengers, only two survived. When his vehicle smashed into a rock wall and burst into flames, the driver of the commercial truck was also killed.

Reports called the crash "one of the deadliest traffic accidents in recent Kentucky history." Leroy Kauffman, pastor of the victims' church said, "We're experiencing a lot of heartache and a lot of sadness." State officials offered their sympathies to the victims and their families; Governor Steve Beshear was quoted as saying "Our entire state grieves," while the senate observed a moment of silence. Meanwhile, representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) began an in-depth investigation into the cause of the crash, examining not only the background of the truck driver, but the company that employed him, and any road conditions that might have contributed to the collision.

The trucking company involved in Friday's crash had a relatively strong record; the Associated Press noted that "according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's online records, the company's 25 trucks and 30 drivers had been involved in two crashes in the past two and a half years, and only one of those resulted in any injuries." However, because trucks have such limited visibility and awkward maneuverability, their drivers must be especially vigilant, operating with an exceptional level of caution and care. Lack of training, the influence of drugs and alcohol, or even simple exhaustion (the crash occurred at approximately 5:30 AM) can be enough to cause an accident.

Due to the tremendous size and weight of commercial trucking vehicles, even seemingly minor collisions can have devastating consequences; the dangers of such a crash are multiplied ten-fold on a major highway such as I-65. Indeed, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Ann Gibson noted that "cable-barriers" had recently been installed on that section of highway, so as to discourage and prevent vehicles from crossing over the median. However, such an impediment would have been insufficient in stopping or slowing a truck like the one that crossed over Friday morning.

Regardless of the NTSB's final determination as to the cause of the accident – and with whom the resulting liability rests – this tragic example underlines the extreme dangers present on highways and interstates across the country. If you or a loved one has been harmed in an accident with a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle, seek out experienced representation that can help you right the wrong that has been done. Personal injury lawyer James R. Gillen has a wealth of experience handling cases arising from crashes of this type; to learn more about his work in this area of law, please visit the auto and trucking accident page of Mr. Gillen's website.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


This past month has been insane. In the month of February I was awarded 3 days off at my day job. So far in March the trend has continued. Fortunately there is an end in sight just as things are starting to pick up with a couple paintings that I am working on. I love when everything comes together.

I thought I would just quickly post a couple images as I just finished painting with that "I could stay up all night and just look at this mark and this mark and this mark" feeling. It's awesome. The artist's high.

The first image is actually of the piece that I am working on now which gave me such a high. It is too dark in the studio to take a decent pic of it tonight but in sketch stage yesterday this is what it looked like.

I am stoked with the way this is piecing together. I also have big plans for the lower (you can't see it cuz it is not attached yet) part of this piece. It is going to involve some construction and be generally awesome!

The second image is of a more resolved piece in the smoke series which I am really excited about. This one came about in that flurry of putting down paint in efforts of trying not to waste any right before you have to leave studio. Sometimes this results in some very happy mistakes.
I for one am loving these.

I am really digging the amorphous quality of these smoke pieces and am really starting to see some reference to some Stuart Davis and Brian Barneclo in the shape of the smoke. More to come soon. For now I'm out. Just wanted to share quickly while I was feeling the right vibe.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Road to Riches 2 v1.0 -TE

Really cool time management game from big fish games released by 0day gropu TE. John is fresh out of the army and needs your help to succeed in the trucking business! Make deliveries and earn truckloads of money in Road to Riches 2! After his brother-in-law lends him a truck, it’s up to John to make enough money to pay him back. Drive around the city earning cash and purchasing newer vehicles. Can you survive the fast-paced world of trucking in this Time Management game?


No Pass!!!

Cleaner trucks, cleaner ports

The NY Times recently ran an article titled "Clearing the Air at American Ports" about an alliance between union members and environmental groups that aims to reduce port emissions by requiring the trucking companies that operate at ports to hire truckers as employees rather than independent contractors, and as a result, pay for newer and cleaner trucks for them. A successful model of this program was started at the Port of LA, and many are now pushing for Congress to change laws at the Federal level so that it could be more easily replicated at other ports around the country. As our neighborhood is so directly linked to an operating port, it is well worthwhile to think about how a program like this might effect local workers and the air we all breathe.

Below are some quotes from the article. The full article, which contains more details about related legal battles, industry economics, and opinions on both sides, is available here.

The Teamsters union and environmental activists have formed an unlikely and outspoken alliance aiming to clear the air in American ports, and perhaps bolster the Teamsters’ ranks in the process.

The labor-green alliance is getting under the trucking industry’s skin by asserting that short-haul trucking companies working in ports — and not the truck drivers, who are often considered independent contractors — should spend the billions needed to buy new, low-emission rigs that can cost $100,000 to $175,000 each.

The Teamsters union says seaport air is so dirty largely because port truck drivers earn too little to buy trucks that would belch out fewer diesel particulates, tiny particles that contribute to cancer and asthma. Working with environmentalists, the union helped persuade the Port of Los Angeles to adopt a far-reaching plan that bars old trucks from hauling cargo from the port and puts the burden of buying new vehicles on the trucking companies, not the drivers.......

The labor-green alliance achieved a major victory in late 2008 when it helped persuade the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, a former union organizer, and the city’s port to require trucking companies to employ their drivers directly, making the companies bear the cost of buying new rigs.......

In addition to Mayor Villaraigosa, the Teamsters and environmentalists have lined up other backers, including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, Mayor Corey Booker of Newark and other mayors, senators and representatives.

With a recent Rutgers study finding that port drivers earned $29,000 a year on average (after paying for their trucks, maintenance, fuel and insurance), Mr. Bloomberg said, “Truck drivers simply can’t afford to buy expensive trucks. They’re barely earning enough to make ends meet in a job that should be providing them with a solid, middle-class living."

Image above of the Port of LA from NYTimes

Long Loading Days

Well got off loaded Monday morning then it was off to Albion, Michigan which was just under an hour south. This meant I had to cross at Detroit. It is not easy to cross there as you have to go through the city more or less to get to it, and its all messed up. Yet it’s the busiest port crossing in Canada, letting over 6000 trucks a day cross.

This is me crossing the Ambassador Bridge from the US on the left to Canada on the right of the picture.

Once across the border, my load was going to Ottawa, Capital of Canada, but I was just dropping it at our yard in Toronto and switching for an empty to go to another part of the city to load. The only down side to running single is you have to wait to be loaded and unloaded. Teams just drop and switch trailers saving hours upon hours. Canadians and Americans are just so laid back. They don’t worry about how long they take. Sometimes it can be only an hour, other times it can be six hours. Its ok for them, they get paid by the hour. Me I get a loading fee, but I can earn loads more driving than loading. So the longer I’m unloading/loading, the more I’m out of pocket. This is why now I have my own truck, I would like really long runs. As the less actual delivery days I have, the more miles I can do. Delivery days are always long days, that’s if you try and do your average daily miles too. Like this time, my off loading in the morning took 3+ hours and my reloading at night took 3hrs. Then to do at least 500miles a day, that takes eight and half hours. So delivery day I end up doing my maximum working day of 16hrs, just to do as many miles as I can.

When I pulled off the bay, I jokingly made a sarcy comment, “Wow, the three hours it took you to load me, I would have expected to have a trailer full to the brim.” It was only 25% full. I then drove till the early hours leaving me 10.5 hours left to get back to Woodstock the following day, which got me back late last night. This meant I had no more US hours left, so decided to come home for a couple of days to reset my hours. Then I will be back out on Friday, hopefully with the truck left as clean inside and out as I left it. The outside of the truck was Black,

Joe would have not been happy seeing it this morning in that state. So I took it to the truck wash early hours this morning. It took him an hour to do it. Then into the shop for maintenance.

We have had great weather these last couple of weeks, still only reaching 4-8 degrees but the snow has gone except the odd patch. Which is great except for one reason. I now have to find time to landscape my land as it still looks like a building site, all 5058 square meters of it.

Guess I better get dressed and get started by stacking the logs I just chucked out of the truck, so off I go till next time. Have a nice dayyyy

This is Montreal. All the housing estates in the cities are no Different here as back in the UK.All the houses are packed in like sardines

No more Ice here either

Thursday, February 11, 2010


As I think I have mentioned before Leah LOVES big trucks (18 wheelers) almost as much as she loves buses! Luckily for her my brother is a truck driver. So today Uncle John called Leah and said he was hauling logs to Dysart's and we could meet him there so Leah could get a ride. So we met him at the scales and rode over the scales with him and then drove across the street to the log yard to have the logs unloaded. She was mesmerized by the whole thing! She loved the crane!

Governor Perdue Announces Donation to Cargo Theft Prevention

GBI Major Theft Unit has recovered $17.1 million of stolen cargo and property

Today Governor Sonny Perdue announced that the Georgia Motor Trucking Association (GMTA) has donated $16,000 to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Major Theft Unit (MTU). Members of the GMTA joined Governor Perdue to commend the MTU on their dedication to investigating cargo and other major thefts in Georgia.

“Cargo theft represents a big concern and cost for trucking and other freight haulers,” said Governor Perdue. “The Major Theft Unit was created to identify and target the individuals and groups responsible for cargo theft in our state. This donation highlights Georgia’s efforts in combating this crime.”

Georgia is a major logistics hub making cargo theft prevention an important priority for the state. It is estimated that 43.5 million truckloads of cargo, valued at $1.4 trillion, traveled through Georgia’s highways in 2009.

The Major Theft Unit was created last year and has already seized $17 million in stolen cargo and made 71 arrests. In addition, the MTU has assisted in the seizure of $1.2 million in drug contraband. The MTU has provided cargo theft investigation and prevention training to both local law enforcement agencies and the transportation industry. Cargo theft is a nationwide issue with significant impact on the United States economy.

“The Georgia Motor Trucking Association has partnered with law enforcement as we work to investigate and prosecute persons committing cargo theft in this state. The financial support provided by the association will be used to purchase equipment for the Major Theft Unit and to train state and local law enforcement,” said GBI Director Vernon Keenan.

Cargo theft crimes account for an estimated direct merchandise loss of $10 to $25 billion per year in the United States. Georgia has become the target for cargo thieves operating in the southeast, and is now one of the leading states for cargo crimes. The Major Theft Unit is working in close cooperation with federal, state, and local agencies to investigate cargo and other major thefts in Georgia.

“GMTA and its members are grateful for the opportunity to support the GBI in this vital effort,” said Ed Crowell, President & CEO Georgia Motor Trucking Association, “Cargo theft is a growing plague across the nation and thanks to Governor Perdue’s leadership, as well as the skill and dedication of GBI’s Major Theft Unit, Georgia is now leading the nation in fighting back. GMTA will continue to this work in every way possible.”

The Georgia Motor Trucking Association is the only organization in the state that provides full-time service and representation for the trucking industry. The Association serves as the "voice" of the trucking industry in Georgia, representing more than 400 for-hire carriers, 400 private carriers, and 300 associate members.

Governor Perdue and GBI Director Vernon Keenan were joined by Ed Crowell and members of GMTA.
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Obituaries 02-10-2010

Bobby Joe Turney1959-2010
Bobby Joe Turney passed away February 6, 2010 in Alpine, Wyoming while snowmobiling. He was born October 18,1959 in Philipsburg, MT to parents, Jack and Yuvanne Turney.He grew up in the Philipsburg area until age 2 when the family moved to the Big Hole Valley. At the age of 3, Bob had a close call with fate, nearly drowning while swimming at the Hot Springs in Jackson, MT. Then the Turney clan picked up and moved to the Ruby Valley. Bobby attended school in Twin Bridges until the end of the fifth grade, then his education went up the road to Sheridan, where he went to school from the sixth grade till the end of his sophomore year.The Turney family decided to move to Horse Prairie and Bobby went to BCHS to complete his schooling. Throughout his learning years Bobby had another school he attended that was taught by his dad, Jack. Jack was truly Bob's mentor. Bobby learned at a young age that the schooling that Jack was teaching him would be life skills that would carry on in life ranging anywhere from trailing cows, breaking horses, team roping to becoming an exceptional mechanic and welder. (Which was the knowledge he needed to fix the various things that he broke before his dad got home.)Bobby was also a motorcycle lover at a young age, which was sometimes good and sometimes bad. The motorcycle just happened to end Bobby's musical career of playing the saxophone, when a wreck with his sister knocked out his front teeth. Bobby seemed to have a knack for finding trouble.While at BCHS, he met the love of his life Jennifer Tenney and this is where the next chapter of his life began. They were married on February 2,1979. Bobby went to work for Holland Ranch Co., Ed Blome, Ned and Dave Wellborn, Cross Ranch and Cleverly Trucking. Then Bobby decided that a life change was needed so he went back to Grant to work with his dad in the shop, known as Independent Welding and Store. While there he became a jack of all trades and a master of none, as Jack used to say.While in Grant, Bobby worked closely with his dad on the Grant Fire Dept. He also spent time serving on the Grant School Board. Grant was the home of many memories and unlimited laughs with family and friends. Bobby then partnered with Mike Maloney in the logging business named Brokenass Logging. Bobby eventually bought it from Mike and expanded out into Brokenass Trucking. He began hauling hay, livestock and anything else that was worth hauling. His father in-law Jim “Gramps” Tenney helped him grow the business into what it is today. Brokenass Trucking has been a business that brought the whole family and close friends into the current day business of Turney Towing and Repair.Bobby's love for life included his children, grandchildren and everybody else's kids. He is survived by his wife Jennifer of 31 years, two sons Kelly (Cecelia) and Brandon (Toree) and his three daughters Shelley (Josh), Amanda (Coley), and Heidi (Tanner). Bobby also has six grandchildren Kaylinn, Braxtyn, Kennlie, Ella Mae, Ebbie and Jada. He is also survived by his mother Yuvanne, his father-in-law Jim “Gramps” Tenney, his brother Jay (Carole), sisters Cheri, Julie (Billy),Vickie (Matt), Jackie (Mark), sister-in-law Vicki and Gary Helm, brother-in-law Jason and Trish Tenney, grandmother Diane Rice of Philipsburg, Aunts Diane Bennett, Helen Cullinen, and Uncle Gary and Kathy Turney. Along with numerous nieces, nephews and cousins that brought great joy to his life. Bobby used to joke, once your part of the family you could never leave.He is preceded in death by his dad Jack, mother-in-law Ella Mae, and nephew Chris and a favorite Uncle Glenny.Bobby had many different hobbies, and snowmobiling was one of them. He cherished the memories he had with the many friends and family that shared this passion with him. The snowmobiling trips always came back with good stories and many laughs. The family would like to thank everyone who took part in making Bobby's life with us a truly great and memorable one, with stories that will never end.A viewing will be held Friday evening from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Brundage Funeral Home, Dillon MT. Funeral services will be held at the B.W. Lodge Gymnasium, Saturday February 13, 2010 at 10 a.m. A luncheon will be held following services at the Lutheran Church. A guestbook is available on line at

Larry Joe Salmonsen1943 - 2010
Larry Joe Salmonsen, age 66, died on Sunday, Jan. 31, at Ridgewind Assisted Living.He was born Aug. 22, 1943, to Elmer and Mary (Kenison) Salmonsen in Dillon, MT., attended school around the state, but graduated from Bozeman High School. He married Diane Householder in 1967 in Billings. They were married for 37 years and raised three children, Sharlene, James, and Kristin. In 1969, work took him to Nevada. In 1973, he moved his family back to Hardin and lived there for the next 32 years. He loved to watch high school basketball games. He had a big heart and was generous to those around him, giving whatever he could whenever he could. He is survived by his children Sharlene, James and Kristin (Cason) as well as a granddaughter Kamiah, all currently residing in Pocatello, ID., and his brothers Bill and Melvin, who both reside in Dillon.He was preceded in death by his parents, his grandson Kyle Salmonsen, and half-brother Glenn Salmonsen. Services were at the Brundage Funeral Home, Dillon, at 10 a.m., with a viewing 1 hour prior to a short graveside service which followed Saturday, Feb. 6, at Mountain View Cemetery in Dillon.

J. Abel Rodriguez1958 - 2010
Dillon - J. Abel Rodriguez died Thursday February 4, 2010 at the University Hospital in Salt Lake City as a result of a sudden stroke.He was born in el Pescadito, Rio Verde, San Luis Potosi, Mexico on January 5,1958 to Maria Sebastiana and Marcelo Don Rodriguez. Abel grew up in Mexico but spent his adult life in the United States where he proudly attained citizenship in 1995. After a few years of travel and work at a variety of jobs, Abel came to Dillon where he worked for 30 years on area ranches. His extraordinary energy, hard work and endless cheerful kindness made an impression on everyone he met. In recent years, while helping his wife with their restaurant "Las Carmelitas", Abel began a new career as a carpenter. He loved the work and everyone he worked with loved him.Abel met Rita Perez-Betancourt at the County Fair in Dillon in 1976. They fell in love, married, worked and raised their children in the Dillon Community. Abel always said, "babies love me". His own children, grandchildren and babies of his friends where all blessed to be held and entertained by him for hours.He is survived by his wife Rita Rodriguez, his daughters Irma (Jeff) Winters and their daughter Isabel; Carmelita Rodriguez and her son Lorenzo; son Carlos Rodriguez and his daughter Zofia and Zofia’s mother Irma Vazquez. His parents Sebastiana and Marcelo Rodriguez, siblings; Noeh, Guadalupe, Maria Socorro, Marcelo and many beloved nieces and nephews also survive.His grandparents precede him in deathAt Abel’s request, cremation has taken place.There will be a Memorial gathering for Abel Monday, February 8, 2010, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Lutheran Church, 715 E Bannack, Dillon.

Rose Anne Nelson1950 - 2010
Rose Anne Nelson born Rose Anne Robinette, Feb. 13, 1950 passed away suddenly Feb. 4.Rose is survived by her mother, Sylvia Kearns; daughters Tammy Gregory, Deanne Smith, Sabrina Saylor and Janice Rokusek; grandchildren Collin, Sharee, Zachery, Anthony, Tara, Logan, Jerri and Lilly; brothers Jerry and Michael Robinette; and nieces and nephews; Marisa, Joseph and Chantelle.She was preceded in death by her father, John Kearns.Rose was an LPN, dedicating her life to others. Her life was her family including her animals, especially her chocolate Labrador, Babe. She loved spending her summers in her yard gardening, visiting her children and traveling with her mom.A celebration of her life took place Monday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. at Brundage Funeral Home with a visitation prior to services from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. A guest book and video tribute are available at

Marv Amundson
Marv Amundson passed away Feb. 5. Services will be at St. John's, Butte, at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10.Graveside services will be Thursday, Feb. 11, 10:30 a.m., at Mountain View Cemetery.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I got up at 3 a.m. to drive into work. It's my day off.

So why would I do that? Because the driver of the first bus that leaves in the morning offered me a trip up to Whistler. I haven't been up there for about 7 years, and so haven't seen the new highway. I also want to see what changes have been made for the Olympics. I want to drive the route up there to see the drop-off points for the workforce crew, the order they are in, how far apart they are, and other details so that I can be better informed when I am asked questions by the workforce because, so far, I haven't been able to answer hardly any.

My car gives me a lot of trouble on the way in. Ever since I had the new alternator installed, as soon as it warms up it starts to feel like it will stall, even when on the highway going 100km per hour. It usually only lasts five minutes or so then all is fine for the rest of the trip. This time it starts almost straight away and doesn't stop for most of the drive in. It's stressing me out hugely as I just can't afford to get it fixed and I don't want to miss any work.

I get there alright and the bus is pulling up to it's spot as I get out of my van. We leave about ten minutes later with only one other passenger, a woman in her late 50's - I would guess - who is a RN and applied to volunteer with the medical department but is working in print media. Go figure.

It's dark the whole drive up, but the driver - Patrick - gives a running commentary on the points of interest along the way. I listen attentively and it's a good thing because later I will need to remember what he's saying but I don't know that right now.

It's about a two hour trip and it's still dark when we arrive. Patric takes our passenger to the last stop. As we turn into the road that runs along the back of the new part of Whistler village, the trees lining the road are completely lit up with tiny blue LED lights and it looks like a fairy land. I try to take a photo but it doesn't turn out. I need to be on a tripod or at least leaning the camera against a solid object that isn't moving.

Once we drop off our passenger at the Whistler Village stop, we head back where we came from but this time Patrick turns into the other three stops; the media center, Whistler Creekside, and the last one, the Athlete's Village. Only we can't see the village because it's behind a bank of trees but there's a huge tent set up behind a security checkpoint. The buses for the athletes must drive into the tent and stop where bomb sniffing dogs and their handlers will go over each vehicle with a fine tooth comb. Once cleared, then they can continue on to pick up the athletes and transport them to their venue.

On the way back down the highway the sun is rising and the Tantalus Mountain Range is lit up pink. Patrick pulls over to a lookout point so I can get out and take some pictures. While we are there, an RCMP SUV pulls up to check on us. Apparently, any bus or vehicle that stops they come over to check out now that all security is beefed up for the games. There are RCMP all over the place. Even one on every street corner.

When we stop later for a doughnut and hot chocolate at Tim Horton's, there are at least 20 RCMP in there and I joke with them about the stereotype of cops and doughnut shops is true. We ask where they are from. Some are from Langley, some are from Ontario, and others from Alberta.

Patrick told us on the way up that there is a pod of whales in Howe Sound at the moment so now I am on the lookout for them. I spot something in the water far below and watch it for a bit but it doesn't move so I assume it's a log. I mention it to Patrick and he looks over and says that it is a whale. What I thought was a branch is it's fin. I am squinting at it, trying to make it out when suddenly it disappears under the water. Yep. A whale. We also see a few bald eagles in the trees at the side of the road near a small river. Apparently there have been a few black bears on the sandbar just up a short way from the bridge we drive over but there aren't any around today.

I ask Patrick about the trouble I am having with my car and he thinks it might be something as simple as low transmission fluid. I tell him I just had the oil changed and asked them to check all of the fluid levels and specifically that one and they said it was fine. But he tells me that unless they checked while the vehicle was running and in drive, you can't tell if it's low. Well I know they didn't do that as I was sitting in the car the whole time. So I need to do that as soon as I can.

When we get back to BCIT, Olga joins us and we turn around to make the trip back up to Whistler with a new group - three women and one young man. This time we are going to Whistler Olympic Park which is on the south side about thirteen miles from Whistler Village. It is full daylight now as it is 10 a.m. and the sky is blue with a few clouds. As we drive along, Patrick tells me that I will now give the guided tour that he gave me earlier. So I try to recall everything he said and remember most of it as we pass the mine at Britannia Beach, which used to be the largest copper mine in the British Commonwealth, and as well mined some gold, and is now a museum; Shannon Falls, the second highest water fall in North America (or so Patrick said but when I check later at home, it's the third highest falls in B.C.); and The Stawamus Chief, the second largest rock and the largest granite rock-face in North America (or so said my ex).

It's a beautiful drive up in the daylight but so painfully free of any snow, at all, anywhere but on the highest peaks. Usually at this time of year, the snow is piled ten feet high at the side of the road where the plows have cleared it off. I know it's nothing we can do anything about, but it's kind of embarrassing. The whole world will be watching and there's no snow. In fact, I heard on the news yesterday that it's the warmest January on record since they started keeping records. There isn't any snow at the side of the road until we get to Whistler proper and then it's not anywhere close to what is normal.

We turn off at the road to WOP, the acronym we use all the time at BCIT, and before too long we pull into the large parking lot. There's another issue with the warm weather. A few of the huge areas they cleared for parking is so soft and wet, the buses get stuck. This is because they fully expected the ground to be frozen, as it should be in January. So now they are frantically trucking in gravel to fill and firm the soil in the last few days before the games start. So between trucking in gravel, and trucking in snow from Manning Park (a five hour trip, one way) to Cypress and then heli-lifting it to the runs, we must be going seriously over budget even more than anticipated. It's not cheap to rent those massive helicopters day in and day out. It's a nightmare, really. There's no other word for it.

There's a group of bus drivers just arrived on two buses along with the big boss from our post down at BCIT. He's brought a bunch of out-of-town divers up to learn the route and how the drop off and pick up will work in this huge lot. He is surprised to see me step off the bus and seems impressed that I would take a day off to come up here and learn the route.

When we head back I get a good look at the Peak to Peak Gondola that connects Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It's really, really high up. My daughter rode it with her husband a few weeks ago and she said that when she looked down, she was terrified as they were hundreds of feet in the air. It looks terrifying from way down here. But I'd like to come back and ride it some day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Mover (Story 299)

Megan and Kellon's possessions were delivered by moving van today. The driver was missing his two front teeth. (He also happened to be an amazing driver and got his truck into a difficult spot even though the driveway hadn't been ploughed).

The Mover
He was missing his two front teeth. He had lost them thirty-three years ago. They'd been gone for so long now he didn't think about the space very often. It was odd that the first thing that people noticed about him was that he smiled unselfconsciously and that he had two missing front teeth, yet he smiled without considering the missing teeth at all. It just wasn't how he saw himself.

Every time he went to the dentist, they suggested that he could have a set of false teeth made up. Every time he told them “no”. He'd had them before. Just shortly after the teeth were knocked out in a hockey game when he was seventeen. He had never got used to them and eventually just left them in the bathroom cabinet.

When he'd taken the hit with the puck, he couldn't believe the pain he experienced, nor the amount of blood that came out of his mouth when he spit them out onto the ice. The dentist told him later that he should have stopped playing immediately and put the teeth inside his cheek or into a glass of milk, or some such nonsense. He has just spit the blood out and chased after the puck until the play was called and his coached pulled him from the ice.

He felt a little self conscious while he was waiting for his gums to heal enough to begin the steps needed to get the false teeth. He'd try to hide his smile, but he was smiled so often that it was futile. When he decided that he hated the fake teeth he'd given up even caring. If someone couldn't see beyond the teeth to the winning smile, then they just weren't worth troubling over.

He continued to play hockey while he did his training for long-distance trucking, but he'd given it up when he began working for a moving company that handled cross Canada moves. The expectations of style weren't that high for truck drivers. That was probably the reason his smile wasn't a problem. It certainly hadn't hurt his career.

When he financed the purchase of his own rig, the bank had seemed happy enough to give him the money. The day he signed the final papers the loans officer had smiled and shaken his hand in the same manner he had the jewelry store owner who had been in his office immediately before.

Today after he backed his rig into a particularly tricky driveway, he'd hoped down and smiled winningly at the family who were waiting to move into their new home. They certainly noticed his big toothless smile, but by the time all their possessions were off the truck and sitting in the their home, they long since forgotten.

They thanked him for all his help before he left and he responded with a big cheerful smile.

Seattle, WA Week 4 Discussion – Lets Talk on the Subject of Recalls

Lets talk on the subject of recalls. Of course, the most prominent recent one is Toyota. We all know someone with a Toyota, or we may own one ourselves, such as Steve Lent, owing a 2009 Prius.

I like my Toyota. Naturally, I have a concern with this recall. The big question for Toyota is, given the circumstances, will people continue to buy Toyotas? I think so. Every company makes mistakes. This is a vision held by the public. What will concern people most is HOW TOYOTA HANDLE THIS RECALL! The psychology of buying a car is the same for psychology of owning one.

The purchaser of a car isn’t going to care if a seat is made in Thailand, or a transmission is made in Venezuela, or a window is made in France, all they know or care about is that they brought a Toyota. Is Toyota going to tell them to go to a supplier for their problem? Of course not. Toyota will accept the problem, fix it, and continue to be an excellent car manufacturer. “The buck stops here.” We all know where that came from. How very true. More Next Week…

The Night Shift

The cheapest way to communicate in North America is using 10-4 phones. We have been wanting them for months. What they are is a normal cell phone, but also they turn into one to one walky talkies. Great invention. For $15 on top of your talk package. You get to use the 10-4 feature as much as you like for no extra cost. So I can be in California and Emma can be at home in New Brunswick, and we can talk all day if we wanted for no extra charge. When we was in the shop getting them. I was saying maybe this is a bad mistake, letting Emma be able to get hold of me 24/7 lol

Well I got into 840 at 9pm on Wednesday night. My load was going to Lawrenceville, Virginia again which is 1071 miles, the way they like us to go, and I needed to be there 7am Friday morning. The only way to do it, was doing the night shift. So I set off and managed to get to Milldale in Connecticut by 6am for my well earned rest, then set off again, arriving at 3am ready for my 7am drop, thinking there was going to be a massive queue of trucks waiting to unload. Luckily there was just one and he was collecting so I got off loaded straight away when they came in a 7am. They had already given me my reload in Suffolk, Virginia going back to Quebec. But as normal the trailer needed to be clean and very dry. Now the product I took down, is stored outside and was covered in snow. So the trailer was all wet inside again like last time. So off to wal-mart again for kitty litter to dry it out. Last time I was down there, it was lovely and sunny. Not this time, it was cold and a storm was on its way. Kitty litter gets rid of the excess water, but never dries it completely. So I was going to leave doors open for a while as I was still officially on break till after lunch. Then just as I had finished sweeping the trailer. It started to snow. So I had to shut the doors and hope it would dry in time for my pickup. Then I went back to sleep. When I woke, they had changed my reload to pickup in Hopewell, Virginia, instead going back to Ontario, and the car park was covered in snow, that wet slushy stuff like in the UK. I thought I went south to get away from the snow, not to follow me down lol.

Anyway I gets to my collection. Sits there for 2hour, waiting to load then at 5pm I finally get onto the bay only to be told my trailer was still to damp. Seven hours and still no dryer than when I left it. Lucky they had those diesel heaters. So I asked if I could put one of those in the back and put the shutter down. Another four and half hours later. It is still not dry, but was getting there so they decided to load me anyway. All this time I was not allowed in my cab. I had to sit in this drivers lounge. I was shattered by the time I set off at 10pm. The weather had gone from bad snow to hard rain, washing the snow away. I drove for an hour up to the truck stop for fuel and was going to have an hours sleep so I could drive all night again, but when I laid down, I was not tired, so decided to carry on driving. The rain started to turn to snow again. Buy the time I was half hour up the road. It was coming down fast and I had passed all the truck stops near me. The next one was 100 miles away. What a bummer. All I could do was keep going. If I was in Canada. It would not have been a problem as there would not have been much traffic on the road, and what traffic there was would know how to drive. Not in Virginia, and Maryland. They have not got a clue. They are not used to this amount of snow at once. Up to 42” dropped that night. On some of the un plowed roads. The snow was that high, my front Bumper was pushing through the snow, but I had to keep going to get to that truck stop.

Cars and trucks where stuck everywhere. I managed to snake round them and carry on. One truck looked like he had given up and tried to pull over to the edge of the road and park on the shoulder, only to go to far over and end up leaning over half in the ditch. He just left his lights and flashers on, closed his curtains, and went to sleep.

This plow had spun out and got stuck

In winter they line the roads with these three foot sticks so the plow dudes know where the edge of the road is. I just kept them at equal distance from me on each side, but sometimes the snow was just to deep to see them. So it was hard going. I tried to pull one truck out of the ditch, as a couple of guys that had stopped had got chains in their pickup, I just could not get traction though, so had to leave him where he was. The snow plow dudes where not that good either in Maryland. I had never seen as many plows in one place. I must have had ten around me at one point, and all they could do is follow each other in the same line. What a waist of time that was. 6am I finally reached the truck stop. Six hours to drive 120miles I was not impressed. The truck stop was chocker. Trucks even parked on the fuel island and went to sleep there. I found one spot right at the back. It looked like someone had just pulled out with the fresh tracks, so I tried to reverse in…. not a chance. I could not get a grip. So I turned round and just drove in nose first. Bad mistake. When I got up at 130pm, the snow was still coming down hard and my truck snowed in. not a single truck in the truck stop had moved, as most of the roads was shut anyway, due to accidents or just blockages as trucks had attempted to get up hills and lost traction and blocked the roads off etc.

Most truck drivers leave there engines running when they are asleep. you can tell in the picture which have engines running as there is no snow under the front of the truck.

In the new ones I don’t bother, I just use the bunk heaters to keep warm. So un known to me the snow covering the front of the truck had turned to ice underneath, so when I finally decide to attempt some more driving, as I reverse out. The ice did not want to let the front bumper go and pulls half my licence plate bracket off and cracks the bumper. I was not happy. Luckily I had taken the picture to show you guys how deep the snow was,

so I emailed it to Emma and got her to print it off to prove how I did it. I took some unclear back roads at first to avoid the road closures.

The further north I got. The snow got less and less till I got back into Canada then Toronto was clear thank god.

sometimes trucks have to stop at these places just before a large decent to check breaks.I switched my trailer at Brampton for one bound for Woodstock, and carried on till 5am again, mainly to make sure I could do the last part of the trip in one more day getting me back at 4am this morning. Not without a lot more snow though. The US storm had decided I had not seen enough and followed me up. It started from Montreal and never stopped all the 7 hours from there. Roads was bad again with it been over night driving, but was so much easier to drive on, with no traffic around me and been the dry stuff so managed to scoot along at 55mph most of the time. By the time I had got back, I had covered 2700 miles in the four and half days. Not my usual standard, but not bad to say I had delay after delay.

Well I’m out again tomorrow. I was nearly out again tonight, but the driver decided to carry on. So lets see what I get up to. Have fun till next time.

Monday, February 8, 2010

IWLA chief unfazed by recession's challenges

A slumping economy didn't stop Joel Anderson from boosting the group's membership, finances in 2009. Now, he's looking to build on that success.

The conventional wisdom says that an economic slump is no time to try to build up a trade association's membership or launch a series of bold new initiatives. But apparently Joel D. Anderson either never got the word or chose to ignore it. Since taking the reins of the International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) three years ago, Anderson has worked steadily to inject a new sense of purpose into the venerable organization. He has revitalized IWLA's government affairs program, expanded its education offerings, and—perhaps most impressive of all—implemented a membership recruitment and retention program that led to positive financial growth in 2009.

Anderson, who serves as the group's president and chief executive officer, has long experience in the association world. Prior to joining IWLA, he spent 28 years with the California Trucking Association (CTA), the last 13 as executive vice president and CEO. Before joining CTA, Anderson was an economist with the California Public Utilities Commission. He has a community college teaching credential in marketing and distribution, and has served on state and national panels on transportation, goods movement, and mobility.

Anderson spoke recently with DC Velocity Group Editorial Director Mitch Mac Donald about the challenges facing IWLA's members, the shifting regulatory winds, and what shippers might not know about 3PL services.

Q: Could you start by telling us a little bit about your background and how you came to be where you are today?
A: I graduated from UCLA in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in economics and then went to work as an economist for the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulated trucking in those days. I spent six or seven years with them, participating in rate-making and regulatory proceedings. At one of those proceedings, the head of the California Trucking Association's research department saw me in action. He offered me a job with the group, which I accepted.

I started out in the research department, and 15 years later, wound up running the whole organization. During my time there, I grew the finances and grew the membership in a trial-and-error way. I learned through the process how to run a pretty good government affairs shop and a pretty focused industry association.

I took a medical retirement in July 2005 when I had surgery for cancer. Afterwards, while I was sitting around trying to decide what to do next, I put my resume on the American Society of Association Executives' Web site, and it just so happened that IWLA was searching for a new president and CEO at that time. The search firm picked up my resume. I went through the process, got interviewed, and then received an offer to come here.

I started with IWLA in April 2006. In the first year, we grew a little bit, and in the second year, 2007, we grew substantially. 2008 was a retrenchment year—a time for realigning, refocusing, and restructuring the organization. In 2009, we began growing again, so I feel real good about the changes we made in 2008 to give us a better foundation to build on.

Q: Who are IWLA's members?
A: I would say that facility-based third-party logistics service providers are the core of our membership. They range from the company that operates a single 50,000-square-foot warehouse all the way up to industry heavyweights like UPS Supply Chain Solutions.

Over the years, our members have gotten more and more involved in value-added services, so that the warehouse is not just a static facility that is racking goods, but an operation that handles all kinds of subassembly, kitting, packing, and order fulfillment tasks. I just toured a warehouse in Indiana where I'd say at least 15 percent of the square footage was devoted to conveyor racks, assembly lines, and Internet order fulfillment—you know, something you would not have seen 15 years ago.

Q: What are the key challenges your members face today, and what is IWLA doing to help them in that regard?
A: There are several issues. One is a concern that probably wasn't on the radar screen with any frequency two years ago but in today's business climate, has become a growing problem for our members—the creditworthiness of their customers, the shippers or beneficial owners of the goods stored in the warehouse. We're seeing more problems with late payments and sometimes bankruptcies. So, we're getting more questions from members about the warehouse lien. Specifically, they want to know about the proper documentation and execution of the warehouse lien to protect their interests if, in fact, a customer goes into bankruptcy.

We're also getting more questions in these tough times on how to market: how to get your name out there, how to build your brand, how to take advantage of social media to market your services, and how to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.

We've done a number of things in response to those questions. For one thing, we developed the Logistics Services Locator (LSL), a free search engine that lets customers search for an IWLA member by location, company, keyword, and so on. We put a lot of effort into that and advertise it to the shipping community.

I also have developed a relationship with a consultant who specializes in 3PL marketing, Chip Scholes. He has made himself available to our members for help developing their marketing campaigns.

Basically, we're trying to help our members understand that in order to market their services successfully, they first have to sit down and analyze who they are and what they do better than anybody else. When times were good, people forgot that because freight came their way. But now, you'd better be able to deliver a clear message about who you are, what you bring, and why people should do business with you.

Q: What else do you offer in the way of member support?
A. We also offer training and education. Our education programs focus on ways to make your company more profitable. We have seven live classes every year plus webinars—all C-level oriented.

In addition, we have really ramped up our government affairs and advocacy work. We feel that the days of deregulation are over. If the government is going to look at more aggressively or intrusively regulating the supply chain, we want to be there to try to make sure those regulations working their way through Congress and regulatory agencies won't negatively affect trade and commerce.

Q: What does the future hold for your members—both in the near term and the long term?
A: It looks like people are starting to move inventories. You know, our industry totally relies on consumer behavior. The long and short of it is, if consumers buy, our people do well. If consumers don't buy, our people don't do well because it is velocity through the warehouse where our guys and gals make the money. I mean, storage is nice, but it's their move into value-added services that has significantly increased our members' role in the supply chain, and that is influenced by consumer behavior.

To a great extent, two items affect the long-term profitability of our members. One is regulations on international trade and commerce. In other words, how free is free trade? If international trade can flow freely, then we have an opportunity to be real creative in helping our manufacturers and shippers outsource, resource, insource—you know, whatever it takes to get the right amount of the right product to the right customer on time. Number two is encouraging our consumers to buy things. Almost everything else is secondary to that because if consumers are going to buy, then freight is going to move and we are going to have an opportunity to make money.

Q: What advice would you give a young person who's interested in pursuing a career in the logistics profession?
A: I'd tell them it's all about following up and following through. Do what you say you're going to do and then let people know you did it. Reliability is probably the number one thing in success because reliability builds trust.

Q: Recognizing that a lot of our readers are customers of your members, is there anything else you'd like to share with them?
A: I think the major point I'd like to make to your readers is how inventive and creative today's 3PL is, so that if they haven't looked at that—at letting that 3PL at least examine their supply chain for ways to reduce costs and boost order fulfillment performance—they should, because the entrepreneurs in our business are incredibly creative. That is what is so thrilling about being in this business. The people doing supply chain fulfillment now are just so incredibly, incredibly creative. The way they are using technology, the way they are managing their work force. It is just fun to watch. So if they haven't tried it, I would suggest your readers put a toe in the water and give it a try. I think they will be very impressed with the results.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mid-Atlantic Snow Blizzard

We left Wauregan, Connecticut late Thursday night, drove to Shrewsbury, Massachusetts to pick up a relay load of paper rolls at Flynn's Drop Yard, then unloaded at Jerich USA in Dayton, New Jersey Friday morning at 6:00 AM EST. We were dispatched to a Procter & Gamble plant in Avenel, New Jersey at 11:00 AM to take on 49 drums of various oils used in the production of their scented products. P&G detained us over two hours beyond my legal 14-hour workday for loading.

We found the nearest "safe harbor" (a trucking term which means the closest place to park after exceeding legal work hours) - the Molly Pitcher Travel Plaza near Cranbury, off the New Jersey Turnpike - and retired until Midnight Friday to start our journey toward Procter & Gamble in Browns Summit, North Carolina. The Mid-Atlantic snow blizzard hit Friday night. There was no chance of safely driving in this storm, so I rolled over in the tractor bunk to sleep until daybreak and check conditions at that time. The photo is of D-Rod Saturday morning after over two feet of wet snow had already accumulated overnight. It kept snowing all day Saturday, and the wind began to howl.

Finally, after 10:00 PM Saturday night, the blizzard subsided and we started on our way toward North Carolina. It took nearly 11 hours to drive 463 miles; definitely not a good MPH average. But all's well that ends well. We made safe delivery in Browns Summit this morning around 10:00 AM. We had to wait outside over an hour - with P&G employees - for unload; the Greensboro Fire Department was on site to deal with a small disturbance in one of the warehouses.

Summary of road conditions along I-95 corridor and south: Wilmington, Delaware (not good); Baltimore, Maryland (a little better); Washington, D.C. (2-3' of snow on the ground; dozens of stuck tractor-trailers); Southern Virginia (ice everywhere; 31,000 homes without electricity); Northern North Carolina (sunny, but cold, with piles of recent snow stacked everywhere).

Blushing with Nan

I finished watching Series 2 of The Catherine Tate Show. She's such a lovely and wonderfully talented lady.

I love her Nan character. Nan wears a sweater, just exactly like my mum used to have. In her later years, mum got a bit "Nan"-ish, tho' rarely swore. Mum really hated women swearing...or men who thought it OK to swear around ladies.

Mum was a bit...old school. She was raised strictly, with a huge empahsis on courtesy and manners.

I used to be a Meals on Wheels volunteer, back in the mid-90's, in-between jobs, and before I went back to college full-time. I used to help package the food at the local senior centre, then get in the van, and be driven around the town and rural areas, delivering hot meals to shut-in's and sick people.

One of the women I used to deliver to, was a spry, white-haired 80-something woman named Ida. She used to work as a seamstress, back in the days when the Arrow Shirt Co., used to have a factory in the town.

Well, this lady used to openly talk about her sexual escapades as a young woman, and also had a mouth pretty much like your average trucker...and I dated a trucker (sort of--he kept forgetting to show up for the dates he'd made with me), and also was a trucking permit agent when I was around 24 years old. So, I should know about trucker language.

Well, Ida also used to ride the senior's van into the city, on shopping trips. The van would take old people who couldn't or didn't drive, into the nearby city and suburbs 8 or 10 mis away, once or twice a month, to go shopping at K-mart or Walmart, or weherever.

I used to go along with them sometimes, cos' for several years I was without a car, and mum was living with me. She was in a wheelchair part of the time. She could manage to get about the flat, and go for short walks, as long as she had her cane--but any lengthy walks or shopping trips required a wheelchair.

Yours truly had to push the wheelchair, so I went on shopping trips with the seniors. Well, I didn't mind. I like older folks, and it was a chance for me to get out of the rural town for a few hours, wasn't it?

Anyway, I'd ride along with mum in the van--but I'd sit up front, cos' the lazy old fart who was the van driver, didn't like to pry his lard-bottom out of the comfy seat, to help the seniors up into the big maroon people carrier the town used to transport seniors. I would jump out at each stop, and help those seniors who needed a boost, up into the back of the van.

One winter day, we're picking up seniors at their flats and homes, and Ida comes out, and I'm waiting to help her into the van, and she starts to slip on the icy floor of the sidewalk!

I rush to grab her, to keep her from falling, and 80-something Ida turns to me, and, gasping for breath, says, "Wow! I almost split my pus_y!"

Whoa. My mum never said anything like that! No one I know has ever said anything like that! I was a bit nonplussed...and probably blushing like hell.

But, then, she laughed, and I suddenly couldn't stop giggling. God, that was funny!

Oil, trucking industry interests sue to block California low-carbon fuel regulations

California's innovative low-carbon fuel regulations, enacted last year in an effort to lower the state's contribution to greenhouse gas pollution of the atmosphere, are the subject of a lawsuit by oil and trucking interests.The regulations, which were finalized by the state's Air Resources Board last month, require fuel manufacturers to reduce the carbon intensity of their product by 10 percent by 2020.They require producers to account for indirect use of carbon in fuels, including during the manufacturing or refining processes. That mandate is controversial because, among other impacts, it may force corn farmers producing ethanol to account for the loss of land otherwise available to grow food and for wildlife habitat.California Air Resources Board chairperson Mary Nichols condemned the litigation, arguing that the regulations will save consumers money, lower fossil fuel use and reduce air pollution."Their actions are shameful," Nichols said in a statement. "Instead of fighting us in court, they should be working with us to provide consumers in California and the rest of the nation with the next generation of cleaner fuels."Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, American Truckers Association, Center for North American Energy Security, and Consumer Energy Alliance.A spokesperson for the American Truckers Association told the New York Times that the regulations would raise the cost of fuel and equipment too much. The litigation is pending in the U.S. District Court in Fresno.A similar lawsuit was filed in December by the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, California Dairy Campaign, Renewable Fuels Association and other groups, and a private ethanol company has challenged the regulations in California state court.The complaint filed by the refiners and truckers interests is here.

Trucking along...

Not a whole heck of a lot going on around here. The baby has started eating solid foods. She's a big fan of bananas, not so much sweet potatoes. :) We got to my weekly spanking last Sunday, which seems to be the most convenient day for it. It was very nice, and followed by other stuff that was even nicer!

I'm settling into the routine of cooking every night, and I'm actually quite enjoying it. The house looks nice the vast majority of the time, and it's just nice to be able to be home with the baby. Anyway, sorry for the boring post - just popping in. Have a great week!

Women Over 40

It's Super Bowl Sunday and as much I love a good game with the pigskin and look forward to watching the clash between the Colts and Saints, I find myself staring down a long list of stuff I need to get done for work. Working on a Sunday sucks, as I'm sure many of you realize. But on Wednesday, John, Chase and I are escaping to a place with a lot more snow, a lot lower temperatures and plenty of mountains and ski runs nearby so all the work I'd normally be able to get done on those days must get done in advance. So here I sit, watching football pre-game but writing about trucking. And then I came across an email from a friend that really hit the spot and I thought I'd take a minute to share it here. It's a monologue by Andy Rooney of 60 minutes about Women Over 40.

And while I'd like to point out that I am not over 40 :-) every bit of this applies to me already as well as all my fabulous over- and nearly-40 friends. So this is for you, ladies!

"As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do and it's usually more interesting.

Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year-old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, 'Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,' here's an update for you: Nowadays 80 percent of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!" --Andy Rooney

Restless Night

The wind is streaming and swirling through the trees

they swing and toss like wheat before the storm.

The sound of branches rubbing on each other

comes through the night, above the sighing of the wind.

The train horn calls, changes tone, and fades away

with the rumble of wheels upon the rails.

And little dog howls die off in the distance

as the chill of night drops down from the sky.

Nary a twinkle of star nor gleam of moon to be seen

just the slow red pulsing of beacons on towers and tanks.

As leaves rustle, I shiver in the breeze,

then back to warm shelter and light I retreat.

The frogs are all silent, from the birds not a peep,

the squirrels are all tucked safely away in their beds.

The sound, the only sound, is the moan of the wind

as it pushes and searches for a home of its own.

The darkness is seething with life in the night;

to still once more ere the light of dawn.

Oil, trucking industry interests sue to block California low-carbon fuel regulations

California's innovative low-carbon fuel regulations, enacted last year in an effort to lower the state's contribution to greenhouse gas pollution of the atmosphere, are the subject of a lawsuit by oil and trucking interests.

The regulations, which were finalized by the state's Air Resources Board last month, require fuel manufacturers to reduce the carbon intensity of their product by 10 percent by 2020.

They require producers to account for indirect use of carbon in fuels, including during the manufacturing or refining processes. That mandate is controversial because, among other impacts, it may force corn farmers producing ethanol to account for the loss of land otherwise available to grow food and for wildlife habitat.

California Air Resources Board chairperson Mary Nichols condemned the litigation, arguing that the regulations will save consumers money, lower fossil fuel use and reduce air pollution.

"Their actions are shameful," Nichols said in a statement. "Instead of fighting us in court, they should be working with us to provide consumers in California and the rest of the nation with the next generation of cleaner fuels."

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, American Truckers Association, Center for North American Energy Security, and Consumer Energy Alliance.

A spokesperson for the American Truckers Association told the New York Times that the regulations would raise the cost of fuel and equipment too much.

The litigation is pending in the U.S. District Court in Fresno.

A similar lawsuit was filed in December by the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, California Dairy Campaign, Renewable Fuels Association and other groups, and a private ethanol company has challenged the regulations in California state court.

The complaint filed by the refiners and truckers interests is here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Will Anything Be Done?

We will be even more saturated by stories about the ugly, voracious, advancing, asian carp as two big meetings are set to take place next week.

On Monday the White House will host regional leaders behind closed doors to discuss what to do about the advancing asian carp. Then on Friday there will be another meeting in Chicago with representatives from all of the involved agencies and states seeking public input.

The big question will be whether any substantive action will come from these meetings. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is working on discrediting the argument that the Illinois economy would be severely impacted. Cox commissioned a study to find out exactly what the economic impacts would be on the Illinois economy. The study found that the claims by Illinois legislators and the Obama Administration are grossly exaggerated. The study came on the heels of a renewed preliminary injunction that Cox filed in response to new carp DNA that was found in Lake Michigan.

The study found the following:

7 million tons of cargo would be affected. This is less than 1 percent of all freight traffic in the Chicago region and 30 percent of the total Port of Chicago traffic.

The affected barge traffic equals two loaded freight trains. This is in a region that has 500 daily freight trains.

Truck traffic would increase by less than 1/10 of a percent despite shippers' claims that the increase in truck traffic would lead to deteriorated air quality.

Cargo that was affected would still be moved by ships, they just would not be entering the locks. The cargo would have to be transported the rest of the way by trucks or trains.

Overall the costs to shippers would be increased by $70 million, not $190 million as was previously claimed by Illinois and federal officials. If anything, new cargo related jobs would be created. Any lost barge jobs would be replaced by trucking or rail jobs.

The report also found that shipping has decreased in recent years from over 7.4 million tons in 2007 to over 6.9 million tons in 2008.

The report came up with three alternatives for cargo if the locks were closed.

"Alternative A. Transload all cargo between barge and truck. All existing cargo passing through the Chicago and O’Brien locks would continue to move by barge. New transload facilities would be built downstream of the barrier. All cargo would be trucked between the transload center and existing customers."

"Alternative B. Transload but some rail. Most cargo would continue to be transferred to and from trucks at the transload facilities. However, some would shift to an all rail movement. "

"Alternative C. Transload, rail, pipeline, and use of other terminals. Half of cargo would continue to transfer to and from trucks at the transload facilities. There would be more rail. Some cargo would continue to move by barge via other routes to terminals elsewhere in the region, and some would move by pipeline."

Given that the Great Lakes sport fishery is valued at $7 billion, the Great Lakes are being held hostage by Illinois officials for the paltry sum of $70 million. There are reasonable actions that can be taken. It will be interesting to see if this study is even considered in the decision making process. By the end of next week we will see whether anything will be done or if everyone will just agree that it is a problem and keep dragging it out.

The report is toward the end of the renewed motion for preliminary injunction.

Chicago Waterway System Ecological Separation: The Logistics and Transportation Related Cost Impact of Waterway Barriers

FOUL v2.0: the Jesus Lizard '89-'94, remastered

Sorry for the long delay folks, though I guess it's not THAT long.

As we wait for the Recycle blog to post the next installment of the Joy Division series (again, prepared by your humble blogger), I've decided to revisit a (fairly) popular previous post on this very blog.

About a year ago I presented a "best-of", or a taster package, what have you, of that very awesome Chicago band the Jesus Lizard. It was one of the more popular posts here, and suffered through a couple file deletions by the powers that be.

Since that post, the entire Jesus Lizard oeuvre - on legendary Chicago label Touch and Go, that is - has been remastered by none other than Bob Weston and Steve Albini themselves. This is fantastic because both are about as bullshit-free as it gets regarding audio engineering, and both think the modern brickwall mastering style is horseshit (see the "loudness war" links over there on the right).

So when the news came that the tJL catalog was getting the Weston treatment (essentially, all the tracks that the band recorded with Albini) by being remastered at Weston's own Chicago Mastering Service - with Albini overseeing the process, I nearly crapped my pants.

And the wait was very much well worth it.

One of the really fantastic things about this set of remasters is that it gave me the chance to reappraise the band's final Touch and Go album, 1994's Down. I had previously dismissed this record as the weakest one in the bunch - and barely gave it a fair shake. I included tracks from it in my last tJL post just to do so, not because I necessarily liked them all that much. On reappraisal, however - and the improved mastering certainly hasn't hurt - I really love this record. It's not their best record per-se, but it sounds FANTASTIC and there are some stellar songs that need to be heard.

So today I'm posting an updated and expanded version of my prior FOUL compilation - this time, with all tracks from the remastered albums, and expanded to include some of the critical-to-my-ears bonus tracks included with the reissues. Alas, this also necessitated the growth from one CD to two, but hey - who's going to complain when they have more Jesus Lizard to listen to?

So on with it!

FOUL v2.0: the Jesus Lizard 89-94, compiled: the remastered editions

See the prior post for the complete illustrated discography.

01 Blockbuster (studio)
02 Chrome
03 One Evening
04 S.D.B.J.
05 My Own Urine
06 If You Had Lips
07 7 vs. 8
08 Waxeater
09 Tight 'N Shiny
10 Then Comes Dudley
11 Mouth Breather
12 Nub
13 Seasick
14 Monkey Trick
15 Lady Shoes
16 Pop Song
17 Wheelchair Epidemic
18 Dancing Naked Ladies (single version)
19 Blockbuster (live 4 Dec. 1992 9:30 Club, Washington DC)

- cd break here -

20 Boilermaker (Idful Studio Sessions demo)
21 Gladiator (Idful Studio Sessions demo)
22 Boilermaker
23 Gladiator
24 Puss
25 Whirl
26 Rope
27 Zachariah
28 Dancing Naked Ladies
29 Glamorous
30 Fly On The Wall
31 Countless Backs Of Sad Losers
32 The Associate
33 Destroy Before Reading
34 Low Rider
35 The Best Parts
36 Panic In Cicero


1-9 Head/Pure 2009 remastered reissue
10-16 Goat 2009 remastered reissue
19 bootleg soundboard recording
17-18, 20-28 Liar 2009 remastered reissue
29-36 Down 2009 remastered reissue

All tracks originally issued on Touch and Go Records except where noted

1 originally from the EP Pure (1989)
2 originally from 7" single (1990)
3-9 originally from the LP Head (1990)
10-15 originally from the LP Goat (1991)
16 originally from the Dope, Guns and Fucking #7 7" on Amphetamine Reptile (1991)
17-18 originally from 7" single (1992)
20-21 originally from Australian 7" on Insipid (1992)
22-28 originally from the LP Liar (1992)
29 originally from the EP Lash (1993)
30-35 originally from the LP Down (1994)
36 originally from the Clerks soundtrack LP on Sony (1994)

3 RAR files, 320kbps MP3, here!


Drill Baby Drill?

My bf and I were trying to find info on how many new wells will be drilled in Alberta this year, but the numbers are hard to pinpoint. We've seen newsreports and others sites suggesting anywhere from 4000 to 6000ish. At any rate, it's a shock compared to what was being done even 2 years ago.

This article via the Calgary Herald, dated May 2009, listed that over 11,000 new wells were dug in 2008, compared with a forecast of only 6600 for 2009. The article cites a few reasons such as increased US production, but makes a short reference to the increased royalties way at the bottom.

Whatever the reasons, drilling new wells has dropped by nearly half across Canada, but it's like Alberta's lifeblood and it concerns me. I see changes in a lot of industries around here. In my city, I swear many stores have had the same big sales going on since before Christmas. You know, when you see a sign in a clothing store that says '70% off! 2 Days Only!' but you see the sign up for 1.5 months so far? One place in particular I shop at often and know that they do not have sales up that long, and haven't since they opened up here several years ago. See, I only used to shop there if there was a major sale going on so I would keep my eye out for the big red Specials signs. Well, they have been up EVERY DAY since before Christmas. I would say since the Fall, end of season clearout sale just kept going. And it's been like that in many stores around here.

My job almost never has empty spaces, there is usually such a high demand for daycare, you have huge waiting lists. Just two years ago I remember telling people who called that we had over 25 kids on the waiting list, but only have 21 spaces to begin with. It was a regular thing to hear people expressing concern and disappointment at not being able to find a center, but not wanting to put their child in with a private sitter/dayhome (wanting security in numbers of adults). I listened to stories like that almost every day in the summer, several times a day. Now it's completely turned the other way. Our phone rings maybe once a MONTH with someone looking for a space. And then that person finds spaces at several other centers too (again, almost unheard of around here normally) so they get to go daycare shopping and pick which one they like the best. That is SO out of touch with how things usually are. And we even had 3 centers close down in the last few years - so you'd think the remaining ones would be even more full. But nope. We all have spaces and the most cited reason is that parents are not working as much, or some have lost their jobs completely, and they cannot put their kids into centers. I notice a heavy hit to the economy every day. Some of the kids we have left are missing their dads cos they ended up going to Mexico to work on the oil rigs. The rest are mostly single parent families who are still working in just above minimum wage jobs and get daycare subsidy anyway so they don't worry about the cost. It seems to be that a dark cloud is still over this province and I don't think many realize how bad it actually is. One center in particular here went through a huge renovation maybe 5-6 years ago, increasing their spaces from99 to 170 because of the high demand for care. But now they are struggling badly financially, cutting staff wages back, firing long term staff, and the extra spaces they built for are sitting there empty. It signals something is wrong. Dayhome companies here are down carers as well so it's not just that people are choosing different care.

Another thing that interests me is how they come up with the employment numbers. I have heard that as many as 80,000 have taken a hard hit to their wages, 15 to 25000 lost their jobs last year, or I've heard more or I've heard less. It's confusing to try to find out what is REALLY going on. Someone from a more populated area might read this and think 25,000 isn't 'too bad' but the entire province has a smaller population than the Toronto area, so 25 thousand is quite a big chunk. 80,000 is huge for us. But I wonder how they count those who have less hours. My bf is still considered full time, still goes to work almost every day, but we are on LESS THAN HALF what he has been for the past 5 years. Why? Because there are different levels of pay for Truck Time and Shop Time. He spends most days in the shop, which is a killer for our bank account, not to mention for his bosses who have to pay him even though they are barely doing anything these days. So if someone were to look at his weekly HOURS for tallying job losses in Alberta, they would see him almost at full time and occasionally getting overtime. They might pass him and his coworkers by as being 'gainfully employed' still but they are all struggling greatly. If you make $24/hr on the road trucking, but $14/hr in the shop and suddenly you are doing FAR more shop time than trucking - you do the math. That's a great cut to their usual wages. Not taking EI, not totally skint, but really struggling to keep up after a full year of this. He used to leave at 4am and get home at 8pm six or seven days a week. Now he leaves at 6 and gets home by 3pm. He has only had one overtime day in the past 3 months, which is WAY WAY WAY off the norm. I've been tallying up our grocery bill while I shop for the first time since I was a single mom making $10/hr. It's surreal.

My father in law and brother in law are working a lot more again, but they have some huge holes to fill from 9 months of not working last year. And they don't know yet if their rigs will have a Spring shutdown so they are working their butts off to try to save up some emergency cash. All their savings were used up last year. It's a bit worrisome for everyone. People are afraid, I see it every day. But we are told in the media that things are looking up... really? Are you sure? Try your own little experiments - go to the mall and wander around. See that it might be full of people, but see how many are actually carrying purchases. See how many stores have bored clerks waiting at empty tills instead of dealing with lineups. See how many shops have the same sale signs up, or are repeatedly offering BIG sales as opposed to their 'BOGO' offers at full price. My favorite store that had 70% off up for so long now has 'second item only $2.99'. So both offers together for the past week or two. I am not seeing a recovery yet. I am seeing some scared people being very cautious for the most part.

Friday, February 5, 2010

"Keep on Trucking!"

Hello my friends. I thought I should write a blog today. We hit over 600 followers now, and I thought that was a pretty cool thing for the blog. In just this last week we have had 4 major things happen. The birth of the "Deadly Dolz" (and the 3rd one is on board, and guess what, she is a famous scream queen as well. Basically we have 3 film stars doing this! Can I get a "Oh HELL YEAH!?) I finished 2nd in a MAJOR International people's choice art award. We hit our 100th blog, and today we hit 600 followers. Well, it's really a lot more if you count all the follower things. I'm just counting the FaceBook thing. So we are doing really good. In a time when we all have money and personal problems, this is something we all can take pride in. You all have made me what I am. Well, it started with Cheryl, then you guys, but we all did all of this together, and there are much cooler things on the horizon to look forward too. I have been taking it easy since I finished the little girl painting. I have been working, but not pushing it right now. I am rejuvenating for a little time would be the best way to put it.. I have a lot of new ideas going through my mind for the Deadly Dolz and The Book of Rose. An before you ask, The book of Rose is something like "The book of the Dead" but not really. There will be a game and all kinds of things that will be based on it, all created by me. An then I have tons of little projects that will be really cool as well. Monday also marked my 1 year anniversary of moving to Michigan. So far this year, the weather has been better here that their having it back home. Heck, I've done gotten use to going everywhere in the snow. It used to be a huge deal to get out in it back home, now it seems like it snows everyday. When Madison goes to work, I always check to make sure her car is warm and the windows are clear, and the headlights too. I've gotten so use to the cold, I don't even where boots or anything. I just got out in my slippers and I am proud of that. If you had told me a year ago the cold and snow wouldn't bother me no more, I would have laughed at you. Right now my sweetie is napping, but we are going out in a little bit. She wants to go play a game called Keyno. I've never played it, and will probably just watch her. It sounds like she really enjoys it, and she really deserves that. I know i can't change the past, but I get the feeling that she was not treated with the respect that she deserved in her past relationships. She is a darn good person, and is so full of love. Every time I see her when she wakes up I feel like this little boy inside of me is jumping up and down because I am so happy to see her. It's hard to believe my life has changed in a very short year, and all for the good. Sure there where a few bad things that happen, but that's life. Overall though, it has been wonderful. I honestly believe that if I hadn't came here and meet Cheryl, I would be dead now. My health had really gone down hill along with my mental health. I just didn't care anymore. But Cheryl's love saved me, and look at what has happen since. My biggest problem is anger issues, but everyday I get past that more and more. I feel like I've been given a second chance, and now I am thinking about that in a major way and asking myself, what will I do different this time. A lot, a whole lot. The thing I don't understand is this. I work in horror, and I love it. I grew up watching it, glued to the tube. I was goth before they even had a name for it. When I work or do the artist thing, my icon is scary, because what I do is scary. I do have a VERY dark side to me. On the other hand, as extreme as that dark side is, there is a "Light" side to me as well. I am very emotional. I cry all the time. The older I get, the worse it has gotten. When ever the "good guys" come out OK, I am crying because I am happy for them, the same if the story is sad. I wear my heart on my sleeve as the saying goes. People that love me, keep me from harm, because that is a bad thing in this cold world. But when someone uses me or hurts me or someone I love, I loose it anger wise.. It takes me years to get over some things. That's because I go from one extreme to another. But that is who I am, and if I wasn't, I wouldn't be doing the things that horror fans love, and you would have no idea of who I am. My art is about emotion, plain and simple. When I say I am in a dark mood, that usually means I am drawing on some past emotions of pain or angry to do a piece that I see in my ID. On one hand, I get letters daily from fans that say basically "your to nice to be who you are" and I wonder do some people think I am a Evil being because of the type of imagination I have. I know my brother and most of my family do. That is why I use the name Rose. There ashamed of me, lmao.. I am ashamed of them and I truly don't want people to know who I am related too, with the exception of my younger sisters family. An as much as I love her, she never calls when she says she will because, I guess, I am just to different. Hell if I know. No, chances are I am nothing like you or anyone you know. NO, I don't wake up plotting the end of the world, but I have nightmares that would make you think the end is here. If I was a God, the world would be like all the kid movies you see. Every one would be happy, everyone would love each other, but we know this world is nothing like that, and I have a gift for seeing the darkside, and live to draw about it. The Master once told me "be careful when you stare into the darkness, because it might stare back" lmao. I am the darkness staring back, and all the pain and betrayal that has been stabbed into my heart and soul has just feed it over the years. May the Darkness comfort you....