Ink Paper Words' Profile

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Pacific Northwest, United States
In elementary school, I desperately wanted my mother to order books for me from those flyers Scholastic hands out to kids. She refused, citing the "perfectly good library down the street." I exacted revenge by becoming a card-carrying ALA accredited reference librarian. Ha! Take that!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"safety of our guests"

and after all, there is nothing more dangerous than inflicting people to "breastfeeding", right? Never mind that a significant portion of Target customers buy "baby products."

Guess they'll be shopping at Walmart now. Except for the ones who will be shopping at jcp.com

Breast Feeding: The a'New" Public Shame

http://www.salon.com/life/broadsheet/feature/2009/12/07/target_breastfeeding/index.html

Sorry. but to me, yeah sure it's natural. Defecation is also natural. But dammit, we don't eat in the same room, do we? All are natural, yet do they occur in the same place?

No they don't.

That said, a little decorum is in order. Frankly I don't get the militant breast feeders who let it all hang out when Junior is hungry. A little modesty would be appreciated, no matter how natural breastfeeding is. That said, I also don't get being bent out of shape over witnessing public breastfeeding, either. It's like looking at ugly people -- rather than assume they have no right to be in public and thus affronting your sensibilities, why not just look the other way?

Escalation

t's easy to see how these things escalate. If a guard asks you to leave the store for any reason and you don't, then you are in a conflict with the guard. Now, the guard has to admit that he is just a rent-a-cop meant to deter shoplifters or he can call the cops.

This particular post is in regards to a Target security guard threatening a customer for breastfeeding and telling her to leave as a result.

Further evidence that minimum wage security guards will not give you what you desire.

If you want REAL security, pay for it. Not these Winco minimum wage Neanderthals who think that because they are fatter than your 130 pound kid they will triumph.

Uh, no. Ever hear of a court of law? Tanya Harding's "security" didn't either and thought they were free to assault anyone who stood in the way of their goal.

And in the meantime, I wage a hearty "salute you" to the Winco losers (yes, I know. The few hundred bucks you lose every month from no longer having my patronage is minimal). The symbol remains. Cute how you paid employees to tell me I'm "peice of shit." That is pretty KLASS-AY Winco -- and nothing more than what I might have expected from you.

At any rate, I say just don't buy any more baby stuff from Target, ever. If you believe in it, you'll do it. I made my son's diaper covers out of cotton and rip-stop nylon. He never complained and I spent a hell of a lot less than I would buying same from any big retailer.

Your baby wants your love more than he wants Chinese-produced junk from department stores.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Favorite Thanksgiving Memory

This was several years ago, when I was a single mom with 2 kids living outside Albuquerque. I wasn't making much but my employer at the time was handing out turkeys to employees. So I picked up mine and straightaway began dreaming of all the leftovers I would make out of this huge sucker.

My younger brat was just a toddler then (he's 16 now), and had a bad habit of leaving doors (front entry, back yard, refrigerator, whatever, it didn't matter to him). The big day came and went and the three of us feasted. The carcass was summarily parked in the frig.

Later that afternoon, I came into the kitchen and noticed the refrigerator door was open. I suspected I knew who the culprit was. As I went to close the door, I noticed the turkey was not in the frig. We had 2 dogs at the time and I can just envision the scene:

Brat leaves door open, dogs discover turkey. Dogs drag carcass to the backyard, where they proceeded to have their own Thanksgiving feast.

All that remained of my hopes and dreams for leftovers was naught but a grease spot on the tile floor in front of the refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Precious" in the age of Obama


This is a review of the film Precious which was written by Erin Aubry Kaplan and posted on Salon. The comments section is closed now, but I am posting the link because I am fascinated by the comments about the article.

One poster, Zac in CA, asserted disgust with white people relating to the all-too human suffering in the film and and declared that he is sick of whites telling black that the film is not about them, it is universal. He then goes on to say that as a gay guy, straights cannot relate to the discrimination he's been subjected to. Another chimes in with "as a transgender man..." You get the drift.

I didn't see any posts alleging that blacks are wrong for relating to this film. And I really don't understand someone with the attitude that "you don't know what discrimination or harassment is -- but I do!"

Puhleeze. Suffering is one thing that unites us as humans. I fail to see how one person's suffering is on some higher scale than another's.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lexicographer's Dilemma

Quoth the Salon reviewer:

"Memo to grammar cops: Back off!
A new book on the history of "proper" English says you're just stuck up"

So the hell what? Everyone is stuck up about something. Language (and by inference, its correct use) is mine.

Believe it or not, language matters. It is the mode in which anyone communicates with the world. The fact of the matter is that people who can't be bothered to learn to speak or write at least halfway correct will be forever misunderstood. I understand that not everyone's brain is wired for words the way mine is and don't fault them for it -- that is, until accusations like this start flying around. I mention the brain issue because for my of my childhood I was made to feel like an idiot due to my innumeracy. My math teach in seventh grade, one Wayne Kamp, openly mocked me when I had difficulty dividing fractions. One night while struggling with my math homework, I found another way to do it. Excited, I rushed into math class the next day and showed him what I had stumbled upon. He refused to allow me to use that method. Way to inspire and encourage your students, Mr. Kamp!

I ditched math the second I could...although I did make an argument in high school that I should be able to get a math credit for taking music theory. I flaunted my vocabulary because it was one way to compensate. Maybe I wasn't a genius but I wasn't a total dunce, either.

As one might easily imagine, my trouble with numbers and complete lack of algebra caused considerable havoc with my college science classes. My boyfriend, an Iranian grad student in computer science disapproved. Finally, in my last semester I decided to enroll in a beginning algebra class. When I told him, thinking he'd be proud of me, he asked which section I had signed up for. When I replied he said I'd have to change because that was the section he taught. Anyway, I did. It didn't go well and I knew the teaching assistants I got did not understand me and could not communicate with me on any meaningful level. So when I had questions I would take them to Ahmad during his office hours. One day as I was waiting in the hallway, my TA's happened by and asked why I was there. I said I questions and I q\was going to ask Ahmad. They were stunned. "You. Know...Ahmad?" LOL Not only did I know him, our son is now 28 years old.

Despite my best intentions of taking that damned algebra class, I still got a D. When my son was just a baby I enrolled in another algebra class at a community college. This is where I learned that in many situations, a competent teacher can make all the difference. He explained concepts in a way I could understand. He motivated me. Even though I was a single parent and took my baby to class with me (at least, until the day he soaked his diaper, my leg and the floor) I worked through the book at home but still went to class for tests. The result with this effort was very different and I ended up with an A. The single most vivid memory of the class, other my son peeing on my leg and the floor, was the explanation that an equation was just like a sentence. The variable are words. The function signs are verbs. I had an epiphany that day. Now I just wish I could remember his name.

The bottom line is that everyone struggles with something. If people spoke in equations I'd be SOL.

BTW, I have since overcome my innumeracy difficulty. I came to be able to calculate discounts per yard and for total purchase in seconds when fabric stores were having sales.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian???

"I read, for instance, every single book in the whole library about landscaping and gardening, because that was an interest of mine."

How big was this school? How many gardening books were there? 2? 3?

Who the hell is kidding who? Okay, I get that a grant was named after her. Big whoop. However, just because she liked books and became a librarian doesn't automatically mean that she was a good, ethical, or professional one.

Where exactly did she speak out on hubby's nefarious PATRIOT Act that essentially served to muzzle Americans and make their reading selections available to the FBI? (BTW, one of the single most un-American and un-PATRIOTIC things I ever heard of, unless you consider that whole 2000 "stop counting votes" bidness)

What research did she conduct that in some way benefited anyone?

“Libraries allow children to ask questions about the world and find the answers. And the wonderful thing is that once a child learns to use a library, the doors to learning are always open.” --Laura Bush

That's right Laura. Especially if th child is in the school library you work in and the question is about gardening. Anything else...well we're really not so sure.

Funny, one wouldn't necessarily think that any library on the planet automatically has a need for a lot of gardening books -- especially an elementary school library. And yet, somehow, that is what Laura Bush seemed to buy the most of for her school library. Apparently, so she could read them all day instead of serving the informational needs of her students.

Interesting. When I was doing collection development (often in subject I loved, but not always) I never had time to sit and read the books I had ordered for the library. That had to be done on my time.

Sorry, but in my book, Laura Bush taking a job as an elementary school librarian so she could sit on her ever expanding butt to read about things SHE likes smacks more or croneyism and connections and marriage to Hitler's banker's grandson than professional librarian.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Boy, is This a Mistake



I have to say that although I guess I'm something of a foodie and love to try new interesting sounding recipes, I am astounded at the sheer chutzpah demonstrated by eater.com. Too much clutter about food on the internet? Sorry honey, I don't think that's exactly up to you to decide. Yes, as of October 2, eater.com is the only blog allowed to post about food and cooking. They are the only ones that post anything of substance and actually have offered bloggers $25 to close down.

Eater complains about Serious Eats, but I get their newsletter and have been very pleased with the results of the recipes I've tried. They say that on SE one will learn such difficult techniques as "melting butter." Huh. Sounds as though they haven't watched Food network and its gawd-awful programming lately because that is exactly what it has become.

It been suggested that eater.com is funded by Food Network, a website famous for its own suckitude. I don't doubt this for a second.

Hey, I think I'll become a food blog, shut down, and then re-open shop once the check clears. Ptui upon you, Eater!

I suggest that bloggers and food readers everywhere boycott eater.com.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An Ambiguous Take on Roman Polanski

The news that Roman Polanski had been arrested in Switzerland and held for possible extradition to the US to receive the sentencing he fled from 32 years ago has stirred up no apparent end of fussing and fuming on those Interwebz. As I read through various articles on the commentary on them, I am shocked by several things.

First of all, there is a startling lack of middle ground in the opinions of those posting. Comments seem largely to fall into 2 camps: either the “let's string him up by his balls” school of thought or the “her mother pimped her out/he thought she was older/she asked for it” approach.

Why do people feel the need to make everything so black and white, regardless of the perspective? Few things in life are as simple as that. There's the problem with life and reality: all those pesky shades of gray.

Ironically enough, those most vocal about prosecuting “to the fullest extent of the law” care not a whit about the feelings of the victim of the case. As if prosecuting this case will prevent future rapes...sure, on some planet. “This isn't about justice for the victim, it's about justice for society!” some self-righteously claim. Well gee, nice to know you care. Samantha Geimer has repeatedly stated that she just wants to let it go and not allow the media to re-victimize her. As a fellow rape survivor, I can certainly understand the sentiment. It's bad enough that from the earliest stages of the resulting investigation, the victim is made to feel dirty and at fault. The emotional fallout isn't so hot either. In my case, I wasn't allowed a good look at the perp and hence was unable to identify him at a lineup. The result of that was that for several months afterward every man I saw at work, on the bus, at the grocery store could have been him for all I knew.

People in many artistic circles say that on the basis of his oeuvre alone he should be allowed to put it all behind him. Sorry but I have a hard time buying into this. Despite his stature as an artist, he still drugged a teenager and forced himself upon someone who, even if she had consented (she didn't) was legally unable to give consent. Even if her mother had been pimping the girl, consent wasn't hers to give. And regardless of age, at least according to the California Penal Code (current version, anyway, I have no idea what it was in 1977) if you have to slip someone champagne and a Quaalude to get them to have sex with you, that's rape too. I'm sure that rich, famous and powerful people commit crimes all the time and are able to use their connections to avoid prosecution for them. That doesn't make it right.

And then there are those who say he's been in exile for 32 years, isn't that punishment enough? While I'm not sure how I feel about that one, sure, he's had to alter his life somewhat, but aside from not being able to enter the US or countries likely to extradite, I don't really see how the time itself is much of a factor. Except for the fact that he is now 76 and one presumes that at his advanced age he is unlikely to commit any rapes in the future. I do think that some statute of limitations should be in effect on a charge of fleeing sentencing. He has already pleaded guilty to the rape itself, so the involvement of the victim is not necessary (which certainly has not prevented the media from dragging out pictures of her at age 13 and forcing her to relive the events – all the while making money off her tragedy). Besides, California is hardly in sufficient financial shape these days to be spending a ton of money on a high-profile case. Considering that criminals of all stripes are being released due to the budget crisis I really do not believe that the state is viewing this case rationally or with any sort of realistic view about what they hope to accomplish by it.

The argument that shapes my thoughts on this matter the most, I suppose, is that Polanski himself is a victim. I don't mean the Holocaust, which was horrific to be sure and in which his mother was killed. Rather I refer to the gruesome murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate by the Manson family. I cannot begin to imagine how a person could continue to go on after such a thing and I have to believe that this has damaged Polanski far more than his actions against a teenager have damaged her. I say this not to minimize the trauma that Geimer was forced to live through, nor to excuse Polanski, but merely to highlight the horror of that night in Los Angeles. I daresay that few among us will ever have to experience anything like those murders and the resulting cultural flash point it has since become.

And it isn't as though he didn't serve any time or went completely scot free. He did serve 43 days in the state prison in Chino. That might not sound like much but I suspect it's more than many people serve for similar crimes. Furthermore, Geimer's family filed a civil suit, for which Polanski paid a sum that apparently satisfied them. If the victim and her family are fine with the outcome, why is it up to the State of California to decide that more needs to happen? What do they have to gain by going ahead with the prosecution?

IMO, at this point California should just slap Polanski with a fine for avoiding sentencing and call it a day. It's clear that proceeding with this case will not help the victim, and it's questionable that it will help the state either.

Jerry,
let this one go.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Winco Foods: Hazardous to Your Children



Ironically enough, it was my son who convinced me to shop at WinCo in the first place. He knew I hated crowds and big parking lots but showed me that prices were lower than the Safeway I usually went to. Now, with hindsight, I think it's better to spend a little more and retain one's dignity and sense of what is right.

An open letter to Winco Foods CEO Steven L. Goddard...

Steven L. Goddard
CEO, Winco Foods LLC
650 N. Armstrong Pl.
Boise ID 83705-0456

Re: Incident #0079833

Dear Mr. Goddard:

I have been a Winco/Cub Foods customer for many years as I enjoyed the prices, selection and what I have apparently in error considered to be friendly, courteous staff despite the somewhat cumbersome nature of shopping at such a large facility. However, a troubling incident involving my son and a security employee and events afterward have disabused me of that perception.

It was with no small degree of astonishment yesterday that I received a letter from your security department. I say astonishment because I personally find it shocking that your employee, a person apparently much larger than my son, saw fit to assault him in order to retrieve $4.53 worth of candy and in the process caused injuries that necessitated transport to the emergency room and medical bills no doubt adding up to thousands of dollars.

While I do not condone my son's actions, he is legally still a child, while one assumes that your employee is an adult and presumably trained to defuse rather than escalate such situations. Perhaps it is Winco policy to consider any action justified, despite how completely irrational, illogical, overzealous and harmful that action might be to others. Your employees are perhaps not fully informed of all the Washington statues, particularly RCW 9A.36.011, which states in part:

Assault in the first degree.

(1)A person is guilty of assault in the first degree if he or she, with intent to inflict great bodily harm:
(c) Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm.
(2) Assault in the first degree is a class A felony.


Problematic as it seems that your employees feel justified in sending a 130-pound boy to the emergency room, even more so is the obvious scurrying by store management and security personnel to disguise the nature of the event. Particularly galling is the fact that in the letter I received from your headquarters in Boise you demand not only payment for the candy, which my son neither consumed nor left the premises with, but also an additional charge of $150.

To quite literally add insult to injury, when I visited the store on 13 September to request a copy of the security report of the incident, the store manager rather mendaciously stated that no such report had been filed. Since your letter to me cites a number for a report obviously it does exist. I then asked to view whatever video had been captured of the event and was again told that no such video existed. Conversations with local police in the meantime have put the lie to that statement as well.

In summary, I would like a copy of the report that was filed and the contact information for your liability insurance carrier. As for the charge of $154.53, you are welcome to deduct that from the payment you make to me to cover my son's torn clothing, ambulance, emergency, hospital admission and ongoing treatment by an orthopedic surgeon. I have not ruled out the possibility of a civil remedy and until I am satisfied by your efforts to redress this situation I will not hesitate to use whatever means necessary to make others aware of the inherent danger and hazard that Winco poses to children. As I am fully conversant in Web 2.0 networking technologies, this will be a simple thing to accomplish.

Until yesterday I spent in any given month several hundred dollars at Winco. In the future I am happy to instead spend those dollars with retailers such as Safeway, Grocery Outlet, Fred Meyer, Gateway Produce and the like.



Very truly yours,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Milestone: Quill and Parchment


One hundred issues and a little over eight years ago, four Internet friends were saddened by the closing of another poetry venue, one where they shared art and poetry and at times bared their souls. They were not alone.

In one stroke, there were now thousands of voiceless writers and poets surfing the Internet aimlessly, still in shock that something they had enjoyed so deeply could disappear so suddenly, and hoping beyond hope that something else would rise from the ashes to take its place.

The four original editors ― Sharmagne Leland-St.John, Kaila Chan, Janet Leister and artist Sara Wadington ― decided to create a place in which they could continue to share their work as well as the work of others they had befriended. Thus, Quill and Parchment was born.

They have persevered through world disasters, changing of the guard, financial setbacks and other catastrophes. All of this has served to only to make them stronger and to provide fodder for their poetic cannons.

With the October 2009 issue Quill and Parchment proudly welcomes Volume 100! Please join them in raising a toast to the next 100 volumes!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wow, War Kills People?

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/09/12/marine/


Of course people die in war. Americans die, others die. Oh, but we don't care about those others because they are brown, right?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More Ramstein

I love Ramstein. They pull together my love of German and metal in the best headbanger tradition.

Yes, Virginia, librarians can be headbangers. :D

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dear Rachael Ray:

http://community.livejournal.com/boardoutmind/1111579.html?view=26653723#t26653723

I saw some video and pix of you from Letterman last night. Now, for full disclosure, it must be said that I despise your cooking style and philosophy (dare I say...your 'culinary point of view'), as I love to spend time cooking for the people I love -- but really!

I do not watch you regularly or read or buy -- sorry Foodnetwork -- your cookbooks or many RR branded lines of weird products such as towels with potholders in the corners (can you say: accident waiting to happen?"), or "garbage bowl". There are, after all, garbage CANS and so many more people with more information, more accurately presented.

But I'm telling you....fire your stylist. Hire me. I'll make you look better and I don't even like you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wow, They Really are Nazis at TWOP

Honestly, wouldn't you think that a site with a name like televisionwithoutpity.com could grow a slightly thicker skin? I see all kinds of vulgarity there and just because I posted a link to foodnetwork.com and labeled it with "FN Kiss Ass Site," my account had a warning issued on it. You know, in the grand scheme of things, it is really all that bad? I dissed a web site that is known to "swiffer" less than favorable reviews of the recipes it publishes. I fail to see how I was impolite to a poster. Guess I'll just stay in my own little corner of the Interwebz where S. Tankersley is impotent. Sheesh.

Jesus, you're just a website. Lighten up. The fate of the world isn't exactly riding on your poor laden shoulders.

I used to moderate an online forum and even if I say so myself, I only hid posts that contained vulgarity or outright harassment. And I thought AOL was hardcore about what would and would not fly. At least they were upfront about what kinds of online behavior would result in Terms of Service violations. TWOP just says not to be a "dick," but nowhere do they tell you how they define it. This site, or at least forum moderator, is in serious need of an anal cephelectomy.

Update: Strange. I logged in to my account yesterday and the warning has disappeared.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What the...?

I have very recently encountered a phenomenon wholly new to me. This phenomenon is an HR department that is actually committed to its time line and sent out an apology for falling behind. I must say that I am completely flabbergasted. This sort of thing simply does not happen in the world I inhabit. HR departments seem to take their own sweet time and don't seem to care what anyone's time line is.

The HR department sending me this notice along with their acknowledgment letter is the City of Hillsboro, OR. Now I want to work there even more than before I sent them 17 pages worth of application materials.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Singularly Uninformed

It's pretty sad when you are paying someone to be your laywer and they don't seem to know your current job title.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Damn You Dell!!!

I never liked that stupid Lollipop song to begin with. Now you have paid to air it 300 times a day -- and that's only the channels I watch. A pox upon you!

If you must use the lollipop metaphor, at least have the decency to use Lil Wayne.

When I was doing tech support for EarthLink I liked Dell. You can sure as hell kiss that goodbye.

It may have been in the past that I would have recommended Dell. But especially now (never mind their pandering to MS) no freaking way in hell. I tell people to go to TigerDirect.com. That's where I spent $400 for a bare bones system -- Suse as my OS was free. I spent my money on components and memory where others spent theirs on Microsuck.

suckahs!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More FaceBook Mayhem

At least this one involves FB only indirectly. Sure, people are always warned not to post things that might incriminate them later, or might cause a potential employer to look askance at certain behaviors.

But in this case, a school demanded a student's login information and then shared otherwise private posts with other teachers. I don't blame the student's family one bit for suing and I hope they win big.

A pdf of the complaint is posted here.

The thing I don't get is how in the hell it is the business of a school district what its students do on their own time? The teacher had no right to ask for such personal information as a student's FB login info. What is the teacher's info? If she has the right to ask it, surely others have the right to demand same of her.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

E-books and the Fate of Paper

Here is an interesting blog post that illustrates so well my feelings about e-books. I think I told someone essentially what this post does (but way back in library school when the discussion was really about digital texts in general back in the olden days before everyone and his brother's dog had a Kindle or a Blackberry).

Yeah, yeah, I get that digital is cheap and easily disseminated and manipulated. But IMO it will never take the place of snuggling up with the sort of book that you would want to snuggle up with, drinking a cup of hot chocolate.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Beyond the Sea

I'm the first to admit that younger I was not a fan of Bobby Darin. For one thing he was a generation or so ahead of me. He was born 5 years after my mother. But as I cruised DishNetwork's lineup Saturday I saw a biopic with KEVIN SPACEY as the lead and I watched most, but not all, of it. As an eternal fan of American Beauty, I bit. And was not disappointed.

I totally dug the big band arrangements (yes, total orchestra/stage band geek here, in the 70's I grooved to Led Zep AND Glenn Miller), and Kevin Spacey..how the hell can you go wrong? The script could have been better, but on the whole I thought it was decent. I never really did get "Mack the Knife," even though I know it was from Weill's Threepenny Opera.

When I looked at Bobby Darin's wikipedia entry at first I thought it seemed lame to go toward folk music and assumed that this was purely a marketing decision. But when I heard his "Simple Song of Freedom," I changed my mind. This man was a songwriting genius...as is the case with so many Italians. (I had a huge crush on my flute teacher in high school, Phil Baldino. My fiance, an Italian, is a music loser but his brother teaches piano).

Too bad that he did not have more personal fulfillment. But when I look for music to download, this is an area I will definitely consider in the future.

Thanks to Kevin for giving me one more reason to appreciate his work and vision.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Palin Resignation Update


He said/she said...

Whatever else I may think about Palin and her political/executive abilities (or demonstrated lack thereof) she has pretty much screwed the pooch re: her perceived professionalism by entering into a pissing contest with her daughter's baby daddy.

"It is interesting to learn Levi is working on a piece of fiction while honing his acting skills," Palin family spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

You can't really fault Levi for this. Apparently he learned at the knee of the Mother of All Fairy Tales.

"Obviously she's stressed out as governor. I mean moving up to the vice president or president is huge. I just don't think anymore that she's cut out for the job." Don't worry Levi. She doesn't really seem to be cut out as MIL material, either. She may be qualified as MILF material, however.

Perhaps Palin's strategy here could be referred to as a "Reverse Franken." She left politics to go into comedy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some Things Just Bear Repeating


The 4 Steps to becoming a Drag Queen

1. Let Good Thoughts be your Sword and Shield
2. Ignore Adversity
3. Abide by the Rules of Love
4. Larger Than Life is Just the Right Size

Ouch! A Career Summed Up in 2 Words

This from Wonkette:
"sex person John Ensign"

To be fair, my career could also be said to have been reduced to 2 words...but at least it isn't these 2. Hey, take smug moral superiority where you can, I say!

Oh Christ, the Porn Spam Has Got to Stop!

Does spamming people really help sell a product? Why don't spammers realize that when they send this crap out all it does it create a negative impression in the mind of the potential customer. Lately I've been getting lots of porn spam trying to get me to buy penis enhancement drugs.

Sorry kids, but since I'm a woman your product won't do me any good (and frankly my honey doesn't need it anyway). So now I'm doing whois lookups on these instead of merely adding the sending addresses to my Spambot™ page so that bots will spam these people in turn. Hey poetic justice and all...Anyhoo, when I do the whois lookup I see the email of the person who registered the spamming domain. Now I am adding that email to the Spambot™ page as well. I guess the next step would be to contact the admin of the hosting service and complain.

The last 6 domains that sent me this crap were registered to 2 emails: wiangd@126.com and uyamlegb@yeah.net

Friday, July 3, 2009

Palin Resigns

"'I'm not wired to operate under the same old politics as usual,' she said in Wasilla Friday."

"Palin, who was elected governor in 2006 and has widely been seen as a leading 2012 presidential contender, said she had tired of 'superficial, wasteful political blood sport.'"

I thought that the beauty queen who could field dress a moose was into blood sport.

Wow. The funny thing is that she did not do this earlier...like before John McCain picked her as running mate. She could have easily spared him the embarrassment, not to mention the election...

Poor Sarah. Were those pesky ethics investigations getting in the way?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Battling the Blackberries


Hard to believe we've been in Grandma's house for a year already. We've done so much but there is still a ton of work to do on the place.

The tenants who had been here for 15 years never notified the property management people of any problems and God knows there were plenty of them, the main one being plumbing issues in the bathroom that caused mildew on the walls in every other room in the joint, rotten sheetrock and a wet slab on the living room foundation under several layers of flooring. We scraped/sanded mildew from the walls, spackled, sanded and painted. We ripped off the many layers of floor in the living room and installed laminate. We tore out the crumbling/cracking vinyl tub surround in the bathroom and put in ceramic tile and a matching back splash behind the sink. We had started scrubbing the kitchen prior to painting and tiling and replacing cupboards when Mom told us to stop; that further work would add value to the place and since Grandma was ill (and 103) she didn't want to have to come up with more money to buy out my uncle Bill's share of the estate.

Well, Grandma passed on the 10th and it turns out Bill isn't interested in any portion of her estate. So we've gotten back to work on it but for now it's the yard. Yep, a half acre of blackberries awaiting us. In March or so Mom had a guy come in with a bobcat and cut them all down. I staked out a 12 x 16 patch for a garden but never got as far as planting anything. Within just a couple of months the blackberries had come back with a vengeance and were already 3 feet high. Aside from the stakes in the ground, it was impossible to tell that I had planned a garden at all.

Some years ago at another property of Mom's I spent my weekends with a pair of loppers cutting the blackberries back 1 cane at a time. This time: no freaking way! We got a plastic cutter attachment for the string trimmer and went to town.

I have come to have the greatest respect for Rubus spp. as a biological entity (this despite an unfortunate encounter with them the year I was 10. We had parked by a railroad trestle to watch fireworks at Fort Vancouver. Klutzy to the core, I fell headlong into a patch. I don't know whether the pain made the fireworks more beautiful than ever than year, but I do know that I spent the next 2 weeks plucking thorns from my arms and legs). Small animals that do not threaten it are able to vanish within its brambles. Its defense system is legendary. It grows and loops over itself and other plants, making it nearly impenetrable. However, our humble Ryobi trimmer, armed with the plastic blade, made short work of dispatching them.

I loves me some blackberry cobbler, but probably not enough to want to allow these pesky plants to take over the yard again. I hear Winco has them frozen in bags...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Okay, My Bad...

LOL No sooner do I post complaining about genealogogists than I decide to do some digging of my own. I got to talking with the wife of the corner store guy the other day and she urged me to find the records I'd need to apply for enrollment in the Cherokee Nation of Tahlequah. My grandmother's name is listed on the Dawes Roll and since the birth date listed jives with her age I figure it must be her (after doing many obituary lookups for people I know full well that many people have the same name and to find the obit you need to be looking for the right person).

My sister tried doing this once and gave up after getting copies of my father and grandmother's death records. Apparently we need those and their birth records. This is where it gets interesting. At this point I have no earthly idea where either birth will be recorded. They lived in Elmer, Oklahoma when Dad was born but apparently he was born in Texas. I don't have any hard info to go on, but I assume Minnie was born in Oklahoma but birth records for 1911 seem to be pretty sketchy. Who knows if a record even exists? I do know that she first applied for a Social Security card in Texas.

Another wrinkle: Minnie's husband Jessie was born in Arkansas but his birth was recorded in Texas. Plus all this time I thought he was Jesse David and now he turns out to be Jessie. And I cannot find him in the Social Security Death Index. Strange.

This reminds me of something the lawyer Mom and I saw last week about settling my other grandmother's estate said. People think they know their relatives but when you publish notices and sit out the required waiting periods before closing everything out, all sorts of things pop up that were kept well covered while the person was alive. One person supposedly had 10 heirs. It turned out to be over 50. In another of her cases the decedent was known to have had "a couple of fender benders." That "couple" became 22 before the estate was settled.

I now officially acknowledge that genealogy can actually be pretty interesting and I apologize for dissing its fans.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Whither Clown Monkeys?

It occurred to me the other day that I've not been spammed by the ClownMonkey t-shirt people for a while. No, not so much as being informed of the most recent $100 funny t-shirt slogan (which would have been won by someone else, natch). So I typed in their URL and.....nothing comes up. Good old Tim still owns the domain, it just isn't hosted anywhere anymore. Hmmmmm...no message boards, no people stumbling over themselves to "audition" for customer service positions. I wonder wot happened???

I'd had the suspicion that the posts they put on every Craigslist site in the country where some sort of experiment, either for school or some marketing project (thesis, anyone?) about what fools people were willing to make of themselves for a chance at a job. At one point, in response to my CMC posts, someone commented that he was "high school friend" of the guy running the show and he was an upright businessman and what the hell was my problem if I had nothing better to do than run him down. LOL Hey I'm just outlining my experience to save someone else the bother of entertaining hope for something that has zero chance of working out. Perhaps this commenter missed the posts of others who said their experiences were essentially the same as mine. Guess he missed those posts made by others on complaint sites about their impressions. Nyo well.

The ClownMonkey Myspace page is still up, however. I scrolled through the comments there and it appears that toward the end of January, Myspace "friends" were asking whether this outfit ever hired anyone. Well, I guess it wasn't just me...

Hope springs Eternal...

...either that, or it died this morning at 10:29.

Last week, I found something of a rarity: a job on Craiglist that sounded just like me, offered a decent wage, was in the heart of one of my very favorite places (downtown PDX) and would draw on my education, subject interests and inherent abilities in what sounded like an exciting place. They even referred to their site and gave a valid (not craigslist anonymyzed) email address to contact. I got busy googling them and customizing my cover letter. This was the most excited I'd been in a while to apply for a non-library job.

The speed with which I received a rejection letter was simply stunning. Interesting, my experience and skills do not apparently match their needs. Hmmmmm. If this is true, they did a really lousy job of articulating those needs. Per their site, they wanted:

• College degree and minimum of 2 years work experience
Yeah, I'm all wrong here. I have 2 degrees and 30 years work experience.

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills (in person and on phone)
I guess all those reference interviews and tech support questions I've answered don't quite count.

• Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access, Publisher)
I'm fully proficient with Office; I just prefer not to use any Microsuck products if I can help it.

• Interest in and familiarity with contemporary literature, arts, pop culture, current events
Okay, I can see where my multiple years of experience doing reference and collection development in the fields of computers, journalism, languages and literature sort of ruled me out. What the hell do I know about any of these? No doubt the nail in the coffin was my BA in English and the stuff I've published, edited, designed and helped others publish.

• Meticulous organization and record keeping abilities
A librarian?! Organized? Never!

• High level of professionalism, discretion and sense of responsibility
• Self-directed, fast learner with capacity for problem-solving and follow through
A person who has started entrepreneurial ventures more than once is obviously some sort of slagabout, as is one who left their family for a year to get that pesky MLS. Slacker!

• Well-versed in online and traditional research methods
• Technologically savvy and comfortable with websites & e-newsletters
Again, if a graduate of the tech support trenches who has answered thousands of questions via the Internet and various subscription databases, was part of Stanislaus County's first wave of staff to be trained in virtual reference and then in turn trained other librarians to do same, designed several sites and basically hand coded a successful poetry e-zine who is currently studying CSS for the sole purpose of improving their and others' sites doesn't count as tech savvy, again -- what does? Hey guys: UNIX command line much?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Challenging Job Requirements

So I was cruising through jobs posted via my state employment agency. Here are just a few of the "very challenging" requirements for a job posted for Charter Communications:

Ability to use, handle, and manipulate objects such as paper, pencils, keyboards, and mouse

Knowledge and ability to use the following office equipment: computer, telephone, copier, fax, calculator, and stapler


Dang! And here I was all over this posting until I saw the bit about being able to use a pencil and stapler!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Excerpt of a Review of My Book

Many thanks to reviewer Karen Schwartz. It is always wonderful to hear from people that one's work is appreciated.

The Eclipse and Other Poems is a poignant collection of courageous endeavors with a strong focus on human associations which strive to attract positive, meaningful fulfillment in its search for quintessential love. The poet reveals this yearning for another, not often found, as in “House of Cards,”

My love for you/is a house of cards/built of dreams and longing/possibilities never realized, certitude never proven...

And yet while love is elusive through an abundance of heartache and rejection, [the author]'s personae dare to pick themselves up time after time with admirable determination in pursuit of sexual pleasure, comfort and a connection to a warm body in the hopes of melting their lonely hearts; the substance behind her words affirming backbone and fortitude among enchanted glimpses introduced beyond the stars...

A collection that mirrors lost loves and unfulfilled dreams, The Eclipse and Other Poems evokes compassion from the poet’s readers in part to each poem’s relatability as well as [the author’s] undeniable strength to remain undefeated giving noteworthy reason for readers to add this gratifying book to complement their poetry collection...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WHO DO I SUE??

what he did affects how others will express themselves in the FUTURE. Some young women will think.. shoot, I better answer how they want me to or else I will be called a C in front of millions as well...>>>>>>>>>>>>

Oh. You mean as in...You are in a job interview. They ask you a question. You don't have the perfect answer. They hire someone else. Someone on the internet said something about me that I don't like.

WHO DO I SUE??

WHO DO I BLAME??

Not my ignorance, nor dishonesty with potential employers.Oh. The choice is obvious. It's SATAN!!! Just don't be too hung up on discovering his address so that you can have a subpoena delivered. I'm a Christian, so any ill that befalls me is obviously the work of SATAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I still think it's weird that people who WANT to be married are seen as the ENEMIES of marriage. Why does this fact escape so many? Wouldn't it make more sense to be opposed to people who don't see the point in bothering?

Why does no one see that the true enemies of marriage are those who want to be married to several women at once...,my cousins...eeeewwwww?

The true enemies of Christianity are those who abuse it for their own commercial ends. I want to be married to the person I've been with for 3 years now. but we don't have the money to make it happen.

It exactly like abortion -- if you think it's bad, don't get one. ;/

Hey honey, just be glad your aren't a Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim, Taoist,Catholic, wiccan. Imagine how publuc opinion would be against you of you wanted to practice something else? Where is freedom then????

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Have to Agree With the "Rude" Part

Canadian Woman Gets Fired via Facebook

I read recently that we all have public lives, personal lives, and private lives. This and the prior article I posted about a UK teen getting fired for indicating on her Facebook status is just that much more reason to keep these things separate.

Love this quote from the supervisor: "Her former boss, Susanne Woerhie, defended the Facebook firing by saying that she had tried to call Bell after she skipped the staff meeting but couldn't reach her.

'I just wanted to have it dealt with that evening,' Woerhie told the Kelowna Daily Courier. 'I didn't want to deal with it at the shop when other people were around.'"


How lame.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Rejection Has Never Been Sweeter

Mainly because I was the one doing the rejecting. I received email last night requesting an interview from someone whose posting on Craigslist I had replied to. I was excited until I got to the part where they said that before they could confirm an interview time I would have to obtain something called an “employee score,” and I was referred to site www.freeemployeescore.com. Since I had never heard of such a thing and having a hinky feeling about the proposition, I went to the site. Yes, I am well aware that many employers run your social through a vetting service to make hiring decisions, but I have certainly never been directed to conduct this part of the job screening myself. Sorry people, but I do not work for you. If you want to check on a potential employee, do it your own damn self.

Sure enough, the URL in question offers an employment background checking service, purportedly “free.” I was redirected to site www.consumerdirect.com which wanted to charge a fee on a credit card to provide me this “free” service. Perhaps this is so much semantic quibbling, but any charge is not “free.”

I have never understood the logic that says bad credit history = bad employee. It simply does not follow. What is does indicate is that a job is needed, and the person who actually needs a job seems more likely, IMO, to try to hold on to that job. God forbid unemployed people dare to find work. Isn't it more likely that this is a corporate urban legend foisted upon employers by people hawking this service? Come on, be realistic. If an employee were of a mind to commit a crime to obtain money to avoid having a bad rating, this person would, on the basis of his employee score, be preferable to someone who had not thought to do likewise and therefore had a bad score. It occurred to me during the Reagan administration that in that cultural atmosphere, no crime was as bad as the crime of being poor. I understand that the financial industry leaders who so recently needed a government bailout to avoid going belly up probably have excellent credit. That did not prevent them from bilking taxpayers out of millions.

Why does Craigslist attract so many bogus employment ads? Why don't they consider charging a small fee to employers to make sure that postings are for actual jobs and not phishing scams or attempts to charge people for the information on how to start a work at home business? This kind of crap annoys the bejesus out of me precisely because it exploits people who are desperate. Craigslist is a great resource for local information, but these kinds of posts under the guise of offering employment lessens its effectiveness and relevance.

The more I dug for information on getjudgment.com (the mail I received was from the domain getjudgement.com, which begs the question why I should consider them a legitimate employer when they can't even spell “judgment” correctly – I know, I'm a spelling snob. So sue me). Real businesses come up with something when you google them. Real businesses aren't afraid of a little transparency. Real businesses do not refer you to a phishing site before they will consider your candidacy for a legitimate job. Oddly, my outgoing mail client, which hangs on to everything I send until I manually delete it, shows no record of mail sent for this position title either to the various spellings of getjudgment or a Craigslist anonymous email. Ah, well, just one more red flag out of many.

Long story short, I sent my regrets to this “employer.” I am not a fool and value my privacy too much to surrender it on the off chance that I'd cop an interview out of it. Sorry, Janice @ getjudgement.com. Thanks for playing. Try again with some other chump.

Dear Ms. Walsh:
I wanted to thank you for your interest in interviewing me for your Administrative Assistant position as advertised on Craigslist. I must however regretfully decline your invitation.
The reason for my refusal centers on my belief that any employer who finds it necessary, in the middle of an economic depression, to conduct a credit check prior to employment or even further consideration is, quite simply, unworthy of my abilities.
I wish your office the best of luck in locating a master-level incumbent with over 30 years of work experience for your position.

File copy: adsl-68-121-22-201.dsl.irvnca.pacbell.net


Oh, and a whois lookup yields the following data on consumerdirect.com

Registrant Contact:
David Coulter
Pathway Data, Inc. ()

Fax:
3187 Red Hill Ave #100
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
US

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why I Homeschool My Child

This article is from Salon. Interesting points, but ultimately none of those are the reason why I decided that homeschooling was the best option for my (somewhat problematical) teen. Why I Homeschool My Children

My traditional stance on homeschooling was that some things are better left to professionals, and teaching is one of them. Plus, this kid was going to present a challenge to whomever received the privilege of having Fester in his class. His ADHD creates havoc with inability to remain on task. He is frequently disruptive. With his diabetes, the schools have a responsibility to monitor his blood sugar. It seemed as though at least once a week I got a call to come pick him up from school so we could deal with his hyperglycemia at home. Now that I have more time to spend with him, we can be much more flexible in terms of managing his sick days -- and he has fewer of them.

But if there were one ultimate determining factor, it would be that the public school was in the process of referring him to "alternative school." I didn't see the usefulness of sending Fester to a place full of other boys looking for trouble.

We began by checking out a couple of GED study guides with sample tests from the library to get a baseline idea where Fester is, academically speaking. He was 15 1/2 at the time, not yet old enough to take the GED. Based on the scores from the sample test, he would have passed. He watches quite a bit of The Discovery Channel, The History Channel and CNN now. We talk about things and use those conversations as a springboard to research papers.

Since we decided to home school, the stress level is down and our relationship is better. Sure, Fester still does a lot of crazy things, but he's not so consistently in trouble. He spends less time hanging around people who will encourage him to find trouble. Even the way we're doing it, which is somewhat impromptu, home schooling is a lot of work but so far the results seem to make it worthwhile. He may well be a misfit and dropout but I still see his worth as a person. Fester is smart and funny and intuitive. He has a natural curiosity about the world and presents himself quite articulately. The public school system in two states has not served him well.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Sudden Squeamishness is Surprising

The Palins, The Johnstons, And Republican Class Politics

Below is the actual Levi — no preppy clothes. No polish. Just good old boy who knocked up the Governor’s daughter. ...


Frankly, I'm baffled. Isn't this the same milieu that Bullwinkle-shooting, field dressing Palin worked so very hard to portray herself a part of during the presidential campaign?



And here is the Levi Johnston the RNC wants us to believe in:



The RedState Blog weighs in here.

Ah geez, I registered there just to comment but the forum keeps telling me I haven't been registered long enough. Fine, here's my comment:

LOL Funny post, thanks.

To start, Erickson obviously has little knowledge of television. Of course cheesy talk show hosts want you to think about their guests in this manner. It titillates and grabs the viewer. Television earns money based on numbers of viewers, not content.

No, the left can't be bothered with the issue now; that's because it's old news. It's the proverbial dead horse. Don't accuse the other side of apathy now simply because your opinion at the time was proven wrong. They've moved on. Be a little quicker on the uptake and perhaps you won't feel so left out.

Liberals will not regard Mr Johnston as a “hero because he hurts Palin.” Palin's own party ditched her when she helped sink the ticket. Johnston's actions really have no effect on the left – except that he is now the poster boy for fathers' rights to visitation. Man, it must really kill conservatives now that their political tradition which is supposed to be about “family values” is now preventing a father from carrying out his responsibilities as a parent ... while those godless "lib'ruls" think he should be granted access until a court order prevents it.

Call him whatever you like now, but that cannot alter the many photo ops in which both the Palins and the RNC trotted Johnston out and presented him as suitable husband fodder. If the Palins found him to be so distasteful, how is it that he managed such access? Sure, he's a dunderhead, but what does it say about the Palins that he was able to get one over on them? Epithets such as "white trash" flung at Johnston now will ultimately come back to haunt the baby...the only one in the entire scenario who is not in some way guilty. Yah, I know: more of those good old "family values."

As for Tyra Banks, I could not begin to tell you what her politics are. Somehow, hers is not the first name that comes to mind when discussing the subject. Oh, and Erick Erickson might reconsider his definition of ethics when decrying anyone making money off the sad situation of these three children, considering that there is advertising on his blog right next to the article.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Reply...5 Years Later

Ronald Reagan and the National Day of Mourning

I am only making a comment about this now because it has come up on another board I participate in and I referred to the quote in question. Rather than being a "roach coming out to express my opinion," I was specifically asked for it. Hating hypocrisy, I gave it without sugarcoating or spinning. To my amazement, the local paper picked it up, then some blogs and then some industry-related journals.

The thing I find particularly amusing is how the author of the Conservator Blog (or something similar, apparently now inactive) decided that he knew me well enough to describe my political leanings and acted as though he knew me. Now that's a laugh. No one cites him, so he must therefore cite people he writes about, Sorry Charlie. Or Jack or Brian or who the hell are you anyway?

On a human level, I certainly understand the pain his widow and children must have felt at his passing. No doubt similar to what I felt when my father died in 1986. But I also remember his many unfortunate political gaffes and can now only be described as poorly advised positions. Homelessness is a lifestyle choice. Ketchup, for purposes of school lunches, is now a vegetable. And that is only the beginning. One can only hope that when their relative, a former world figure not known for being an intellectual giant dies, that some people might have opinions and that they will voice those opinions.

Personally, I believe that Reagan would hate the idea that government employees would have a day off because of his passing. Those who think I should have elected to spend the day in genuflection rather than fixing my hard drive don't know me very well. I don't think Reagan would have wanted people of my class to have anything more than what we already got. I wasn't planning for the day and didn't expect it. A reporter asked me what I thought I told him without guile or any desire to "spin" my opinion. That bloggers decided to do it for me afterward was outside my ability to control.

I do think, however, that this experience serves to show why one must be guarded when speaking to reporters for any reason and be careful about what they say. Had I to do it over again, I probably would elect not to make any comment. The many bloggers who thought they had amusing comments to make reagarding my comment would have one less thing to remark upon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Of Internet Drama, Trolls and Hissy Fits (part 2)

I recall that some years ago there was much public lamenting about the ever decreasing lack of communication and that people didn't seem to be writing much anymore. It appears that the Internet has certainly changed all that. According to the most recent stats I could find an estimated daily average of 210 billion emails are sent every day. Now, even when taking into account that many of these are spam (some sources citing numbers as high as 30%), others are trivial work email (Reply to All is the bane of the workplace, LOL), that still amounts to a significant amount of communication. Factor in blogs, message boards, newsgroups, listservs, wikis, RSS feeds and social networking sites and it doesn't take a huge stretch of the imagination to see that if anything, communication is booming in these days in Internet ubiquity.

But while we are talking to each other more than ever – albeit virtually – what is happening with the quality of that communication? Certainly, the Internet provides a fabulous means of opportunity not only to keep in touch with family and friends, but to make connections with people across the globe who share one's interests. People who would recently never have had any reason to meet due to distance are now able to meet and form virtual, yet nonetheless real, relationships. I met my fiance via a dating site. Despite the fact that we only lived 30 miles apart, we would never have met had it not been for the web.

It is my belief that a sense of community among virtual groups is a vital, growing thing. And, just as people can form a community based on shared likes, community can just as easily be created between people who share a common dislike.

I am thinking of a particular “anti-fan” community and what has happened to it. Of course,no anti-fan community could exist without a given celebrity having a legion of fans and a lot of public exposure. In a strange way, I think the ubiquity of this particular celebrity has insured the existence of a community devoted to pointing out his/her foibles and lack of knowledge. One might think, perhaps rightly, that such a group inherently be somewhat volatile, but over the years that I've participated on the site, I was repeatedly struck by a sense of cohesion among its members and a level of caring about each other that seemed unusual. Perhaps the “anti-fan anti-fans” who bash these members have unknowingly created a defensive “circle the wagons” attitude among community members. The community had a policy against trolling which was frequently breached by people eager to insult and denigrate those of us who did not share their love. Usually these trolls were banned from the community with little fanfare.

It all seemed quite shocking then when the moderator allowed a troll to run rampant over the community. After a couple of months of this harassment the truth came out that this person was in fact an employee of the site subject, had apparently befriended the moderator who then allowed him to uncontrolled access. The resulting drama of name calling, accusations and the banning of people who had been members for years made the board a very unpleasant place to hang out. The sense of betrayal among members was very palpable and real.

I suppose it is natural that communities on the Internet, being a reflection of the humans who interact on them, will be born, grow and eventually die. In this case, however, the community did not die; it merely moved to a new piece of virtual real estate. Despite the best efforts of some (I suspect well-funded) to kill the community, it lives on – minus its creator.

Some years ago I began online dating, and was frequently asked how real a relationship could be when you had not only not met the other party but in fact lived thousands of miles away from them. After forming friendships with various people, I can affirm the sincerity of those attachments. At one point I knew I would have to break up with someone online. The sense of dread was no less than had it been a local. The fact that it happened via email may have lessened the difficulty of doing it, but not the knowledge that I was going to hurt someone. The relationship is real. The feelings that result from it are real.

Even so, I think it's important to remember that the air of anonymity behind the monitor does enable a less than accurate presentation of who a person is. This may seem that I am contradicting myself, but an element of caution is never a bad idea. It may be easier for someone to mask a true identity in web-based communication but that certainly isn't anything exclusive to the Internet. I had been married to my ex-husband for several years before I discovered some secrets that he had quite successfully hidden from me.

What defines community when frequently its members have never met? Clearly it is more than simply staking out one's virtual soap box and shouting out to anyone with a search engine. I've been a member of an email loop since 2000. Despite our varying professions, families and interests and other life conditions, we have shared triumphs and tragedies, loves and losses, heroes and heartaches. We may have come together because we shared a certain interest on a message board, but it's been years now since we discussed the subject that was our original impetus for meeting. Members have come and gone but the community lives on.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Facebook Reconsidered

I've been hearing a lot lately about Facebook and its possible use by employers as a way to find information on a candidate that would be a deal breaker in hiring that person. On one hand, it's a given that as part of the screening process employers would dig up whatever they could as long as the search is cost effective. By the same token, candidates should do likewise to the employer. Come on, it's not a good idea, no matter how desperate the economy seems, to take a job with an organization that is clearly a bad fit. Personally I'd want to know everything I could before I accepted an offer.

Some make the counter argument that a person has control over their profile and the information posted in it and employers could only see what was there if they had specific approval to do so. However a recent news article about a teenage girl in the UK lost her job for posting a status update saying that her job was boring leads me to think that Facebook may very well make otherwise private information available to employers for a fee. Considering that until very recently they also claimed copyright to posted content, it doesn't seem all that farfetched.

However, were I the employer, I would be wary of information gleaned through such sources. There is no control over such sites that ensures the accuracy of the information contained therein. At least with a job application there are enough permissions and authorizations granted that if he lies on the application that is sufficient grounds even years in the future to warrant termination. I have accounts on social networking sites MySpace and Facebook, but not under my actual name, and the email address associated with them has nothing to do with the email address I use for professional purposes. Add to that the fact that there are several other people with my actual name on Facebook and Google -- but they aren't me. Sure you can pull up a name, but if it isn't the person you're considering, what good is the information? It just means that much loss of productivity by the HR department.

Another angle to consider is a candidate's right to have a social life examined. While it's certainly possible to post pictures of legal activities such as gun ownership and consumption of alcohol, these are still things that might cause an employer to look askance at you as an employee. And really, isn't the competition stiff enough already? Why give an employer the ammo to shoot you with?

I guess it boils down to a matter of discretion and awareness of online security. I would recommend that people use online email addresses and aliases that do not reflect their name or geographic location. Have a separate email address that is used exclusively for job searches. Have a social life but be smart about what you post. Realize that information can be retrieved even after you think you've deleted it. Be aware that even though we feel anonymous and omnipotent behind our monitors, the fact of the matter is that everything can be retrieved. Do what you can to make sure it doesn't come back to haunt you.

And don't, for God's sake, log in and post at work. Assume that your employer can see anything on your screen. is there really stuff so compelling on FB that it can't wait until you get home?

I still plan to use Facebook because it's been rather fun to connect with old friends, classmates and coworkers and to find people with similar interests. But even with my precautions, I plan to use a high degree of discretion.

Facebook gives employers clues to intelligence, personality
Why employers should reconsider Facebook fishing
How employers look at MySpace and Facebook pages
Employers leverage cloud computing to invade your Facebook privacy
Can Your Myspace Or Facebook Page Cost You A Job?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Humorous Clown Monkey Reply

Geez, I was beginning to feel neglected by the Clown Monkey Coalition because they hadn't spammed me for a while. I finally got a new email from them yesterday. They announced the 8th $100 t-shirt slogan winner.

Now, before I say what the slogan was, allow me to remind you that per their own site, they are about "humorous t-shirts and hoodies."

They posted the winner on the message board: "Jesus can only do so much."

Fair enough. At the time I looked at the board there was a reply (which frankly I can't believe made it past the moderators).

I though you guys were looking for something funny???


LOL But wait! It gets better!

....how is this funny? Where's the humor?

really??

Yeah that is pretty terrible.

turns out, they are easily excited with no sense of humor..lol "IM HUGE IN MEXICO IS FUNNY"?

Clown monkey who picks the winner? you guyz have either been trapped in a closet since the 80s and dont get out very much or have no if any sense of humor. By the way why are you screening posts you should just let people express themselves. I can say "Im huge in Mexico" to all of my friends over and over again and I guarentee you they wont crack a smile. "Im huge in Mexico" is not funny at all. What IS funny is that you think it is lol. Not hating tho hope you make great sales on these corny shirts.

No sure about this one.....

Not only is it not funny but it is offensive.

Yea, a little confused as to why they would pick this one. Very controversial.

Mine was funnier - but then you had to think to get it!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Of Internet Drama, Trolls and Hissy Fits (Part 1)

For a long time now, I've wonder what exactly it is about the Internet that makes people post crude and harassing posts to each other. I understand that it's easy for person to get sucked into a board controversy, take things personally, and lash out in ways they wouldn't dream of if the conflict was with a neighbor or someone in the workplace.

One of my oldest and most productive online friendships is with a person (I'll refer to her here as "Lois") who was routinely vilified on a message board, even though at the time I began posting there, she wasn't. Many discussions centered around how awful this person was and her supposed character flaws were dissected ad nauseum. I was accused of being this other person for months, I guess because our posting styles and opinions were similar. This had gone on for months when she made an appearance.

I was rather in awe. She was famous, if nothing else, for having made a definite impression on those boards. Tentatively, I emailed her and was a little thrilled when she replied. That was way back in 1998 and today we are not only online friends, we've met several times in real life and currently collaborate on various projects.

The intervening years have never been dull, however, as posters continued to accuse us of being the same person. The one who continues to cyberstalk Lois eventually and grudgingly accepted that we were not -- but only after she stalked us and gathered enough information to realize that we were in fact different people. Even though those boards have been pretty much dead since the host changed their format a few years ago, this woman continues to dredge up every bit of info she can on Lois. She posts a question on some obscure board, and her stalker is there commenting on it. Stalky even presumes to know intimate details of my friend's marriage and her husband's death. She has created multiple discussions about Lois' marriage, birth of her daughter, the relationship between Lois and her husband Ralph.

The stalker in question has claimed to be a teacher and if so, god help us all. Although after so many years online and after having seen scams of many stripes being circulated, I think it may very well be that she is simply a convict in a jail cell with a laptop and lots and lots of time on her hands.

To be Continued....

Friday, February 6, 2009

FaceBook

I've gotten various invites to FaceBook over the last couple of years and couldn't work up too much interest in it. Last week I got another one and signed up just so I could view a pal's Obama inauguration pics. I have to say that I am having a blast.

Such a blast in fact that I find I've been neglecting this blog. But FB is satisfying on so many levels. The invites I'd received in the past were still there. As part of the registration process I was prompted to allow it to search through my email address book. Although I find this sort of thing generally unsettling, I went for it. The result was that I was able to connect with people I thought I had lost contact with forever. People I dated, people I worked with, friends who had come and gone, friends of friends. My niece, my cousin. Finding out more on a daily basis about people I've been in regular email contact with for 10 years.

On the whole, FaceBook participation has been very rewarding and a lot of fun. I feel a little bit dumb that it took me so long, but ultimately very glad that I did.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

So Much for Blago...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28894427/

Normally I am not much of a political animal. Today, however, I thought this was worth noting. Not because it isn't already all over the web ('m sure it is), but because of the defense offered and some commentary I wanted to make regarding it.

Blagojevich keeps insisting that he hasn't done anything illegal and has not been convicted of anything. Well, whatever. In the real world, there are any number of things that can get a person fired which, on a continuum, can be far removed from illegality. That does not automatically translate to appropriate behavior. I don't understand why our leaders (governors, senators, etc) are subject to a lower standard than your average person working at Wendy's. Shouldn't we expect something a little bit better than that?

With some employers I've had, he would have been ousted for far less, and with far less ceremony. Welcome to the real world, Blago.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

From the Bad Taste Department

Jacksonville Company Puts Caylee Doll on Hold

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/jan/27/jacksonville-company-puts-caylee-doll-hold/

"Tribute" -- right. From the company that marketed the "Michael Vick Dog Chew Toy."

And for those asking "could this be any tackier?" the obvious answer: yes, it could always be tackier and in poorer taste. For example, they could put a duct tape patch over the mouth which is decorated with a little heart sticker. Then they can sell the rights to the Franklin Mint. It would only be marginally worse than the Princess Diana dreck they sell.

Monday, January 26, 2009

This Is Indexed!

“But it’s not like I, ya know, eat them.”


Wow, no one mentioned to me in library school that Venn diagrams could be so much fun!

This blog is the perfect place for me to go after reading the CraigsList RnR page. Yah, people are still bashing each other, but at least it is literate bashing. No need for my red marker at all ;D

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Outrageously Funny CafePress Store

I stumbled over this joint the other day. Lots of funny stuff that had me in stitches...wonder if they'll be adding more soon.

Loved their motto: "Slaughtering Sacred Cows Since 2008."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ranting and Raving on CraigsList

I recently discovered this section on CL and I have to say that I am floored. Perhaps my AOL experience both being farmed out to the Community Action Team for a week when I did tech support for them and in a later stint as a volunteer message board monitor at key word Iran has given me a skewed perspective -- I don't know. But ...eww. Just ewwwww. Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude (sure, everyone says that) but why are there so many icky posts and pictures there?

The bulk of the posts seem to fall in these main categories:

bashing opposing political parties
posting pictures of ugly people having sex
racist drivel
complaining about women on the personals pages aren't pretty enough, or don't have large enough breasts or are too fat and therefore have no business appearing in public
posts telling various minority groups that they need to go somewhere else

I know the illusion of anonymity on the Internet leads people to write and post things they wouldn't dream of saying in public, but come on. Are we really all so childish? Get a grip, people and try exhibiting a little decency.

I Guess Arnold Wasn't Kidding

He just had the time frame off a little when he predicted that without a bailout (I guess it's the thing to do these days) California would be bankrupt by the end of October. Now we have the official word from the Controller's Office that it's true.

There were a lot of things I liked about living in California (yah yah, even if it was the valley), but I'm so very glad we are out of there. I can only wonder what kind of services my diabetic kid would receive and how many more ridiculous restrictions would be put on his blood glucose testing supplies.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Really Want to Let the Monkeys Go...

...but people keep commenting on them and it just gets more bizarre by the hour.

I posted at 12:46 AM on the 14th that CMC didn't even have office space, just a rented mailbox. People are commenting here and elsewhere about how hinky the entire operation seems. I looked at their board today and see a static post dated 3:30PM on the 14th asking whether anyone knows of office space in San Francisco and that the address given is only a temporary mailbox. We already knew that, pal. Even I, one of the most clueless people around when it comes to business and being motivated by profit, would not dream of asking the 7000 people who've applied for 10 jobs to find office space for me. But then, I guess it fits with the pattern to date. Ask other people for content ideas, ask your board posters to vote on the funniest content, ask other people whether their private information can be shopped out to other companies, ask other people to find office space for them. Beg these people to be patient while you review thousands of resumes while at the same time you continue to post your ads for jobs. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

I still don't know what the scam is, but when it all comes out in the wash I will be vastly amused. Except for the poor schlubs who wasted a lot of time and energy applying for non-existent jobs.

Yes, Tim. What DO people think when they google you? How so you think they found me? How do you think I found out about ripoffreport.com?
From his apparently parent site, whizclick.com:
Branding

What do people think of when they hear your name? Do they trust you? What results appear when people “Google you”? We can help you with this.

Spambot Magnet

Once upon a time...

...I made the fatal mistake of putting a mailto link on the Contact Us page of my web site. In less than 24 hours I had more than 50 pieces of spam mail. I have friends who run sites and I had heard time and time again what a problem spam was, especially when you have a message board in place. I'd heard horror stories of over 100 pieces of spam being received daily and the amount of time spent getting rid of it.

At any rate, I decided that karma was the best way to deal with it. To that end, I made a Spambot Magnet ™ page on my site. It doesn't look like anything one way or the other. It's the same template as the rest of the site. The title bar says "Internal Email Directory." I made text the same color as the background and plugged in mailto links with addresses of the people who spammed me, so you don't see anything -- but the bots look at the page and see the code. They can come and go as they please over my site, picking up spammer addresses and spamming them in turn.

Oh, and I learned my lesson. Now that box receives mail only via a web form.

I love karma...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Boy, Some People Really Have a Problem With Rejection

An acquaintance has an online poetry e-zine and publishes a few things on the side. Recently, she shared with me an interaction she had with someone who had submitted a piece of short fiction for consideration. The author claimed that this short story was comparable to Edgar Allan Poe. Based on what I saw, this person is either nuts or simply messing with my acquaintance.


I'm blown away by the turn downs Iv gotten. I tried everywheres but nope. Anyways, Ifcame across this link for the best sthitty online fiction and someone says to give it a shot so I figured yep you are the ones to give it a shot. The story is really cool. Yewed just love him. When he he finds a dead man he gets mixed up he goes haw haw and he runs away I don't think its bad and he cool guy.

My response: no way this can be for real.

I asked my pal whether I could send a reply and she agreed.

Dear Submitter,
Your short story The Tin Shop was forwarded to me for review. How very fortunate that you have persevered in your literary endeavors and that as a result we have connected. I found your story charming with a lack of demagoguery and depth of character development not frequently seen. Despite the fact that we are a poetry site, after nearly 8 successful years online and subscriber base that exceeds our wildest dreams, the editorial team has lately been kicking around the idea of expanding our scope of operations to include outstanding prose pieces such as yours.

We would be very pleased to include your work in our upcoming "craptacular online fiction" issue in late spring 2009, as it is the opinion of the editorial team that your opus represents the very best of the genre. Kindly reply with a name, brief (5000 words) biography and more of your stellar oeuvre for future issues.

PS: Please be so kind as to encourage your friends to submit as well. I have every reason to believe their crap is equal to yours in every regard.

Best,
Marie Battenberg-Giggleswick
Submissions Editor

Clown Monkey Update Part Deux

Okay, now they are just annoying the heck out of me.

Found this in my inbox this morning:

Re: Online Interview

Some people had a problem with the online job audition. Try the link below:
http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/clownmonkeyclothing/vpost?id=3227734


Become our friend on MySpace !
http://www.myspace.com/clownmonkeys


Much monkey love !!!
The Clown Monkeys

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm not auditioning! Leave me alone!

GED Follies!

My son with Type I diabetes and ADHD has had problems staying on task in school since he was in the first grade. He is now 15½ and somehow has managed not to be held back despite constantly disrupting class, never doing homework and multiple suspensions. I guess he has the opposite of test anxiety, because standardized California tests always put him at acceptable or higher competencies.

His attention problems continued this year, naturally. The school was in the process of referring him to the alternative school for troublemakers, which I did not see as an improvement in his situation. My opinion was that in such a setting he would only learn more anti-social behavior. So instead, I opted to home school him.

I have always believed that some jobs are better left to the professionals and teaching is certainly one of those. OTOH, I figured I couldn't do any worse than the professionals have with him. And besides, it's hard to ditch, vandalize or disrupt the class when you're the only student and Mom is the teacher, janitor and principal.

We went to the library and got a couple different GED study guides. To get a baseline idea of where he was academically and see what the weak spots were, I had him take one of the sample tests. Lo and behold, if the test he took had been a real one (which he can't take for another 6 months) he would have passed. A passing score is an average of 450 across the 5 sections, with no one section being lower than 410. He got an average of 574 and the lowest was 450.

I really admire his obvious intelligence. I just wish he could find a positive way to channel it. ;(

Clown Monkey Update

I did some rooting around the web and found complaints about them at RipOffReport. Another complaint quotes Mr White's somewhat less than diplomatic reply, which informs the questioner that she had been banned from the hallowed boards for overposting. How can someone "overpost" when people are encouraged to use the same board to "audition?"

I also discovered that the founder, Tim White, also runs WhizClick.com, a marketing site. And the address that results from a whois lookup points not to some rarefied San Francisco office building, but to a rarefied SF mailbox business. The phone numbers associated with these sites are all cells, some of them out of the Sacramento area code. This merely adds fuel to my suspicion that the entire operation is a marketing scheme and there are no jobs to be had for anyone. (It has even been suggested that this joint is merely a front for skip tracers or bill collectors. The person who made this suggestion may have a valid point here and based on what I've seen from CMC so far, it wouldn't surprise me at all).

Well, I had pretty much forgotten about them as I've been busy writing up answers to supplementary questions to apply for real jobs. Imagine my surprise, then, when I got email this morning congratulating me for making it past the initial screening and was invited to participate in the "online interview." Yes, I was so thrilled re: same that I forgot all about it until several hours after Daniele got up. I scoffed, but he encouraged me to answer the questions anyway.

I clicked the link and as is my wont, viewed the source code for the page. (I admit I'm paranoid about certain things like tracking scripts and whatnot). I edited the code to remove most of the Javascript, saved it as HTML and opened it in my browser. I had copied the questions earlier and written up answers. I could tell by the questions themselves and the blurb at the top of the page that CMC thinks they are the second coming of Nike or Microsoft. I won't mention the questions here, per the directive:

Please do not discuss this interview or mention it online (including the monkey message board or elsewhere). This includes private messaging other members to see if they were asked to take this step or comparing your answers to theirs. This is for your protection and privacy.
Anyhoo, the questions themselves were not so "out of the box" that I didn't already have answers prepared for most of them. I received an acknowledgment mail later. Yep, you guessed it, I was encouraged to "increase my chances" of being hired by "auditioning" on their lame message board. Hey here's an idea: how about actually reading resumes and selecting people based on their knowledge, skills and abilities instead of their willingness to suck up and act the fool? Radical idea, I know.

I don't think so Sparky. I have real jobs to apply for and serious applications to fill out. I don't have time to continue jumping through your self important hoops. Buh-bye and thanks for playing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fun Librarian Jewelry!


My pal Heather makes some pretty cool jewelry and sells it on Etsy. I was fortunate to have her make me a pair of earrings. One of them reads, in fancy script, "Book Slut." The other says "I'll read anything!"

LOL Who says librarians are boring?

The Deepening Gloom

As if things weren't already bad enough in Stanislaus County ...

Let's see, they already have one of the biggest gang problems in the county, lots of meth use and manufacturing, random shootings and one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. I've heard from a "reliable source" that tax revenues are down so much that in addition to the 94 people who were laid off last July, further layoffs are in the works. Wow, and I remember when we were roped into "volunteering" ("well...we're talking about your JOB, after all!") to man the phone banks in 2005 to call people and ask them to vote yes on the library funding bond issue. An 1\8 cent sales tax was supposed to provide the bulk of the library budget specifically so that hours and collections would not be cut. I guess I should be grateful that I am not the engineer on this train wreck.

I wonder what, if anything, Stanislaus County is doing to diversify its economy so that it relies on something more than wine for its income.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Clown Monkey Clothing

I've been spending quite a bit of time on CraigsList lately as it seems that quite a few local employers are posting jobs on it. Many of these are obviously scammish work-at-home schemes and can be dismissed out of hand. Others are a little more subtle in their approach and it takes a little longer to figure out what's up.

An outfit calling itself Clown Monkey Clothing posted ads -- throughout the country, apparently -- for virtual customer service reps. Since I'm online most of the time anyway and not that far removed from my call center experience I thought I'd give it a shot. Now, I'm not exactly a neophyte in the work force and I think I have some idea about how to run a business and find employees. CMC has enough seemingly bizarre practices that ultimately one can come to no other conclusion than they are either 1) a scam, 2) a convoluted marketing ploy or 3) incompetent.

It's not that I feel scammed at this point, but I really don't believe they have any jobs, certainly what I thought I applied for at any rate, and no one has approached me for money so I can't really say I've been victimized.

Okay, so I saw the ad, thought it was a job I could do and it would fit into my life easily. I emailed them and was encouraged to go to their site and "audition" for a job on their message boards, as the response to their ad had been overwhelming. Well sorry kiddies, I am not a performing artist and I do not "audition" for jobs as a librarian, editor, author, tech support or virtual customer service rep.

They also offered an option to submit ideas for humorous t-shirt messages, saying that if your slogan was chosen you'd received $100. Again I thought, what the hell and submitted some slogans on shirts at my Cafe Press store. And again, a nice cheap way for them to get content to put on a shirt (and yes, I will be watching to see whether they use any of my suggestions without coughing up the payment). A list of some of the submission was posted and let me tell you: many of these were not original slogans and may be under someone's copyright. Many more were simply not particularly funny.

Threads were started on the message board asking participants which slogans were the funniest. Again, if it were my business I would make those kinds of editorial decisions and not leave it up to people who thought they were applying for work. But still it raises a red flag. If they have the resources to start a t-shirt company, why don't they have content already in place? And when you go to the virtual store (there is only one design offered, and that is the lame monkey logo "commemorative" shirt for $30. My post indicating that I contacted them to earn money, not spend it, was deleted from the boards about 5 minutes after I posted it.

Many posts from alleged staff of CMC appeared bemoaning the flood of resumes received and our indulgence was begged while this sorely understaffed company continued to review job applicants. Meanwhile, clueless people who posted lame resumes (despite being told not to post personal information). Eventually the "founder" posted something about wishing he could hire all 5,000 applicants but since he could not, would people mind if he shared their information with other employers.

As bad as it is that this company seems to be exploiting the economy and the need for people to have something to hope for and jump through hoops to attain, the worst thing of all in my book is that now, after submitting my resume, they see fit to spam me. I don't want to block them because on the off chance that there is a job (highly doubtful) I want them to be contact me. I've have several emails from them, most with the subject heading "re: Employment Application," that turns out to be a link back to the message board. Listen people, what you have posting there is a bunch of suck ups desperate enough for a job that they think posting will actually get it for them. If I want to go to that board I will. Don't spam me with links to it under the guise of offering me work. Homey don't play dat.

Besides, monkeys are just freaking creepy.