Saturday, May 30, 2009

Arrived in Cheyenne

Well, I've arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming where my sister lives, and will stay here for a month doing a lot of writing and photo essays for things I've seen on my trip.

I'm afraid I've let my The Thunder Child webzine lie fallow for quite a while. Well, the reason is simple - I was making money with Google AdSense...and now that they've arbitrarily cancelled my account for no reason they would ever tell me - I'm no longer making any money. I put in links to ebay, but while I get a lot of clicks, you don't get paid for clicks. You only get paid if someone who has bid on something actually wins it. And that's pretty hard, depending on what they're trying to buy. So the most I've ever made is $2 a month, which is pretty ridiculous compared to what I was making...

So I've been pursuing other avenues of making money - basically accepting freelance writing jobs at Elance.

I'll be trying to write some pamphlets while I'm here, on travel rather than science fiction.

I don't want to see The Thunder Child die...I've worked long and hard on it and I think tere's lots of good stuff here, but I have to admit my spirit was crushed at the totally unfair account cancellation, and I just can't get in the mood to work on it anymore...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I fell for the oldest trick in the flamers' handbook!

Yesterday I'd been all upset and bewildered because a victim of the loss mit company I used to work for had said stupid things about one of my posts (after having praised a similar post of mine just the day before.)

So I got a private email from that person today, pointing out what I should have realized if I'd looked properly. *Her* id had one "n" in her name, a doppelganger posing as her had two "n"s.

So that makes more sense than that this womoan should suddenly turn on me.

Meantime, the two ex-employes of A2S are still on my case. Although one hopes they'll stop now as they've been exposed as liars. I had posted yesterday that one of them had been sending me profanity-laced private emails. Today she denied it. So of course I did a screencapture of my inbox, which shows her name on the messages (with their profanity-laced titles) and posted it, which proves she's a liar.

So what next, I wonder. Will this loon have the grace to go away? Probably not.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More Thoughts on the.... Unbright....

I've been giving more thought to the loons at this scam website.... four of 'em are busting my chops and no one defends me... can I possibly be in the wrong and they be in the right?

And I just don't see it. defenders. Well, that's not surprising. Only 1 out of 100 visitors to a web forum actually posts there. There can be thousands of people thinking I make a lot of sense who just don't bother to post. So that doesn't concern me.

So...the four people busting my chops. What are they busting my chops *for*? For "telling them what to do." Which is not the case at all! The first time it happened, a few months ago, somebody posted the boss's home address and I just said, "Hey, that's a bad idea. You could get sued." Now,sure, I didn't provide links to the proof that it was true, and the bright bulb in question came back and said "It's a matter of public record, I found it on the web."

Doesn't matter, IMHO. By making it available on this scam website, *that* was invasion of privacy.

It was perfectly obvious to me...but then, I read "News of the Weird" and newspapers in general, and know that lawyers will sue anyone for anything, and make gazillions of dollars doing it. And apparenlty these bright bulbs at this scam site don't know that.

Anyway, I stopped posting, as the loons stopped posting addresses.

Then,three days ago, the company is shut down...leaving a lot of employees without paychecks...and apparently these dim bulbs had been working without paychecks for 2 months!

So, all I do is say something innocuous, and "I hope this guy goes to jail." Which indeed is what I hope. And that's it.

And then, the guy who had posted the address before, whom I'd advised not to do it because he could get sued, says, "Why are you even posting here. Go away."

Now, this doesn't bother me too much. I say, "Sure, my work here is done with this company closing its doors." Then I notice I have a private PM from another ex-employee, ordering me to stop posting and swearing at me.

So, of course, I don't appreciate this and of course I have to post something.

As luck would have it, within a few minutes of this, I see a link to a report at the Wallstreet Journal about bloggers and forum posters being sued, successfully, even though what they've said about people or companies is perfectly true! But because the company doing the suing has big pockets, and the schmuck doing the posting has little pockets, the big company always wins.

So I very respectfully say, "I had posted advice earlier about people not posting people's addresses here, and the OP got angry with me. Well, here's proof about what I say, so it's just friendy advice to tone down the rhetoric."

And then of course the two ex-employees - who had first come to this scam site to post *good things* about the company because they'd been "made to do so, and who are now threatening violence against the boss - are all over me for "telling them what to do."

So, that's fine. These two guys aren't too bright and I put them in their place with no problem.

Then two of the victms get on my case for "telling people what to do." And they demand to know why I even post there if I'm not a victim or an ex-worker of this company.

And I'm not going to reveal that I am an ex-worker at this company, because if the boss is reading that site, and decides to go after the loons posting threatening messages, I don't want him coming after me. Because from my reading I know that he may be guilty as sin, but some lawyer will take his case against that website for "causing him trouble."

So anyway, at this point I throw up my hands. I'm being excoriated because I'm "telling people what to do", saying I "don't like" what they're posting, and chastising people like they've never been chastised since hteir mom did it to them when they wer six years old.

And I'm looking at what they're saying and I'm just stunned.

I never once said, "Don't post this because I don't like it." All I've *ever* said is, "Look, just a friendly piece of advice. I've read where you can get sued saying stuff like this."

So, going over it again and again, I still have to come to the conlusion that I"ve done nothing wrong. I haven't "ordered" anyone to stop doing something, I've just pointed out the common sense consequences of their actions.

So, I've come to the conclusion that I am indeed without blame, and this handful of individuals on the scam site just aren't too bright.

And I can only reiterate my hope that the boss does decide to sue them for making terroristic threats and invasion of privacy.

However, I do admit I don't think that will happen.... he's in so much trouble right now that it isn't even funny....and I don't feel sorry for him at all...

Why do people resent getting advice?

That loss mitigation company I used to work for had a thread at one of those "acam watch" sites, and I would post there occasionally. I didn't "tell my story" - that I'd used to work for the company, knew it was a scam, and quit, I didn't think I'd need to.

So someone on this thread posts the home address of the boss. I respond by saying they shouldn't do that, they could get sued. (Because, you know, they could.)

But instead of saying "Thanks for the advice," it's "Who the hell are you to tell us what to do."

So a few days ago, the business closed its doors, and I dared to say, "I'm glad, I hope the guy goes to jail."

Then, I get a private email from an ex-employee of the company, who very rudely tells me to stop posting. Apparently still upset over that previous incident. Well, if someone orders me to do something in such a rude fashion, obviously I'm not going to do it.

But I've really got nothing to add to what I've already said in my "farewell post", so what can I say? Well, I see a Wall Street Journal article pointing out that bloggers, and forum posters are getting sued for "invasion of privacy" and "defamation of character," and someone had reposted my ex-bosses address just a few days ago (and also made terroristic threats against him) so I advise people to tone down the rhetoric, and I share the link to the article so they know I'm not being a busybody, I've got actual solid proof that people are being sued and *losing* for doing what they're doing!

And everyone just got so upset, accusing me of acting like a "mother" and "telling people what to do" and I just don't understand that reaction. I'm trying to save people from losing what little money they have left in a law suit, and I'm getting dumped on!

Apparently the anger is because I've never told them my connection to this company, and apparently if you've never been scammed by this company, you don't have the right to give some common sense advice.

And I'm like, gee.

These people remind me so much of my former boss. As I posted yesterday, I gave him some much needed advice that, had he heeded it, might have gone a little way towards preventing the debacle that his company became. And instead of considering it on its merits, he dismissed it. (As I know because that was the standard line he sent to *everyone* who complained and wanted their money back, and I was cc-ed on those emails!)

I just don't understand it. It's not like I plop myself down on a bench, overhear a conversation between two total strangers, butt in and start handing out advice. I can see anger ther, of course.

But on a message board, where I have posted nothing but sympathetic posts, to be reacted to with such fury over a post merely meant to prevent people from getting sued....

I have to admit it....human nature being what it is.... I now hope that my former boss *does* sue these people for posting his address online, *and* for making physical threats against him - for they have done so.

I'm not going to forward the URL to him - I used to have his email address but I think that's cancelled now along with his website...but I surely do hope he comes across it on his own. He must know about the thread - he'd sent a couple of "ringers" there to post praise for his company (and now these same ringers are whining because the company is through and they haven't been paid - and they're the ones attacking me, plus a victim of the company who also doesn't like the fact that I give advice....)

I just don't understand it.

Too bad I don't believe in God....otherwise I'd pray every night that they get their comeuppance.

As it is I must just vent my anger and bewilderment by posting here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Egomaniacal people....

I read a blog...the name of which I will not divulge (since I'm going to be critical of it and the guy whom I'm referring to is so psycho he might sue me for character defamation if I mentioned his name!).

Anyway, the guy is a former actor who still lives in Hollywood, and is successful in a new career. Unlike probably everyone else on his street, he works at home.

So, today he blogs that construction people came in yesterday and demolished the house next to his. And now they're going to start constructing a new house on that lot.

And this guy is just soooooooo upset about this! How dare they demolish that house and cause his own house to shake so badly! And when they start building the new house there's going to be the noise of ....whatever construction noises this guy expects...and he's so angry at the inconsiderateness of the people having this done, and when they finally move into the house, he is going to go over and visit them and tell them how inconsiderate they were to have this new house built!

And I'm thinking to myself while I'm reading this... do you have any idea how childish and vindictive you sound? Do you realize that these construction people, not to mention the people having the house built, probably assume that all their neighbors work and so won't be in their houses to be "annoyed" by all the noise and vibration.

But he works at home, so it's annoying him, so they have no right to be doing it! And he seems to have every intention of calling up the construction people every day and whining about the noise, and when the new folks move in, he's going to apparently rip them a new one, because they're "rich, entitled snobs" who dared have a new house built!

There are more than a few people like this, unfortunately. And no matter how you try to make it clear to them that they're being childish, they just don't get it.

Several months ago I used to work for a new loss mitigation company, and I blogged about it occasionally, because the boss was such a jerk. Initially, we had got along well. He hired me as a copywriter, for $1,000 a month. And he put me on the mailing list for all the emails he sent. (I still don't know why he did it...but he did it.)

So, the company has started, and someone writes in complaining that they sent in all their paperwork and nothing happened, and they were going to sue,etc. And my boss sends them a very nasty letter, saying "Okay, we're terminating your contract, and we've got lawyers" and this and that.

And I, thinking we had this good rapport, emailed him and told him that that was a very bad tone to take with people. He was dealing with people under tremendous stress, and for them to receive a letter like the one he sent, couched in such vicious and contemptous phrases, might send someone off the deep end, and it's be him or his company that they'd come after.

Well, he didn't appreciate this advice. I guess he thought a $1,000 a month copywriter had no business telling a $100,000 a month CEO how to run his business. (Never mind the fact that in the past I'd been secretary to quite a few CEOs, and I knew professional behavior when I saw it, and when I didn't see it.)

After that he was barely civil to me, and eventually I quit. Before I did so, however, I could see that the business was riding for a fall, as I was cc-ed on all sorts of commicaes from people trying to find *other* people who'd worked on so-and-so's loan modification. (Indeed, I wonder if this idiot CEO had everyone in the whole company cc-ed on these emails that should have been private between individuals.) But if what I suspect is correct, everyone working there must have known since day one how incompetently it was run...yet they continued to work there.

Anyway, that loss mitigation company has been put out of business today, and is being sued by the state for failing to pay taxes on wages, etc. It had hundreds of complaints from clients who never got any service, and dozens of employees (who worked in the call center getting contracts from poor schmucks) are filing lawsuits because they hadn't been paid.

And I'm just laughing. Back when we'd been on good terms, the CEO had told me he was opening up his business in an effort to "cock a snook" at his former business partners who had eased him out of their partnership because they didn't think his business model was any good. And he was going to show them!

And, gee, that business model worked out pretty well, didn't it?

Meantime, hundreds of desperate people who thought this company was going to help them save their homes have lost the money they paid to this company in advance, and they've lost their homes, and for that, I hope this CEO goes to jail. At the very least, I hope he's held up to ridicule and never gets to run another business in his life. (Unfortunately, CEOs are like politicians. They run one business into the ground, and prove their incompetence, but there's always some friend to come along and say, sure, we'll give you this high paying position. See what you can do here.)

But frankly, I think this guy is criminally liable, or at the very least criminally negligent, and responsible for a lot of people lsoing their houses, and I hope he goes to jail!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Photo Essay: Flight 93 Memorial

I was driving toward Erie, PA on the turnpike a couple of days ago, and not being familiar with the roaf, didn't realize that it bypasses Pittsburgh all together. I thought it would be like MPLS, where you have to drive straight through the city to get to the other side. And I hadn't wanted to do that during 5 pm Friday night traffic, so I stopped off in a little town called Somerset, PA for the night.

While buying groceries for the night, a man in line told me I was very close - nine miles or so - to the Flight 93 memorial. I decided I'd better go see it.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Matt Jefferies: Star Trek Designer

(Limited Edition Enterprise, sculpted by Matt Jefferies. .)

[Click on the photos to see larger version]

Matt Jefferies (August 12, 1921 - July 21, 2003) is the designer of the most famous starship in the world, the USS Enterprise.

According to the Wikipedia:
Jefferies' father was chief engineer at a power plant in Virginia. He had a younger brother named John who worked with him as his chief draftsman. He served in Europe in World War II, and was part of the aircrew on B-17, B-24, B-25 bombers, and had four years as a flight test engineer.

He was a member of the Aviation Space Writers' Association and one of the original members of the American Aviation Historical Society. Jefferies restored and flew period airplanes as a hobby. He owned a Waco YOC aircraft and stored it at an airfield in California for many years. His Waco, NC17740, c/n 4279, built 1935, is now owned by the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society and is displayed at the Virginia Aviation Museum, Richmond, Virginia.

Jefferies' father was chief engineer at a power plant in Virginia. He had a younger brother named John who worked with him as his chief draftsman. He served in Europe in World War II, was inside of B-17, B-24, B-25 bombers and had four years as a flight test engineer. He was a member of the Aviation Space Writers' Association and one of the original members of the American Aviation Historical Society. Jefferies restored and flew period airplanes as a hobby. He owned a Waco YOC aircraft and stored it at an airfield in California for many years. His Waco, NC17740, c/n 4279, built 1935, is now owned by the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society and is displayed at the Virginia Aviation Museum, Richmond, Virginia.

The Waco

Jefferies's brother wrote a biography of him called Beyond the Clouds. Does not dwell a lot on his Star Trek work, however.

Jefferies Aviation Illustrators

The book is available from Amazon...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Young Star Trek

The first Star Trek TV series was of course constrained by the special effects capabilties of the 1960s.

Nevertheless, it really irritates the heck out of me to see Star Trek shows that are supposed to occur before the events in Star Trek, have better technology than Star Trek had. I'm not talking about the special effects, I'm talking about the actual technology used.

To that end, nothing in this first Star Trek movie (let alone in Enterprise) should look technologically more advanced than the first Star Trek!

I was really disappointed with Enterprise in that regard. Spock was the very first Vulcan on a starship, so where the heck did that female Vulcan come in? (And although I liked Scott Bakula in Quantum Leap, didn't care for him as Archer.)

How did the Federation actually come about - that's a movie I'd like to see. I mean, does it look like a space federation will ever come about, based on what's happening with our space program today? I don't think so - the only ones actually going to do anything in space are the Chinese!

The best laid plans of mice and men

I had intended to leave on my drive around America on May 1. But, someone whom I do freelance work for had said they were sending me a case (or at least a couple of bottles) of a drink called StarPower - all natural, made from Star Fruit. (Carambola). And I received an "official" communicae from the post office saying that it was going to arrive Monday. So, I decide to postpone my trip to Monday.

Mail comes - no StarPower.

So, heck with it, I'm a pepsi drinker anyway.

So I drove up to Richmond, and it was raining, but that's okay, as I've got books to read.

I check in to the Econolodge on the "hotel strip" beside the airport. Not sure if that was a mistake or not, as it seems to be inhabited by people who live here because they can't afford to rent apartments. Not that I care about that, much, I just want it to be quiet tonight when I'm trying to sleep. The door seems quite secure, so I'm not worried about intrusions. The safety of my car is another issue, but we're not in a residential area, and the people who live here (if that is indeed the case) will hardly ruin their "nest" by robbing someone's car.

But I went over to the Virginia Aviation Museum...and it now closed on Mondays. So that was annoying.

Too much rain to drive into Richmond and walk around some Civil War sites, so I"m staying at the motel, and will do some reading.

But it's annoying.

Robbie the Robot and Star Trek in commercials

1981 Charmin Commercial - Robbit

Star Trek - Beam me up, Scotty!