Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pay attention

I stole this from the new blog that the girl from "strip club server" has started writing. I think it is time we paid attention to how we're spending our money. It got me to thinking about why the hell we have security deposits. I was in kind of a rush to get out of my last apartment and decided not to clean it. I figured I'd forfeit my $200 deposit and be done with it. My time was valuable to me. about 3 months later I got a later with a bill for over six hundred bucks for cleaning up my old apartment... What the hell was that deposit for then???... anyway... read this.. it details certain things better than I ever could

America, we have a problem.

Well, to be completely honest, we have more than one- but this is a really big problem that is affecting me in my life; so therefore it's the most important problem.

It's not the economy (although it could be better), it's not welfare (although it could use some reform as well). The problem which is paining me this evening is greed. Good ole' plain greed.

Now, I'm not talking about individual greed. No conspicuous consumption here, however if you're looking for an article that will completely disenchant you on the state of people, check that one out. What's even scarier is that it was written in 1902. I'm talking specifically about "big business" greed, and how it is affecting our nation.

Slowly over time we have allowed the nameless, faceless corporations, and even our own government, to anally rape us while we smile and pitifully ask for another like a bizarro Lifetime version of Oliver Twist. Gives a whole new meaning to the name Charles Dickens... heh.

But I digress...

It started rather simply, an energy rate hike here, an income tax increase there. Next thing you know everything is being dissipated by the powers that be.

Case in point: I went to Sam's Club last week to purchase insulin and other necessities for the home front. Insulin is tax exempt, so you will always pay a .99 on it. If you're buying from a smaller chain (Walgreens, USA Drug) you will pay around $34.99 for a bottle of Novelin R insulin. Sam's sells the same bottle for $19.99. At two bottles a month, these savings far outweighed any feelings of guilt from shopping at the mega-chain which is destroying our nation. Don't believe me? Check out "Wal-Mart: the high cost of low price." It will shock you.

Again, too much digressing....

Continuing on, I picked up the insulin, grabbed some toilet paper, and some cases of diet soda. I proceeded to the check out, showed my receipt to the door nazi, and headed out to the car. It wasn't until I got into the car and checked the receipt that I realized I had been had. Twice.

First of all, the purchases were rung up at the same time. Then a seven and some change percent sales tax was charged on the subtotal. Meaning the insulin was charged a sales tax. Big no-no. After that, another subtotal was rendered (adding in the seven percent sales tax) and then a smaller tax was charged again, on the second subtotal. A so-called "soda tax". This means, that I was taxed on a tax-free item, then taxed again on the tax I paid the first time.

It wasn't so much the out of pocket expense that pissed me off. It was the principle of the matter. How many people check their receipts for the tax information? Most people I know don't even bother checking their receipts to make sure they were charged the right amount at the store. I am not one of those people.

They did a "seven on your side" feature a few months ago on Kroger International foods. The investigative reporter went shopping, and then compared her receipt purchases to the ones advertised in the store. There were differences. Many differences. Close to ten dollars worth of differences. Although, for one person, ten dollars here and there doesn't add up to much, but think about how many people shop for groceries and purchase one brand over another because of the posted "sale price?" I have vivid memories of my mother staring at the register machine, noting each price as it was rung up and stopping the checker if something was different than what was posted. This in itself is a ridiculous hassle for the consumer and the cashier. The cashier then has to stop, get on her little mega-phone, call for a "price check," verify the price, then call the manager over to void/refund/adjust the price rung into the computer. Meanwhile, this drives the other people in line crazy while they impatiently wait for their turn to leave.

The bigger question here is this: do you really think the manager went back and fixed the posted price after my mother left? Hell no. She's probably more aggravated that someone noticed the difference. After all, she's thinking not of the consumer, but of the bottom line. Many of these stores either pay their managers on a scale basis, or judge the amount of their end of year bonuses based on the overall profit margin for their district. Loosely translated: the more their store sells, the more money goes into her pocket at the end of the year. Customer service is now a thing of the past.

These kinds of scams affected me in a very large way about six months ago. I lived in an apartment complex before Boyfriend and I moved into the home he was already renting. Upon first leasing my apartment, the office manager sat down with me and covered, in detail, the terms and conditions of my lease, including my thirty day notice, should I decide not to renew my lease. This thirty day notice does not cover intentional breaking of the lease, this is just for when your lease expires and you decide to vacate your apartment.

One year later my lease expired and I was offered a renewal. I decided to renew my lease and continue living in my apartment for another year. Mind you, the renewing of my lease hiked my rent up over fifteen percent, but I didn't care at the time. Now, this is not the "scam" that affected me, but it is a rather shitty thing to do. It would have cost me less to give them notice and then sign an entirely new lease rather than to renew my lease for another year.

Just so you know, I called and spoke to the apartment manager, who informed me that my original rental price was a "move in special" and I would now be paying the actual price per month on my town-house. Whatever.

Regardless, I continued living there for another year. My lease expired in August, and just like clockwork my rental offer came at the end of June. I declined their offer (yet another price hike- by the way. This time up twenty-five percent from the already increased fifteen percent) and filled out my thirty day notice form, promptly turning it in on June 30, one month and a day before my lease expired (July 31).

Six months ago I received a letter and a bill from my ex-landlords. The bill was for a full months rent, and the letter enclosed stated that I had violated my lease agreement by not giving them a full sixty-day notice. Because I only gave them thirty days, I was required to pay them rent for the month of August. Even though I didn't live in the apartment in August.

I called and spoke to the apartment manager the next day. The conversation went something like this:

ME: I'm calling in regard to this bill for a full months rent?

HIM: Yes, you were required by your lease to give us a full sixty-day notice. Since you only gave us thirty days we are charging you another month's rent.

ME: I'm looking at my lease right now, and it doesn't say anything about a sixty day notice. It requires a thirty day notice.

HIM: You're looking at your original lease. Last year we changed it to sixty-days.

ME: Then why wasn't I given a copy of the new terms?

HIM: Because you renewed your lease, rather than sign another one.

ME: So then, wouldn't I still only be required to give a thirty day notice, as applicable under the terms of my original lease?

HIM: No, we changed the policy last year.

ME: Were you able to rent the apartment out?

HIM: Yes, the apartment was rented.

ME: So, you want double rent? You've got someone else paying rent on that apartment and you want me to pay rent as well? For a month that someone else lived there?

HIM: The policy was changed to sixty days. You only gave us thirty days, so you are required to pay another month's rent.

ME: But if the policy changed to sixty days, why wasn't I given my renewal notice sixty days before my lease was up? Why only thirty days?

HIM: That's not our policy.

At this point I hung up.

America, it's time we started paying attention to our receipts and reading the fine print. This has got to stop. Big business has enough money already, they don't have to cheat the little people out of what small amount they have left over at the end of the month.

I'm no radical, but sometimes I wonder if the revolutionaries aren't on to something...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

cliche abortion

I came across this bulletin; it's a little cheessy and a little dramatic but you get the idea. I was also reading in a medical journal seeing as I have to do my continuing education anyway. I read a story about a 14 week old baby that was delivered early and survived. This is far earlier than many partial birth abortions. I think it's time we re evaluate our definition of life. I understand that I'll probably never see a time when abortion is illegal in the world but I abhor you to at least reconsider partial birth abortions. Don't respond to this saying that a mother has a right to do what she wants with her body. It's a load of crap. What she does have a right to do, is make a choice about whether or not she's responsible enough to have sex. If you think you're responsible enough to have sex... especially unprotected sex, then you're responsible enough to bear a child and at the very least give it up for adoption. (I'm proof that the adoption system can work)

Body: Month One

I am only 8 inches long
but I have all my organs.
I love the sound of your voice.
Every time I hear it
I wave my arms and legs.
The sound of your heart beat
is my favorite lullaby.

Month Two

today I learned how to suck my thumb.
If you could see me
you could definitely tell that I am a baby.
I'm not big enough to survive outside my home though.
It is so nice and warm in here.

Month Three

You know what Mommy
I'm a boy!!
I hope that makes you happy.
I always want you to be happy.
I don't like it when you cry.
You sound so sad.
It makes me sad too
and I cry with you even though
you can't hear me.

Month Four

my hair is starting to grow.
It is very short and fine
but I will have a lot of it.
I spend a lot of my time exercising.
I can turn my head and curl my fingers and toes
and stretch my arms and legs.
I am becoming quite good at it too.

Month Five

You went to the doctor today.
Mommy, he lied to you.
He said that I'm not a baby.
I am a baby Mommy, your baby.
I think and feel.
Mommy, what's abortion?

Month Six

I can hear that doctor again.
I don't like him.
He seems cold and heartless.
Something is intruding my home.
The doctor called it a needle.
Mommy what is it? It burns!
Please make him stop!
I can't get away from it!
Mommy! HELP me!

Month Seven

I am okay.
I am in Jesus's arms.
He is holding me.
He told me about abortion.
Why didn't you want me Mommy?

Every Abortion Is Just . . .

One more heart that was stopped.
Two more eyes that will never see.
Two more hands that will never touch.
Two more legs that will never run.
One more mouth that will never speak.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Don't ring the damned bell

As you know I work in a lab. In this lab is a large window. In this window is a little bell. This little bell has caused more headaches for me than anything else in the last five years of my life. Yes, it's a shiny little bell, NO you don't have to ring it. If I'm standing right in front of you and you're handing me a specimin to process; don't ring the fucking bell and give me a shit eating grin. Thank you. Exactly how old are we. we're all healthcare professionals and most of us have a college degree. Why, oh why, must you ring my bell. Is it really THAT entertaining? While we're at it don't ring the bell even if no one has helped you. 99% of the people who come to my window know the protocol, you probably don't need help just drop your non-stat specimin at the window and we'll get to it when we have time. you don't need me to coddle you and tell you that you're doing the right thing. guess what just happened?... that little fucking bell... this better be good.

My birth mother

Last night I was blogging about not forgetting where you're from and how sometimes I lose faith in the human race. This got me to thinking about an email my birth mother wrote to me awhile ago. I'll just give you the gist of it because it kinda disgusted me and was a little too long. She told me that she had some incurable liver disease (no doubt brought on by drugs and alchohol), if there even were a disease. Skipping ahead past all the formalities, knowing I had just had a child (mind you she's had not contact with me for the last year or so), she asks if we banked the cord blood. She asks this referencing an experimental therapy that utilizes t cells of a matching donor. I don't think I had a problem with her asking about the cord blood. Honestly, I would have given it to a stranger if it could help them live, so why not her. I'm on every organ and bone marrow donor list there is. I figure if I'm willing to donate anything I have to a stranger surely I can find it in my heart to give the woman who gave birth to me an opportunity to live.

What did disgust me though is what she went on to say were her alternatives if she couldn't find a match. Her best shot , she thought, was to have another child just so she could have the cord blood from the child and thus his t-cells. I can't describe how much this infuriated me. In essence, you're saying that you're willing to sacrifice the life, at least the quality of life of this child for a last ditch effort to save your own life.

I'll never again underestimate man's will to live. It's pretty sad that the will to live can overshadow any semblence of a rational thought. What confuses me even more is that my birth mother is writing me almost asking for my approval. She's demonstrated that she's unable to take care of a child in a few ways. The first and most obviously apparent way to me is her first two sons were taken away from her by the state because of inadequate care. The second is if you really are that ill and this treatment doesn't work what do you do with this child. Did I forget to mention that she lives in a women's shelter right now? I don't think that's what anyone would consider a stable home. How dare you ask me to accept such an assinine thought.

I couldn't let this child that she'd be creating, basically for a science experiment, go into foster care like I had done so many years ago, but how could I be responsible for this child. I just had one of my own and I'm hardly a perfect father. I do my best but I know my shortcomings. I honestly wonder how anyone could ever be this selfish.

I look at my own son today and sometimes I have a hard time going to work because I don't want him to miss me like I missed my family. The world just seems right when I see him smile. He doesn't know we're poor, he doesn't have a care in the world. How could I or anyone else for that matter think it's okay to leave a child you've created.

I'm not writing this for sympathy. I got over everything a long time ago. At some point in time everyone needs to realize that everything you do is a choice. Your childhood may have sucked, but guess what, everything you do from this moment forward is a choice. Don't be a victim. No matter how hard your life has been, someone else has had it harder. I was found in a dumpster and had a little pot belly like a malnurished african kid, but ya know what, at least I was born into the greatest nation in the world and have an opportunity to make my life better.

The selfishness I see every day of my life makes me sick. I know my birth mother is an extreme example of this selfishness but it still makes me wonder how much hope is there for the world if a mother would consider having a child just to have a chance to save her own.

I havn't written too much about my personal life on here yet, this is just a sample and maybe it gives you an idea of why I call it my cartoon life. The things I've seen an dealt with just seem like they belong on a cartoon.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Remember where you came from

There are days I genuinely lose a little faith in the world. I lower my expectations for how people should act, I lower my expectations for what people should be accountable for. In other words the lack of good decent hard working people in the world kills just a little bit of me each day. Then I hear stories of random acts of kindness it renews my faith and affirmation that people are generally good and want to do good. I read a story of what Charles grant did for some ladies and it went like this

In Saints camp on the last day of the off season program, defensive end Charles Grant called over the club's vice president of communications, Greg Bensel, handed him a wad of $100 bills -- 20 to be exact -- and told him he wanted to buy lunch for all the women who work in the team offices. "Can you make it happen?'' Grant asked Bensel. He did, handing the $2,000 to GM Mickey Loomis' administrative assistant, who organized the luncheon field trip for the 20 women in the building. Way to remember where you came from, Charles.

While this isn't some great charity work, it does tell me one thing. That some people really do remember where they came from. It made me smile to know that a few people like to share the wealth and good fortune they've had with others. I don't understand why it's so hard for people to "remember where they come from." This doesn't just mean wealthy people giving back, it means so much more. Why do people think they can treat strangers with disrespect just because of who they are.

Don't call my lab demanding things, Don't call me unwilling to admit any fault, Don't talk to me if you can't understand that a mistake on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Don't treat waiters and waitress like crap because they serve you food. Don't talk down to or demean The people that work at the stores you go to. Please, everyone, realize that no matter how small or unimportant you think your job is, or you think someone else's job is, they are, in some way a vital part of the way society works (assuming you're not a worthless bum that collects welfare without a job and pops out kids for the hell of it) . Think about how inconvenient it would be for you to do things that you take for granted. Maybe these things are things that you can afford to pay other people to do. The general thought I really want to get across is please, don't forget where you're from. Would you parents, grandparents, kids, grand kids, or anyone that looks to you for guidance be proud of you and your actions.

I haven't always been proud of everything I've ever done but as a whole I've never forgotten where I'm from. Through the extreme highs, and extreme lows. Why is it so hard for people to stay grounded? Anyway, I realize that no one really reads my blog, but if you do come across it just let me know if you've heard of a random act of kindness. It makes me smile a little. Sometimes just a little smile is worth so much in an otherwise cartoon life.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


While it has become a little cliche to "have a cause", I guess this is mine right now. While I do support the basic premise of why we're supposed to be in iraq, I have little faith in "the liberation of iraq and the prevention of genocide." being the only reason we're there. I do believe we're doing lots of good. I understand that there are huge benefits to have an oil producing democratic ally in the middle east. Yes, we're getting something out of ousting a sadaam. I'm okay with that.

In all fairness, if we say we're a country that supports democratic ideals and has a presidency that's willing to help oppressed people, we need to take a long hard look at what's going on in sudan. I understand that there are no economic or militaristic benefits to having a democratic ally in Northern Africa, what I don't understand is how we can allow what's going on in sudan to happen and the national media, government, and for the most part the american public, don't say a word.

I'm not advocating police action, although sometimes that is the only effective course of action. All I'm trying to build here is awareness, just understand what's going on over there. If the presidency wants to build a facade of an altruistic government intent only on doing the right thing in the international community we need to press the issue of darfur.

Don't get me wrong. For the most part. I like president bush, I know that doesn't seem to be popular amongst people in my age group and financial bracket, But in all honesty I think he's handled the the most things pretty well. I do think we stretched a little when we went into iraq. I am, however, pleased that we had an "action" oriented president in office that didn't waste too much time after the sept 11 attacks. I think we needed someone with kind of a "cowboy" attitude in office at the time.

Anyway I've gotten a little off topic. please check out the site I linked to on the side of my page. I'm sorry I don't know how to imbed links yet. if anyone actually reads this thing and knows, please tell me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Welfare abuse

I was reading something on violent acres that reminded me of something I've been going off on for years. To preface things I'll let you know that, yes, when my girlfriend and I had an unexpected pregnancy, we did use resources like W.I.C. and the pregnancy care center, and no, we did not take free crap like milk, eggs, cheese or formula.

What we did use those things for was the counseling, We went to child birth education classes, parenting classes, and just about anything else you could think of. We learned that breast-feeding is not only better for your child but that it's much cheaper. The one thing I can say we did use was W.I.C. offered a program that rented breast pumps for $50 bucks for as long as you'd like to use it. It still wasn't like I was having the government buy formula for me.

With the background information out there about me I'll continue with my rant, most of it stems from what I saw while I was working as a cashier in a little market in Logan UT. I can't count how many times people would come in and buy candy, soda, cookies, all kinds of crap with their food stamp card. If you've noticed lately they've gone to a system, where they use a card, that's discreet, and kinda looks like a credit card. If you ask me; I think if you're taking money out of the pockets of everyone around you so that you can buy crap like cookies and candy and what not, it should be obvious what you're doing.

The worst things I remember seeing was people who I know were better off than me; (at the time I was being paid 7.25 an hour to cashier at a market, and I worked as a cook in a bar and grill at nights.) using food stamps to come in and get their hourly fountain drinks and bags of penny candy. I also remember seeing people come in buy a bunch of frozen dinners and other random crap with their food stamp card, then buy beer and cigarettes with cash.

NEWSFLASH: if you have money for beer and cigarettes, then you have enough money for food and other necessities.

I used to wonder how I could ever afford a kid, Ya know what it's not so hard. I don't make a ton of money, but guess what I figured out. If you stop smoking and limit yourself to a couple of six packs of sam adams instead of a constant flow of beer in the fridge or if you just don't go out to the bar anymore, you have more than enough money for diapers and to buy your own food and formula.

While I do understand that there are people who genuinely need help, I also understand that if you're an able bodied male with average mental capacity, you're not one of those people. I don't care who you are. If you want to work, you'll find work. I've had more than one job for much of my adult life. When things got a little tight I got a second job or I cut back on things I didn't really need, i didn't get food stamps so that everyone else can pay for my food while i spend my money on beer and cigarettes.

If I ran the world, I wouldn't eliminate welfare and I certainly wouldn't eliminate W.I.C. because they have so many programs other than just the free food and formula that people can take advantage of. What I would do, is make welfare more like a second job. Yes, you'll get food stamps, but no, they won't be free, you'll work a government job. You'll help road crews, you'll clean public buildings, or anything else that needs to be done. I can't count how many friends have had to take a second job to support their families, this program will, in essence, be a state sponsored second job. You can work any time you're not at your primary job. You know you've all seen road crews working in the wee hours of the morning. I think this will do two things, it will weed out the people that don't really need welfare, and it will save an already strained goverment program millions of dollars.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Stupid Mediacom

I'm posting this because of a recent post on elguapo, go check it out I'm linked to his site. I looked at my mediacom bill this month and decided something, internet and cable tv are not worth 100 bucks.

I sat down to review all the charges and see if I could save a few bucks. This thing is harder to read than the koran. It has about 900 different charges and is impossible to decipher exactly what you're being charged for. I finally came to the conclusion that the movie package that my girlfriend got when she first signed up as part of some kind of package needed to go. I told my girlfriend to call them and cancel the movie channels since we never watched them anyway.

I call my girlfriend from work and ask if everything went smoothly, of course, it didn't. Somehow they managed to convince her that she's only paying 2 bucks a month for these channels. This could very well be the truth seeing as how I couldn't read the damned bill anyway. The point I want to make is that whether it was costing 2 or 200 bucks I asked for it to be cancelled so cancel the shit already.

I decide it's probably best if I just call mediacom and let them know I don't care how much it costs. It looks to me as though it's costing me 24 bucks a month. Like I said before, though, I could very well be wrong. I call mediacom and this is how the conversation goes. (roughly)

Me: "Hi my account number is blah blah blah and I'd like to cancel such and such movie channels."

mediacom rep: Well sir, according to my computer you're currently only paying $2 a month for this service.

Me: I don't care how much you say it's costing me, I told you I wanted to cancel it

rep: well sir, it's a very good deal

Me: I don't watch those channels, EVER, and I want to save those $2 a month.

rep: well sir, would you like to subscribe to one of our other movie channels instead.

Me: NO!, I made it very clear what I'd like to do.

rep: and what was that?

Me: Are you kidding? do you really not remember I wanted to cancel such and such services.

rep well sir, I'm sure we can go ahead and do this, I just need to confirm your name and address and the last four of your social.

ME: blah blah blah

rep: I'm sorry sir but you're not listed on the account, you're not allowed to change any account information.

Me: What's the name on the fucking check you recieve every month. I think that puts my name on the account!

rep Click.

I seriously couldn't believe a customer service rep hung up on me. I'll admit I deserved it I was kind of being a dick. I understand that she had a job to do, and I didn't make it any easier. However, When I say I want to do something don't try to talk me out of it for ten minutes. I know what I want and of what concern is it to you? Here's the point in a nutshell. Mediacom sucks and why does changing such simple things have to be such a chore. When did we really lose the idea of what customer service means?