Saturday, February 27, 2010

Damn Internet Providers

My home Internet completely died Thursday night. I was going to update this blog & everything but today, the Verizon tech said the problem is at the Verizon office (i.e. inside the house). So now I won't have any access that doesn't cost me $ until at least Monday.

I have a massive rant on this whole thing but I'll wait until I have the time to write it out b/c it's a good one.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Celebrity Bravos

I saw a couple news stories on celebrities doing things that I think are totally awesome.

While I'm not the biggest Jessica Alba fan (my husband sure isn't), if she wasn't just seeking a PR opportunity then you have to give her some credit for that. That goes for anyone doing something that wasn't just for PR. I'm big on people doing something genuine; I certainly don't do something nice just for PR. I'll do something nice b/c I wanted to or actually care about the situation.

Since you never hear about celebrities doing anything for "the little people," I thought these people should be commended for it. So should Morgan Freeman, in fact. If you haven't seen "Prom Night in Mississippi," you should ASAP. It's a documentary about this small town in Mississippi that hasn't caught up to the 21st Century & STILL had segregated proms.

I still can't wrap my head around that one since I've had friends of other races since I was old enough to interact w/anyone (earliest I remember this is about 3). Most of my true friends in high school, especially in my own grade, were black so I'd never go for the idea of a segregated anything. Morgan Freeman also has some views on race that I completely agree with, such as not having the concept of Black History month & the like today if black people want to be equal in society. How about celebrating the accomplishments of black people ALL the time? How about not saying racism is dead, because it isn't & admitting that ANYONE can be a racist? Or actually BEING colorblind?

Okay, rant over. Just wanted to say that these sorts of things are the kind of stuff I'd do if I was famous & probably will even w/just professional fame.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The "Great" Small Town Life

Small towns are the Nirvana of the masses. Everywhere you turn, some career expert or financial planner suggests a mass exodus from major cities like Atlanta or NYC to small town life. Jobs are supposedly abundant, the air is cleaner, homes are cheaper, schools are spectacular & the local color is "to die for."

So I found it interesting to read this story a few days ago.

For once, some honesty about differences b/t the big city & small town life. There are bigots. There is nothing to do in some places but become a meth addict. In fact, studies have shown that more teens in areas with nothing for them to do turn to drugs to ease their boredom. I can't even go to my hometown for longer than 2 weeks before wanting to return to the hustle, bustle and craziness of NYC and the bluntness of Northerners. It's not even technically a small town; it's a small city.

What this article describes are the exact reasons I HATE small towns with a passion. I don't care to have the entire world know my business & hate having to worry that my friends will tell my enemies things that I've told them in confidence. I don't even like sharing my friends w/my enemies since everyone except me is friends w/everybody else. Arrgh!

I hated that in 7th grade. The worst, though is people pretending to like you but cutting you down behind your back. That's practically a Southern tradition.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no such thing as hospitality. It's Southern hypocrisy.

Yeah, it happens other places but I've had far more hospitality in the "mean old" Northeast than I ever had in Atlanta or in the South (if you call NC the South). Hypocrisy is one of my biggest pet peeves.

My mother even claims people from here are rude while their manner is so much better for me than that of the South, where everyone takes their sweet ass time to do EVERYTHING. If you're checking out groceries or doing anything, you'll hear everyone's life story & it takes twice as long as it does in the Northeast. Especially in NYC.

I feel I was destined to live in the Northeast considering my mom once said she could see me living in New England, I don't have a Southern accent & I have a peace living here that I never felt when I lived in my hometown. I felt some of it in Atlanta but in NYC, I'm at my happiest. I could even live in parts of CT or have a vacation home there if I wanted some quiet time.

So guess what? Not ALL of us belong in small towns. If you'd chew your own arm off or go on a killing spree, maybe you need to stay in the city regardless of the hardships. I think life's far too short to let things like jobs or money stop you from living somewhere that makes you feel at peace. I vowed that I'd rather be a bag lady in NYC & live a short life than live in luxury in an area I hated for 90 years. I still feel that way.

The people making those remarks or who think that way haven't lived someplace that made them feel like a piece of them was dying day after day. They haven't watched someone else get more and more depressed b/c of a simple hatred for living someplace. Cliquishness in a small town IS a problem; it's prejudicial and would piss me off.

If you want to make a small town appealing, how about encouraging residents to not create enemies? Maybe they should be paying for the loss of movement so towns don't have to pay outsiders to move in. Only if they did that would these jerks get any of my sympathy. I have a general dislike for cliques and discrimination as it is.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Celebrities Apologizing to Fans for Personal Indiscretions....WHY???

Everyone knows about the situation with Tiger Woods: he cheated on his wife with at least one other woman. He's lost endorsement deals & his personal reputation has been dragged through the mud. People have been calling for him to apologize & he finally did today.

Why should the man be apologizing to the world at large??? He's not a politician who stole money from his constituents. He's not doing a private apology to his wife or the companies that dropped him as an endorser of their products. I'm not married to him, never slept with him and never did business with him. So why does Tiger Woods owe me, a total stranger who doesn't even watch sports, an apology? He doesn't. I don't care.

For that matter, why should ANY celebrity have to apologize to ANYONE other than the people directly affected by his/her actions. Don't feed me that nonsense about role models & heroes. It's not the job of Tiger Woods or any other famous person to be your mentor or your hero; you should be looking at your parents, your teachers, people that actually took a personal interest in you & CARE about your success or failure.

Personally, branding someone as a "role model" or "hero" seems to be code for making that person a scapegoat for some parent's refusal to raise their own children or teach them anything good. I can't stand morons who sue musicians, entertainers, etc. for their kids imitating their actions. When Marilyn Manson was being blamed for Columbine, I was livid. I'd defend an entertainer in a second against such suits since they're a blatant attempt to stifle free speech as well as leech off some famous person to compensate for the plaintiff's failure as a parent.

I don't even think politicians should have to apologize to the public for personal indiscretions. IT'S NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS!!!!!!! Being famous does not mean you have to be the world's savior.

Quite frankly, I would never hold what I see in a tabloid headline against a celebrity. Unless I have personal knowledge of a story, it's not my place to speculate. Barring drug use or issues affecting my work with the person (like causing a disturbance on set or being a diva), why should an entertainment company care if an actor cheated on his/her spouse or went to a strip club? I don't judge people & quite frankly, lawyers are supposed to be available to represent even the most disgusting, repulsive people on Earth. Some of us just have different definitions of those things. Mine are child molesters, rapists, animal abusers, racists, etc. Not celebrities who didn't pick more loyal sex partners.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Giving to Charity

Call me a bitch, but I don't give money to charity. Or more specifically, charitable organizations that supposedly "help" people. This article sums up exactly why.

The other big problem I have with giving money to organizations is most of that money you gave won't even go to the people you want to help. If the Christian Children's Fund actually gave all the money they've been soliciting for in the past 20 years to the starving children in Africa, the African people would be far better off than they are now. If these organizations actually gave EVERY bit of a donation to the people they were trying to help, the people in need would be far better off & actually feel helped.

Let's just clarify the nuances. When I heard about the Haiti earthquake, I figured it would be more useful to give your money to people whose relatives are in Haiti. That way, they may be able to actually get that to their family who is in need. Even helping the people who have lost family members is more constructive in my book than handing money to some mega non-profit that may or may not get to the people you're trying to "help."

I guess we'd call this philosophy "charity begins at home." I think the most constructive way to be charitable is to actually do something personal for someone you know needs it. My mother in law's church does a Christmas toy & clothing drive where families who can't afford Christmas for their kids make lists of what 1 thing the kids want more than anything & parishioners go out and make it happen. Bravo!! The kids get the whole toys, not a piece after some corporation has taken stuff for its "operating expenses."

I also like programs where you pick a family & go help them buy and maybe make Christmas dinner. If you're actually seeing the family & can get to know them, that's great.

As long as there's personal contact with who you want to help and your gift is going directly to them with no middleman, I think it's great. I would rather pay somebody's rent or buy a starving person a meal than hand money over to United Way or some other charitable organization dealing with people. I want to know where my aid is going & sorry, the Executive Vice President or the Fundraising department doesn't need my money as much as I do.

Animals, institutions of art & other things where the people/entity you're trying to help can't tell you what they want are an exception to this rule. I imagine I'll be doing a lot of charitable giving to museums & cultural institutions when I have the $ for it.

I'd also consider giving to my law school's legal clinic since I worked there + they help people who fall in between needy enough for a legal aid lawyer & being able to hire a lawyer. That's a HUGE group of people & I'm all for helping those who fall between the cracks.

Now I know there's practical realities & all that for non-profits but it's unconscionable when the executives are making six figure incomes & 1% of a donation goes to the people who need it.

A lot of my family also falls under "the poor" and you won't see them panhandling or wearing clothing as nice as that of some of the panhandlers (at least in NC). Fostering the personal connection is important to me; if you give me a reason to care, then I'll be more sympathetic. Don't bother me when I'm not even getting paid & I'm struggling. Under Maslow's hierarchy of needs, one's own survival needs trumps the need to give to others or the esteem that comes from it.

I'm just not big on giving to people who won't help themselves or might even be in better shape than me or my family. You can bet my family, friends and those who've helped me will be the first to get help from me or even a nice gift to say "thanks" once I get situated. Take care of home first, then try helping everyone else.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day Manifesto

Well, maybe an informal one. Despite being happily married for over 3 years, I'm actually a hater of Valentine's Day. It's not a big deal to me or my husband.

"But, why?" you might ask. "Aren't you in a happy relationship? Don't you feel entitled to flowers, chocolate & the whole nine yards."

Not really. I'm not a gold-digging hussy; if you don't love someone, that 2 carat diamond & vacations to exotic locales won't make a damn bit of difference. Personally, I'd feel like I was being purchased.

My husband couldn't afford an engagement ring for me & my wedding ring was a gift from my mom since she couldn't wear it anymore. I didn't care. My husband's not in a career where you'll get rich & we have crazy loan debts; I saw no need to put myself in more debt for a lavish wedding that wouldn't do much for me & was more for everyone else.

Let me also tell you about my horrid history with Valentine's Day. I got dumped on or near Valentine's Day 3 times in 4 years. I even wore all black on Valentine's Day in those years.

Before this, I was the smart kid who was considered too ugly and undesirable for anyone to have a crush on. After the "handing out Valentine's cards to the whole class" days of elementary school, I had to deal with the carnation & candy sales of middle and high school.

NEVER got a carnation from ANYONE, save the time a friend gave me one of hers since she had a lot of them herself. No secret admirers until I learned about one years later. He never gave me a clue or even spoke to me at that time.

Middle school & dealing with the same dopes in high school was pretty hellish for me; I always figured Columbine would have happened 5 years earlier or that I'd be doing something like that myself if I didn't have goals + see a brighter future for myself beyond my small town & the jerks who tormented me.

So when I went to college & decent looking guys showed an interest in me, I was happy. One guy noticed me around Thanksgiving break and is the reason I passed Applied Calculus that spring. Things were going okay until he decided to get back together with his ex. I found out about that when I asked if he wanted to hang out on Valentine's Day. That was dump #1.

#2 happened when I was a sophomore. I was dating this guy who was in a fraternity at GA Tech. He seemed to like me enough when he called me from long distance over Winter Break. We went out a few times & he even got me emerald earrings as a birthday gift in January. Later on, he got into a car accident & broke his leg. Being a good girlfriend & not having a license or car, I went to his school to see him. Figuring he was busy trying to recover + get his car fixed & also being busy myself, I didn't see it coming at all.

He calls me up the night before Valentine's Day to break up with me, right before I was helping my sorority decorate for an event the next day. This was bad enough.

What really topped this one was that my little sister got engaged on Valentine's Day. I only have one sister & if you're a woman, you know how painful this is. If you're a guy, let me tell you that it sucks when society at large expects you to settle down & says you're a failure if you never get married. Giving a speech on getting dumped in my Public Speaking class made me feel a whole lot better. So did later watching this guy hit on a new sorority sister who turned out to be a lesbian.

The year between this & dumping #3 was pretty good. I wasn't dating anyone locally & the guy I wanted to date lived in NC. I drove back to NC amid cheap gas prices & it was the best Valentine's Day I'd had in my life. Before my husband, I always told guys I wasn't capable of loving anyone in a Romeo & Juliet way but I did care about them & if I say "I love you," it doesn't mean Romeo & Juliet love.

To be honest, I never actually loved anyone that way before my husband.

Oh, but #3. I was dating a guy 14 years older than me (nicknamed the "Dirty Old Man" by my sex buddy). He had 2 kids that he saw every other weekend. I didn't mind since I'd just hang out on my own then & usually went to my work study job to get more shifts.

Well, he decides to go out of town without telling me after I'd not seen him in a while. The weekends were usually the best times for me since I didn't have class or as much to do until my sorority meeting on Sunday evenings. I was mad b/c had I known before that, I could have signed up for more shifts at work. I got angry & said I hoped he got eaten by a gator.

That weekend, my sex buddy contacted me about going to this party that would be at my school that weekend. I'd planned to go there to get my mind off that situation and ended up hanging out w/him. After telling him about the situation, I figured I was about to get dumped & decided to do what one usually does w/a sex buddy; he didn't mind.

The boyfriend calls the next week (about February 10 or so) & I asked if he wanted to break up. He said yes. So then I had the one up on him by having slept w/the sex buddy & confessed to it. He got mad but I mentioned that he'd been planning to do it anyway, so it didn't matter. Honestly, having done it made me feel better about getting dumped.

Eventually I reconciled w/this guy after my brother in law died but it was very brief. He stopped talking to me, I knew I had no future with him & we were both moving away from that area.

I simply didn't date in college to look for the "one" since I wanted to live in NYC & most people I knew didn't want that. I wasn't about to commit to anyone since I felt it would hold me back from what I wanted & there was no way I'd give up on my dreams for anyone. Not to mention thinking I was incapable of loving anyone since I wouldn't do things I'd seen other people do in the name of "love."

The stigma of Valentine's Day convinced me that I'd better get married in black & on Friday the 13th if I had any chance for a happy relationship. I figured if I wore white & did the traditional stuff (especially getting married on Valentine's Day), I'd certainly be ditched at the altar. If a guy wouldn't let me do that, he'd never be for me.

But by some miracle, I met a guy who is as non-traditional as me. That would be my husband. He had no problem w/me wearing black or getting married on Friday the 13th; he encouraged it. He never tried to convert me into a Valentine's Day lover since he had his own sordid history w/that holiday: he was either alone or in bad relationships. He even had an ex who demanded a particular size diamond for an engagement ring & wanted him to move someplace he hated.

Well, 3 years later, what can I say? We're still in a happy marriage, still supporting each other's dreams, haven't stopped the other from being who they are and doing things you'd never think a married couple would do if you got all your information from TV shows. I don't have my husband "whipped" or act like his mom.

Both our parents are in marriages that are functionally dead but refuse to leave b/c things are too familiar. We both sort of vowed never to have our marriage be that way. I think growing up in that kind of house makes you more pessimistic about love & more certain it doesn't exist. Too many people get married for the wrong reasons or stay in unhappy marriages. I just don't see a reason for it. My own sanity and happiness are far more important than familiarity, finances or "the kids." Kids should be around more self-reliant people who know themselves & don't need anyone to complete them. They should be taught never to give up their identity or dreams for others & that if someone loves you, they HELP you be your best instead of trying to make you into what THEY want.

My husband doesn't "complete" me & I don't "complete" him. We compliment each other. He makes me a better person but I'm still a separate individual & so's he.

See why I hate this holiday? We'll probably just watch the "Cheaters" marathon on G4 & do icky husband/wife stuff. That's all I really need.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You Never Know Who You're Talking to Online

I got a recent DVD set for a birthday gift & only learned later on that a problem I've been having might be a factory defect. I read about this in a DVD review site that is typically followed by a web resource that my husband showed me which gives updates on when particular DVD sets will be released + alerts people to problems w/those sets.

I pointed this out & said the site, which was acquired by a major corporation w/oodles of money to hire staff to keep the site's mission up to date, had dropped the ball on this when they're proclaiming to be the definitive source on these issues. The main owner of the site decides to send me a snark response, mentioning a personal trip.

Without mentioning what I do for a living or why it may not be a good idea to piss off someone who works in the same industry & might cross your path in the future, I mentioned that I found that message rude & the rationale spotty since:

A) This site isn't exactly poor since no one's going to give their work up to a mega-corp w/out getting some $ out of it. Even if you have no business sense, you're not giving anything up for free unless maybe you were physically threatened.
B) They could easily hire someone to work on this stuff & mention it long before I get my product, have the problem & have to do THEIR work for them.
C) If you want to maintain good customer relations, you do NOT get snarky w/people who use your product & make a valid complaint.
D) Oh, and I don't have the money to go on international vacations so telling me that is not going to score points.

I view it the same way as someone who owns a store, doesn't consider that he/she might not be able to work & might need people to manage things if something happens, then closes shop without telling ANYBODY or posting a sign. Unless you have close friends as customers, no one cares if you were sick, feeding starving children in Hatti or going to Mardi Gras. You just failed in your duties & lost potential new customers as well as old ones who think you're unreliable at best. They might even think you're no longer in business. This is why chains are open at their posted hours & don't close in the middle of them unless something serious happens. If a solo attorney tried this, the ethics committee would want his/her head on a platter.

Now figuring I've said what I need to say & this person obviously knows less about business than me, I block the e-mail address. When you've proven you are an idiot & not worth my further time, I get the last word AND make sure you can't reach me.

I've also been doing some paid writing work & decide to take a Facebook break after writing 2 articles. Guess who's sent me a message??? This same person. I've not read it since this individual just offended me by sending a Facebook message when the person is a stranger & doesn't need to see my personal info or get confirmation of getting the right person.

Some facts about my Facebook: you're not going to see my personal information or learn what I do for a living on it. Working in my industry means you have to safeguard your privacy. People get desperate to buddy up to people in my shoes + there are lots of people I'd just as soon not deal with. I'm getting more stories by the day & I'd recommend anyone in my industry having some safeguards to protect themselves.

Why make it easier for people who tormented me & now want favors or for anyone else not contacting me for any reason other than to expect things that come w/my career when they're not MY friends or would be there for me if I ever had a crisis?

This also includes exes who tried to act like I should welcome them with open arms after they ticked me off enough to prompt me to end it (and this was mostly things like trying to follow me to the city I lived in & sabotaging my future plans).

If you've pissed me off, consider yourself dead to me. Unless you actively apologize to me & prove that you are sincere in seeking forgiveness, I won't do it. I did do it for someone I knew in high school that I never thought would have changed, so that's not to say you can't become a friend or redeem yourself in my eyes.

But here's my point: you NEVER know who're you're talking to online. For all you know, I've been following you for months & am waiting outside your door to kill you b/c of a comment you made to my post. Or I'm your boss, a potential client, an old friend, a relative you love or someone who could change your life for the better.

Might want to watch the snark to strangers, all right? I don't start problems w/people or get bitchy but I am blunt & if you're acting like an ass or a moron, I will speak up. If you act rude to me, you're going to hear about it. God help you if you message me on a social networking site & ignore what my profile says about contacting me, especially if you try hitting on me. Send a message, you open yourself up to my reactions.

The good news is I don't hide how I feel about someone; I'm not going to say anything about you that I wouldn't say to your face.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Something I've Needed to Get Off My Chest

As I've said before, I don't care about politics. I'm an independent, which means I think both parties are full of crap in some measure. The Republicans deserve some credit for wanting to help businesses (at least if you're talking about small ones) & for their stances on gun rights, illegal immigration (Tom Tancredo, at least), tort reform in medical malpractice suits and not being overly PC. The Democrats, however, tend to be more in touch w/the average person if not being bought by special interest groups.

That being said, I would LOVE to see a candidate who doesn't put on the Christian saint, happy family act. If someone publicly said they were gay, cheating on their spouse, did a lot of drugs & other stuff people freak out about when they see it in the news, I'd have to vote for that candidate based on their honesty. I hate, HATE hypocrites & liars; that's also why I really don't care about politics. I could be in charge & things would STILL be corrupt b/c you can't get rid of everyone and start over. I think I'd love a candidate who publicly admitted to hating one of their kids.

I'd vote for an atheist in a second; at least ADMIT you aren't a religious person instead of going to some church while the press is watching & doing everything under the sun to violate that religion once you get into office.

Is letting people be abused by the National Guard in New Orleans after Katrina a "Christian act?" How about closing schools, laying off people who need jobs & keeping incompetents around? What about harassing teenagers & people who got abortions for reasons you don't know anything about? Letting in every illegal under the sun while allowing them to take jobs from your own citizens as well as harass them, violate laws the citizens HAVE TO obey & never deporting or punishing them for their misdeeds?

Way too many people don't live up to their faith & it ticks me off. Either be a 100% member of the faith or stop calling yourself one while violating its edicts on behavior. If you wonder why non-believers are hostile to believers, this is the reason. The good & true believers need to be schooling the fakes since those fakes are diminishing the faith/religion and painting those who DO follow the religion + the faith itself in a bad light.

I'd love to see more people speak out against hypocrisy in general but particularly where it exists in their own backyard. Honesty takes courage & an honest candidate would get my vote much quicker than someone doing things to try fitting my demographic.