wwcitizen: (At Puter)
A buddy from Philly messaged me today in text and on Facebook. His note was about a picture that his neighbor showed him of this guy she's been chatting with from Colorado who's Italian and a veterinarian.  He recognized the face right away as Matthew and sent me the picture taken with his phone off her computer screen.  The picture on the left is from the girl's computer screen and the picture on the right is the original (same picture) that I took in 2008 during a trip to Newport, Rhode Island:
mail.google.com        DSC01196
It's strange to see your or a friend's face being used by someone else on their dating profile. I mean... what the hell are people thinking? When the guy shows up to meet the "person of his dreams", the expectant person won't recognize him!!  What's the point except maybe to get free naked shots of the person you're chatting with?  I dunno.

Years ago, just after I came out, I realized (naively) that people use others' photos or VERY outdated photos of themselves to entice people to meet them.  This one guy I met up with had posted pictures that were CLEARLY 15 years old and about 250 pounds earlier (not disparaging one's weight, cuz I ain't thin by any stretch! But when you say you're 6'2" and 185 lbs and you're obviously, really 5'10" and 350 lbs, that's a pretty drastic difference).  Another guy's pictures had been from about 20 years earlier.  On both accounts, having enough self-esteem and confidence, I told them nicely where they could put those photos and that they needed to be honest first with themselves, love themselves as they were, and then be honest with everyone else.

Why do that only with the greater possibility of being rejected?  If you've been rejected before because you didn't fit someone's bill, be honest with yourself and others from the get-go instead of having to (embarrassingly) admit that you're insecure!  I don't understand why people would want continuously to go through such rejection.
wwcitizen: (SideSmile-Again)
I remember that recently [livejournal.com profile] kenwoodville posted about his new glasses.  I was so excited that I had an order on its way when he posted cuz I had ordered 6 pairs for less than the price of ONE of the newest pairs that I had gotten.  These are the 6 pairs that I received in the mail yesterday.  They're fun!  I ordered them from Zenni Optical online.  It was a PITA to get my prescription information and optical data that I needed, but I got them within 2-3 hours of calling back and forth and faxing things back and forth. 
wwcitizen: (TV Watching)

Below is the text of The Final Speech of the Great Dictator, delivered by the character, the Jewish Barber, in Chaplin’s 1940 film, The Great Dictator. The Jewish Barber was played by Sir Charles Chaplin.  Watch the video one time through. Then play the speech a second time and read the text through (if you haven't wiped your eyes the first time through).  I had to save this piece for myself.

"I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible- Jew, Gentile, black men, white…

We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind.

We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery ,we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say “Do not despair.”

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder!

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate!

Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

Let us all unite.

Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people!

Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance!

Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!"

wwcitizen: (Tasty Thoughts)
A few weeks ago, I ordered some BLAAK cheese. It's an ashed goat cheese produced by the Fabulous Beekman Boys' farm in Sharon Springs, NY. We visited the farm and Sharon Springs for the first time this past spring for their Garden Party.

The cheese arrived about 1.5 weeks ago. We've slowly been savoring it and have even shared it with some friends, one of whom is a friend of one of the Beekman Boys. BLAAK is really, really tasty. It's slightly tart, but has a soft sweetness about it. The texture is not creamy like a brie, but also not as firm as, say, baby Swiss cheese. The edible rind is slightly harder than the inside; it is not smoky, as one might think. If you're not careful, the ash can get EVERYWHERE. It washes off easily, though.

It's really fun to have met and petted the goats whose milk produced the cheese awaiting our knife in front of us. While planning the whole BLAAK cheese experience, we discovered Bearboat's Pinot Noir 2007 vintage and Yellowtail's Shiraz-Cabernet (both delicious reds). Of course, we would be remiss if we didn't have wine with the cheese anyway, but adding a new wine heightened the whole experience.

The BearBoat was an especially wonderful find because it seems that the vineyard is owned and operated by a gay couple in the Russian River Valley. That area is home to one our country's fine gay Meccas, Guerneville, CA. It's not terribly surprising that a gay couple would own and operate a winery, but we were surprised to find the wine here in NJ and no one seems to know it. The primary reason Matt picked it up at the store, certainly, was because of the picture of the two bears rowing a boat. One of the bears is answering the other's question in French, which Matt thought that was funny because it's something I do to him.

The bottle's inscription on the back reads:"This is the story of Mac and Zeke, two inquisitive bears who find themselves on a quest to enjoy life's great curiosities. With no actual destination in mind they prefer to take their surroundings and simply enjoy the journey. You'll find them adrift wherever the current and the occasional row may take them. The Russian River Valley's cool morning fog and moderate afternoon temperatures give this BearBoat Pinot Noir richness and texture with bright acidity that balances beautifully. The aromas are a blend of raspberry and red cherry with a toasty vanilla spice flavor and lingering finish."

It's fascinating to consider the build up to this moment of writing up this review of the cheese and the wine. Here's the process:
  1. Late 2010 and into early 2011, Matt and I watched the Fabulous Beekman Boys on Planet Green (about 10 hrs).
  2. We took the road trip up to Sharon Springs, NY, for the Garden Party.
  3. We stayed at the American Hotel and met its two charming owners, Doug Plummer and Garth Roberts (who got married this summer - YAY!).
  4. At the Garden Party, we met other wonderful folks, such as Gail Luna and his partner, Drew, who design and make delicious cakes.
  5. We took the tour of the Beekman mansion and its grounds, and later visited the store to buy some goat milk soap.
  6. We met Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, the two Beekman Boys, and Farmer John Hall and his partner, Jason Paden, who raise and tend the goats. All of these men are beautiful people and very gracious hosts.
  7. We even got to hang out with and get to know Doug better at Bear Week in Provincetown this summer, which was a lot of fun.
  8. I posted blog entries about Sharon Springs and made scrapbook pages about our trip.
  9. I ordered the BLAAK online, posted an entry about it and we shopped for a good wine.
  10. Now, I'm posting the finale.
Leading up to this post, it's been almost an entire year and our lives have been enriched. We've learned more about goats and making cheese, experienced another historical American town, and got to know at least 10 wonderful people!  Exhilarating!

Reviewing and describing our unique journeys should enlighten us to how wonderful our lives are. Take a moment sometime to review the process and impact of one of your own journeys.
wwcitizen: (At Puter)
It was surprising to discover that Amazon.com doesn't have "partner" or "domestic partner" as an option to select from their "Relationship" drop-down box in their Gift Organizer. Granted, they might have their headquarters in a state that allows same-sex marriage; there's also the philosophy of "Be the change you want to happen," as pointed out by my partner.

Still, I'm sending Amazon a note today to encourage them to add that option to the drop-down list. The gender drop-down already exists, so "husband" or "wife" isn't necessary. And, gay or not, it's an important distinction as even straight folks can have domestic partnership without getting married and being "husband" or "wife" to the other. :-)

(pssst... the title of this post implies that I have a beef with Amazon and a bone to pick with them...)
wwcitizen: (AngryFace-LobsterAttack)
But, of course! Why would they want to be honest and truthful?

Feds Admit to Saving Body Scans
wwcitizen: (At Puter)
Got this note from the bookstore in Greenville in response to my email to them about the shipping costs vs. the shipping time. I hedged my bets in contacting the guy and expected nothing more from him. But, this came along!


I am sorry you were unsatisfied with your experience with us. I have issued a refund of $3.99 for the shipping price on one book.

I ship all my orders via USPS Media Mail. All my book listings show this in checkout: my standard shipping period is from 4 to 14 days. For standard shipping Amazon.com automatically charges a flat rate of $3.99 per book.

Again, my apologies and I hope you have a happy holiday.

DE Books

YIPPEE!! It does pay to speak out! If not for your own personal vindication, but in the hopes that others do the right thing. Now this guy gets positive feedback.

The guy didn't go to school with me, though. I removed his name "to protect the innocent."

Happy holidays, indeed!
wwcitizen: (Santa Steve)
Most of my Christmas gifts get ordered online anymore. Ordering online, as you know, lessens holiday stress, saves gasoline & mileage, and just makes the whole experience fun in my book.

Speaking of books, one of the presents I got is a book (not revealing which book or for whom because sometimes my family reads my public posts - knowing one of my sisters, though, she'll go filing through their books to see which one it might be. Good luck, Deborah!!). Because the book is now out of print, I looked on eBay and Amazon through their extra sellers.

Well!! This particular extra seller ((DE Books on Amazon)) is located in my hometown of Greenville, NC. I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny to find out that the seller is a high school friend of mine?"

I placed an order with DE Books on Amazon on Dec. 9 for standard shipping, which would mean that the item would arrive at a cost of $7.98. The shipping rates are typically inflated to cover the cost of shipping materials and the time it takes to package up the items. I understand this process because Matt and I do it for eBay items regularly. This time around, though, in comparing $7.98 to online USPS postage pricing, I thought, "The book should arrive by Dec. 16 at the latest!" It arrived yesterday, Dec. 18, which is a day after I'd already packaged up items to send out to NC in time for Christmas; and I didn't spend a lot of money, but everything in the package is wrapped!

I was so livid that the book arrived late and wasn't included in the shipment to NC. Granted, I will be carrying it with me, but as an online seller myself, I take umbrage with the fact that these guys charged me more than twice the media rate and the item arrived late!! If they'd spent a little more (of my money), but still making $1-2, the book would have arrived by Dec. 15!!

Amazon allows you to contact the seller, (DE Books on Amazon), which I've done:

"Hi, On this order, I requested standard shipping, which is (oddly) $7.98, and the item arrived on 12/18. Standard shipping* (3-5 business days) should have helped the package arrive by 12/16 at the latest. On the package, you selected USPS Media Mail for books. While I realize this is a good way to ship books because it's less expensive, Media Mail takes longer to arrive. If you want to make money on the shipping fee during the holidays, resulting in later arrivals of shipments, that is really bad business (and can be reflected in feedback).

However, if you had chosen USPS Priority Mail as the option, the items would have been here in 2 business days (i.e. 12/14 at the latest) instead of 7 at a cost of $5.95. I am writing to request a refund of $4, which I think is fair (and you still make money on your shipping): As a result of your choosing the later shipping, I will not be able to send the package wrapped to its destination by Christmas, which is VERY disappointing.

* Please refer to the posted Amazon Shipping Rates & Policies at the bottom of every page."

I think this is a fair request. I don't really care about $4. It's the principle of the thing. Online sellers try to make extra money on shipping, I get it. Like I said, I've done it, but within reason. If the actual price of shipping items comes to less than half of what the person has already paid, without question, we will refund a split. It might turn out to be $2-3, but it's the giving thing to do. Around the holidays, I like to think (against my better judgment) that people will have a little bigger heart; when they don't, I call them on it.

I doubt this will come to anything and the guy will hang onto that $4 for all it's worth - in this economy. I completely expect that. While writing this whole thing out, I felt it was kind of petty. But, dammit, it's not. My feedback will not be positive, but at least in this little exchange, my voice will have been heard, and ultimately THAT is what's important and what makes me American.
wwcitizen: (At Puter)
I've seen my share - as everyone has - of spam. Some spam starts out so promising, but somewhere along the way, the fraud is exposed. See if you can spot the first issue:

"[The company], major in digital and offset printing industry in the US, is enlarging its network and recruiting employees. [The company] have over 10 years of experience in digital and offset printing, as well as in advertising services. We engage in both low and high budget publishing. After economic, printing & publishing industry has experienced major. To adjust to a new market environment and get overcome new challenges, our team is in need of few more professionals. A position of Junior packing specialist is available and highly responsible people. This is a vacancy that suits best students or those not happy with full work-day. This demands reasonable level of computer literacy, broadband Internet access and ability to follow routine orders while working under some pressure. This is a great choice for those who strive to increase their monthly revenue as [The company] offer fair remuneration and some workers, including paid leave and reasonable reduction for services and products of the company and its partners. If you are interested in this position, please download application form fill it in and send to fax 1-*** 666-55** or E-mail hr@[The company].com with your attached. Please note/pay attention that only short-listed candidates will be contacted. No calls will be accepted."

In this world of really good English speakers, you'd think that a company, hoping to garner e-mail addresses, phone numbers, or any other information with which to engage in fraudulent behavior, they'd spend a little more time perfecting their texts. What I find interesting on a subconscious level is that my brain fills in the gaps that are in the text. My mind completes the thoughts that the author possibly intended, until a thinking mind stops to realize that the author might not have intended that because that intent isn't readily evident in the text.

Yes, I'm tired. Yes, I'm ready to go to bed. Yeah, it's spam...
wwcitizen: (Default)
I just donated to Wikimedia to keep the site free of advertising! You can do the same:

Support Wikipedia

If Wikimedia isn't free, think of how awful the site would be to navigate and use. Keep it free! Keep it alive!
wwcitizen: (Gimme a hug)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jccub1 for this one:

wwcitizen: (At Puter)
Matthew and I have been on a search to find out some of the political and religious slants of Overstock.com. They are an online powerhouse. Though we have purchased things from them in the past, we haven't bought anything from them after realizing that they're based in Utah, home of the Mormon church (The Church of "Jesus Christ" of Latter Day Saints).

We've done searches on the SF Gate database for companies and employees of companies contributed money to the campaigns supporting and opposing California's Proposition 8. Here are the names of the three people on record as working for Overstock.com who helped fund Prop 8. Notice that they weren't afraid of entering their employer on the information; i.e. they didn't stand on their own, but mentioned their employer.

Prop 8, for those who aren't familiar, is the proposition in California a couple of years ago that banned same-sex marriages, although for a short period of time, same-sex marriages in CA were legal. Basically, Prop 8 allowed people to vote to discriminate and deny people their civil rights, which they already had.

Here's an email that Matthew sent them last night and their response:

Matthew: "Is Overstock.com a predominately, Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints owned and operated company? I know that it is a public corporation - but what about the leadership and the board?"

Overstock: "Hello Matthew, Thank you for contacting Overstock.com regarding weather we are a predominately, Morman (spelled wrong!! and they're in Utah!) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints owned and operated company. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you today. Let me reassure you that we are a diverse company, we are not predominately Morman. Overstock.com does not sponsor, support, or endorse the views and opinions of any political party, organization, personality, or issue. We simply provide a great selection of quality merchandise at deep discounts. It is our desire to allow vendors the opportunity to display items on our site that provide discounted products for the benefit of all our customers. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance on this or any other issue. I hope you will visit us soon for great savings on name-brand products. Sincerely, Lance H.
Customer Care

Questions to everyone reading this:

1) Is Overstock.com a Mormon company?

2) Would you buy things from Overstock.com, knowing that at least 3 employees proudly sent in almost $600 toward a hate-driven proposition denying people their civil right and reversing a law?

3) How many companies have you ever boycotted for less? (We boycotted Whole Foods for about 6-9 months because of the CFO's statements against health care reform, and Sonoma County - wine - because of the County's harsh and illegal treatment of the elderly gay couple in nursing homes)

4) What impact does boycotting have ultimately in your opinion?
wwcitizen: (Dont Know)
Unapologetically and therapeutically, I have to post about this one instance that has remained for the last few days as one of the strangest things I've encountered in Facebook from a childhood friend. Someone from my childhood posted a picture (I have a copy of the picture for some reason in my collection) of our church van. I'm not sure where we were headed in the van in the picture, but our church did many puppet mission trips to NYC. We also took the van to week-long Southern Baptist summer camps and to ski retreats. On the ski retreats, we skied during the day, returned to the church-owned cabin, cooked & cleaned up from dinner, and had Bible study.

There have been various and many comments (50+!!) about the picture with memories of the trips we took in that particular van in the 70s and 80s, and that that van was replaced by a bigger van/bus with bigger windows, a great stereo, and A/C!!

One of the folks who posted - and the most recent as of Mar. 14 - is a couple of years younger than me, but we used to have sleep-overs together as kids, went to school with each other, and considered each other friends. His older sister was my age, but there's apparently no contact between them at all. I think I remember a few years ago his mother passing away, which made me sad. They had a beautiful home and she seemed like a good mom. She was always so sweet to me, too.

This was his posted comment to the picture of the church van: "I was not in that van. However, I love you all and ask if anyone remembers poop in a cup on the way home from a ski trip."

I have no idea if he's joking. I have no idea what kind of person he is now, although his pictures present him as a rocker - he plays the drums. He also looks vastly different from how I remember him and his hair at one point was really long and permed (80s scary male perms). The question left the inferred image of "Two Girls, One Cup" in my mind, although I never actually saw the video (thank goodness!!).

Comment welcome!
wwcitizen: (BIG SMILE)


If anyone is interested in Department 56 (it's a set of REALLY cute porcelain villages for different seasons), we are selling a TON of things. I'm continuously posting items for sale on eBay.

Check out our items and bookmark our link (or send this along to anyone you might know who collects Department 56).


Our stuff is at seriously DEEP DISCOUNTS!!

We roundly apologize to interested parties outside the US; shipping might well be very cost prohibitive for these items.
wwcitizen: (At Puter)
Today, we were all ready to leave by about noon, had our breakfast, were packed, and were getting ready to shower to leave for DC. At our computers, we heard the UPS made a short BEEP! and everything shut down. Today. Right now. Shut down. UUUUUGGGGH!!!! ARRRRRRRRGH!!

APC has good products, but after and hour with tech support, the front line and sr. tech support folks said, "Seems like a power surge in the building killed the battery." Um, the device is a battery back up with a SURGE PROTECTOR and voltage controller. So, the thing the equipment is protecting our systems from destruction is the thing that killed the battery??? WTF?!

We unplugged and plugged in the thing about 19 times for tech support. Pressed every button on the device about 41 times, took out the innards about 15 times and plugged/unplugged/plugged in all this stuff to the battery pack inside another 23 times (I think). Oh, and we talked to about 3 tech support folks, the last of whom had to transfer Matthew to another person for confirmation of sending us the replacement battery that goes inside, which will take 3-5 business days. WOW!

NOW, if we were fully running a business, how could we wait 3-5 business days for a replacement of a part in their device that was faulty? For something that their product was supposed to be able to handle? The service industry in the US are getting worse every day - and in such a bad economy, tech support, customer service, and training are typically the first folks to get whacked from a company. Strangely, tech support and customer service are also the face of the company for most consumers leading to fewer products leaving the factory if consumers can't talk to someone to get help; they'll look elsewhere for similar or worse products because the other company has better tech support or customer service. This means the company's revenue will go down, and they'll have to lay off more folks and kill good products. Sad.

Back story: When things like this happen, Matt cannot leave until something to fix these situations is underway. That's cool and I understand that completely. I'm on board with it and support it entirely.

BUT, we have places to go and people to see! We have to be in DC by 6:30 for Happy Hour! We have to make it to DC sooner than later. We were supposed to leave around 11:30, 1:30 at the latest, but won't be getting away now till about 3:30 now. UGH! So, we'll be late for Happy Hour. Sorry, [livejournal.com profile] slothel!!! Hopefully, we'll make it to be happy within the right hour.
wwcitizen: (At Puter)
For the last few months, I've been getting more and more notes from this site, GayRoughNecks.com. I had no interest - ever - in setting up any kind of contact profile on that site. I am connected plenty already online. I kept sending my email address through their link at the bottom of emails to delete the email. On one of the emails, I actually read through the note and this particular "disclaimer" told me that I had to change email options from my site profile, for which I had none. Sooooo... I created a profile and searched for a way to kill all emails (like I did with Twitter - thinking it would work in similar fashion) and then delete my account. Much to my chagrin, there was no way on my own to kill my profile or all the unwanted emails coming to me.

So, I wrote the following note to the "administrator" of the site within the system:
"Please delete my account and do not contact me any longer. I have removed my email from your system through the link provided in the emails I've received. I hope not to receive any further emails from your servers. Thank you very much."

This is the asshole's response I received today. He must be GayRoughNecks.com's administrator or possibly sole owner (it's kinda long and high-schoolish):
Read the email response... )

Who does that? Seriously, who would write that sort of thing - knowing full well what people can do with that information. Idiot.

And today - after his email to me - I received another invitational email from their website.

Who do I report this guy to who's in direct violation of Internet privacy and spamming regulations? Anyone know?


Nov. 13th, 2008 03:13 pm
wwcitizen: (Tasty Thoughts)
There's an "Appetite Stimulus Plan" being promoted by OpenTable.com online. Here's the rundown:
OpenTable Appetite Stimulus Plan
$35 Dinners, $24 Lunches
(prices are per person and do not include beverage, tax or gratuity)
November 17-21, 2008
200 OpenTable Dining Rewards Points

With The OpenTable Appetite Stimulus Plan, you'll enjoy not only specially priced, three-course menus at top restaurants, but you'll also earn double Dining Rewards Points when you book through OpenTable. That's 200 Dining Rewards Points for every Appetite Stimulus Plan reservation that you honor!

Ask for the Appetite Stimulus Plan menu when you are seated.

If you haven't set up your free profile with OpenTable, and you're a foodie in a metropolitan area (like NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, etc.), you should. I'm close to getting a quite large gift certificate for use on an anniversary dinner for me and Matthew!
wwcitizen: (Default)
My sister just sent across this search engine we'd never heard of before:


It's a combo of Google, Yahoo, and MSN all together - so you're using three different search engines simultaneously. Thought I'd pass it along.

This is very similar to:


but the interface is better on http://www.iknowall.com./, especially if you have a very wide screen.
wwcitizen: (My Best Popeye)
My sister put this so astutely: "You know, this really shouldn't surprise me, but it does. I'm actually sitting here, jaw agape. (How often do you get to say that and mean it?)" She wrote me that at work in reference to an article whose text I've copied (and properly acclaimed) below:

'Master' and 'slave' computer labels unacceptable, officials say )

My response to the article and her note?

WOW! We are reaching totally unexpected and new dark depths of inconsequence!! What a shame that people (the media) are still, in the face of higher taxes, higher gas prices, lower environmental health, higher health care costs, etc., trying to find ways to waste of time and taxpayer dollars.


wwcitizen: (Default)
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