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?

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Too Old For Music - Nah

Today is Make Music in Pasadena day. A bunch of music performers will descend on the joint and play in real time. It is about non-top 40 music. Most of these folks will have their clothes on and will be able to sing without computer enhancement.

This is a good thing. Finding moments and performers you had no clue they were on the planet.

I'm going even though being a cubical bunny is not preparation enough to be walking 10 or more blocks and back. Not to mention trying to find the re-routed buses that will take me home.

Yet I need to walk. To see the trees. The bums and hobos interacting with a in-flux of hipsters. The real folks taking a day for themselves and chilling to some tunes. The pissed off drivers who will have to take side road and get lost and still try to bust through a baracade with cops looking them dead in the eye.

I've seen it happen. Twice.

I'm going. I don't know any of the performers. I do know there will be food trucks. Some day I will see the legendary Kogi truck and bow to the greatness of the Roy. This year I'm hitting the back streets for the alley bands and non-pop performers. 

And though I have rested and prepared I know I'm gonna take one step too far.

Today I walk.

Tomorrow there will be pain. Feet will be angry. Certain joints will commiserate with the feet. That fire shrimp burrito will do a number on my stomach that I will pray to the gods to intercede for mercy.

Tomorrow I'll have to do laundry, finish my homework, work on a portfolio piece and other things that won't get done because I freaking will hurt until the ibuprofen and ice packs kicks in.

It will be worth it to hear that voice or band that rocked the hell out of a tune that can't be replicated no matter how many times they perform live. And to hold that in my heart for a moment is worth any pain the flesh can conjure.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Like the Song Says...

When I first saw the original music Divinyls video I thought at first it might be a step too far. Might have even thought it was vulgar. I had to think about why...which lead me to read books about re-claiming sexuality and being entitled to expression.

Which you might think that would be solidified if you cross 18 years of life.  Oh no. No, no. No.
Probably I should show you what I am talking about:

It was one of the first commercial Roscoe Palmer songs that couldn't be shoved into a hidden corner. If you are of a certain age in MTV years you leaned that the song was an anthem for releasing pressure.

The more I heard it, the more I liked it -- except for the part about waiting for said person to come back. What if you don't have anybody? That was more me than the song.

It took a while to work that out. There is a lot of cultural mal-information that says you don't, you do, you don't, get married, you stand in the corner and be a sin vessel. The original videos has 7 million plus views on the official YouTube channel.

Tis the end of National Masturbation Month 2014. I can understand how it got past you. Horrors to the left, foolishness on the right (not talking politically but spatially) and cabin fever has taken root.

Time marches on.

Chrissy Amphlett, the singer of the song, passed away from breast cancer a while back.

Her friends and family wanted to honor her memory by using the song as a motivator to get women and men to do self-examinations. It seems to be an Australian campaign but learn what you can.

If you find cancer early you can stop it early. It is still difficult to get people to touch themselves; even for health. Even to save their lives.

Fear of actually finding something. Fear of lack of access to healthcare and treatment. Religious bug a boos about touching your own dang body.

Ay. What fools these mortals be.

This is no joke to me. I had an aunt die of breast cancer. It doesn't take that long to inspect your ta-tas, the arm pits and related surface matter. I also think you should inspect the lower quarters for things that shouldn't be there as well.

Again, a hard sell. Being a willing participant of maintaining your life by touching your organs and appendages.

So I have posted both videos. Pick one or both videos and act like you got some sense.

Touch yourself.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Not Making Art or Sense of It All

I keep hearing the lyrics to letting the days go by. I'm getting better at it but then some tomfoolery just begs to be notated for future archives.

If you would jump over to the Washington Post article about the artist who hit a trifecta on identity, gender, and cultural appropration you'll have a better understanding of my collage down below.
There is a Tumblr page that is interesting in trying to demonstrate others doing the same thing. I wanted to post it there but it wouldn't let me upload my image. Not from censorship, I was doing something wrong in the uploading. So I took a chance and posted it on Facebook and here.

So, this is a work created by an African American woman pretending to be a European American who is pretending to be a black man.

A chance? What chance?

Long after the discussion about artist Joe Scalon has died down this collage will remain. As people come to check me out for jobs, gigs or social activities they will see my name and the word cock.

If they do not know me or take the time to ask questions I will be dismissed from consideration.
Because of a word. Not an image. Just the word.  I'm okay with that at the moment.