Archive

Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

“Waiting” by Thadra Sheridan

June 23, 2014 1 comment

Upworthy.com put this video poem up which is done as a brilliant theater piece. It is wonderful and only four minutes. 

Not-so-fun fact: A waiter’s minimum wage in America is $2.13 per hour plus tips. Waiters are three times more likely to fall under the poverty line than average workers, and women are three times more likely to be a waiter. They average $18,590 annually in income. Which ain’t much to live on. Which is why this waitress has something blunt and kind of hilarious to say.

 

Categories: Rant, Video

Woman versus Facebook

March 4, 2014 2 comments

I am archiving this by re-blogging it here. Many thanks to author Alexandra Rosado for her courage and clarity.

 

Alexandra Rosado portrait

 

February 27, 2014

Even though most of my profile is private, I’m making this post public on the off chance that the person who reported me will see it if they aren’t on my friends list (I am still unsure about that).

Today I changed my Facebook profile picture to a self portrait that I took in September of 2013 as part of a photo project that I ended up abandoning eventually. Even though I gave up on the project, I liked the picture. It holds important significance for me. Just moments after I changed it, however, I received a notification stating that it had been reported to Facebook for “nudity and pornography”. Someone had seen the photo of my bare torso and had immediately been so offended by it that they decided it needed to be removed from Facebook within seconds of it showing up. To the person who reported my photo, I would like to say I am sorry.

I am sorry that you have been conditioned to believe that a woman’s bare skin is pornographic and obscene by default. I am sorry that you cannot separate my skin from sex. I am sorry that you believe the flesh I was born in, that I learned to walk and dance and swim in, that I scraped my knees on the playground in, that I carried my daughter in, that has been held and hurt and rejected and sunburned and painted on and pierced and filled with too much food or too little food and bruised at punk shows, is lewd and meant for the consumption of others and not for my own use.

I am sorry that I was not born male. If I had been, I could walk down a public street showing the same amount of flesh pictured here and no one would bat an eye, because the only sexuality that needs to be silenced is female.

I am sorry that you couldn’t bear to go about your day without correcting my behavior.

I am sorry that a photograph that was meant to be a statement about myself became a target for your own discomfort, that you couldn’t look past my tits and try to see what I was saying.

In this photo I’m crying. In this photo I am 105 pounds and I am tugging and squeezing and pinching at my body to make it smaller, smaller than it was ever meant to be because I have days sometimes when I feel like I am too much, that I take up space that I don’t deserve. I have days sometimes when I want to shrink so far inside myself that no one else can see me. I have days sometimes when I don’t eat enough. I have days sometimes when I don’t want to eat at all. I took this photo to illustrate a part of myself that I don’t have the courage to talk about even with the people I trust the most.

Thank you for reporting me, because until now I haven’t said these things to anyone. I hope that you come to terms with your own issues about bodies and sexuality and skin.

Since this photo was taken I’ve gained ten pounds. I’m healthier now. I still want to disappear a lot of the time, but I can’t yet. I still have things I want to say.

Categories: Rant

Gateway SX2110-UB25 PC, Windows 8, Best Buy ALL Totally Suck

October 28, 2013 2 comments

officespacefaxsceen

If you are reading this because you are trying to learn something about a Gateway SX2110-UB25 PC, put that thing back in the box and return it to where you bought it right now! This PC and Windows 8 are garbage. The Gateway Gateway SX2110-UB25 Windows 8 PC does not have wireless internet. (It has a port for an ethernet cable. How very 1990s!) I spent many hours trying to help someone access the internet since her service is wireless and she bought this computer.

Even better, Windows 8 was not working with various USB wireless adaptors (aftermarket devices sold separately) and kept kicking the USB wifi offline.  Windows 8 would not, no matter what I did, recognize the PCI Express card I installed internally. Best Buy was a total misery, refusing to take back the PC because it was 2 days past the 15 days allowable for the return, a screw was missing from the back of the tower and there was a small dent in the bar between the break-out sections for the slots including the slot for PCI Express wireless card that did not work. The manager was a real dick about our complaints regarding the system’s problems and the bottom line is that Best Buy takes your money, only takes your money, and will only take your money. I personally would neither give any money to either Gateway or Best Buy myself, and sadly the person I was helping who only wanted an affordable PC is now stuck with this lemon.

Categories: Digital Design, Rant

College for Profit: Poised to Break the Tenure System

October 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Something that really has me disgusted is the degree to which colleges have been corporatized in the past ten years. The costs of tuition have increased tremendously and the product is not essentially different or better in any way. The expensive, private, for-profit art and media college I attended was years to decades behind current technology and best practices in the various programs. The cinema program literally has kids still running around with 16mm film cameras because the school won’t buy digital equipment! That was how that program was in the 1990s. The ongoing economic recession or depression gives colleges and universities further excuses to corporatize, especially downsizing staff and faculty, and the college I graduated has taken this a step further by figuring out how to eliminate tenured staff.

Getting rid of tenured staff is simple: they just are not going to hire them anymore.  From the 1990s to present they shifted tenured instructors in favor of adjunct instructors. The last published number I had for Columbia College placed adjunct faculty at 77% for the whole campus. That is 77% of a college workforce for instruction that is part-time, has no insurance, no vacation time, no sick leave, no retirement or investment benefits, can be eliminated at any time and is paid substantially less than the tenured professors. The adjunct instructors are unionized but the college was able to roll them for three years without a contract and little improvement in their current employment contract. They probably should have gone on strike yet the same time there was “prioritization” downsizing of staff and faculty. (SAIC took downsizing a step further and just outright broke tenure and fired a bunch of tenured professors to get them off their payroll.) No one at Columbia wanted to strike when the college was eliminating positions and everyone was at risk of losing their jobs. For many, their adjunct teaching job became their only or their primary source of income. The reason why a lot of people were and are willing to bite the bullet on being an adjunct professor was under the belief of paying one’s dues and proving one’s worth in hopes of getting hired into a tenure track position. Also, white collar, professional jobs are few and far between in Chicago and especially in this ongoing downturn economy. Now that the college administration appears to have firm dominance, the word is the administration is going to now open full-time positions but things will be different. With other schools following this pattern, it is not like people can shift to jobs elsewhere.

The new word invented for tenure dodging is “lectureship”.  Adjunct professors, who can find themselves out of a job from semester to semester, will have an opportunity to apply for lectureship positions instead of tenure track professor positions. A lectureship is basically a one year contract for employment and some full-time benefits but without the full benefits of tenure track or tenured professors. I had my share of lazy, do-nothing and unaccountable tenured professors but I also had my share of good ones. This system maybe would help to oust under-performing professors but I see it as holding more power in union breaking by undermining and ultimately eliminating the tenure system for profit. Maybe the school will try to spin lectureship jobs as an innovation or an improvement but for me the bottom line is that administration has figured out that the highly educated sector of the workforce is as desperate for employment as the workforce in general.

College for profit is demonstrably in existence in all colleges, even “non-profit” colleges. Illinois States Attorney Lisa Madigan looked at the books for UIC and Northwestern and asked how they can be non-profit when UIC had over $300 Million in trust and Northwestern had over $800 Million in trust. These non-profit schools with their massive resources, having legal programs and medical programs with hospitals are not in the business of handing out free educations to the children of the poor, legal aid or medical help to those in need. On top of that, they hold billions of dollars in prime real estate and buildings, none of which is taxed. Lisa Madigan advised that both universities should consider “doing more for the community” or be taxed. I wish more investigation and pressure to change would come from this line of thinking. Just because college and universities have non-profit status does not mean they have justifiable reasons for having that status when in fact they are highly profitable operations.

Colleges and universities also love to “cry poor” as much as they can, stating loss of government funding and lower student enrollment as proof they are in financial hardship. Mathematically, about three or four students in a class pays for the class itself, especially if taught by an adjunct professor as per some of the numbers I have learned about. The schools hide how many people in a class actually make the class break even. Colleges and universities are not in the business to be self-sustaining; they are in the education business for profit.  Schools have been packing in twenty to thirty students a class and getting side money on online classes. Columbia owns at least 17 high rise buildings in downtown’s South Loop area and a mansion for the school President, but the school claims poverty from lower enrollment.

Part of my concerns is that these changes in higher academia are coming out of the greater culture of Chicago which has been systematically dismantling public education on the grammar school level and shifting the tax dollar resources into private enterprises. The city did that with recycling and our street parking meters and a thousand other things I don’t know enough about recent history and politics to name. This is the city of expert corruption, the buddy system and the income based kick-back through contracts. Trying to understand all of it is numbing. This is the city that since The Rahmfather has shut down 50% of mental health services closing two of the four available facilities, took 49 schools in poorer neighborhoods and shut them down (originally slated to be 54) and has the highest sales tax in the nation. If tax money can be gift-wrapped and handed to private industry, Chicago knows how to best tie the bow on top. Colleges and universities in my city are suspect because they are in the business of learning and have a great seat to watch just how much people will put up with and how far profit motivation can go unchecked. It seems the game is won by those who will be boldest in their greed at the expense of the public good, their own students and their own faculty.

Categories: Chicago, Rant, Uncategorized

Petition to Remove the Location Restrictions for the Peddler’s License

map-of-banned-areas-2013-WEB

 

Please sign this petition and please forward to others to sign. Let city government know people want change:

City of Chicago: Remove sections 4-244-130 through 4-244-140 from the Municipal Code.

 

Panhandling was made illegal in Chicago until the A.C.L.U. sued the city and won on the basis of those laws being a restriction on Free Speech.  The A.C.L.U. lawsuit only covered panhandling and left out artists, musicians and street merchants.  This has led to the current laws which radically restrict peddling.  What is worse for the city’s economy and image: someone offering to sell you something or someone panhandling?  The current laws make paying for a Peddler’s License less beneficial than begging.  Begging costs nothing to begin as it requires no investment in goods, it offers no revenue to the city in licensing fees, is outside of the systems of state and city taxation and is a deterrent to visitors.  Ongoing reform to the Peddler’s License, starting with removing the regional bans, will offer a legal alternative through micro-business start ups that wish to vend merchandise to the public.

 

How To Save Money on Eye Glasses

My eyeglasses gave out and they were in bad shape for months.  First off, the glasses came from VisionWorks and it wound up being my experience that their factory and products are really bad.  Both pair I purchased were poorly made: the coloured layers on the frames split apart and separated, the lenses had to be remade over and over because they kept screwing up the Transitions photo-coating, which cracked and peeled off the lenses.  Buying the two pairs ran about $400 at the time.  I just had single vision, polycarbonate lenses with the Transitions / photochromic sunlight coating – no anti-glare or scratch resistant treatment.
I just bought another two pairs for $368 from America’s Best chain company and I should be happier since I’m getting new frames, Transitions photo-coating, anti-glare AND scratch resistant coatings.  The thing about VisionWorks, America’s Best and many other chain retailers is that they really strong arm upselling people to buy two pairs.  Also, my prescription has not changed at all.  If I bought only one pair, discounts disappear and a fee for the eye exam kicks in and it was about a $68 saving for only getting one pair.  Many other stores without the ‘bargain’ marketing are targeted at people who can pay $350 – $400 for one pair of eyeglasses.  My mother helped me pay for the replacement glasses, so the purchase was afforded by two people.  The chains and stores that charge closer to $350 – $400 for one pair of glasses helps drive lower income people further into the arms of the “two for one” pricing scheme chains.  I say pricing scheme because it turns out that the price controller of the eyeglasses manufacturing and retail sales industry is all one multi-national corporation.  Definitely watch this:

60  Minutes newscast:  “Sticker shock: Why are glasses so expensive?”  http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50149025n

“One factor: the world’s largest eyewear company, the Italian firm Luxottica, controls a big chunk of the business. Lesley Stahl reports.”
The only way you can avoid the wide net of control cast by this monopoly is to buy from Costco, Wal-Mart or an online retailer.  Buying online is a slight problem since you can’t really try on the frames.  I was recommended to Zenni Optical [www.zennioptical.com] which is a USA company with manufacturing in China.  You can get plain plastic lenses and frames for as low as $9.99 with $4.95 shipping.  If you are too poor to afford prescription eye glasses right now, you can probably find a charity to give you an eye exam and come up with $15 to $20 to order online and even have some semblance of a selection.
Eyeglasses with more features such as scratch coating, anti-glare or Transitions / photochromic sunlight coating can cost closer to $35 – $50 at Zenni online, which is a far cry from the $184 each I just paid for two pairs from America’s Best.  You need to input your prescription information and have your pupil distance in millimeters, preferably from the eye exam.  Zenni Optical has a wide selection of frames and the sizes of everything is in metric which can be helpful if you measure your current frames for comparison.  I want a low cost pair of eyeglasses to wear for sports and ice skating, so I plan to order a pair online some time and see how much I like them.  I think myself and possibly other people, once they start having more informed and positive experience buying from online retailers can break through the price setting monopoly that controls eyeglasses now.  Also, I want this pair of glasses because they are really freaking adorable:
zenni-glasses-2013
Categories: Rant

Chicago City Government: Tourism Over Communities

May 21, 2013 1 comment

I feel just sick that out of all of the information going out on major future building projects, the local new media is failing to ask one question: should the city be spending  a total of $1.1 billion dollars on tourism while they are set to close over fifty public schools?  The break down on the pending closures falls into a pattern since Rahm was elected:

A city that has closed down close to 100 public schools since 2001, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced he is slashing an additional 54 schools, representing about 8 percent of the 681 public schools in Chicago, the third-largest school district in the country. The cuts would be the largest single mass public school closing in U.S. history and one that will disproportionately affect black and Hispanic students from predominantly low-income families.

Chicago Teachers’ Union Teachers Solidarity Campaign

I know the city needs revenue, and the city loves tourism dollars very much but should the city be spending in this way?  Why can’t Navy Pier fund its own expansion?  The multi-million dollar construction rebuilding the southern end of  the Red Line train system is an investment in infrastructure and was needed.  It also leads to that area where a new basketball arena is set to drop.

A tourist destination like Navy Pier and a Big Ten college basketball arena for DePaul University is more of a sweetheart deal for construction companies than a help to the local communities.  I do not see city government partnering with the communities that are going to be impacted; changes are just being foisted on them against the protests of local residents and some Aldermen.  The long term jobs after the construction concludes are what kind of jobs?  Mopping the floors, selling hot dogs, taking tickets at the gates?  A purported 3,700 permanent jobs that suck is not a huge improvement for any community.  If you asked people what they would want for their children, a job that sucks or an education, the latter wold win.  How else could this money be used?  Maybe some jobs is better than no jobs, but low end service jobs are usually short term.  A bunch of low end jobs amid urban poverty looks more to me like tapping a class of indentured servants rather than offering people a long term employment for moving up the financial ladder.  The employees are not going to get a cut of the real pie, like profit sharing or probably even health benefits as many will be part-time or seasonal following the summer or basketball seasons.

The real benefactors are the people and entities that are already wealthy.  I worry that there is a bigger objective here: a land grab.  This is applicable to the Southside area around the DePaul arena.  Crime and poverty worsen in the areas that are stripped of their public schools, people that want to get out can’t sell their homes and foreclosures roll heavy; then cash rich builders with wallets full of city money come in and snap up real estate for pennies on the dollar.  The poor, blue collar and lower middle class people get stripped and the real estate gets flipped.  A new Wrigleyville will arise after the bulldozers roll through, a pretty Realtor will guide people through the sparkling new properties for sale and she will never say “We took their schools, then we took their homes.  It’s just gentrification, really!”

Update 5/24/2013: The Chicago Reader just stepped up to the plate.  Thank you, Reader.

Update 5/28/2013:  I’m not alone in seeing a land grab.  The Washington Post published an article by Prof. Leslie T. Fenwick, dean of the Howard University School of Education and a professor of education policy:

As the nation’s inner cities are dotted with coffee shop chains, boutique furniture stores, and the skyline changes from public housing to high-rise condominium buildings, listen to the refrain about school reform sung by some intimidated elected officials and submissive superintendents. That refrain is really about exporting the urban poor, reclaiming inner city land, and using schools to recalculate urban land value. This kind of school reform is not about children, it’s about the business elite gaining access to the nearly $600 billion that supports the nation’s public schools. It’s about money.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/28/ed-school-dean-urban-school-reform-is-really-about-land-development-not-kids/

Categories: Chicago, Rant

Middle Eastern is Now White

February 19, 2013 Leave a comment

lawrence-of-arabia-6

Dear Middle Eastern People,

I noticed the recent change on college applications indicating the Federal Government of the United States of America has welcomed you into the white category.  This has some beneficial timing for the greater body of government because it will allow for the retroactive re-writing of the most recent Iraq War, not as a colonial invasion based on misinformation, but rather as an inter-familial kerfuffle.  These things happen; and I promise you, white families just don’t get along well.  I was surprised at the college application change and more surprised that no one has seen fit to comment on the change itself.  I’m not too sure if you were consulted or not on your opinion regarding the matter.  In the interest in being hospitable, I want to welcome you to being white and give some friendly advice.

PRO-TIP #1:  Avoid the faux pas of any involvement with the KKK, Neo-Nazis or any other white supremacy group.  The majority of us know they are an unfortunate contemporary descendant of some of the darkest chapters in history.  We all just need to be patient and wait for the last of them to die out.

PRO-TIP #2:  Talk to some Jews!  The Jewish people have had long and complex history of inclusion / exclusion with white America / Europe and will be valuable mentors capable of providing experienced insight.  They will be of particular help in sharing their experiences in schools and college environments.

PRO-TIP#3:  Ditch any beards and hijabs and get really interested in cardigan sweaters.  The majority of white America goes in for mainstreaming and cardigan sweaters big time.  This basic change will put other whites at ease instantly.

college-common-application

The real lesson here is that “race” is not real; it is an artificial concept, a construct, a convenience, a contrived method of categorization.  Race can mean whatever people want it to mean and has been variable in meaning throughout America’s history.  Ethnicity as real: that people come from different regional, cultural and heredity origins is a scientific truth.  Race is a construct like “Republican” or “Democrat”; “Conservative” or “Liberal”; any larger label for simple identification like these examples which is ultimately an imaginary, artificial creation.

Since “race” is made-up and imaginary, it is not real information, and supplying an answer regarding race on college applications is actually optional.  I know filling out college applications can take up a lot of time, so save a few seconds in the process and skip supplying information on race.  Furthermore, the use of race identifiers as a factor for college or university admission is illegal in certain states.  Together we can all stop playing the race game and quit going along with the antiquated census concepts of prior centuries.

Learn more here.

 

Categories: Rant

Artist Needs Help for the Holidays

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Multi-media artist and avid mail art trader Sher Terbush [NaughtyElf] just got a good swift kick in the teeth right before the holidays.  Some little punks have been taking out car windows with ball bearings and slingshots where she lives, and these snots destroyed the windshield of the family vehicle rendering it un-drivable until  is replaced.  This has been a hard year for them and they live from paycheck to paycheck.  People are banding together to help the family out through this rough patch and give a little extra for a nice holiday season for them and their very adorable little kids.   Check out these two links and pass them forward.

Direct Donations on IndieGogo

Items for Sale on Etsy shop: TheOchreDoor

Categories: Collage, Mail Art, Rant

Chicago Voter Fraud for 2012?

November 2, 2012 Leave a comment

I just read the registered voters list at my polling place and I am not on it.  My boyfriend is not on it either.  This location is one block from our front door and where we have voted in every election.  I hurried home to check my voter ID card, and the precinct is correct: 47th Ward, 40th Precinct.  Chicago recently gerrymandered the wards in some redistricting bullshit.  This voting location I go to used to be for both the 17th and 40th precincts but it now just the 40th.  That is our exact location to vote and they have neither of our names.

This is where the story gets better: there are the names of three people with the same surname linked to my address and they do not live here.  There are only three apartment units to the street address, so it is easy to know all my neighbors’ names.  I have been at my current residence since June 2008 and I never heard of these people.  I just saw my landlord and asked him about this family; the name is unfamiliar, he says they were never tenants of his.

WTF Chicago?  Rigged or incompetent, it does not look good to me.  Historical fact: President Abraham Lincoln won on Chicago’s rigged votes.  To be fair, both sides of the election were rigging the votes back then; the Democrats were also shooting to death Republican voters in the South en masse.  The days of Capone’s mob and the rise of Cicero perfected election fraud and government control.  Chicago is really special that way.  We both voted for Obama and then voted against Rahm.  Would that have anything to do with this?  Where did the phantom family of three come from?  What if I did not happen to look at the list?  The custodian of the church was out front smoking and had it on him.  He drew my attention to it.  What if I never saw that?  I would not have had a way to prove that my vote was tampered with because there is no receipt system to validate what was selected.  I am going to raise a ruckus if they try to turn me away from voting.  Do I seriously need to bring my pocket HD video camera to vote?

Hey, election judges!  You better start your morning with a cup of coffee and be alert by the time you get in to the polling places.  If my reasonably orderly, quiet neighborhood is messed up, I can only imagine how bad wards and precincts with a higher population density and more transient residents will be.

Categories: Rant
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers