United We Stand

So I’ve gotten more than a few questions about my opinion on the whole United debacle. I relented and commented on a few FB friend’s posts regarding it. I say relented because I pretty much avoid FB for anything other than fun chat and dog videos. It has become too toxic and successful discourse is rarely possible anymore. 

Anyway, how do you think I feel? I’m appalled. The idea that a passenger who paid full fare for a ticket can be physically yanked off a plane for overbooking is reprehensible. I don’t care if it was United Express (contracted by United). I don’t care that it was a security official not an actual United employee who did the beating/dragging. I don’t care that it’s in the fine print a paying customer can be booted off a flight for virtually any reason. Greed should not be more important that humans.1  I don’t care about all the reasons why he could have complied. This person paid full-fare to board a plane and fly home. It is not his fault the flight was overbooked out of the misplaced idea that profit is more important than good service. None of that matters. We should all be appalled at the very idea this can be allowed.  And lastly, I don’t care another flight might have been delayed or *gasp* other people might have been inconvenienced. You know what?  Sometimes we get inconvenienced. The world does not revolved around our personal bubble of existence. There were plenty of better ways to handle this. 

Don’t get it bent, I’m not dragging out the lynch mob torch for United just yet. Frankly, I think people are missing the forest for the trees here. This could just as easily have happened on any airline. United just ended up being the unlucky beneficiary. I know many United employees (from the both the old Continental and United) who are very dedicated to their jobs and I’m sure many of them are struggling to fend off drama from both sides right now. And being a long time Southwest customer, I can tell you first hand they routinely kick people off flights. All major airlines have the same or similar policy. The big picture here is how many people feel it was perfectly justified. It was NOT ok. And the fallout witch hunt to demean and degrade the victim aftewards was just as disgusting. When your moral code justifies physically dragging a paying customer of a plane to avoid inconveniencing someone else, perhaps you should re-examine your sense of morality. That is the real tragedy IMO. 

Our society is crumbling around us bit by bit. Greed, anti-intellectualism, and personal indifference are destroying our sense of right and wrong. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it as long as I have breath to say it. The one good thing out of this debacle is the outrage was so bad I’m pretty sure no airline will ever try this again. Maybe we’ll see some good reforms put in place to ensure something we used to take for granted would never happen will actually never happen again. Either way, I’m sure everyone will have forgotten all about it next week when the next faux scandal comes along.  




  1. Notice I said ‘should not be’ vs ‘isn’t. This clearly demonstrates it’s past tense now. []

Worlds End

I’ve written and rewritten this post several times now, which tells me my thoughts and emotions on the subject haven’t settled yet. 

Where do we go from here? A man no one took serious in the beginning with his crazy talk and racist banter has vaulted to the highest office in our land. And he didn’t steal it.1  He won it because he secured the necessary electoral votes. And even though he lost the popular vote, he will be our next president. To say I’m sad, heartbroken, distraught, and even fearful of the coming future would be an understatement. The world is still turning but our society in America is about to undergo a radical shift and not for the better I’m afraid. 

This is not an ordinary election. This is not just sour-grapes over my candidate not winning. There is a real palpable fear for not only our very democracy but our families and loved ones. So I guess the real question is how much can one man (and his party) damage our country in a single 4-year cycle? We could hope he ends up being a lame-duck due to in-fighting with his own party. I certainly don’t think he will tow the line for them. But what about the issues he does agree with? What about his own crazy notions? 

The Republicans are already lining up to repeal the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Millions of people in the double-digits will lose access to even basic health-care. Granted, insurance exchanges and the companies in them don’t have to stop. They could continue to offer acces. However, the rules that stop them from rejecting folks with pre-existing conditions will be gone. Many other rules that made the program so successful will also be gone. And states would also be free to forcibly abolish them by creating new laws. 

Then the LGBT marriage issue comes up. I personally think this will be a hard one as the SCOCTUS was fully constituted when the case was originally heard and rehearing a decided case so soon is unprecidented, not impossible but unprecidented. It is easy to argue we are in unprecidented territory and relying on precident isn’t a real comfort. And that doesn’t mean the legislature can’t find other ways to interfere just like they’ve done with abortion. He already gets to pick the next justice for the court. You can guarantee it will be a hyper-conservative anti-gay one. The cronies behind him are already laying the groundwork and building their lists of hopefuls. Racism and homophobia are out of the closest again. And any case decided while the SCOTUS was not fully constituted can be brought back up the chain and reheard. You think the new court will favor Union rights? And what if something happens and he gets to appoint more justices? He will sway the court for decades. 

I read announcements today regarding many of Trumps’s previous choices for his cabinet and was mortified. Palin, Christie (if he doens’t end up in prison first), Guiliani, Carson, etc. His list is full of anti-LGBT, anti-science, anti-climate change, and anti-women choices. And let us not forget the no longer subtle racist individuals in his campaign. These folks, thru his appointment, pose as much if not greater threat to us than he does. 

No, the world didn’t end yesterday. And it won’t end tomorrow. But once Trump takes office and starts changing out the heads of government, what will become of our society? I wonder how many of the people pretending this isn’t a national tragedy will still be nay-saying it 4 years from now. For everyone’s sake, I hope they’re right. For myself, I’m fortunate to live where I do. California is a stronghold of democratic values and San Francisco is at the head of the pack. But we’ve already seen incidents of hate and homophobia here, yes even here we aren’t completely immune. 

I’ve reached a point of stability in my life where I’m not overly worried for myself. And I’m saying that because I dragged myself from nothing to where I am today. But I worry for those like me still struggling to reach where I am. I imagine so many LGBT folks out there struggling the way I did just to get ahead and to make something of themselves. They get to face newer and higher hurdles because of our politics. I worry for the rest of my community. Trump isn’t even in office yet and attacks against LGBTI and minority communities are on the rise. I’ve read some of my friends trying to down play it like it isn’t a big deal. Mind you, many of those friends are white and aflluent so of course they don’t feel threatened. But, if trump crashes our economy or removes many of the restrictions that keep companies in check, they might be singing a different tune when they find their 401k’s have become worthless. Or they wake up to find their food/water has been poisoned. The EPA will most certainly be neutered. What about the FCC? What about education? I worry for my younger brother. He won’t have access to medical care if his wife loses her job. He is suffereing from digenerative bone disease in his back and still has a couple years of medical needs ahead of him. And whatever the final outcome, he may need access beyond that? 

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t think the American people realized how dangerous Trump and his sycophant cronies really are. They got caught up in the hype and the sensationalism that is our media now. But they will find out all too soon. Or, we’ll keep ignoring climate change and the environment will kill us off 

by the millions. Either way, as a life long optimist, I’m strugging to find hope right now. 

As my maw-maw always said, “careful what you wish for because when you get it, you’re stuck with it.” I just hope we can survive being stuck with Trump. 




  1. That point being arguable based on the never ending propoganda against Hillary but the reference is more to the Bush/Gore debacle. []

Aria

The title sounds like a whimsical name doesn’t it? "Aria" is the brand name for Fitbit’s new weight scale. I mentioned a while back that Shawn and I have really gotten into using our Fitbits. Shawn decided to buy Fitbit’s new , code named Aria, to help track our fitness and health. It was a little more than you’d spend on a regular scale but overall not terribly expensive. I actually got a little excited at the prospect because 1) I’m a geek, and 2) I usually have to weigh myself at the gym. It would have been nice to track my weight progress via the app. I say ‘would have’ because It was an absolute flop. The device was simple in design and aesthetically pleasing; however, getting it to work properly was such a struggle we finally gave up and are sending it back. Talk about product fail!

Shawn actually felt like his view on the company as a whole was tarnished, which is why I bring it up today. He asked me if I felt like the whole line of products was cheap because of our experience w/such a shoddy scale. I didn’t necessarily feel the same but it did get me to thinking. How often does a first time experience tarnish a brand’s view or image? I’d imagine quite a lot. For myself, I’m more irritated than anything. We really like Fitbit as a whole and to experience so much frustration over a simple product was disappointing.

Part of me falls back on the adage, "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." And to keep things in perspective, this is a first world problem. No one really needs a scale that connects to an app. We’ve gotten by since the invention of the scale with the non-connected versions just fine. Yes, the convenience is nice but therein lies the problem. If you are bringing a product that deals solely in convenience to market, you really need to make sure it doesn’t overshadow the most important aspect, convenience! We wasted nearly 45 mins trying to get it to work properly. Forty five minutes!

I don’t feel my view of the company has declined, but I doubt I’d ever rush out and buy any of their new products again. I’d still recommend Fitbit bands but I’d obviously steer clear of the scale.

Cable

Well, my love affair with Wave (formerly Astound) cable is over. We had a great run. I got five good years before it blew out in a spectacular failure. Even sadder, I had no choice but to go back to Comcast (for now). *sigh*

It started this past October with small artifacts in a few channels and ballooned into daily outages of both cable/internet. We’re up to taking bets on the time of day and duration of the daily outages now. We had the great fortune of having it go out during Superbowl half time, only to come back up in very limited quality afterwards. After repeated calls to tech support and the tech supervisor, over 20+ visits inside/outside our unit, I’m throwing in the towel.

And the kicker? I don’t want to leave! I wanted to stay with Wave. They were cheaper and provided more content for the price. I’ve gotten more than a handful of referral discounts as well. I’ve been the poster child of a loyal customer. Now, I’m forced to switch back to Comcast. I’m angry and incredibly disappointed to say the least. Comcast of course tried to tie me into a contract right off the bat. I wasn’t having any of that. Their rates are only slightly cheaper for the first year then balloon back up to the ridiculous price I’ve come to expect.1

My choices are basically a ‘used to be’ a great company w/no expectation of repair and a bad company that will milk every dollar out of me. I’m now seriously pursuing cutting the cord completely. I’ll still need internet but I’m exploring how to get rid of cable. Hulu Plus finally offers a subscription without commercials so I’ll try that until Time Warner kills it off.2 I’m also getting a digital antenna to go back to over the air broadcasts. I’m eye-sight from the broadcast tower so don’t expect too much of a problem getting reception. I’m not sure how my Tivo handles OTA broadcasts but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

By the time TW kills Hulu, I’ll have weaned myself off enough to be ok. I’ll buy a la cart for HBO, Google+, & Amazon for the rest of the shows Iike to watch. I’m so over it I’m completely willing to do without in the long haul if I have to.




  1. A full $50 higher than my Wave rate []
  2. They are trying to buy a majority stake in Hulu and have made it clear they plan on gutting it. []

Busted!

OHMERGERD! It’s busted!

image
Busted Moto

As you can see I had an unfortunate mishap with my phone. Arrrgh. Ironically, I had yet to get a single scratch, ding, or dent on it up until the fateful drop yesterday. I knocked it off the top of the Zipcar while unloading Costco. More astutely, I did a mad grab finger flip 3 or 4 times before it flipped, flew, and fell on the concrete cracking the screen and busting the camera as well.

Motorola appears to offer a warranty repair, which means I pay to have it fixed. They are shipping me a temporary replacement in the meantime. I finally find a phone I am happy with and I go and break it. *grumble grumble*

I guess it is good I didn’t sell the G4. I was gonna tough it out but the screen was barely usable. I had to connect it to Bluetooth keyboard just so I could clean off a few things. Points to Tmo for making the process to activate my old SIM super easy and quick It took literally just a few minutes.

Sadly, I find myself still hating the G4.1 I had such a negative reaction when it came on I was a bit surprised. I don’t think I’ve ever been so annoyed by an Android variant before. The OEM version is just annoying. The only nice thing about the whole thing is the sense tap. Going back to it is such a contrast to the Moto X PE. The pure Android experience has spoiled me once again it seems.

Pray for my baby to be returned fast.




  1. Please remind me to never ever buy a LG phone again. []

Error

Has anyone else noticed a decline in the overall quality of news as of late? I seem to be noticing more and more that traditional publications (online and off) are just getting sloppy.

I keep up with a variety of news and tech sites. Almost every day I read or see gross incompetence glaring errors in published articles. Be it, the title is inappropriately devoid of punctuation, random typos, or flat out bad reporting, it is more and more common. Part of me wonders if the encroachment of blo​gging and other non-traditional platforms are the reason. Maybe the traditional media outlets feel pressured to get news out quickly and catching errors is an afterthought. That would at least explain the punctuation and typos. However, it does not explain the bad reporting.

A couple of my favorite news sites for all things Android are just going from bad to worse lately. One site posted a review between the S6 and the M9 based solely on the specs. No actual hands on review, just the specs. And the author admitted as much it the article. Sadly, his review was just flat out wrong. Specs can be impressive but anyone who has owned multiple smartphones can tell you higher specs doesn’t always mean better. Said site seems to be getting worse in this area. I’m to the point of just removing it from my news feed.

The other site posted a link, retracted it, changed a few facts and the title, and then pushed it out again.1 I guess they forgot that their RSS feed pushes out notifications. I opt for the ‘full text’ option on RSS updates so I had a birds-eye view of the corrections. At least the updated article had corrected several errors and inaccuracies. I emailed the author politely to let him know and he acted like I was being a dick! I mean, how dare I point out his stupid mistake so he can avoid it in the future?

I’ll be the first to admit my writing style is not perfect. I use a lot of deliberate slang and colloquialisms in my writing style. I am not trying to be overly critical as much as point out the declining accuracy in the written text. I tend to overlook the casual error but if I am being completely honest, I tend to not trust articles that are so poorly written. If you can’t be bothered to proof-read your work, how am I supposed to trust the content?




  1. I do this one a lot in error so can relate []

Doofus

Get up early

Get Cooper fed/watered/walked

Go to gym to do cardio

Come home with enough to get ready for work

Arrive at work minus your badge/access card

Rush home on lunch break to get said card

Realize what a doofus you are because the the access card was tucked into your jacket pocket. Said jacket, you’ve had with you every step of the way.

Blank

Turning-Broken-Links-to-Your-Site-into-Powerful-LinksApparently, I broke something while adding all my security protections. When I update my blog by email now, the title comes across but the post is blank. I’m tinkering with it to see what it is. If you are subscriber the posts are there, just the summary in the email is blank. The RSS feed is usually unaffected.

*
On a tangent, someone asked me the other day what ISP I used. I use Lunarpages.com They are a small host and I use one their shared hosting packages. They give you a lot of control over your account; however, you’re kinda on your own for support. Don’t get me wrong, they do offer tech support but on shared hosting accounts it is limited. If it is something critical, like an outage, they are available 24/7, but for day to day stuff it is 8-5 hours or email only. They offer more robust packages but they obviously cost more.

Having been at this for 11 years now, I’m all about keeping my costs down. I dont advertise on le blog and all the cotst to maintain it comes out of my own pocket. You can see where a bitch likes things on the cheap! heehee

*
On yet another tangent, I discovered a plugin that allows you to directly grab pictures from your Google+ Drive account. I use Google+ to backup all my photos on my phone. Everything gets sent to a private folder. That part is awesome. The process of trying to convert said image to a link or import it into my blog is often very tedious. Now I have a plugin that connects directly to my drive and I can import pics directly. It removes about 2 steps in the process.  Who knew?

PSA: Retailers

​Here is a PSA to retailers. I get it that you want to maintain contact w/your new and existing clients who shop your websites. It is awesome that you wish to maintain a connection to your shoppers.

What is not awesome is when you bombard your perspective new clients with daily and weekly emails trying to sell your wares. Even worse, when I unsubscribe from your emails, you continue to send them with a message, “oh it might take days or weeks to unsubscribe.” You ain’t fooling no one.

And when you tell me, “we do not sell or give away your email”, you are a liar! I know because I routinely use fake email accounts with your business name @ my domain. Since I have a catch-all account for emails randomly sent to anything @ mydomain I can see how many times you sell my data.

/rant

Shop

I am not a big fan of clothes shopping. So much so that I often go for months (sometimes years) without shopping for myself. I’ll go at the drop of hat for someone else, aka Shawn, but not for myself. I don’t think I got that part of the gay gene. hehehe Growing up poor made the idea of shopping a bit of a struggle. In my early days, having never had much, any time I got money I’d spent it all right away. The need for survival back then taught me the error of my ways, so to speak.1

I went thru a phase after moving to SF where I had the money but I didn’t spend it out of fear of the unknown. I was always worried about the what if scenarios. It was then that I started forcing myself to go shopping on a regular basis. And it worked for awhile. It helped that my ex went into the t-shirt business while we were together. I had a plethora of shirts at my disposal. And to show you what I mean, that ended 3-4 years ago and I am still wearing some of the shirts he made me.

Fast forward to now and I’m back to my old habits. I had to force myself to go out jean shopping this past weekend. And it was only because I realized I was down to 2 pair. I hated it. I got some of the gay gene as I care enough to spend time looking for a pair that I think looks good on me. Said care drags the process out. Yet, I’m not one of those that has to spend the whole day looking for the perfect pair. If I don’t find a good fit after a few stores, I’ll just give up. I’d love to just walk in, grab a pair and leave. Sadly, I got burned on that several times. Clothing vendors never seem to stick to sizing standards so even the same brand sometimes fits me in different sizes.

Anyway, I got a couple new pair. They should last me another few years.




  1. If you ask Shawn, he’ll tell you I still spend too much. LOL []