11 July 2016

A Monday Morning Warning, or Two.

Photo of print copy of Clobberpaws
Clobberpaws Print Proof
So it is not at all a surprise to anyone that knows me that I do not like to talk on the phone. I am much more coherent and clear in text, and I like having a record of what I've said but more importantly what has been said to me. So if you have lured me into a website that  says that in a few clicks I can get the information I want but then require my phone number, I know that you're going to ring me and you can know that I will not answer when you do.

I have two cases in point here, and to be fair, if I had just googled these two outfits ahead of time I would have seen all the negative reviews and steered clear. But I did not, so I could not, and now I'm getting landlined like there is no tomorrow (nod to Cougar Town there). So here we go. Writers (and generally others as well), beware!

The first mistake was listening to ads on the radio and television for LendingTree.com.  I mean come on, the ad on telly is like a nod to the intersection of Sesame Street and Avenue Q! Go to their website and enter your info and then you have a bounty of options to choose from for mortgages, refinances, loans, and so forth.  Sounds great!

I'll tell you what it REALLY sounds like: LANDLINED.  I hadn't even gotten all of the info rendered on my screen before our phone started ringing. After the third call in a row (I think? Might have been fourth), Hubs answered it and spent a good long while waiting for the very excited someone from QuickenLoans (I'd be wary of them as well) to stop talking so that he could try to tell her he wasn't interested right now and could we just call them back when we were, please? For the new few days, I got several calls a day (that I did not answer) and at least two emails just from QuickenLoans.  Other companies rang/emailed us as well, seemingly on repeat, even though we had made no attempt to get more information from them.

Here's the kicker...the reviews that I should have looked at first, admittedly...say that when you submit info to LendingTree.com, they immediately give your info to all the companies that even remotely suit your parameters.  Now to be fair, they do say that they ask for your phone number so that they can pass it on to the companies that could help you with your inquiry.  I just thought they would at LEAST wait until I had picked an offer "for more information," but no.  Avoid. Avoid, avoid, AVOID.

Okay, number two is the "new" self-publishing arm of Simon&Schuster publishing house.  Like other traditional publishers, S&S have made the leap to reach out to those of us that want a bit more control in our publishing process and introduced "self-publishing." They offer you a guide to self publishing once you sign up for it and give them your email address and...yep, here it is, your phone number.

Got a call this morning from "Archway Publishing," the self-publishing arm of S&S.  Only they are only Archway in name...they are, in fact, run by Author Solutions which as far as I can tell is an outdated form of a vanity press.  I didn't press on far enough to see the price list for myself, but others report charges upward of $1k to publish your book and AS is enough of a scary thing in the realm of self-publishing that I am still as of this writing looking for a way to get OFF their list.

It is easy enough to publish with Amazon's KDP and CreateSpace and their services are professional looking as is their product. Lulu.com was my first foray into self-publishing and it also offers a professional product at no cost to the author.  In my mind, the fees that they charge from each purchase are well worth what you get in the end.

So yeah, I'm ignoring my landline now...and so very thankful for caller ID.

30 March 2016

On regime change and the politics of long work weeks.

Tourists.
Tourists.
Regime change or administration change can be tricky at best. There are those mourning the change, those hungry for change, and those to whom the change will make little to no difference in daily function.  I'm not really sure which one best represents me, but I will tell you that a bit of change has made a huge difference in my motivation.

Remember the thinly veiled posts about not being valued at work, or being told that my professional development was not important, etc.? There were lots of them.  I had days where I had to blog or I'd lose my mind and, even worse, my temper.

Not anymore. Even though I am still working insane hours (some weeks in this semester, for instance, contained multiple days where I worked upwards of 10 hours...in the past that would have still equalled 37.5 but no longer), I have gained the power/kahones/whatever to say to whomever needs telling that I have worked more than my fair share and will be taking some time off, or that if the students aren't here I really don't have a need to be here.

Gone are the days of hearing second and third hand that I am lazy and need to be given work to keep me busy.  Adios to the insinuations that because my desk is clean, I must not be working.  And it isn't just the replacement of one person that has led to this over all office climate change...there are only two of us still here that were here when I started working in this office.  

The culture has shifted, and I believe for the better.  Though the Canadian tourists above are often the first and last thing I see in a day AND are often in the dark due to early starts and late arrivals back at my car, I really am enjoying my work and that has been a long time coming.

27 March 2016

On Feeling the Bern and other political nonsense.

FB_IMG_1456591910726
My hair was feeling the bern from the color, still.
So you may or may not have noticed, if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or just down the street, that we have an election coming up this fall here in the good old USA.  While I am utterly heartbroken at the prospect of losing our current Commander in Chief and his warm, friendly, witty, and definitely egalitarian ways, I'm looking forward to November this summer's Democratic Convention with hope, yet again, just like I did right before fleeing to the UK for two years.

You've probably ascertained if you know me from the above social media OR you read the title of this blog post that my preferred candidate for the Democratic nomination and the White House is Senator Bernie Sanders, currently of Vermont. There are many reasons why I'm supporting Bernie, not the least of which is his socialist leanings which I share.

Okay, take a breath, I did NOT say I AM a socialist.  Further, I didn't say he was, because he isn't.  Democratic Socialism is a different breed from pure, unadulterated German/Chinese/Russian Socialism of years past (and, in some cases, present). 

We okay now? Well, if not, you might not want to continue, because I'm going to tell you why I don't care for the other candidates in the race.  

First, the other strong Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.  I'm not going to support her just because she is a woman, or because she made it through a nasty patch of cheating by her (I am sorry but he is just still adorable, reprehensible or not!) husband, or because she has already lived in the White House once and most likely had a hand in what I consider to be a fairly successful administration.  I've looked at her issues and policies but more importantly I've listened to her when she has told us what she will do for us as President...and I'm not sure I trust her.  I can't put my finger on it any more succinctly than that, really.  Nowt to do with any of the myriad of scandals that she is presently or has been involved with/in, at all. (Don't bring up Benghazi to me or I will either walk away from the conversation or explode, I'm not sure which.)

That said, if she wins the Democratic nomination (and the world ends) (just kidding) (kinda), I will vote for her come November.  Sound like I'm wishy-washy and fickle? Just let me tell you about what's happening on the other side of the aisle from where most of my beliefs find their home, and stay tuned because there IS a Republican that I would have voted for had I no other choice...and not just because of his hair.

By this point there are only three candidates really competing for the Republican nomination (now that someone told Ben Carson he actually WASN'T winning and Rubio picked up his toys and went home to Florida...or Washington, not sure which): Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich.

Yeah, THAT Donald Trump.  Star of the small screen boardroom, misogynistic tyrant, and (it has become apparent in his stumping) under the radar racist.  You have to know if you know me at all that this man speaks NONE of what I see as my truth.  Walls between us and Mexico? Halting Muslims that want to come to the United States? Bulking up the military to be even more of a bully in the world than we already are?  If that's "Making America Great Again," I will take the Slightly Less Great but Still Not Racist and Evil America that we have now, thanks.

Then there's Ted Cruz. There was actually a study done to find out why Ted Cruz's face causes people not to trust him: turns out his smiles don't go all the way to his eyes and that indicates shenanigans afoot.  Never mind his promise to "carpet bomb" our enemies.  Carpet bomb, y'all! There was one debate where he used the word murder so many times that I not only lost count I no longer WANTED to count...and not just about THEM murdering US, but US doing the murdering.  I find him terrifying and not at all the wholesome Christian he pretends to be.

Finally, still hanging on in the race with a slightly better chance than a snowball in the Midlands is Kasich.  I will admit that I don't know much about him...who really expected him to be around this long?  He was passed over in debates and resorted to joking along with Ben Carson about not having any air time.  He went from someone I thought was NOTSOBAD while campaigning in Idaho to SUDDENLYVERYRELIGIOUS when it came to the Southern primaries.  But he doesn't scare me like the other two do, not really.

The one that I would have voted for if I had to and he hadn't dropped out was Rand Paul, and that's because he just didn't sound all that conservative to me.  I promise, it was nothing to do with his hair or the eye-rolling he did whenever Trump spoke in the first debates.  Nothing at all.

My other mini rant has to do with the media coverage of the side of the aisle that I am supporting.  How much coverage does Bernie get for doing anything well or leading in any polls?  Zero to notenoughtonotice.  Hillary sneezes and someone is telling "the Democratic frontrunner and likely candidate" bless you.  Even NPR, my beloved NPR, is leaning toward Hillary and to me that isn't right.  She's got enough help, thank you very much, she doesn't need any more.

Don't even get me STARTED on superdelegates.  Super my foot. 

So yay! The Lettuce is back!  Don't worry, it won't be long before I've forgotten this blog yet again...

20 March 2016

Lettuce Hard Reboot

Watchers
The watchers, Bryn and Willow.


Yeah, so...um...hi.

It's been a year plus since I've updated the Lettuce, and that is embarrassing and mortifying and actually...freeing.  I have no precedent set, really, anymore. I can talk about whatever I like.

So...yeah...hi.

I think a bit of catch-up is in order, though that seems to be all I do around here.  I'd make promises to be more timely, to push out more content, but let's be honest, shall we? Haven't heard a peep about "When will you post again?" "What's going on at the Lettuce?" "Are you still alive?" but that's all right.  

So, let's see... last post was last March and I believe that I was ranting about something related to snow, leave time, work, or Sandy Paws, not sure which.  I skipped Sandy Paws last year, and was glad of it...so glad that I went again this year and was reminded why I had stopped going. Surely I can find something more interesting to talk about.

Rebooting. Watch this space. Loading, please wait...

Dia duit ó GARF.

Almost TOO Irish, that. Go raibh míle maith agat  to Chris Heffron (of the Southern Travel Guide ) for this great shot from last Sund...