Thrills galore

Health and safety

Yesterday the ACC announced that it was cancelling its health and safety training programme after realising that it wasn’t actually having much effect. It’s a bit complicated when you consider that some of the training was provided by trade unions, with ACC minister Judith Collins reckoning it was just a scam with trade unions using it to promote unionism.

Well, I did this training, back in the mid ’00s, when I’d volunteered to be a health and safety rep at work. I literally only did this because no one else would and there was promise of chocolate biscuits at the meetings. It turned out to be a giant pain in the arse, forcing the reps to become the no-mates killjoy person who’s always telling people to remove the potential hazards from their work station.

I went on a two-day training course at the Employers and Manufacturers Association. I could have also done it at a union, but the EMA was really close to where I lived, and it was in a cool brutalist building.

The course was full of people from all sorts of different kind of work places. In one exercise, we had to list potential hazards in our workplaces. All I could come up with was cables that people might trip over, but my coursemates were coming up with really dramatic stuff like “The truck could slip off the edge of the narrow hillside road to the mine, causing death” and “The giant pot of boiling fudge could tip over, causing third-degree burns to the fudge makers”.

The guy taking the course seemed to be a contractor, and was operating on autopilot. Not so much like David Brent, but someone who was reciting The Office scripts. At one point when he was setting up the projector, it just showed a blue screen and he quipped, “It must have been a blue-sky day!” There were lolz. The next day he make the same joke in the same situation, but because everyone had already heard it (and we were tired, and wanted to go home) no one laughed. There was a look of confusion and hurt on his face.

He was also very excited that I worked in television, and sat down next to me at lunch, wanting to have a big conversation about the recent changes in upper-level management at TVNZ. When he realised I was just a girl who made captions for television programmes and not management, he wasn’t interested in continuing our conversation.

After the training I came back to work not with a new skill set of health and safety knowledge, but rather a bunch of anecdotes about the weirdness and awfulness of it all.

I don’t know if the EMA’s health and safety training programmes continued like this, but I’m actually less bothered by the potential for union propaganda and more bothered by it just being a boring-arse use of two days.


Here’s an excerpt from the Lyttelton Times from 19 May 1858. It’s from a column summarising all the latest news coming from the government’s Gazette publication:


So, hilariously, while the Lyttelton Times has totally heard of Port Ahuriri, it is being all “wherever that is” about West Whaingaroa aka Raggiz. Yeah? Well, no one in Rag Land has ever heard of you, Littleton, etc. So there.

The Lyttelton Times is also delightfully dismissive about Lyttelton losing its official name “Port Victoria” – like, no one even calls it that, anyway. Even though Queen Victoria was the reigning monarch at the time (coming up to her 21st anniversary), it seems everyone was all a bit sick of all the bloody Victorias around the country.

The Room Two

I’ve been playing The Room Two, the sequel to the popular mobile app game The Room. (It’s no relation to the film The Room, though there is a really cool and funny unofficial game for the movie that tells the story from Johnny’s perspective and explains the fate of Chris R.)

The Room was a puzzle game when the player finds her or himself in a mysterious room with a strange puzzle box that needs to be unlocked in order to, uh, make things happen. The Room Two takes that and expands on it.

For a start, there are several different rooms, with different things to explore, like a model pirate ship. Rather than being focused on the central puzzle box, there’s stuff to be used in the whole room.

But really, a game like this is all about the puzzles. They’re about as enjoyable and challenging as the first game. There’s a hint system so if you get stuck, it will give you hunts to nudge you in the right direction. I actually think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t used the hints and had just figured out everything myself. But I’m so impatient. I need to know where the key is that opens the golden casket and unlocks the skull that opens a portal to another dimension.

The only thing that was a bit annoying was the gloominess of the game. Because everything is so dark and shadowy, it’s actually quite difficult to see the screen clearly, hunched over an iPad mini on a bright summer’s day. Therefore, it’s easiest to play in the dark, which makes all the spooky bits that much more spookier.

I just really like games like this, ones that require a bit of thinking and exploring and puzzle solving. And if there are a few cheap thrills along the way, I’m even happier.

The Room Two iOS (iPad only), with iPhone and Android coming soon.

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