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!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

So Much for Blago...

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

"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
From his apparently parent site,

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.

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:

Become our friend on MySpace !

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, 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.

Woo Hoo!

Many thanks to my honey Daniele for figuring out how to get the Javascript for my Library Thing thingy to display correctly.

He is now, as always, my favorite computer guru and main squeeze.

Library Thing

I first heard about Library Thing quite a while ago. I was intrigued by the title but I couldn't quite see what I should do with it. I stumbled back over it today and decided to sign up and enter my books. Now that I see it's a social networking thing that hooks you up with people who like the same books you do, it seems like a fantastic idea and a wonderful way to utilize the force of the Internet for good ~~ unlike my recent unhappy spam episode (more to come on that later). Library Thing even has a widget that will create a javascript code linking your Library Thing list to a blog. Haven't quite figured out how to make it work here though. Ah, well, I'll keep working on it and figure it out eventually.