On survival guilt

I was spared. Today. Who knows about tomorrow. But for the moment, I still have a job.

Things happened today I did not expect. There were people who lost their jobs today who I would never have worried about. There were people who lost their jobs today who I worried about, and who really needed their jobs.

Today was a day of crying, of worrying, of comforting friends. Today was a day of wondering why, worrying how we’ll muddle through if we’re on the wrong side of 1,400, and whether we’ll be on the wrong side of 5,000 over the next eighteen months.

Today was also a day where I read about a former coworker who lost her job. She’d been at the company a few years longer than me, and she was chosen by a local paper as a representative of those of us going through everything above. No, she was a represententative of those who, in addition to everything above, was on the wrong side of 1,400.

Microsoft is a huge company, and the veriety of experiences and life situations is enormous. There are people like I was just a few years ago–single, without loans, a renter, early in their careers. There are people like I am now–married, with car loans, mortgages, responsibilities, and not nearly the resources to shrug off a sudden paycheck cut. There are people like many coworkers–responsible for a family, not only for a mortgage, but also the care and feeding of children, saving for their future, and the health insurance that helps ensure they will have a future. And there are people in so many other situations–100,000 or so, all unique.

Today, the Seattle PI covered the story of a woman who lost her job at Microsoft. She is not a millionaire, nor is she much different than the rest of us, though of course she has her own circumstances that none of us who are not in her position can understand. It was a human interest story, attemtping to bring a face to what was happening. Those of us watching coworkers and friends lose their jobs felt the immediacy of her story. Cathy’s story was supposed to help others empathize. She expressed hope at her prospects of finding fulfilling new work. But the response by PI readers was to ridicule her hope, excoriate those of who worry about what will happen to us if we lose our jobs, make fun of people who don’t know what to do next, and generally add to the misery of what was otherwise a miserable crap-ass motherfucker of a sonofabitch day.

I know this is a handful of people making these comments on the PI blog, and an unfortunate face of the Web’s ability to allow every Tom, Dick and Asshole to make his opinion broadcast news. I know, too, that these are just a handful of petty little people who have no idea that other people suffer, too; but their words really added to the terror of this day. People who lose their jobs because of the economy, people who have to worry about paying for mortgages and food for their families and their futures are not spoiled brats for being upset about what’s going on. People who do lose their jobs and try to express hope and put on a brave public face do not need ridicule for trying to maintain a sense of dignity.

Today was a bad day. Those who enjoyed laughing at us for it shoud be ashamed of themselves.

Re-entering the US just got even more painful

I ‘ve always hated the process entering the US, where the immigration and customs policies seem to be more Soviet-Russia-Bureaucracy than Land-Of-The-Free, but since I got my Green Card it’s been a little better.  At least now there aren’t forms to fill out beforehand, and I can use the faster-moving citizens line (and when I’m travelling with Jay, we can at least line up together). But one of Bush’s midnight regulations might make things worse again.  Starting two days from now, Green Card holders will be treated just like any other alien,  and will have to be fingerprinted and photographed upon entry.

DHS said all “aliens” in the U.S. are subject to the biometric requirements of the US-VISIT program, and that lawful permanent residents – even though their backgrounds have been thoroughly examined — are technically still considered aliens.

“US-VISIT enables DHS to determine if an LPR seeking entry has been convicted of any crime that would render him or her subject to removal from the United States,” says the final rule.

Great.  I worry enough about speeding fines and parking tickets enough as it is, without making it ammunition for a surly border guard.  And then there’s this:

LPRs have generally been allowed to use the line designated for “U.S. Citizens” when they arrive on an international flight at a U.S. airport, and this treatment is likely to continue, but that doesn’t give the two groups identical rights, says DHS. “This accommodation does not mean that LPRs are, or will otherwise be treated as, United States citizens,” says the final rule.

I mean, come on. I pay taxes.  I contribute to society. I’m a good citizen legal permanent resident. The least you can do is let me enter the country in the company of my husband.

Pretty please?

Full article:  Green card holders will be fingerprinted and photographed at U.S. borders

Holy Healthcare, Bushman!

Why can’t it be January 21st, 2009 already? (I know that whole space-time continuum thing)

George W. Bush wants healthcare workers (including anyone, even a receptionist booking appointments) to be able to deny you healthcare based upon their religious/moral/ethical beliefs. Not on your need or legally protected right but their beliefs. I (and the readers of this blog) am well aware that states already provide for this in the case of pharmacists, doctors and nurses. Now the Bushman wants to extend this to any employee of a healthcare company and not require the individual to declare their objection prior to hiring/scheduling/working.

My real point here is with everything this healthcare system already does to deny healthcare to those who need it, why is our government working to provide new ways to disenfranchise those who need it? But when the Republican candidtate doesn’t believe that pregnancy is really dangerous, are any of us really surprised?

Think Globally, Drink Locally and Stop being such a Snob!

A little over a year ago a couple of really smart guys did a study about what goes into a bottle of wine’s carbon footprint. Turns out that the vineyard itself is actually carbon neutral and depending upon fertilizer choice and harvesting techniques can actually go negative (if you believed Ronald Reagan in the 80’s you aren’t going to get that point). The biggest contributors to the production of CO2 in the manufacture of a bottle of wine are the packaging and the shipping. So what have wineries and wine regions been doing to either a) minimize the CO2 being created or b) exploit this fact to ensure that their wines are seen as the “greener” choice by consumers? More important, what can we, as consumers, do to encourage green behavior and make greener choices?
Continue reading “Think Globally, Drink Locally and Stop being such a Snob!”

How Ewing and Clark Construction betrayed our trust and cheated us out of tens of thousands of dollars

No pride here. Anything we write will be Googled and Googled against us. We trusted a company we shouldn’t have. Nobody should trust any company sharing their name. (Oh, and their logo!) For the record, these placements took me about 20 minutes of effort. As we say in the business, pretty good return on investment.

Confidential to all the Ewing and Clark staffers out there: someone using your name has fucked with the wrong faggots. We wrote checks when you asked for them, praised your work to all our friends, and will never, ever forgive what you did to our home.  I get paid considerable amounts of money to keep brands in the media spotlight, and it’s often hard to do… but I could do this job in my sleep. And where the court of public opinion leaves off, the courts of law just keep going and going. We have one hell of a shark on retainer… don’t go in the water!

That being said, this blog post, and the iceberg it is the tip of, can be permanently expunged for a mutually agreeable sum. Mutual nondisparagement and all that. Until you’re ready to have that discussion, the Ewing and Clark name will be popping up in all kinds of interesting places. If you doubt we can do it… just ask Virginia.

P.S. Friends of Casa Nonfamous… she has been rocking it old school since 1899 and you can’t keep a great house down. We WILL be celebrating Christmas in our home!

P.P.S. Lien releases, y’all. Get them from anybody paid to come to your house, except maybe the mail man and the pizza guy.

Two images of Mt Rainier

Had a great flight from Seattle to Dallas, beautiful views the whole way. And luckily I had my camera with me.  It was in the overhead locker while we were flying by Mt Rainier, but I managed to convince Jay to ignore the seatbelt sign and get it down for me.  By chance, I got two shots of the mountain that happened to line up perfectly but were from slightly different angles.  A friend composed them into this awesome image that really gives you a sense of the mountain in 3-D.

Mt Rainier

(Click on the image for the large animated view.)