Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dish Network Sucks!!!

DH and I have pondered dumping Dish Network for months now. Every time we consider it, we think about how much we'd miss our favorite shows. In weighing the few channels we watch (FoxNews, Lifetime, TVLand, History Channel, and two or three others) against the $53 per month we were paying for a package of 120 channels most of which we could care less about, we realized we were throwing our money away.

Today I decided to actually call and follow through with the cancellation. I wish I could have taped the conversation and sent the tape to DN Headquarters! Seems DN needs a lesson in customer service.

I called and spoke to a lady with an Indian, Pakistani or similar accent (no not racist, just aware that I was calling an outsourced customer service center in another country) and I told her I wanted to cancel our service.

Customer no-service lady: "well ma'am I see you are under 18 month contract and you have only had service with us 9 months which means you will have to pay a cancellation fee"

Me: "If you would check our account you will notice we did not sign a contract"

CNSL: "I see that you signed a contract"

Me: (Firmly) "No, we did not sign a contract, please check again. You will see that when we signed up we voluntarily paid the $40 activation fee on our credit card in exchange for not signing a contract"

CNSL: "Ma'am you have been receiving a credit of $5.99 per month for signing a contract"

Me: (More firmly this time) "No! We did NOT sign a contract. I have the paperwork from our installation here and there is no signature on the line indicating choosing the contract"

CNSL: "We show you signed a contract and therefore you must pay a cancellation fee"

(By this time I was past annoyed)

Me: "We did NOT sign a contract, it is in our records, if you would look, you will see it."

CNSL: "I show nothing about you not signing a contract."

Me: (and tired of the runaround) "I'd like to speak to a supervisor"

(She transfers me to a supervisor)

Me to supervisor: "Yes, the lady I just spoke to insists we have a contract but we do not.

Supervisor: "Yes I just noticed a comment on your account that states no contract"
(Back in June 2006 we called about something and they tried to pull this contract crap with us and then they realized after fifteen minutes of arguing that we did NOT have a contract and so they finally noted it in big letters on our account)

Me: "If you could see that we had no contract why didn't the other girl see it?"

Supervisor: "She probably did not scroll through the screens"


That's the jist of it. I talked to the supervisor who was being a good salesman insisting that we change our package yada yada yada but in the end he didn't sell me. It just isn't worth it, not to mention the customer service sucks. He insisted a lesser package would still allow us to keep all our channels. But I didn't bite and when he transferred me to the cancellation person, she was nice, although it became annoying that she wanted to sell me more packages instead of just processing my request. She did tell me however that Fox News was NOT offered in the lower package whereas the supervisor had insisted it was. Interesting...

Anyway DN wanted to offer us a $10 credit each month for a year to keep us as customers but frankly, I don't think we want to continue doing business with a company that not only outsources its customer service but also tries screwing the customers over by insisting they signed a contract that never existed. I just wonder how many people who don't pay real close attention to their account or who weren't the ones who originally set the account up are told they have a contract and are forced to stay or pay a huge cancellation fee---when they never even had a contract in the first place. My guess is that customer service reps are taught to immediately tell customers who call to cancel that they hav a contract and must pay a cancellation fee. I wonder how many have no idea they don't have one? Tsk...Tsk...well they weren't going to pull that shit over on me. DH and I don't sign contracts, we believe that if we get shitty service, which usually happens when you sign a contract (that's why they have you sign!) we can't get out of it. Why do you think we don't have a cell phone? It's not just the cost, it's that we refuse to legally bind ourselves to shitty service.

Anyway, if you asked me if I'd go with DN again I'd have to say no. I had a terrible time getting service with them back in April (you can do a search on my blog for that!) and it got so bad I had to contact the Headquarters office out west and ask an executive with DN to help me, which he did. I've had billing and customer service problems and it just gets to the point where I can't see us giving our money to them anymore.

I am sure there are people out there who LOVE Dish Network but I have done my homework since signing up with them last April and there are thousands of disgruntled pissed off former DN customers who have experienced the same customer no-service as we and like me they cancelled or better yet went to a competitor.

As for DH and me, it's back to talk radio, at least we don't have to sign a contract for THAT!


Oh and by the way, you can check out a great forum where people go to complain about Dish Network, it's called "dishnetworksucks.com"

Click here: Dish Network Sucks!

You know that "waiting for the other shoe to drop" thing?

....it's the story of my life. In my family, it's well-known that just when you least expect it, the shoe's going to drop and drop big time. It's always something. A/C thermostat going, no water, no heat, power out, fridge gone bad, roof leak, pipes freeze, car needs major repairs, telephone doesn't work, you name it, it's happened to our family. I always thought that it was something that happened to your parents when you're a kid.

Uh-no.

Surprise! It happens to adults. In my family it just followed us out of the house and into real-life. The shit known as "life" doesn't stop at our parents doorstep, noooo, it just follows us, stays with us for life. Kinda like a nice little "parting gift" as we leave our parents home!

Anyway, all was well this morning as we crawled out of bed at 4:50 a.m., DH does his usual thing which consists of all of getting dressed, pouring his coffee and reading his email. I get busy making the lunches, the breakfast, washing dishes and getting ready for work. In the midst of using the hot water, it stops. Well I try the cold and there is none. And I'm thinking "Shit, THERE'S NO WATER" and so DH and I proceed to go outside and check things out. Now our place is well insulated but there's a pipe that sticks out of the ground near the well. We're guessing either it froze or the points in the pressure switch are bad. Either way, we have no water. What's the worse thing that could happen? The well could go dry. Oh Lordy don't even go there!!!

Now in all this mess this morning, DH tries to call into work this morning but the phone won't work right. You see, our phone works at its own leisure. It's not the line, it's a crappy Conair phone. Of course being tossed, banged, and dropped a multitude of times might have something to do with that, ya think? Anyway DH couldn't get a dial tone so I told him to shake the phone which usually works. No tone! So he bangs the phone on something only that something happens to be my beautiful golden-oak stained pine nighttable that he bought me at Wood You last year! I was so livid. I mean shit if you're going to bang it, bang it on your head eh? I took the phone from him, got a dial tone, he takes it and loses the tone. I say "when I get a tone, keep the phone where it is, don't MOVE it!" So when I got the dial tone again, I was holding the phone over my head, and so I said "hold the phone over your head and dial" and it worked!

Geez!!!

What made this morning better was getting a hold of "R" who my family has known the last 26 years since the day we moved here. He's always done our family's electrical and water and we trust him.. He is coming over at 11 am today to take a look. So in the meantime I can ponder the meaning of life...and hope the bill isn't a big one.

In the midst of all this, I emailed our landlord in Orlando and let him know what was up. You know DH and I don't mind little things going, the thing is that we worry that our landlord might get so frustrated with repairs that he would decide to sell the place. And frankly DH and I are pretty settled here, we don't want to go anywhere right now. We have our jobs, school, two cats, a house full of stuff, and we're settled in a nice place. That's the bad thing about renting, it's always at someone else's convenience. Anyway, our LL told us he would not sell the place until we're ready to move. I wouldn't mind buying it, it's five beautiful wooded acres in the country with a '99 Doublewide Fleetwood with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths with a HUGE master bath and kitchen I might add. We love this place and if we bought it we'd build a house and sell the Fleetwood. In any case, I digress....when you rent a private place like this you always worry that the owner might just decide it's too much trouble. I hope not. We take good care of it and it's a nice place and it's our home.

I try to be optimistic. The worst thing that can happen to you is you can die or get really sick and be in a lot of pain so I suppose not having water for a day isn't the end of the world is it?

I know, I know, you've GOT to be thinking "all that thought comes into mind just from not having any water?"

I take after my mother, what can I say?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Only in America...

Could a person win a once-in-a-lifetime flight into outer space worth $138,000 and have to turn it down because he can't afford the government-imposed taxes that go along with winning the prize. Yep, the IRS requires lottery and contest winnings be reported as taxable income. And if the sponsor pays the taxes for him, even THAT would be subject to taxes!

Can you imagine?

The lunacy never ends.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The absurdity of health insurance...

There are many people who are turned down for health insurance because they've been diagnosed with one medical condition or another.

Let's say you once had a bout or two with cancer. You conquered it years ago, now it's in remission. But despite that, you are denied health insurance because of the cancer. This means that if you have to take prescriptions for say--high cholesterol, urinary tract infection, an antibiotic for the flu, or perhaps prevacid for your acid reflux--you can't get insurance to cover it because you had cancer. You are denied insurance to cover basical medical care. Say you were standing on a ladder painting something and you fell off and broke your leg--you have no insurance to cover the broken leg or doc visits because you had cancer and were denied coverage. Perhaps your feet have really been hurting you and you think you might have plantar fasciitis (fallen arches) and you want to go to a doc so they can help you--you can't because you once had cancer. Maybe your knee is hurting you because you turned it wrong at one time while you were playing football? You can't go to the doc and have it x-rayed because you can't afford the insurance because at one time you had cancer.

Why should a person be denied the opportunity to purchase health insurance because they are diagnosed with an illness? Why should that one illness prevent them from being insured for care that could relate to any number of unrelated illnesses? Imagine having strep throat and not being able to see a doc because you once had a major illness that had NOTHING to do with strep!!

I have a friend who has a daughter in her 20's who was once diagnosed with some ailment relating to her heart but as it turns out it was a misdiagnosis and the daughter doesn't have it. Beacuse it's part of her medical record, she cannot get insurance. Here she is, a college graduate with a 6 year old daughter and she cannot get health insurance for herself because of a misdiagnosis. If she doesn't have adequate health insurance how can she take care of herself so she can be healthy enough to take care of her daughter?

I think that an "ala carte" plan would be neat. Basic packages for certain age groups would be a great idea. Younger people need a different kind of care than middle aged folks and they need a different kind of care than the elderly. Why should a woman who is beyond child-bearing age or who does not want children have to pay for insurance that covers obstetrics? Hey it's her choice. If she does have a baby and is not insured, she pays for it, but she's at least insured for other things that she did opt for. Why should a young 20 something man pay to be insured for prostate exams? Something he wouldn't deal with until he is in his forties?

I say everyone should at least be able to purchase affordable health care to cover the BASICS which includes bloodwork once a year and physicals. Imagine if every person in America had a physical once a year, how many potential problems could be treated before they became major illnesses? Smoking cessation, weight loss and alcohol abuse treatment programs should be available. Ever wonder why a person can't get insurance to cover a program to stop smoking but yet if they develop a smoking-related illness, the insurance kicks in and covers it?

Ok maybe my ideas seem simple but that's how great ideas start...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Trashy is the new pretty...

Deb who has been sick as a dog with bronchitis these past few days, did not let that illness prevent her from calling me today between bouts of hacking cough to comment on something she had seen on campus involving the never surprising---always fascinating trashy fashion fest that takes place on campus three times a year...during fall, spring and summer. Just when you think you've "seen it all" you see something else that makes you rethink that statement.

Now let me preface--for those who aren't privileged enough to work on a college campus, you couldn't possibly know the depth to which young girls will sink to show off their goodies. Unfortunately somewhere during their youth between playing with college Barbie, listening to Britney tunes, and throwing up in a desperate attempt to be as thin as Lindsey Lohan or Nicole Ritchie, they missed the lesson on "how to have respect for yourself". This lesson is normally given by the mothers in the family because moms are supposed to be role models for their daughters. I suppose though you can't really blame the daughters when you see the mothers dressing like sluts too. What IS this fascination that forty and fifty year old mothers of five have with dressing like they are teenagers?

Now back to the story, ok well Deb calls me today and is just amazed at the chick in the pajamas with her pants worn in such a way they were riding up her ass and you could see her crack. That girl must have thought that looked just so cute. The rest of us would prefer that she dress before going out in public. A vision of ass-crack is not good on an empty stomach...

Alas, I digress. I wish I could say it's the skinny girls who dress like trash but sadly it's the larger size girls too. While there's nothing respectable about a skinny girl showing her skin, it's somehow worse when a big girl does it. They've somehow let someone fool them into thinking that dressing like that emanates "I am my own person". No, it doesn't. What it emanates is "Goodness, I hope these size 10 jeans don't make my size 20 ass look big."

That reminds me of the time I was at Home Depot with DH and I stayed in the car while he went into the store. I was looking in my rearview mirror and spotted a woman and teenage girl getting out of a car, must have been mother and daughter. The daughter had these really tight pants on and then she BENT OVER! When she bent over, OMG half her ass crack was visible. She was moderately proportioned all over except she had this huge ass and she was earing HIP HUGGERS. When she stood up the pants barely covered her ass crack and I saw her hitch them up as much as she could so that she could WALK in them without her ass crack showing. It didn't help that her shirt didn't even come close to touching her waist. It was bad, real bad. I was thankful DH didn't have to be subjected to it, might have blinded him forever.

These trashy gals, both the skinny ones and the big ones wear the low cut shirts, no bra, crop tops, and hip hugger jeans so low I just feel like I should be running behind them trying to pull them up before they fall down. What can I say? I'm just modest. I told Deb today "what's really sad is their mothers dress like this too" and it's true. During preview or football weekends when the parents come into town and you see the mothers and daughters together then it all makes sense, it's like the missing piece of the puzzle has been put into place. Once you see the mother you're like "ok now I know where she gets it from" and what you want to do see is go up to the mother and belt her upside the head and yell "What th f*ck were you thinking?" and then just go about your business.

I tell ya....

Anyway, today's little episode caused my creative genius of a friend to generate yet another book idea. So far I think we're up to like half a dozen now. That's the genius of our friendship, the creativity is just overflowing, I mean hell there is just SO much material oozing everywhere we turn. Today's book idea was about "morons". You see, Deb and I have a lot of experience in the field of "morons" considering the vast number of them we've had to deal with in just the past ten years.

And so it goes...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Today's WTF moments...

I haven't done a WTF moment post in quite some time but I felt that it was necessary today. In fact I have a few of them....

While perusing the internet looking up some information today I came across a CNN news headline that featured a story about a 29-year old sex offender who posed as a 12-year old student for several weeks in a school in Surprise, Arizona. But this wasn't his first time. It's rumored that he did this in other schools too.

How can a 29-year old man pass for a 12-year old? Didn't anyone notice his makeup? Holy cow!

---

I'm still floored over the case of the two Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean who were convicted of shooting Mexican drugrunner Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the ass in February 2005.

Yes Ramos and Compean were stupid for attempting to cover it up. But HELLO--our own government USED this drugrunner who had 743 pounds of marijuana in his possession and who was in OUR country ILLEGALLY for the purpose of selling this stuff, was given IMMUNITY so that our government could prosecute our own law enforcement.

What's wrong with this picture?

The work of border patrol agents is long, arduous and goes very unappreciated. This doesn't excuse their behavior but when we allow criminals to go free in order to prosecute our own? It just doesn't sit well with me. If they wanted to prosecute Ramos and Compean FINE, however,they should not have gone so far as to let this illegal alien drugrunner go free.

It's unacceptable.

But then again that's just one American's opinion...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

They call me the firefighter...

My life at work consists of 8 hours of problem-solving. I'm known as the logistics queen for a good reason. I think the people in my department who rely on my problem-solving skills believe I can walk on water, or damn close.

But see the problems are becoming less challenging because I know all the answers. So I am begging my students and faculty to PLEASE come up with a four-alarm for me cause this one-alarm panty-waste shit is just killing me.

GIVE ME A PROBLEM THAT STUMPS ME OK??

LOL

Friday, January 19, 2007

St. Augustine is so awesome!

That's the best way to describe this city! DH and I have been wanting to visit awhile now and finally decided as a day after birthday gift, we would go. We're only two hours from there and we took a little cash with us and headed out. I am surprised that being a native of Florida, the closest I've ever been to St. Augustine has been playing volleyball at the beach there once. DH was there once when he ws 16. So this was a great trip for us.

We didn't get to see all of the city but we'll go back eventually. I have to tell you that if you haven't been there you should go. It is the oldest city in the nation, founded in 1565 by the Spanish. The fort Castillo is awesome, build of coquina, with ten foot thick walls and walkign down inside it is such a passage back in time. It's not been altered either! We were fortunate eough to catch the symbolic cannon firing. It is done by volunteers dressed in uniform, they go through the rituals including speaking in spanish, and they fire the cannon over the bay. Of course everything is authentic sans the cannonball which they do not use. It is loud, it is awesome, it's historic!

We also traveled through the colonial district, the building architecture is fascinating. There is so much attention to detail and such beautiful buildings so well preserved for over 200 years. And we traveled to the nation's oldest schoolhouse, built in the 1700's. You have to see it, it has NOT been altered it is all the original wood inside and out and nothing has been changed. The only thing is you can't go upstairs inside it because well it's so old, there's a risk of the stairs collapsing. But when you walk inside it, it is so small, somewhat musty but so damn cool. You are right there where the students learned and there are photos around showing the students of the class of 1865 in the 1930's. They had a reunion there, I believe at that tiem there were only five students in that class. Not only was the schoolhouse still standing but wo were the outhouses and the separate kitchen which the female teachers cooked their own meals. It was separate so that if there were a fire it would not damage the main building.

There's an old Huegenot cemetery we wanted to look around but the gates were closed, the graves go back to the 1700's. There is the Fountain of Youth, separate from the old historic district and we didn't get to see it, but next time we will. Also, there is the old Catholic Cathedral, which was burned twice and now is still standing rebuilt again in early 1800's. We got to see the beautifully architectured Flagler College which once was the old Flagler hotel. Also, we visited the Lightner Museum which is something else! Apparently Mr. O.C. Lightner was very wealthy and during the days of the market crash he did not lose everything because he diversified investments. He wound up buying things from people selling them for every penny they coudl get and eventually the Alcazar Hotel with it's huge indoor swimming pool and fascinating courtyard and ballroom gallery was converted into the Lightner Museum and displays everything that Mr. Lightner had collected. Glass, crystal, vases, clothing, once live now stuffed animals (including the famous huge African Lion named Rota), as well as thousands of other artifacts are included in the collections. It is really something to see.

One of the neatest things is that the museums and historic places are staffed by volunteers, mostly retired folks who take classes to understand the history behind the area and who spend their time educating others and collecting admission fees, answering questions, etc. They are really nice people and honestly we didn't mind the admission fees because 80% or more goes to keeping things preserved.

Anyway, the trip was fun and eventually I'll post some photos once they're developed!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Whew, first assignment in Art History a success!

Woo hooo!

My first assignment in Non-Western Art History was a simple five-point essay discussing Yoruban aesthetics and their similarities/dissimilarities to Western culture.

I earned a SIX out of possible FIVE points! The prof's remarks were "Very good! +1 point "

I needed that. Non-western art history is a difficult course in that it studies Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, Meso America and other non-western cultures. The terminology used is very unusual and very different from other cultures. It takes awhile to read and comprehend it. So my 1 1/2 page essay, which I had to do a little research on from sources outside my textbook, was well-thought out and planned. I wanted to understand more about it before I wrote about it and so I did and for that I earned an extra point.

This is definitely something to celebrate! I know, I know, why do I put so much into a simple five point assignment? Because I want to know I actually understand what I am reading and this proves it!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What I've been arrested for!

Ok taking a cue from Kelly I'm going to try this...

Okay, so here's the deal: find out how you will be arrested, the Google way. Go to Google, type "(your FIRST name) was arrested for" or "(your FIRST name) was arrested" (whichever one works) and see what you got sent to the slammer for. Remember to use the quotation marks around that phrase or else it won't work.

In early August of 2004, Jessica was arrested for drunk driving

Jessica was arrested for working as a prostitute in Florida

Jessica was arrested for fighting in April and June 2004. On both occasions she was intoxicated.

Jessica-was arrested for DUI and no proof of insurance

Jessica was arrested for biting her sister's arm in a fight

Jessica was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance

Jessica was arrested in the Newark Airport for making a joke about having an AK-47 in her backpack

Jessica was arrested and charged with four counts of attempted murder and four counts of soliciting a murder.

Jessica was arrested when she went with a drug dealer to rob a bank

Jessica was arrested for the act of violence.

Jessica was arrested for Breach of Peace and Disorderly Conduct

Jessica was arrested for attempted murder.

Jessica was arrested Friday for allegedly using Make-A-Wish Foundation money to purchase Super Bowl tickets and fund shopping sprees


Damn! I think Jessica needs to get therapy, ya think?

Monday, January 15, 2007

How about a day to celebrate all civil rights in general?

Why do we celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday?

Because he was a reknowned civil rights leader. Because he was black.


Why is there no Susan B. Anthony day? Why is there no Elizabeth Cady Stanton day? Both women founded the women's suffrage movement. Are the civil rights of women less important than those civil rights of people of color?

Why were George Washington's birthday and Abraham Lincoln's birthday lumped into one and renamed President's day? George Washington was a great general, he was the father of our country and Abraham Lincoln? Well he certainly led America through it's worst years, during a war where brother fought against brother.

Why no holidays for other great Americans? Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence, he was President, Governor, he founded the Library of Congress, he was President of the University of Virginia. The man was a genius.

Oh but he owned slaves. Personally I believe the man was tortured internally on the issue of slavery. But that's for another day. You can't deny the man was a great part of our country's history.

But we can't celebrate his birthday you see because he owned slaves.

Oh but what about Dr. King? An adulterer, ties with communist groups, a plagiarist? That's ok?

Now I have nothing against Dr. King although I have no respect for his family the way they have used his name to make a fortune. But I really need to know something. Why is it that we have a holiday to celebrate his birthday but we have no holidays to celebrate the birthdays of other great Americans? Dr. King's movement towards civil rights is admirable, but the man was by no means better (or worse) than some of our other great Americans.

A 1991 article in the Journal of American History reported that "plagiarism was a general pattern evident in nearly all of his academic writings" including his doctoral dissertation.

His famous "I have a dream" speech has been disputed to be partly borrowed from another individual, a black preacher named Archibald Carey, Jr. who was a friend of MLK's and is rumored to have let MLK borrow the idea of the speech. However, no credit is given to Mr. Carey who gave his version of the speech at the 1952 Republican National Convention.

The end of King's speech reads:

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Carey's speech ended with:

We, Negro Americans, sing with all loyal Americans: My country 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, Land of the Pilgrims' pride From every mountainside Let freedom ring!That's exactly what we mean--from every mountain side, let freedom ring. Not only from the Green Mountains and White Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire; not only from the Catskills of New York; but from the Ozarks in Arkansas, from the Stone Mountain in Georgia, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia--let it ring not only for the minorities of the United States, but for the disinherited of all the earth--may the Republican Party, under God, from every mountainside, LET FREEDOM RING!


Dr. King was also under FBI surveillance for years because of his ties to communist organizations. He accepted money from them to further his cause. A federal judge ruled in the 1960s that the King file should remain top secret until 2027.

He also had several extramarital affairs.

This is the man whose birthday we honor above all others who have done great things for America. I am not saying the civil rights cause wasn't just, in fact it was. Thanks to civil rights I can vote in America and I am thankful for that. But for this country to take a day off to celebrate the tainted life of one man when so many who came before him had such a tremendous impact on civil rights as well, is ludicrous.

A day to honor civil rights and all those who fought bravely for them should be established to replace Dr. King's birthday and it should be called "American Civil Rights Day" . That would be fine with me because it would incorporate the many great Americans who fought for our civil rights, not just one man. But you won't see a day to honor any white men or women who have fought for our civil rights, and God knows there have been many. Because when you think of civil rights, you are supposed to think of anyone who is considered non-white. In order to appease a certain segment of the population in this country, the federal government strong-armed the states into adopting Dr. King's birthday as a national holiday to honor civil rights.

I'm certainly not taking anything away from Dr. King's contribution to the civil rights movement, but one man did not do it all by himself.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Weird...

I had a dream last night about my gramps, who died at the age of 68 on July 16, 1984. In the dream, he was in the hospital for many years in another town and finally we received the phone call on July 20th that he had died the week before. Nobody had called us when he died, they just waited till the following week. I was sad, I was angry. And then my grams came over to get a photo album I had of lots of pics of my gramps and I couldn't find the album, it was at work somewhere. So when I got to my office, there were two albums on a shelf there and those were it so I got them and was going to give them to her but I don't remember what happened after that.

Another thing that happened in that dream is that I was mad because I kep thinking that gramps may have woken up before he died and we weren't there. I mean he was in a semi-coma from painkillers, what if it wore off? And then in the dream I was also angry because they got rid of his body, it wasn't cremated, wasn't buried, I'm not sure what they did with it, but it was gone. And I kept thinking "what if he woke up and we weren't there? what if he was asking for us?" and it made me angry that nobody told us he was gone.

This dream about my gramps being in the hospital for many years isn't new. I've had dozens of dreams about him in the last few years. In many of them, I seem to ask "why didn't anyone tell me?"

Tell me what?

In the dreams I feel anger for not being able to say goodbye to him, angry nobody told us he had died. In one dream I was sitting at the kitchen table with him at their house in Miami and my mom and dad and grams were behind us in the kitchen and I turned to them and said "see, I told you so". I remember telling my mom that dream and she was perplexed too. We both thought that since I hadn't dreamt of gramps in years, maybe he was finally trying to communicate with me. Maybe he couldn't before because I wasn't "ready" for it?

For the record, we we did have a chance to say goodbye to him. My mom and dad, my grams and my aunt were all at the VA hospital with him the night before he died. And we three kids got to say goodbye to him and then dad brought us home. A few hours after, we got the phone call from mom that he was gone.

I also had a dream last night that I loaned my brother my car and also I loaned it to my sister. When I was ready to go to work, I couldn't find my car, it was at work, parked somewhere. I somehow got to work and was looking in the parking lot for it but couldn't find it and I got wet from the rain and finally called my sister and she told me where she parked it. By that time it was already close to noon. How did I get to work to search for it if I didn't have a car to get to work?

And yet in another dream I was on a ship or something, or something near the water and there was lots of rain and it was overcast. I had lost something and couldn't find it. I remembered the dream vividly when I woke up this morning but now I can't remember. Which goes to show I should have written it down when I woke up.

I wonder what all this means...

I am reading a book, or rather I was reading it till I got busy but I only have a few pages left so I should finish it and give it back to my mom. It's by Harold Sherman and it's titled "The Dead are Alive, they can and do communicate with you" and it's fascinating and about the research involving people who have been contacted from people who have passed on. As Harold Sherman puts it: "Every individual passes through eath to experience greater life. From this infinitely wider world of innumerable dimenstions, the dead have much to tell us, if we're receptive to their message."

None of us who are alive knows what is really beyond this living world. Some speculate, some don't know or don't care, others have faith. I think that life does continue in one form or another and perhaps it is a continuing experience, we just keep going on living in different forms. There's an awful lot of research by an awful lot of credible people who are in the profession and also just normal everyday folks like me, who have been contacted. I do not think they're all making this up.

I think that this can be reconciled with all religions too. I don't recall anything in the Bible that says we do not go on living in some form and that we cannot communicate with those who are still here. Maybe someone can give me some info on that one.

Maybe gramps is trying to tell me something? And if he is...what is it? And why now, in these last five years or so instead of years earlier? Was I just not mentally receptive to it? Well I might have been but maybe my conscious self wasn't?

Hmm...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Don't read this late at night...

Last night, George Noory, host of "Coast to Coast AM" replayed this phone call he received I believe sometime last year and I will attempt to retell it.

As I heard it, as best as I remember....

A man called George's show talking about an episode that happened when he was just a kid. I believe that his twin girl cousins were spending the night at his house. One night he woke up and his mother was comforting the girls. Apparently they'd both had nightmares--the same nightmare--that they were in this house, an old WWI era farmhouse on 100 acres that had been passed down through their family for years (which was in fact true, they did have this house). In the dream the girls followed their mother up the stairs to the second floor and into a crawlspace where a family might keep trunks or old clothes or other junk. The mother opened the lid to a large steamer trunk and a shadow of some sort came out of it and pulled her in. The girls could not see anything directly but they could sense it and they saw a shadow. It scared them nearly to death.

The man recalled three weeks ago, prior to his calling the show, he received a phone call about his aunt. She did not show up for church and her neighbors were worried. Someone with a key to her house searched and found nothing, no sign of her, the doors were locked from the inside. Relatives in Washington State were contacted and they asked the police to search the 100 acres of woods, that perhaps the woman had wandered off alone. The police decided to bring a cadaver dog with them, expecting the worst. When they approached the premises, the dog headed not for the woods, but for the house. When they unlocked it and went in, the dog headed upstairs and to the crawlspace. Police found this unusual since the house had already been searched.

As they went into the crawlspace upstairs, they found the steamer trunk with the lid shut. There was no lock on it so they opened it and there they found the dead body of the old woman curled up in the fetal position. They couldn't understand how she could have not gotten out considering the trunk had no lock on it.

When the aunt's body was removed they searched the trunk and found many old magazines and also an old potato sack.

Inside the sack was a very old ouija board.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Oh but sir, I didn't realize it was against the code of conduct...

Ok when you join the military one of the first things you learn is that if you do anything to bring discredit or embarassment to the military service, you're going to get into trouble. And so as a veteran, I hardly feel sorry for Michelle Manhart, a Corporal who decided to pose in and out of uniform in a recent edition of Playboy. As reported in an AP story, "Manhart told Playboy that she considers herself as standing up for her rights."

She is quoted as saying:

"Of what I did, nothing is wrong, so I didn't anticipate anything, of course," Manhart, 30, told The Associated Press. "I didn't do anything wrong, so I didn't think it would be a major issue."

"There's nothing wrong with it. I consider myself a very good image," Manhart said, who told the Express-News she'd dreamed of posing for Playboy since she was 12. "By no means did I see anything negative in what I was doing."

Huh? Ok she's stupid in so many ways it's not funny. Forget the fact that her lifelong dream has been to pose in Playboy (eyeroll, please!), why would she want to bring dishonor to her service and the women she serves with and violate very clearly spelled out rules of conduct?

One of the first things you learn in bootcamp and which is reiterated over and over again throughout your service is that you conduct yourself becoming of a member of the United States Armed Forces. Posing nude is not part of that code and I can't believe she could be so stupid as to do it and then attempt to defend herself both in the news and on her myspace site where she is actively promoting her pictorial.

Now she's got herself a lawyer and she's going to sue. Sue for what? Violation of her Constitutional Rights? Oh this should be interesting.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bush: "If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people."

The President's speech is in two hours and mark my words, it's the same old thing, just a new year. And I'm not convinced that he would withdraw support if Iraq didn't come through as promised.

President Bush wants to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq. And he will because he has Congress by the -- well you know -- and he's got 'em good. There's no way they're going to stop funding the soldiers in Iraq because they don't want our boys dying by the thousands because they are left without supplies. No, they do not want that on their conscience or on their political record.

While I believe our troops have done much good in Iraq, I also believe that this war is in fact an open-ended war and that at some point years from now, we will have to hang our heads in shame and bring them home. I supported going into Iraq at the beginning because I was led to believe that Saddam Hussein had WMD's and intended to use them. While I believe he had them and they were moved in the years between wars while the UN pussyfooted around and taking their sweet time, I no longer believe Saddam was an immediate threat to our national security. Do I think terrorism is a threat? Oh hell yeah--but are we doing this right? I don't think so. Terrorists don't understand peace but are we doing the right thing by being in Iraq? I don't know! Sometimes I get so confused about why we are there and how I feel about it. And I am not the only one, many of you feel that way too.

We're losing something very important in this country, it's called "accountability". It's one of the most important things we have that keep we the people, not our politicians, in control. If we lose it, we're doomed. If we lose accountability, we lose freedom. As soon as our elected officials take the last bit of accountability from us, they know they can go forth and do whatever they wish because we will not have the power to stop them.

We have two choices, either pull out and bear the shame and embarassment of having lost the fight against the terrorists in Iraq (with dire consequences) or we can stick it out for many many years and lose many lives and in the end, we're all wondering why we did it (with dire consequences as well).

Option #1, pulling out and saying "hey we lost" isn't as easy as it sounds. We will be seen as weak and it will come back to haunt us. We will have thousands dead on both sides, and thousands more injured and what will have been gained by pulling out? Iraq will go back to the way it was and it really will all have been for nothing. But again, ask yourself what are we fighting for? We didn't go into Iraq to "free the people" or rebuild their government and infrastructure, so really what IS our mission?

Option #2, sticking it out for many years means we're in it for the long haul and those of you with young children or teens will have to face the possibility that they will be drafted eventually and sent to Iraq to fight a war their parents didn't even understand, a war that has no clear and defined enemy, and no clear agenda, at least not to the average American.

Sending thousands more troops to Iraq is not going to solve the problem which exists there. Hell, the guys we have there now have to follow these ridiculous rules of engagement. Who ever heard of rules when fighting terrorists? If we stay in Iraq and send more soldiers, then more terrorists will be there to greet them and the quagmire just gets worse. In the meantime, while our men and women are dying for a cause that many of us question more and more as this war goes on, people in important positions in our government are sitting pretty even though they knew the intel was misleading and yet they did NOTHING. Again, I will reiterate as I have time and time again that CIA Director George Tenet should have been held accountable for negligence in allowing this to take place under his watch. He knew the information was false and yet he was allowed to retire with full benefits and not so much as a slap on the hand. In my opinion there should have been a Congressional investigation.

Yeah right!

Bush and his generation of Congressional cronies will be retiring in a few years and my generation left to pick up the pieces of this heap of shit they left us. I like Bush because has the guts to stand up against the bad guys but I don't think he has the guts to admit a mistake. And sadly, at this moment, I think Iraq was a mistake. Every day I think about this and every day I fight with my conscience about it. And I konw I am not the only American who thinks this way.

This anger is not against the troops, their hard work or their sacrifice does not go unrecognized by me. This is about our government waging a war under the premise of false intelligence. Oh hell what am I saying? It isn't even a war, it's an occupation, a military action against terrorists-- an unidentifiable enemy with no structured army, no defined organization, no home country. And we're expecting our soldiers to win it with rules of engagement. Oy Vey!

As much as I believe in the power of the people, I am sad to say that at this moment in time, I believe there's nothing you and I can do about it. Congress does not have the guts to halt the funding and I can understand why--who wants to abandon our fighting men and women? Certainly not you and me. But Bush sure as hell isn't bringing our troops home so the only way to put a stop to this is to halt funding so that he has no choice. It won't happen, it just won't. That's because the President has Congress in a no-win situation.

The situation makes me angry and sad because I feel do helpless in this. I really feel as if the American people have absolutely NO say in this particular matter. I feel like the power of the American people over their government is slowly slipping away from us.

And that scares the hell out of me and it should scare the hell out of you too.

Tigger was framed...

After reviewing this video of the now-infamous Tigger incident at Disney I am thoroughly convinced this punk kid was messing with Tigger's costume from behind and the character was merely trying to make the kid stop.

But of course the poor innocent kid is supposedly injured and now the father wants to sue.

Gee, surprise.

I think dad should kick his son in the ass and teach him how to behave in public, then I think dad needs a kick in the ass for being such an ass.

Monday, January 08, 2007

To sleep or not to sleep...

I am sure to be the only person at work at 7 am tomorrow. Will I stay up and watch the game or won't I? Do you realize what happens to a woman who goes to bed at 1:30 a.m. and has to get up at 4:00 a.m.?

I don't think you do. The word is B-I-T-C-H. And that's what I am going to be if I do this. Hey what the hell? Perhaps I should pull an allnighter eh? Go to work in my pajamas, it's not like I haven't already worn my fuzzy slippers to work, but that's a story for another day.

I will be glad when the game is over and done, well actually a week afterwards because that's about the time they'll stop talking about it. Because I think that TV20, the Sun and WSKY news teams have put all other news on hold for the past week leading up to this game. I really do want to know what's going on in the news but everywhere I turn it's National Championship game this and National Championship that. So let us play, let us win or lose, and then get back to some sense of normalcy. If that can in fact exist in a college town :)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Workin' for the man...

Last week at work the building services folks were power washing our building and our windows. They did a great job and worked very hard. Friday afternoon as I looked out my office windows I noticed the guys in blue shirts (the working class) working their asses off power washing the building while the white shirt (supervisor) sat in the truck with the motor running, windows up and A/C on for hours.

Surprised? No. This is common here. I'm sure this isn't in writing anywhere, but I've been told by dozens of hardworking building services and other physical plant employees I've gotten to know and like over the years, that supervisors are not required to work, only to supervise. The ladies who have cleaned our offices work very hard and on many occasions, they were short-staffed. During most of these times there were no supervisors filling in the gap and helping out. Yes I have seen supervisors helping out but it is not consistent. One of the hardworking custodian ladies I knew once told me that while she was overworked, her supervisor would be in the custodial office down the hall from her doing nothing.

There's a lot of waste at UF, and manpower is one of them. And I'm not the only one who has seen it. Many employees from all areas of campus have complained over the years, but I think little is done.

What really pissed me off today is that it was hot and humid outside and these blue shirts were working their asses off and that white shirt supervisor sat in his truck with the A/C on. THis is a time of year when new and prospective students bring their families in for a visit. What kind of message does that send to them when they see people just sitting around while others work? Also, and more importantly, what does this do to the morale of the regular employees? If I were in their position doing that job and my supervisor sat on his fat lazy ass all day in the A/C listening relaxing while I busted my ass, I'd be pissed. Now you might be thinking "well the supervisor earned it" that's why he doesn't have to work. It isn't like he's a college educated executive. Most of these folks don't have a college education, they just know the right person and have been there awhile.

I was brought up with the idea that a good boss never asks his/her employees to do something he/she wouldn't do. Well I've seen a lot of regular blue shirts busting their asses in physical plant but very few of their white shirted supervisors are busting ass with them. This doesn't mean ALL blue shirts work hard (I've seen my share of laziness around campus) and it doesn't mean all white shirts are lazy (I've seen supervisors who do work). But just add this to the list of things wrong with how the campus is run. Depending on your boss there, if you have a problem you may have to just suck it up. If your immediate supervisor is an asshole, you can't run to his boss, because his boss doesn't care. And so you're stuck because nobody up the chain of command cares, although they put out a newsletter and a website emphasizing how much they care.

I hate to generalize the place because it would send the message that I am saying ALL white shirts in physical plant do not work and ALL blue shirts do work. That is not true. There are a fair share of hardworking white shirts and an equally fair share of lazy blue shirts in the physical plant area. However let's not just pick on physical plant here, that would not be fair. UF overall has its fair share of dedicated hardworking employees, both faculty and staff and also its fair share of lazy people, both faculty and staff. They come from a variety of areas on campus, from all walks of life, all races, religions, and social classes.

Most of the students and their parents never see the waste of manpower and resources, most politicians don't see it, most alumni and millionaire donors don't see it. But those of us day to day who work there see it and there is nothing we can do. Unfortunately while there's rumor of a policy encouraging employees to report wasteful use of tax dollars, few want to do it because hell who wants to lose their job or be labeled a troublemaker? The waste comes in all forms. There are people who work on the campus who do not perform but have been left alone for years because their administrators are afraid of pursuing their termination because of fear of a discrimination suit. But hell, it isn't just tied to race or gender, there are light skinned folks on campus who have been working in the system awhile and are good buddies with either their boss, someone in charge or both. Most folks at UF know the "it's who you know" phrase.

"It's who you know" is fine so long as you are qualified for the job and hired in in a manner that is compliant to the process but while "it's who you know" can help you get your foot in the door, it should be up the employee alone to keep the job. That employee has a responsibility to prove him or herself and if they don't they should be gone and someone more competent should be hired in their place. UF should not be holding on to incompetent, non-performing employees simply because they are a certain gender, race, or because they're buddy buddy with someone in the system.

Alas, in retrospect, it is a fact that I do not know all the circumstances surrounding Friday's situation. I can only tell you my thoughts based on what I saw. Perhaps there were other reasons for the supervisor not working? Sure, but I'm only telling you my impression from what I saw and I can assure you I'm not the only one who has noticed this now or in the past. People are talking but I don't think anyone's listening.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

One is enough thank you...

Just as one Bush was enough (and as it turns out two was one too many), one Clinton was enough.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The "ohhhhhh fuuuuuuuudge" moment of the day...

I live for problem solving. RedQueen asked me today if I could help find an answer to a dilemma she had and because I am quite a proficient "finder of lost (insert item here)" so it's only natural she should approach me with the dilemma. Prior to helping her solve her problem, I solved two other minor problems and I felt good about it. Simple problems that required thought, I handled them like a pro for someone who hasn't been at work for almost two weeks LOL!

Everything was going fine. And then...the "ohhhhh fuuuuuuudge" moment of the day.

Now..imagine this...a deadline approaching Thursday for some information needed by your department head for an upcoming once-every-ten-years departmental review and you spend days getting the info together and expecting only a half day to revise text, insert gathered data, print a hard copy and email the other to the department head.

Yes you print it out, put it on the DH's desk and then you try to email it and guess what?

It's not where you left it. It's NOWHERE on the computer!

It didn't happen to me directly although I did pull the data and sort through it. The casualty of war here is my boss, who also happens to be my friend and when I was in J's office casually asking him "did you send that info to T?" he said "not yet" and then proceeded to do it only to find that it wasn't on the computer, I wanted to cry, not for me, for him. He spent SO MUCH TIME putting this thing together for a departmental review and now it's gone. Thank goodness he found a much earlier revised copy we can work from. I assured him I would take care of it completely, he's going out of town for the rest of the week and I don't want him to worry. The hard copy has been submitted, but still we gotta get this in electronic form. So tomorrow I will be piecing the report together, revising, inserting the tables and all that.

Now if that doesn't qualify for the "ohhhhhhh fuuuuuuuuudge" of the day I don't know what does!

Talk about hitting the mark...

A friend at work left a Christmas present in my office while I was out on vacation. I was so happy because it's a candle and I love candle. But it isn't just "any candle" it's a vanilla scented candle inside a stoneware cup with flowers and butterflies hand painted on it and reads in script:

"Jessica"

"Sets high goals. Loves a challenge. Speaks openly and honestly."

I couldn't believe she could have found something that had me pegged so well. None of the others she found for other people at work were as true to their personality was mine was to me, so she got it for me.

Isn't that something? A little weird but I sure did appreciate it. What a great way to start off a new year!

Back to the grind...

I can't believe it's time to go back to work. Wish me luck, I'm spoiled having been off since December 22nd...or was it the 21st? See I don't remember. I'm fresh off a Twilight Zone New Year's marathon, a week of Lifetime Television movies, sleeping in till 7 am, working on special projects to pass the time, playing with the kitty kats and just relaxing.

Now it's back to hell. Ok not really hell but working really bites especially when you work because you have to not because you want to. I'd rather be in school full-time or be in a career that interests me. Come May I will be at UF thirteen years, six years in my current position. It isn't that I don't like what I do, it's just that I have mastered this position, I have "maxed out" as far as promotion or getting ahead here. I know this job so well I could do it in my sleep, I know it so well I can conduct business via email from home if I'm sick and not miss a beat.

I guess I am not patient as I should be. I am thankful for a great job with benefits including excellent health insurance (and no premiums since my DH works here too) and a tuition waiver for six hours of courses each semester all year round. I am thankful for a nice paycheck and for working with really awesome people. But we all get restless at times and yearn to do what we were put on earth to do. I think mine has something to do with helping others. Sure I do that in my job but this is different. I'm supposed to be doing something other than this. Everybody has a destiny. My sister loves working with her hands and would like to be an auto mechanic, I have been telling her to GO FOR IT! I mean hell who cares what anyone thinks? If that's what you LOVE, then do it, whatever it takes. But I want to be in school, learning, getting my education FINISHED while I am still young, and then getting into where in this world I am supposed to be.

Alas reality kicks in and I realize I have to work full-time and go to school part-time and so does DH and we have learned to be patient, well...sort of. It's not easy. We just want to get the education part over with so we can move out of this place and on to what we really want to be doing. It doesn't mean we won't work hard in our jobs and do them as best we can, we will do that, but while we're doing it, we're yearning to be elsewhere where our talents are more appreciated and where we can really be doing what we were meant to be doing and what we're doing now isn't it. It's just a stepping stone for us....unlike many who make working here a career and have no desire to do what makes them happy. I've run across many staff who have been at this institution 20 or 30 years and many are bitter at the system, bitter at coworkers, bitter at others who have moved on, and bitter at themselves (though they hide that one) for not having taken the chance and moved on and done something better. They're mad at those who have the drive to move ahead because they just got sucked into the system and never had the courage to take a chance. Sure most of us like stability and security but sometimes there's a tradeoff for that, you sacrifice your dreams.

DH and I want to be stable and secure but we don't want to look back someday and kick ourselves for not having had the guts to just go for what we want. It's hard to do that these days, in the age we live in, so don't kick yourself if you haven't done it. As long as you are still breathing, there's still time :)

Have a great day everyone!