Frankly My Dear..

You know the rest. But I do! I do give a damn!

I came home from Mom’s and grabbed the mail out of the mail box. There was a flier from one of our state’s congressmen.  I didn’t really think anything of it because we tend to get fliers from congressmen whose district we are not in. We tend to get them a lot, actually. I was ready to throw it in the burn pile, but morbid curiousity took hold of me and I read it. I READ IT! Ugh.

govment

It was a thick, high gloss flier that had a perforated area you were supposed to detach and send back. It wanted you to check off all the things you thought the state government needed to focus on. National Debt, Job Creation, and Border Security were just a few options. I went to grab a permanent marker to make one big “X” that would cover all the check marks, but something grabbed a hold of me. I snatched a pen from the pen pot and started writing in the “Other” section. I told my congressman about how piss poor employment is here in Indiana. That job creation wasn’t the problem, employment at will was the problem. A so called “right to work” laaws had paved the way for companies to treat their employees like disposable commodities instead of human beings. Turn over rates, accident reports, and job dissatisfaction is on the rise. Something needs to be done now!

laborlaw

I looked over my sentences that were peppered with exclamation points and shrugged. It would either get thrown away at the congressman’s office, or I’d get contacted for being aggressive. Either way, I had done my part, right? Wrong. I turned the flier over and noticed something at the top right hand corner. There was a little box. Inside that box there were four words, “Place Firstclass Stamp Here”. What?! This flier was franked.

I had heard about this on the news. Franking in America (this is my new  favorite phrase BTW) is the process of stamping an envelope to state that the postage is paid for.  There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s a good method. It’s not so good when government employees start franking mail with taxpayers dollars, however.  The flier I received had been franked by a machine, with one of those “First Class Postage Paid” markings. next to a pre-sorted marking.  This means, the money to send it to me came out of my own pocket, as a taxpayer, and now I was being asked to use my own money to send it back.

postmark

WHAT?!

Oh L no. Homey don’t play these games. If I was going to have to use my own money to pay for the postage on the return trip, I was going to be saying a lot more. This is probably how I am going to spend my evening: drafting a well written letter to my congressman about the perils of treating individuals like throw away razors and treating companies like human beings. In between bouts of politically-fueled ire, I’ll work on my afghan to ease tension. I think I’ll probably have to use more than one stamp to send him the book I plan on writing, but at least it (hopefully) gets his attention more than a few measly check boxes.  I hope not to get so much attention that I get labelled dangerous and thrown in jail, but I did always wonder what the inside of a jail cell looked like.

The nerve.

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Work Rant

Caution, this turned out much larger and precarious than I had imagined.

 

These past few weeks have been a tumultuous experience. First of all, I became very ill and for no apparent reason. It was determined that I had a secondary sinus infection, but that shouldn’t have caused a fever that was quite so high nor one that lasted so long. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the medicine had actually worked, but I just seemed to keep getting sicker. I had difficult staying awake, food did not seem like fun, and my moods were shifting into dangerous areas.

Sick from Work

Sick from Work

Because of all this, I had to take a week off of work. It’s a good thing I did, I couldn’t keep my eyes open just from moving from the bed to the couch. I can only imagine the very nasty things that would have happened if I had actually tried to withstand a full shift at work.  I was hoping that was it. Surely one whole week of rest is enough to conquer any fever, right? Wrong.

The pure stress from work combined with strange hours and an allergy to fine dust particles made it too much to bear. My body simply could not fight the fever off. After the first day back, my fever spiked again. My body ached and no medicine helped the pain. I was feeling delirious, again, and it took everything I had not to cry myself to sleep. Despite this, I forced myself to go back to work the next day.. I think. It’s all kind of a blur. I remember having to go back to the doctor several times and get different doctor’s notes. It is possible that I slept one day and then went back.

Anyways, on my next day back, I lasted 40 minutes. Yes, 40 minutes. I didn’t even make it to the first 10 minute break. I just couldn’t handle the physical illness on top of the exceedingly unreasonable amount of stress. I didn’t cry when I got home, I slept. I think I slept the next day, too, but as I said before, it’s all a bit of a blur. I know I still feel weak and if I miss a dose of medicine, I get sick again.

Stress from Work

Stress from Work

This is where I get confused. How can we live in a place that demands so much out of each employee that their physical and mental health is at jeopardy? Is it like this everywhere in the US? The factories I have been working at as of late all seem to have the same attitude: Work them hard, work them fast, and don’t treat them like human beings.

I know, any company has to make a profit. And yes, I agree that people do need to be held accountable for their actions. People need to be willing to learn how to function at the required task and do so efficiently. That being said, it would be great if those in charge understood the implications of their unreasonable expectations. The thing is, they do and they still don’t care. “Figure it out”, “get it done”, “make it happen” are phrases too often uttered by those in charge. Those in charge who have no idea what it actually takes to complete the work. Yes, they are working too, but they do not understand that just because a job is labor intensive and considered entry level, it is still a hard job.

After awhile, such a hard job can take it out of you. This is especially true when you are required to work an outrageous amount of mandatory overtime due to the inability of those in charge to properly schedule people. This could be because they are running out of people to schedule, which is just one of many vicious and dysfunctional cycles that exist.  Again, I am not calling out any one company in this. It has been this way at the last four factories I have worked at. I have been told by a few that it isn’t like this everywhere, but those who only live in the state I do, seem to disagree.

Fired from Work

Fired from Work

I suppose this is all from a much larger problem: at will employment. The ability given to employers by the state to fire anyone and to do so at anytime is absurd. It causes situations where people will not object to working exceedingly long hours, all the while doing the job of two or three people. They can’t afford to lose their job – they aren’t going to say no. This needs to stop.

We are all human beings, we are not disposable commodities to be replaced and discarded like a used razor just because we demand fair treatment. I can honestly see why unions were necessary once upon a time, and I think that time has come back around.

Because of all of this, I am determined to better myself and get out of the dysfunctional companies that care so little for their employees. Their employees – the very people making it possible for the company to sell any product in the first place.

Good riddance.

Disgruntled in America

If you do not want to read about my personal beliefs towards politics, do not read ahead. You have been warned.

Public_OfficeApp

I feel at a conflicting standstill when it comes to thinking about politics and those who choose to run for public office in general.  I realize that I hold double standards for those who are in office, but I believe that if I were to ever hold such a position that these same standards would be duly afflicted onto me as well.  Therefor, I don’t really feel so badly about it.

First of all, I have an issue with people in public office who seem to project their personal belief systems onto the people they are supposed to be representing.  When this happens, I feel, they are no longer representatives, they are dictators.  Some might think that is a strong word, but stop to think: If a person is not representing what the people need, they are then trying to dictate what people need.  So I feel that is a fair assessment.

This can be said for things ranging from religious beliefs of law makers effecting how they are willing to make laws for things like abortion, gay rights, etc.. to something more tangent as taking a large paycheck when so many Americans today are suffering below the poverty line.  I remember reading about this strange group in my elementary history books.. they didn’t get paid to sit around and debate about how to make America a better place to live for the people.  They did it for free, because they cared and because they wanted to.  It is sad that we have come to such a reversal in situation where our public leaders are now paid exorbitant amounts of money and even given raises while to rest of the population suffers.

I know, I know.  I’m beginning to sound like a conspiracy theorist. The problem is, this isn’t theory.  It is being practiced everyday and we are letting it happen.  We the People, who are supposed to be the ones with the ability to say what is best for us, have lost our voice. In that sense, we are slipping backwards in so many ways and in such a speedy fashion that I often wonder if it would not be best to move to another country altogether.

Therein lies another double standard.  I see for myself an easy way out and am willing to take it but this country was not built on easy.  It took sweat, blood, and tears to get us to a place where we are not being ruled by oppressive leaders who have nothing in mind but their own selfish desires.  It seems were are getting back to square one rather quickly, only this time the leaders are “American” so we seem to be turning a blind eye.

This situation in its entirety never gets addressed in a manner that encourages people to actually use the system to make said system better.  Rather, it is marginalized and hyperboled into some dramatic scene for political “news” stations to get good ratings.  We the people have become consumerists and our political affairs are not safe from our avarice.  We seem to demand the over the top flair in order to entertain us and, at the same time, distract us from where this country is really headed.  It often makes me think of how many people will be surprised when our country finally takes that final turn for the worst.  How many people will say, “I never saw it coming.”  Which is odd because they watched it on TV and the Internet all day long, for years.

Having these strong feelings and opinions sort of magnifies the oppression I feel when I read about how well other countries are doing when it comes to things such as social liberty, sustainable energy, and fair rights for all.  Countries like Sweden, where they are currently working on becoming completely energy sufficient.  Or Iceland, who, when their banks caused the same kind of economic catastrophe our banks did to us, put the banks in jail instead of giving them bail outs.  Iceland’s economy recovered very quickly, ours is still hanging onto that fiscal cliff.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m feeling more like “1984” and less like Eden.  You can buy a Big Mac here for a few dollars, but don’t expect to actually be able to use those so called rights of yours.

Book Review – Lord of the Flies

Alright people, I’ve got a deal with myself.  I am trying to read the “classics” to see what all the hubbub is about and if I am truly missing out on anything.  I’m not really sure, to be honest.  I’ve had some books that I could not get through at all and ended up throwing across the room (J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye”) and others that I struggled through but was determined to finish (George Orwell’s “1982”).  There have been but a very few that I have loved most of (Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”) and would not mind reading again.  To be honest, it’s not just the classics, there are very few books that I read over.

Lotf

All of that out of the way, the latest casualty to my Classic Studies BiblioPlan is William Golding’s “The Lord of the Flies”.  I have to say that I found this book to be similar to “1982” in regards to addressing social and political aspects of life as we know it.  Because of that, I found it difficult to get through.  Who wants a reminder of how bad things are? However, the reason I believe this book is a ‘classic’ is because this sociopolitical aspect seems to transcend time.  It spoke to those who were reading it in the 1950’s and still speaks to those who read it today.  I found it even more accurately depressing because at the time I was reading it, the country was experiencing social and political turmoil.  Hurricane Sandy had hit the East Coast, the Presidential races had come to a close (but all the political mumbo-jumbo had restarted in full force), and then the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut took place.  But because of all these goings on in reality, I was able to better understand the happenstances the characters in the book were facing.  And the book shed some light onto these occurrences taking place in reality as well.  As much as I forced myself to finish it, I suppose it was a good book if it was able to do that.  And if you have not read the book already, there are spoilers ahead so be warned. On with the review!

In this book, a group of boys varying in age from youngsters to preteens become trapped on a small island.  They face somewhat of a paradox: trying to create an adult world with the skills and experiences that youngsters have.  I likened it to trying to build a car with only wood and rocks: it’s not going to work out.  The boys seem to immediately create a social pecking order that is based on their experiences from before they were stranded.  The smaller boys are “lower class”, the larger boys who can help are “middle class”, and the larger boys who are aggressive enough to try and lead are “upper class”.  They also immediately put a higher value on the boys that “do” versus the boys that “think”.  In the end, this is their undoing as they succumb to barbaric like behaviors.  I thought of it like a group of unattended boys on steroids.  The saying “boys will be boys” seemed to be exaggerated and somehow intermingled with the behavior of grown men who allow their greed for power to overtake their sense of humanity.  It was interesting.  Even more interesting was the instant change in the boys once they were “found out”, or rescued.  As soon as an adult showed up, all the “fun” was over and their “war games” had come to an end.  In doing so, the only person who seemed to be given credit (or even want to take any, for that matter), was the one boy who tried to change the barbaric behaviors of the others.

Mr.Golding also touches on the mental and emotional tolls living in such a society has on its populace.  Some of the boys succumb to mental breakdowns due to the elements and the decaying social structure.  Others are forgotten about and must struggle to live on their own as best they can, generally the younger boys.  Still others are outcasted and must push to survive in a social setting where their abilities to think outweigh their ability to do.  It was a mix of High School social hierarchy and political social hierarchy, and how sad the two are so easily intermingled.

I found this book to be confusing at times, in part because Mr.Golding seemed to be trying to use words to paint an abstract painting.  His adjectives were a little on the overused and heavy side.  Once I was able to get beyond that, however, the book was a little more understandable.  I found myself often asking, “Why did he choose to write it this way? Why not choose this instead?”  It was an educating look not only into the sociopolitical aspects of life as we know it, but also into the mind set of the author himself.  The saving grace was that this book is fairly short and is filled with behaviors that were probably considered shocking at the time of its writing (such as being bloodthirsty).  However, I was always told that this book was about sexual perversion or abuse and I never got that impression while reading it.  Perhaps I am dense, but it seemed to me that the perversion and abuse was of a social nature, not a sexual one.  I must admit, this is why I took so long to getting around to reading it, I don’t enjoy reading about sexual trauma.

In the end, I struggled to get through this book but that may be because it did exactly what Mr.Golding hoped it would: gave an accurate portrayal of the sociopolitical standards of our culture.  It isn’t always pleasant to have a constant reminder of why we are the way we are, and even more so, that we cannot simply flip a switch to make things better.  With all that in mind, I found the book to be an intellectual read that would be great for a book club looking to explore such matters.  It offers a lot of chances for discussion of behaviors and situations that bitch slap the reader into reality.  Good book, awful reminder.

I Have the Solution…

… to war.  Seriously.

Stand up comedy.  Seriously.

Let’s take the best stand up comedians from our country and pit them against the best stand up comedians from yours.  Everyone will come from all over to watch the festivities.  This will increase tourism.  There can be objective judges (UN representatives?) and we can even have themes!  Like pirates versus ninjas or some such.

This is a win-win situation.  There could be rules against using derogatory comedy about the other country and it’s officials to prevent actual violence.  The comedy will have to be original and witty.  It will make people use their brains instead of their guns.  There could even be comedy Olympics to act as a competition that would prove who was the country’s best stand up comedians that were able to “enlist”.

Come on, this is great!  I know that I would save up my hard earned money to visit another country and hear a day or two of non-stop funny stuff.  I would nominate the following professional funny people:

Ben Bailey

Jim Gaffigan

John Pinette

 

 

Okay, let’s break this down.  The pros are as follows:  The hosting country gains revenue from tourism.  All countries gain revenue from not having to pay for the actual war.  Instead of paying for personnel and equipment to be sent to another country (or to be used in defending their own), the country could pay far less to use comedians.  They will actually make money off of things like sponsorships and tourism.  Win win!  Not to mention the death toll would drop dramatically.  Not too many people would actually die laughing.  This scenario would also impact the cultures of all countries in a positive way.  Instead of putting such a strong focus on violence, people would start to use humor.

The cons?  Yea, those power hungry mongers wouldn’t have the same kind of satisfaction.  It is all about perspective though.  If we as the public can lift stand up comedy to an art form that far surpasses the status of war, then we can convince these mongers that war is no longer necessary.  It’s time to use stand up comedians.  And not as catapult bait.

We don’t have to make love instead of war, though using porn instead of war could work too… Naw.  We can make funny instead of war!  It’s better!  It’s funnier!  And it’s never going to happen.

A Petition for Accountability

http://www.change.org/petitions/facebook-ban-misogynistic-pages-even-those-labeled-controversial-humor#share

Yes, this is the Internet and people will post whatever they want.  That is no excuse to not be able to demand that certain pages that are targeted at specific groups and disguised as “humor” be taken down.  This includes such groups as race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender, etc.

Demand that FaceBook hold these people accountable for the pages they create and that FB does not, in turn, perpetuate such nonsense.  There is a difference between entitlement and right.  These people have the right to free speech.  Unfortunately, like most of us Americans, they believe that entitles them to select groups of people to harass.  It does not.  These pages are the equivalent to the “Whites Only” signs from our murkier days past.  It is important to keep up the fight for EQUALITY.  For all, and in all respects.

Thanks.

Kids having Kids, pt.1

Woflie, another WordPress blogger, brought out a very interesting point in his latest post, “Do We Have to Grow Up?”  He proposes that more people are opting to not have children because continuing to pursue their own childhood indulgences are just as fulfilling.   Forgive me if I misunderstood this, Wolfie.  Feel free to correct me 🙂

I’m not debating Wolfie’s stance.  Rather, it made me think about the current situation Hubby and I are facing concerning children.

Hubby wants kids.  He is awesome with kids. He would be the world’s best father.  This makes me feel guilty because I do not share these feelings on such a passionate level.  It probably has something to do with me not being male.  I find that many males (including my brother, come to think of it) are pressured into having children to continue the family lineage.  I can understand this to a point.  I can understand that these traditional feelings go back quite a ways and to argue with them is pointless.  I know that sometimes people may use this as an excuse when all they really want are grandchildren to spoil.  And that’s cool too.  I’m not saying this is wrong in anyway.  Rather, it’s just not something I, personally, have placed at a high level on my life’s “To-Do” list.

That being said, there really is a biological clock and has it ever been ticking.  At first, I was very apprehensive about even wanting to have children.  Growing up, I didn’t even want to get married, let alone have kids.  Lately, I see little babies and go all googly eyed.  I want a little baby to take care of (yes, I know what is involved), a child to watch grow, play, and learn…  Then, like a switch, I don’t want kids at all.  I really think this is being propelled more by biology’s evolved way of ensuring the survival of the human race.. and traditional notions of those around me.  There is nothing wrong with either of these things, I just don’t think that I, myself have strong feelings about wanting children outside of these aspects.  Still, having children is on the list.. after getting a house. And a new car.

That being said, I too enjoy many child-like hobbies.  I like to play tabletop games (thanks to Hubby for re-igniting this flame), I love to play virtual games, and I am a squeeling girl of delight when it comes to anything to do with yarn.  Would I still be able to enjoy these things if I had children? Yes, just not nearly as much.  Of course, I would actually knit/crochet more because I would use having children as an excuse to make things.  Especially when they were an infant.. can you imagine?!  I’d be able to crochet/knit blankets, booties, hats, etc… and no one could complain because it’d all be for the baby!  *cue maniacal laughter*

Ahem, seriously. I know many people that still enjoy much of their geekery despite (and sometimes because) of having children.  However, when it comes to sexually-oriented or gender-bending geekery.. then things get a little murkier.  One has to consider the effects their behaviors will have on the development of the children.  I am not saying that everything that fits into these categories is “bad” and will “damage children”.  Rather, children should be given a chance to be just that.. children.  Without having to worry about the sanity-wrenching politics of our society’s opinions on such activities.  And, like Wolfie pointed out, society is starting to lessen their iron grip on some of these opinions.  However, I still would choose to stop any such activities if I were to have kids.  I would hope to be able to pick them up again at a later time.. but I, myself, would find it difficult to juggle the eye-crossing ins and outs of trying to maintain a sexually-oriented activity while raising kids and keeping them innocent to the hobby.

All that being said, today I don’t want kids.  Ask me again tomorrow and I’ll probably want 10.