I feel extremely accomplished today, and a little more powerful. Hooray for the little people!
I work in a “temporary” office space in an old run-down building on Wilshire Blvd. I say temporary, but how temporary is three years? The office and building itself could be reported for multiple health and safety violations. Oh, let me count the ways. The cockroaches I could deal with…I mean, USC has cockroaches and USC has more money than god. I’d almost gotten used to them. The bathrooms were old, creepy and unsanitary. On more than one occasion, a man was found in the women’s bathroom…doing what? I’m not sure. Homeless people seemed to know that the bathroom on floor five was often unlocked, and used it at their leisure, though, when it was found locked, had been known to relieve themselves on the floor. While these are not exactly the best working conditions, they are aspects of city life that one cannot truly escape…without leaving the city.
There were two instances that changed my general passivity towards my work situation.
1. One day, I had gotten into the elevator on the 5th floor, and this creaky, old and slightly smelly traveling box decided it wouldn’t do what elevators were made to do. The lights shut off and it free fell, from the fifth to the third floor. I got out, terrified, my stomach in my throat. Having reported it to several people I was told “that’s scary. hmmm…i guess you should use the stairs.”
2. And then, a week ago, people finally began putting together that they had been getting bitten by fleas. While I’m not the hugest fan of bugs, I have dogs, I have cats. I live in the hills. While I’m not exactly excited to see them, I’ll mostly let them be. I’m the person who usually has to carry out the spider and release it into the urban jungle of wilshire blvd. That wasn’t my problem.
My problem was that, without any notice, warning or general “oh by the way…” building management sent in a pest control service. In fact, we only discovered the place had been fumigated when we asked about what had happened to a couple of our coffee cups. Our building has little to no ventilation. The windows cannot open. The fans barely work.
"What about all the toxic chemicals and fumes?" I asked. "I don’t smell anything." I was told.(Can I just respond to this here and say that, for the most part, toxic chemicals are usually odorless. That’s why there are additives to most pesticides and gases to make them smell, so you are warned).
A few hours later, people, myself included, began feeling dizzy, nauseous and began to get headaches. A little while later and the sore throats began. I proceeded to get a random bloody nose.
After doing some research (why was this my job, I wonder? Why aren’t there other people that put together the "toxic fumes+unventilated building=bad" equation?) I found that not only were we supposed to be warned of the fumigation, there was to be a posted notice saying what chemicals were used, and then a test, or certification, by the pest control company, to determine whether it was safe to go in or not. We were also not to be admitted to the building for 12-15 hours after fumigation. They told us “2 hours is fine.”
Not only that, I began to realize that there was a pregnant woman down the hall, in our aging, unventilated building. The toxins in fumigation and pesticide use are especially harmful for pregnant women (it even stated so on the letter sent to the landlord, which no one else was privy to), yet she was never notified.
I’m absolutely furious for multiple reasons.
1. That this even happened, that our landlord could not or would not be bothered when it came to regulations or the safety of the buildings occupants. 2. That it wouldn’t even occur to people, in this day and age, that when using toxic chemicals, you can’t then shut an unventilated room and let people go back in after 2 hours. Not only is this ridiculous on the pest control company’s part, it is ridiculous that this isn’t common sense for pretty much everyone. Why was I the only one to bring this up? 3. I think about this happening all over, in so many places, where people either don’t know or can’t afford to complain. There are reasons so many buildings have those warning signs regarding potentially lethal materials like asbestos- because so many people had to get sick and die before a lawsuit was filed.
I was tired of my complains falling on deaf ears, or being ignored completely. I decided I didn’t care if people just thought I was a pain in the ass. I was sick of being told that “asbestos testing was too expensive”, that “it sucks but we just have t deal with it.” I wrote to the head of school, copied everyone, outlined my concerns and the illegal nature of the activities. I wrote to OSHA. People are finally taking action! Talks are in the works, with building management, the board, potentially Building and Safety. I don’t know what will happen, but I am proud of myself for finally yelling loud enough for people to hear. I am proud of myself for having what i thought was) common sense, to know what chemicals can do, what’s illegal, what’s against worker’s rights.
And so I’d like to take a moment here, and relate this all to my firmest belief- the belief that regulation, government regulation especially, is probably the single most important thing we have. While conservatives argue that the privatization of everything is the key to a golden economy and the birth of more “job creators”, that “the government should keep it’s filthy hands off my medicare!”, that regulations are horrible, detrimental things, I would just like to say that it is the regulations that keep us safe. It is the regulations that keep toxic pesticides out of our food (for the most part), that protect our human rights, our environmental rights, our right to live in a safe place. And while bureaucracy is a slow, sad thing, these agencies, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Organization, allow the little people, like me, to say, “hey-wait a minute. I think it might not be a good idea to sit in a cloud of pesticides for eight hours a day.”
When everything is left to private companies, things get dangerous. Customers will most likely pick the cheapest route, and the cheapest route gets cheap by cutting costs. Costs like certifications, inspections, and paying for the health and safety of their workers. They choose the quick and easy way- the fastest, most toxic chemical that “gets the job done now!” Instead of the safer, more health-friendly route. And when there are no regulations companies have to follow, people pay the price. And they’ll only realize this when they come home with thousands of dollars in debt due to their medical bills.
"How’d you do it Frank? How did you cheat on the bar exam in Louisiana?" - Carl Hanratty
A gifted young grifter scamps and stamps across the screen, his fugitive flights aided by doctored documents and lying lawyers. The scurrying swindler dares viewers to keep up with his caper, but this race is now a chase with a “top man” on his case. Flowing type, smooth lines and cool jazz are a playground for this pursuit, snaking and sneaking across the colorful jet-set world of our confidence man’s creation, slowly fading to reveal the darkened truth.
Kuntzel + Deygas stylistically transpose the handmade design of Saul Bass using decidedly modern means. Accompanied by John Williams’ unexpectedly unctuous score, the duo’s title sequence for Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can is simply outta sight.
"Originally established in 1965 as a mail-order veterinary supply business, Petco opened its first retail store in 1976. Today, Pecto has more than 22,000 employees at 1,000 stores across the U.S. carrying up to 10,000 “different pet-related items for dogs, cats, fish, reptiles and amphibians, birds and small animals.” They also sell basic pets like fish, hamsters, and snakes — we sometimes use it as a mini zoo for our daughters. Yesterday Petco announced revisions to its logo and tagline, taking it from “where the pets go” to “where the healthy pets go”. Unhealthy pets can go fuck themselves. Apologies for the harsh language but I find the tagline change completely obnoxious. On to the logo.” -Armin from BrandNew
"They’re really only ‘entitlements’ when they’re something other people want. When it’s something you want, they’re a a hallmark of a civilized society, the foundation of a great people. ‘I just had a baby, and found out that maternity leave strengthens society, but since I still have a job, unemployment benefits are clearly socialism."
He concluded, “Either Megyn Kelly has inadvertently exposed the hypocrisy at the heart of conservative demonization of unions and the working class, or—oh my God, it’s worse than I thought—Megyn Kelly is suffering from postpartum compassion.”
“Funny how 40 years swoosh by: June 1971 is the date the Nike Swoosh was launched. Designed by Carolyn Davidson for $35 - a “Bargain Brand,” the Dept. of Nike Archives notes in its extraordinarily understated tabloid-sized newsprint history of the mar”—
my faux-retro past, documented through faux-retro photos
What I want to argue is that the rise of the faux-vintage photo is an attempt to create a sort of “nostalgia for the present,” an attempt to make our photos seem more important, substantial and real. We want to endow the powerful feelings associated with nostalgia to our lives in the present. And, ultimately, all of this goes well beyond the faux-vintage photo; the momentary popularity of the Hipstamatic-style photo serves to highlight the larger trend of our viewing the present as increasingly a potentially documented past. In fact, the phrase “nostalgia for the present” is borrowed from the great philosopher of postmodernism, Fredric Jameson, who states that “we draw back from our immersion in the here and now […] and grasp it as a kind of thing.”*