Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Job opening

So you're unemployed.  What would you think if you read these company benefits?  Would it interest you?  Is it better than you have now? 

"Crew Benefits

You don’t have to achieve upper-level management status to reap the rewards. ... you’ll enjoy a competitive wage, a schedule that fits your needs, a team that’s there to support you in every way, and a workplace that’s close to wherever you need to be. It’s a great way to earn extra income for anyone, from students to moms and dads.
  • Competitive wages
  • Free uniforms*
  • Free or discounted meals
  • Flexible hours
  • Medical insurance*
  • Prescription drug coverage*
  • 24-hour nurse line access
  • Vision discount*
  • Available dental*

Additional Benefits

  • Short-term disability*
  • Term life insurance*
  • 401(k)*
  • Paid holidays*
  • Vacation*
  • Educational assistance*
*Subject to availability and certain eligibility requirements and restrictions."

Sound good?  What are you waiting for if you are now unemployed?

This is the company I worked for and it was during this time I gained a greater appreciation and respect than I expected.  In fact, at the time I just stopped in after a long day of job searching and put in an application.  They interviewed me on the spot.  They worked around all my scheduling requirments because at the time I needed a position where I could drop off and pick up my son from school. 

This was my first job in the field and within a year considered the possibility of entering management.  The salary range was much higher than I would have guessed or expected. 

Although my career goals have gone in a different direction I can still vouch for this company for anyone from ages 17 to 70 who is seeking full or part-time employment.  Whether you need something long term, while you are in transition, or a second job to supplement your income,  it is a company that later you can be proud to say you have worked for.

Who is it?  If you have read my stuff you have probably guessed. :) If not, then click on the link as I wanted to add a little mystery to the post just for fun.

Mystery Job Opportunity 

This concludes the series.  At least for now :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Grandma's house

Last week I mentioned our annual pilgrimage to my Grandma's house.  My grandpa lived there too so I don't know why it always carried the name of my grandmother.  Maybe it was because she was the one who kept up the regular correspondence with letters and cards.

The house was a two story white structure that sat at the end of a long dirt driveway.  Even walking to get to the mailbox was farther than many walk in a single day so grandpa often took the car to get the mail.  In the summers, when we arrived, on the right was the alfalfa field.  Farther was the river that ran between the upper and lower pastures.  The back drop of the house was a large hill. On the top the wheat fields were planted.  The ranch was 160 acres.

One of the quickest ways to annoy my grandma was to call it a farm.  She would quickly correct me and tell me in an authoritative voice that it was a ranch, not a farm.  At some point I knew that this had something to do with the long standing battles between the farmers and the ranchers.  The sod busters vs. the cattlemen.  Rifleman was one of my favorite shows as a child so I knew the distinction was important though did not really understand why. 

My grandpa's primary stock were the sheep.  Their good friends the Lathrops raised cattle, horses, and pigs but grandpa mainly had the sheep.  Often there would be a milk cow, chickens, and a couple of pigs.  I would wake very early each morning to go "help"  my grandpa feed and water the sheep.  He was a very quiet man who spoke little but as long as I was ready and didn't bother him I could tag along with him and the dog Midge.  He would drive his old car up the dusty hills and the sheep would be waiting in the big shed. We would put the grain in the troughs.  If I was very quiet and moved slowly I could go up and down the lines and feed the sheep with my hands.  Grandpa let me know that this was a very good and important thing because sheep would not trust just anybody.  To gain the trust of a sheep meant you were a very good person. 

After the morning chores were done we would head back to the house for breakfast which was specially fixed because of us being there.  We had big pieces of good smelling bacon from the pigs, farm fresh eggs, peaches from the cellar, and sometimes biscuits and gravy.  Mom said my grandma was not a good cook but as far as I could tell she was one of the best cooks in the world with the best food I had ever eaten. 

Then grandpa would head out and do whatever he did until dinner and evening feedings and I would get to feed the baby bummer lambs.  Every year there were a few that were kept in the back yard that had lost their mommas or sometimes the ewe had triplets so one would get brought home so there would be milk enough for all.  The bottles were the traditional coke glass ones with a nipple stuck on.  The bummers would come right up to gulp it down and if they could not get enough fast enough they would butt their little heads to make it come quicker.  I loved this job.

Since I was a little Sunday School girl I knew it was all so important.  Throughout the Bible it talked so often about shepherds, sheep, and pastures.  For two weeks I got to live it and somehow it made me feel much closer to Jesus as I learned the names of the sheep and tracked the lost ones along the little trails on the hillside trying to find the holes in the barbed wire fences or scouting out a lost sheep.

There were also some really fun things about Grandma's house that were nothing like our rambler of the neighborhood suburbs.  Just to name a few:

The wood cookstove.  While we were visiting Grandma spent much of her time in front of the wood cook stove in the kitchen.  It was quite an amazing thing.  On one side it had a place where the wood was put and the fire was kept.  I was told this was a deluxe stove because it had a reservoir on the side.  This provided the added benefit of always having almost 4 gallons  of hot water available at all times.  On top were the warming bins.

The water pump.  This was one of my special jobs.  I would wait around the kitchen and when grandma needed water I was called upon.  Such an amazing thing because I didn't just turn a faucet, I got to pump the pump and eventually the water would spurt out.  It was so cool!

The wringer washer.  Laundry day was really a big deal.  The washer was filled with buckets of water from both the sink and from the pots on the stove.  When the clothes were done agitating through the wringer they would go, then back into the washer for the rinse cycle, and then through the wringer again.  I wanted to help but mom would always tell me stories about how kids would get their fingers or arms caught so this was one job that I was expected to just stand back.  When the load was all done they were taken out to the back clothes line for hanging but we had to be careful that the bummer lambs could not reach them and pull them down.  When the clothing came down it was so stiff especially on the cooler days but it smelled so good!

Bath day.  Saturday night of course.  Next to the washer was the biggest bath tub I have ever seen and grandma said they were lucky to have gotten it.  All the water would be heated on the stove.  I remember mom and grandma discussing who was the dirtiest.  This was important because that was the order we would bathe in as we would all use the same water.  Usually it would be mom first, then my brother, and I think I was last because I was always out with the sheep, walking the trails, and in the gardens.  Grandma would take what she called sponge baths and it was said that grandpa would take a bath once every six months whether he needed it or not. 

The outhouse.   A ways out the back door was the outhouse.  Again the deluxe model because it was a two seater though I could never figure out why one would need two seats in a bathroom.  I know that I wanted to be alone.  Another thing that I did not understand is why it was in different places throughout the years.  I could not help myself and at least once in every visit I had to look down.  I didn't like what I saw so tried not to look down again. I admit sometimes it almost seemed compelling but I was always sorry and would chastise myself for doing so.  Grandma said it was not really a good idea to walk out at night even with the porch light so she gave us a coffee can for our rooms if we could not wait until morning.

I found it all to be such strange and interesting things.  There was more but I wanted to just touch on some of the highlights.  They were some of the best memories in my life.

The years:  1963 - 1969. Or so.

Years later when I went through my own temporary months without running water or heat I was so grateful for the experiences at my grandparents house to draw upon.  As a mother of three children it was not quite as fun as I remembered it.  Without these experiences on my childhood vacations I would have been completely dumbfounded about how to get through it.  Living in my own 100 year old home was different than visiting.  More about that in the In The Trenches book if you are interested.

What is poor?
Since that time I have often asked and pondered the question:  what is poor?  Were my grandparents poor?  I never thought so.  There was always food on the table, a fire in the woodstove, and land beyond what my eyes could see.  Yes, surely they worked harder to have those things.  Yes, surely there were so many others that had more, especially more convenience.  Is wealth measured in convenience? 

The family had told me stories of when the three girls were growing up.  They were poor and it was during the first depression. One time I noticed the big ugly scar on each side of my mom's leg.  She told me that when she was a girl they were jumping in the hay in the barn. A pitchfork had been left in the wrong place by someone.  It went in one side and out the other side of her leg.  They pulled it out but because they had no money they were unable to go to the doctor so grandma had to doctor the wound herself.  That sounded sad and poor.

My mother was often sick as were many.  She had scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, and others I don't remember.  My aunt told me that at one time she was so sick she almost died.  They had no money so my grandpa begged the doctor to treat her anyway.  The doctor obliged on the condition that my grandpa put himself into indentured servitude for  one year.  For you see, the doctor not only provided his services but paid for the hospitalization out of his own pocket. To pay the debt my grandpa had to leave home and grandma had to run the ranch and take care of the girls on her own.  When the debt was paid he was able to return home.

Indentured servitude.  A strange word and I didn't know what it meant until I did some looking on the internet and found that many new immigrants came to this country from Europe and became indentured servants for up to seven years before they were free to strike out on their own.  This was the price of becoming an American and they were willing to pay it.

I must mention here that my mom went on to become one of the world's finest nurses.  It was not in spite of her hardship but because of her hardship.  There was much sacrifice to put her through nursing school.  From her early poverty she gave the world great wealth.  I say this not because she was my mom and not because of the awards she won though she did win some.  I say this because I saw the looks in the people's faces when they thanked her.  Patients at the hospital, neighbors, friends, family all recognized her contribution to their lives.  What I saw was only a glimpse of the countless people she impacted and provided care and comfort to.

So what then is poor?  I see pictures of people in foreign countries staving and it is no question of their poverty.  They have no food and are dying from starvation.  If this then is the definition of poor how does that compare to what we as a nation are currently going through?

How much should the government step in to help the American people?  Especially when doing so is not from money we actually have but is creating a debt for our children and grand children to pay?  And, in addition to that we are borrowing from foreign nations and we all know that the borrower is the servant to the lender.  At what point should we allow ourselves to become the servants of foreign governments?

Is not having a cell phone poor?  Is not having cable t.v. poor?  Is not having a car poor if our cities spend large sums of money on public transportation?  Are we making or contributing to our own condition of being poor by insisting on amenities we cannot afford? 

One time I flew to Denver.  I was amazed with the vast amount of undeveloped land within our country.  The small towns are merely specks in expanses of trees and rolling pastures.  So why then are people packed into highrise poverty apartments in Chicago like poor sardines?  We have seen the pictures and heard the stories. 

I have read a little about the old 40 acres and a mule government programs that provided land grants to people willing to move out and develop the west.  What if we developed some programs that really utilized the resources we do have without borrowing from other nations?  Would we be willing to work as hard and sacrifice as much as our grandparents did?

Habitat for Humanity has done amazing things by encouraging people to work together and although much has been spoken about Jimmy Carter's presidency the good of his founding of this wonderful program far exceeds any shortcomings he may have had as a president. 

Why? Why? Why?  Is it possible that sometimes it is necessary to take a step back before we are able to take a step forward, especially if we are going in the wrong direction?  I have come to the conclusion that many of the answers to the why questions come because we are allowing career politicians and not folks with vision, common sense, and compassion to direct the course of our future of America.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

US Debt Clock

One of our readers shared this and I'm happy to pass it on:

US Debt Clock

It's almost like trying to count train cars as they pass by.  If you watch too long it makes your eyes go wacky and your stomach lurch. 

Be sure and check out the link at the bottom for your state and the home foreclosures in the bottom corner.  There are also a number of interesting tabs at the bottom. 

I'm still trying to find total number of home foreclosures for each of the last 5 years but after hours of searching I still have not found it.  A couple years ago when in was in the news daily the count was up to 12 million.  If anyone has a source for finding it please let me know. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Road trip

Every year for summer vacation we drove from Seattle to Northeastern Oregon to visit my grandparents.  There were three steps to the journey:

1.  The planning
2.  The road trip
3.  The destination

The planning stage was always fun.  The anticipation, the memories, the packing, all brought up the excitement of the journey.

The destination was the best.  I got to bottle feed the baby bum lambs, collect the chicken eggs, ride horses, visit with my friend, wade in the creek, and pick lettuce for dinner from the garden out back.  It was certainly a different world and my grandparents loved me. 

The road trip though...that was not fun for me.  Mile after mile after mile of sand, tumbleweeds, and holding it in until the next stop.  Then there were the winding curvy roads up in the mountains which I could tell made Mom nervous.  With only a guardrail between us and a chasm to what seemed like an eternal drop off to certain death.  Yes, the trees were beautiful but photographs were preferable to actual experience.

My brother and I would take turns riding in the front seat and it was the only time we were allowed to stick our head and hands out the window.  Sometimes it was so hot and this was before air conditioning was in the cars.  We did everything we could think of to pass the time.  We would do the air honk to get the truckers to honk at us, color, try to find license plates from every state, find the letters on the road signs, and of course, sing 99 bottles of beer on the wall.  It couldn't be helped. 

Though there were some fun moments overall I hated these trips.  It was utter BOREDOM in capital letters.  The feeling of being confined and the desolate scenery was not my idea of fun.  But finally we would get where we were going all sore and stiff and life was good again as the grandparents came out to greet us. 

This is how it can be as we take that journey to improve our finances.  It seems to go on FOREVER.  Disciple and learning to say "no", and dangerous curves that if we make a mistake the arrival at our destination will take longer if we make it at all.

Man, it sure did not take as long to rack up that credit card debt as it is to pay it off!  I WANT to go out to a restaurant!  I hate this!  All this stuff runs through the mind some days and month after month it drags on.  The extent of the redo is often the distance and length of time the journey will take.  Will it ever get better? 

Isn't there a plane that will take us to our destination?  There is nothing that makes me whine faster or louder than sustained self-discipline. 

So you are waiting for the good news?  No, I don't like road trips either.  Just wanted to remind you don't fight with others in the car, don't drink too much because it's a long way until the next stop, and remember that someday this will all be a memory.  The important part is arriving at the destination safely.  Then the fun can begin.

Happy Monday to all!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sixteen Tons

A friend posted this on her facebook:

The challenge:
1) Find out the song that was #1 the week you were born.
2) Find that song on YouTube.
3) Post that video on your wall without shame.
Yeah, 'nuff said.....

I gave into the curiousity and found the song.  What cracked me up was how the song and my blog seem to go together.  So listen to the song and tell me what you think.  Did I as an infant get some sort of subliminal messages going on in my head to influence and inspire me later in life?

Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford

Some people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man's made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said "Well, a-bless my soul"

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain
Fightin' and trouble are my middle name
I was raised in the canebrake by an ol' mama lion
Cain't no-a high-toned woman make me walk the line

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

If you see me comin', better step aside
A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don't a-get you
Then the left one will

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

Now of course this is not a literal expression of my life but I cannot help but wonder...

Okay, your turn.  Does the top songs in the month of your birth seem to have anything to do with you? 


Here's a link to help you find yours.  Toward the middle of the page you can choose your year AND it even gives a U.K. option as well

Billboards #1 songs by year

And they listed mine as something different so I'm having a real identity crisis.


Sunday, January 15, 2012


Part II of my McDonalds adventures:

It was one of those moments where I had wished I had a camera to prove the truth of my words.  In my new morning routine I stopped again at McDonald's for coffee and a biscuit before work.  Usually I grab my tray and keep my head in a book so don't pay much attention to what or who is around me.  This particular morning the place was quite busy so instead I decided to take a seat where I could watch everyone coming and going. 

After a few moments something dawned on me and I started counting to see if my impression was correct.  Yes, out of almost 30 customers there was less than 5 women in the entire place.  The ratio was at least 5 to 1 in favor of men.  They were in all ages, races, and style of dress from the business suit to the grungy.  Many had their laptops open working on their computers or in groups talking to one another.  All were enjoying their coffee, pancakes, or big breakfast.

I had inadvertently stumbled upon a MAN CAVE.  Of all the things that Micky D's is known for this one caught me by surprise.  As I looked around I could not help but wonder if this was quietly going on all across the country.  Was this one of the last rituals of men that we women are unaware of?  As I said, I wish I had a camera to prove the sight. 

So I thought of other MAN CAVES throughout our history felt that I was witnessing something very important and good.  Some other man caves came to mind starting from the beginning:

 It just seems to me that when men get together a lot can get done - for good or for evil.  Pancakes at McDonald's seems a good place to start.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dress for Success

First impressions do count and never so much as on a job interview.  A potential employer usually has less than an hour to size up a potential candidate and see who would best represent the image and work ethic that they want to represent in their business. 

At the point of the interview an employer may have already filtered through hundreds of resumes looking not only for work history but also sentence structure, spelling mistakes, and overall professional presentation.  If you have made it through this part the next step is even more critical. If you receiving calls for interviews there are good resources to help put your resume in top notch shape to present your skills to their greatest potential.  Some of the temporary agencies will take the time to sit with you one on one to perfect and edit your resume.

Having been selected for an interview in this job market is indeed a worthy accomplishment.  The last couple of positions I have been selected for I have later found that not a few applications were received but literally hundreds. If you made it this far good going.  Whether you get this job or not use the interview as an opportunity to hone your skills for as they say "practice makes perfect".  And, whatever the outcome don't take it too personally as a reflection of you or your skills.  You cannot know if one of the other candidates was the friend of the uncle of the owner.

It's not about you.  The interview is not about you, it is about them.  The company wants to find the best person to do the job and be an active valuable member of their business and team.  Though this list is not intended to be exhaustive here are some of the key points to remember:

1.  Dress for success.  The clothing you choose for the interview should be professional and somewhat neutral.  This is not the time to show off your personal style except in small doses unless you are looking for a position in the entertainment field.  Years ago John T. Malloy set or at least put in writing the foundational book called Dress for Success.  The book had a men's and women's version. Since it first came out there have been updates, revisions, and a number of other similar books written but these books set the bar.  Amazon has a number available but as always if you are watching your expenses check your local library. 

The main purpose of this post is to introduce an organization started to help those who are looking for employment and do not have the means to purchase the clothing necessary to cinch the job.  This non-profit organization is helping get people, especially women, ready for the job market and is located nation wide.  Here is the link for the Dress for Success Organization .  Whether you need some assistance or have no longer needed items they are a resource in our communities to help get you back on your feet.

2.  Posture.  This is one of those things that is much more obvious to others than ourselves and one I have to often remind myself of.  It's time to stand up straight, put our shoulders back, and walk with purpose.  If the shoes you picked don't allow you to do this then choose another pair.

3.  Grammar.  Another one of those things others quickly pick up on.  Is it "yes" or "yeah", "no" or "nah"?  While those may be fine at home they are not appropriate in the business context.  Slip in a swear word or two unawares and the interview is done.

4.  Tattoos.  You may love your skull and crossbones but it raises the eyebrows of those in business.  "But, I just want to be me" you may think.  That's fine but you may remain unemployed. Businesses are looking for someone to represent "them" for the workday.  You can be you after hours. Along with tattoos would be exotic hair styles and colors, cleavage, piercings, fingernails that appear that they are more important than typing. 

5.  Final check.  Always make a final check of your appearance before the interview.  Years ago one of my best friends almost walked into an interview with her skirt tucked into her pantie hose! 

If you have been looking for work and still have not found anything I have found that registering at temporary agencies has been very useful.  In addition to testing (which provides scores for adding to your credentials) they have job search helps, resume writing, interview helps, and free online training.  Many of the jobs they list are temp to perm.  Some even offer reasonably priced health insurance to assist in the transition.  Many of these services are also available through the state unemployment offices whether or not benefits are currently being received.
Smart On Money recently had a good post on finding business attire for less that gives more tips for finding that next job or career opportunity.

The competition is tough but be the best you can be and take your best shot.  If you don't hit the bulls eye on this one just keep at it until you do.

You might also like:
Work Wardrobe on a Budget
In The Trenches - Wardrobe Planning
The free online version of In The Trenches has a chapter title Get a Job that gives other helpful hints and is on page 86.  Click the link on the sidebar.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's going to be a good day!

It was an hour before I needed to be at work so I decided to walk to McDonald's to see what would be good for breakfast.  I ordered a biscuit with egg and cheese and a coffee.  I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that the total was only $2.08.  Wow.  What a deal!

As I waited for my food others came in line to order and I noticed a couple men who were older than me ordering their food.  They ordered a senior coffee with their meal.  "That's nice"  I thought.  A deal for the older folks.  McDonald's does it again.  Responding to the needs of the average person and keeping their prices affordable. 

My tray was ready so I proceeded to a table.  They had put the receipt on the tray so I decided to check it out further to see what the prices were for my great deal.  I figured the biscuit must have been on the dollar menu and 89 cents for the small coffee.

As I studied the receipt I was surprised that they had abbreviated small coffee as SNR coffee.  As I puzzled over it a bolt of realization hit my brain.  "WHAT?! They gave me a SENIOR coffee" at 49 cents.  "How dare they?"  "I didn't order a senior coffee!"  "What possibly would make them assume that I was a senior?" (though I guess I am).

This was just totally unacceptable!  It must be this practical trench coat I'm wearing.  I sat there debating whether I should march right up and DEMAND that I pay FULL price for small coffee.  Or, better, was this my invitation to get a leather coat to replace the practical trench.  As I munched my biscuit and sipped my HOT :) coffee the quandry really messed with my head but why would I choose to pay more for my coffee?

The next morning I decided to do it again.  Again, they gave me a SNR coffee without me asking for it.  Oh, this is just NOT good!

Being the glutton for punishment I can be sometimes be I decided to go for day 3.  I do love those biscuits! 

After getting my food and examining the receipt I found that they had given me and charged me for a SMALL coffee.  All was right with me. I was looking GOOD!  It was going to be a GOOD DAY.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Military Reunions with Man’s Best Friend

As the troops are quietly returning home after years in the field and the war in Iraq is over it seems that we can learn a lesson from man's best friend about what a celebration and welcome really means. You'll love this video.

Military Reunions with Mans Best Friend

Although I don't know his name I still say thank you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's none of your business

Have you ever thought of saying that?  Did you just think it or follow through?  It seems the phrase crosses my mind more often lately when dealing with business transactions.

I used to be very organized.  Having worked in the banking industry, for the post office, and other private organizations I know how to file, fax, document, fill out forms, staple, and all the little details of running a business.  Those things have been how I made my living and what I am good at.

A couple years ago I went through some major and minor life changes.  I moved, my name changed, and I was very sick for months.  Along with those changes I decided I wanted to return to a simpler way of living that most would consider beyond frugal and some would call extreme.

I don't have a car, instead I ride the bus.  Although I still have a driver's license when it expires I don't know if I will renew it.  I don't have a phone but have access to one if I need to get ahold of someone.  I pay for most things in cash but have a checking account but no debit card.  I don't want to have to write everything down.  I use facebook just so that friends all over the country can post a "hi" or "call me".  Other than that I just go through my routine and show up where I show up.

Life is simple.  Life is cool. 

But, the thing that really bugs me is that businesses keep asking all these questions.  What's your address? May I see your I.D.?  What is your phone number?  And, when I tell them I don't know they look at me like I'm crazy and will not proceed until I come up with one.  It is getting very annoying.  Especially having lived in small towns for 20 years.  Everyone knew me and recognized my name, voice, face, and car without me having to prove it every time I saw them.

Businesses ask for my phone number, mother's maiden name, or birthday.  The question that really raises my hackles is "what is your race?"

Really, I have no desire for a phone call so why would I want to give you my number?
My mom passed away 10 years ago.
Are you sending me a present for my birthday?
What difference does it make? or, Are you blind?

I no longer live my life as if it is a business.  I pay my bills and purchase my services but beyond that I don't really consider that I and the businesses I deal with have any personal relationship and therefore why would I want to give all my personal information?

Have you ever filled out an online form and left one of the "required" fields blank?  Most of the time I just eventually give up and quit.  And, passwords:  Minimum 8 characters, three alpha, 1 numeric, and a symbol. How am I supposed to remember that? And, why would I want to?

Recently, one of my co workers had to call a customer service phone number and press 1 for this, 3 for that and after 10 minutes of being rerouted he was literally yelling and cussing at the robot on the phone.  It was funny to all that were listening but I've been to that mentally exhausting maze of voice recognition software and could literally feel my blood pressure climbing before finally smashing down the phone.  And, when one of those machines has the nerve to call me it is not a pretty sight.

I haven't said it yet but I know it's coming soon...when someone asks "What is your phone number?" or "What is your birthday" I'll just respond "It's none of your business"  They will probably hang up on me but at least I will feel better for a moment.

Simplicity.  It seems like everytime I am close to acheiving it someone trys to grab my leg and pull me back in.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Somebody's Watching Me

Tracking devices. Don't the words instantly remind one of some drama movie or detective show they have seen? 

The dictionary defines tracking as: 
verb (used with object)

1. to follow or pursue the track, traces, or footprints of. 2.to follow (a track, course, etc.). 3. to make one's way through; traverse. 4. to leave footprints on (often followed by up or on ): to track the floor with muddy shoes.
5. to make a trail of footprints with (dirt, snow, or the like): The dog tracked mud all over the living room rug. 
A close cousin of the word is stalking, defined as:
verb (used with object)
1. to pursue (game, a person, etc.) stealthily. 2. to proceed through (an area) in search of prey or quarry: to stalk the woods for game. 3. to proceed or spread through in a steady or sinister manner: i.e. Disease stalked the land.

It is one of those subjects that seem "out there" and not really something that affects our day to day life.  But, does it?

  • Banks track our money - to some degree with checks and instantly and with more detail with a debit card.
  • Computers track all online correspondence.
  • Phones track all you calls and can track your body.
  • Cars also have a tracking device. Onstar makes this available as one of their anti theft features.
  • Google earth gets satellite photos of your home so close one can see in the living room window and the licence plates on cars. This is one of the creepiest ones of all and I can feel my skin crawl.
  • Traffic lights have camera that track who travels through and can be used for tickets.
  • T.V.s have receivers as well as transmitters
  • Check processing services give quick reports while you wait at the register about your checking history.
  • Facebook and other social networks help one track who, what, where, and what one does every single day, Medical records tell all about our bodies.
  • Dental Records can identify our bodies if something were to happen.
  • Fingerprints are on file not only for criminals but for most public employees.
  • Security questions can name your first pet, favorite color, fathers middle name.
  • ID is required for almost everything and usually two pieces one being a credit card to show you have an established banking relationship.
  • Banks track all cash transactions over 2,000
  • Home monitoring devices are used as an alternative to jail time.  Wonder what the next step of this will be?  Maybe the elderly with Alzheimer's. Hmmm....
  • Credit reporting agencies maintain records of all business supplied input.  Try getting something taken off you feel is wrong or unfair and see how far you get.
  • Almost everyone asks your birthday and expects that you will give it. We have been so conditioned to do so that we hardly flinch.
  • Stores with membership (like Costco) can track your purchases down to what kind of personal products you use.
We cannot even have access to the information about us without paying a fee or getting court orders and we have little or no control about what is contained therein. More often than not we cannot get it at all.  It is way beyond George Orwell's 1984.

There is a direct link between privacy and freedom. People have forgotten.

Many believe that ultimately it will all lead to the mark of the beast where one will not even be able to buy and sell without receiving some sort of mark. Even if one doesn't believe in prophesy one cannot deny the change our personal privacy over the last 30 years and if you don't believe in Bible prophesy who, what, how, or why would you explain it? Ultimate dictatorship? Even at the the beginning of the last century folks were skeptical and opposed to even being issued a social security number viewing it as a suspicious infringement to their personal freedom.  What would they think now as technology has moved forward by leaps and bounds?

Some may call it paranoid. No, that's just silly.

No one should ever want to know that much about me AND and I don't trust anyone who would.  One cannot look at all that is happening and be so willfully ignorant that they choose to be blind. The most common response is that "well if I'm not doing anything wrong why should it matter?"  Ask any person who has been tracked or stalked and they will easily tell you why it matters. 

The lyrics to the song performed by Rockwell and Michael Jackson says "I always feel like somebody's watching me"   

Freedom is not freedom without freedom.