Saturday, August 16, 2014

So There Might Be One Thing More Missing

This is a weird day. I have chores to do. I want to create something but all I got is cement in the brain. I'm looking for escapism and I am finding it.

Maybe I shouldn't be looking. Maybe I should. So much to do and yet not really.

Damn it to hell.

I have un-articulated hurt and pain and I have to find a way for it to come out. Making something would help but I have to figure out what and how.

So I watch videos from creative people and go, "Hmm, maybe I should go by some toilet paper or soap powder."

"Maybe I should hunker down and write something brilliant that would cause people to go "Ah, see that is what I'm talking about, clarity of vision."

No, I shouldn't On account I never have. Not intentionally.

I'll be fine. I just have to choose between buying toilet paper and being brilliant.

This might take a while.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Long Damn Week - Protect Yourself

If you are a person in the U.S. and you don't have bouncing and behaving hair then this video might interest you. If you are a person that has no need of a tanning salon you might find the video redundant to what you moms and grannies told you but it doesn't hurt as a refresher to the basics.

To my friends and acquaintances who have the ability to partake  (but not the desire) to patronize tanning salons you might want to watch this video as well. Cuz the Los Angeles Sheriff Department has been known to go nutzo-crazy and they don't care what color your skin is -- they will beat you silly. Not being hyperbolic. Not at all. Documented.

This is a video from comedian Elon James White for the ACLU that was uploaded around 2011. It is a basic primer on what to do when the police approach you and you know to your bones you haven't done anything wrong.

Now this video is telling you the truth about your legal rights. Elon also implies some common sense concepts like keeping your hands in sight of the officer. Answer only the question otherwise keep your mouth shut.

This will not necessarily stop you from being beaten or killed but it might slow up the cops from doing it. It might give you additional time to have the cops get distracted by somebody else running their mouth. But honestly, if they have a quota to fill or you get a nasty SOB then none of this will matter. It is the roll of the dice.

This use to be a fella thing but seeing how we have now have gender equality in getting the hell beat up by law enforcement I'm just passing it along.

What? You didn't see the video of the woman getting beat by the California Highway Patrol officer?

Or photos of the pregnant woman being placed in a choke hold by NY cops because they had the BBQ out in the front of the house and not the back?

Or the other woman who was dragged out of her apartment and left naked in the hall. The police went to the wrong address for a disturbance. Actually, the whole family went to jail on that one, including the child they were sent to protect.

I feel helpless. When I feel helpless I look for help and assistance, resources and a place to reassure myself that it is getting a little bit more crazy than I anticipated the 21st century to be. This is nothing like the science fiction books I read as a kid.

I don't have my flying car. No neighborhood hydroponic garden. No vacation on the planet of my choice. Not to mention my high speed train line across the world.

Nothing except the 1930s to 1960s on repeat.

It is a stone cold bummer.  

Friday, August 08, 2014

Waiting on The High Speed Train of the Future

An old school friend, Mike and I were talking about rail transportation. He likes to make videos about the trains he uses to commute to various cities. I like to watch them because I remember siting in those seats with the view of an industrial skyline.

It was a living metaphors of wanting to go somewhere. I was on trains all of the time.

Train videos connect me with my past and present time.

I hope that I will live to see hi-speed rail lines in California. I think it would be great for the environment and economy. It is a big state and no they will not carve it up into six islands of confusion.

They need to go buy an island and set up their Ayn Randian paradise.

Don't get me wrong, I like taking slow trains to San Diego. Those trips can mellow you out and drain the anger from you. But a two hour train to San Francisco could mean that I could go to a San Francisco event in the morning and make it home by night fall.

Very attractive. And probably not affordable but I like the idea of it. Maybe that is the point.

Having ideas. Having the vision to see what isn't and making it real.

Once upon a time a tricorder, a computer and scanners were the stuff of 1960's television shows.

I own computers, tablets and a smartphone,

I wish people would get busy and create the future while I still have time to enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Up Sell and When Does It Stop?

There are times when I hesitate to go into a retail store. It isn't that it retail stores are bad. Most are run quite well. It isn't that there is bad service or that the floor staff is being extra observant of me being in the store. My frustration level rises when I approach the counter with my goods and I am asked do I have the store's loyalty card?


"Would I like one? "

"No thank you."

"It will only take a minute?"

I'm not mad at the clerk. I know the manager is listening for the pitch and the effort to get us dumb ass clucks to sign up. For what? A few cents off on items that are overpriced if I don't pledge fidelity?

I love bookstores. Yet I try as hard as hell to stay out of Barnes and Noble. I know they are hurting.  I feel bad for them. However, every dang time I'm at the counter I get asked to plunk down $25 for the loyalty card. I don't want the card and I don't want the Nook.

When I come to think of it, we as consumers get the up sell all day long. Do you want fries with that? Can I interest you in our product protection plan? Would you like to sign up for our frequent buyer newsletter where we can sell you more stuff?

I'm not anti-capitalism. I'm not even anti-making a sale if done with a smidgin of class.

I am against sales harassment in all forms. Which is why The Verge's Comcast Confessions post has me shaking my damn head in what passes for corporate though now days. Comcast has a monopoly in many markets. Customers cannot go to the competition because there isn't any.

Shaking the Dead Money Tree

There is a finite amount of money that can be generated in a certain market. So in the current idiocy  that passes for management you short sheet your users on customer and tech services. You make unhappy customers that much more unhappy by "sales retention."Then you fight like hell not to let anybody go.

I keep hoping that Google Internet will spread but it doesn't look like it will anytime soon. I'm hoping that an alternate form of connection will be invented that will bypass the former phone and cable companies. That will happen but not as soon as I need it which is right now.

In the meantime, we will have to be resolute in our power of the No.

It will not be easy. Comcast will double down on their staff to ride out this wave of bad publicity. To be fair it isn't just Comcast. Pick a major corporation that deals directly with the public and you can find pockets of sales harassment and up selling as a corporate birthright.

Stay the course and keep saying no, "I don't want it." "No, I don't need it." No to the super sizing, no to the extended warranty plan and "No I don't want your store card!"

Collectively we can induce change if we are willing to turn off the money spigot. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Thought, A Word and A Prototype

I have been bugged about access to health care, and of the poor access to legit healthcare information. When have any of us been taught to access the American healthcare system? Not saying that there hasn't been an informal lessons; depending on culture.

For example in certain communities you don't go near a doctor or healthcare provider unless you are halfway dead. You have to prove to the family unit that there is a reason to engage with medical care because it could mean food, the rent or long term debt.

Other folks revere doctors and accept everything that comes of the mouths of healthcare providers. Even when it is flat out wrong or hazardous to health; white coats; licensed or not are to be obeyed.

We also have a problem with health literacy. How much is a dram of medicine? Once every two hours or Four times a day? Side effects and non-cure medicine are rampant. How do you know what you are supposed to know?

Where do you go for non-branded healthcare information? WebMD? A commercial web site? Your legit pharmacy web with content written by a third party who might be creating advertorials?

I don't want to talk about problems. I want to talk about problems that have solutions big and small. I can do the small. Small cumulative can become big. So this is a prototype for an idea that I have about introducing healthcare literacy topics.

It takes time, research and design skills. Two of those things I have in short supply. But if they do gut the ACA/Obamacare in the next few months we need to set up our own lines of information and defense.

I could be negative about this or I can be proactive. I choose to test the waters to see if this can be done and done in the right way. Not saying that this even a good start but can't wait any more.

This is just an idea I created with simple tools.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Being Productive But Is It Enough?

On my list of things to do is to get back to implementing some of my ideas; writing more; blogging more; more laundry, more recreation, more study of the Dublin Core, more, more and more.

I just got a few more ideas I should work on. But first, a musical interlude from a video I recorded in 2012 and just now figured out how fixed the really bad errors and make it suck less. I uploaded the video only to find out that I have the wrong title to the song.

Being productive but my humanity is showing. It is all I can do to snatch it back. Which is what I had to do with this video. I heard the lyric as "be of service" when in fact the lyric is "mean old circus." It takes me 30 minutes to upload on this slow Mi-Fi connection. I rant and complain but I have yet to call the cable company to begin my bondage to hire priced Internet.

This is Gabby Moreno singing at Make Music Pasadena 2012 called Mean Old Circus

Where was I?

Oh, yeah oppressing myself with the woulda, coulda, shoulds.  Every Saturday I make a list of things I want to do. Every Sunday I take a look at the 15 item list and realize I only had time for 4 of them.

I am doing something. But not everything. Mentally I think should do everything. In reality I do what I can.

It is never enough. Which is a lie.

Be of service...

I have ideas that I think would be of service. That could help people. I think and then I think some more. Who are I to say? What are my credentials? Do I pass the sniff test?

It takes a while to fight that off mental shackles and point out to the not so little internal hater that if I saw somebody else doing this I would not continue. However, I don't see anyone doing this (my idea in this way) therefore I am free to experiment and take the plunge. 

In effect, I have to tell my not so little internal hater to STFU. This take more time than I would like it to but this is how you can lose a weekend.

The sucker is now playing the "yeah you thunk it but you haven't created it yet."

Pardon me while I make a demo video and proceed to bust a hater wide open.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mission and Pain Merchants

It is the season for walking in the sunlight. Staring at the honey color moon. A day of wanting to pull back from the worst of social media but I can't help but notice more than a few of us ain't got our heads wrapped too tight in the skull.

Yes. I now have to be specific as to which head I am referring to. On account some folks are stuck in Peen-land.

But first, a little music. This is the second band that I recorded at Make Music Pasadena. The band is Dig The Kid and I do because I like enthusiast musicians.

Ah, the mission.  Music has been a tool to help engage a connection with the other.

I'm going to find you. I'm going to love you come rain or come shine. Be mine, be my baby.

Yep. And the there is:

Shoot da load, shoot da load, drill, drill, drill come hard with the thrill.

(I made those lyrics up cuz I don't listen to rap except when a car stereo is turned way up. It always sounds like this to me.)

You hope to find the one or two people that resonates with your vibe. The music war of the sexes is usually presented as a playful non-violent skirmish with no real losers. In reality, it is a battlefield and people are getting killed, maimed and scarred.

There are dangerous people and there are predictors. Also, there are carpetbaggers.

Brief Background

Thousands of women participated in the #YesAllWomen on Twitter to bring to light the minefield that a woman can experience dealing with certain types of men. Very few women don't have a story about an interaction with a man that got scary.

The originator of the hashtag has been harassed by trolls, received death threats and god knows what else. The hashtag has been co-opted by quite a few men using women avatars to spew hate. There are also some men that are very proud to tell you that women ain't shit and deserve all the trouble we get.

It has also been co-opted by a company using the hashtag to sell t-shirts.

There are questions but bottom line for me is that this company rolls in after other women, particularly black women, white women, Asian woman and every other type of woman on the planet put their stories in public view about how common it is to feel anger and threats from (some) men. The same anger that drove that man to kill in Santa Barbara.

Yet this business rolls out a storefront, t-shirt photos and your newly claimed Twitter handle. Ready for business. And yet, there is this mess right here...

This business has decided to make money off of the pain and hire a counselor? This company  wraps t-shirts in a non-profit cloth of respectability. Got a Facebook page as well. Yes, indeed they are gonna work that SEO.

It is the business of being a pain merchant. There are customers who want to buy the clothing. There are people that are actively trying to get the company to change its name. There are trolls that just won't stop.

I turn away and look for laundry to wash. Still, I ask the universe how in the hell did we find our way out of the cave?