Oct 21, 2013

The BART Strike.

I've moved 300 miles north of any BART trains, but the Bay Area is my home and I keep up with this story because it's not just about BART being closed and angry commuters.  Since this latest BART strike I've noticed the way the news, friends and the geniuses on social media are all pissed off at BART workers and want blame them for all this. People are like "fuck the rich ass BART workers". 

...I started to wonder if there was some kind of deeper conservative conspiracy to bust the union. 

Read what Brian Copeland from KGO had to say. 
From Brian Copeland on KGO:
"According to an inside source I have, what ATU says is true. The Union had agreed to terms for pay and benefits and then management threw an oppressive 11th hour demand in because management wants a strike.
They know that the public will blame the union and then take away the union's right to strike. This is all about breaking the union. That's why they brought in Thomas Hock. It's what he does.
Not only is Hock paid 400k, he has an ownership stake in buses that will be used to transport commuters during a strike.
This stinks to high heaven and the public needs to know the truth."

I also feel like what hip-hop journalist Dave 'Davey D' Cook posted on Facebook fits right in with what I've been thinking about all this. 
Today BART is on Strike and in usual fare the media is shaping the debate to be BART workers who are 'well paid' vs riders who are struggling.. That's the narrative... Here's a few things to keep in mind..
1-The average wage ratio between CEO and workers around the world is 10-1, maybe 12-1 which is considered high.. In the US the average ratio is 319-1 and growing.. It's a simple equation of the rich get rich and poor get poorer.. That sets the condition for animosity to be directed at fellow workers who kick up dust to get better wages or for the average person to care very little if striking workers get replaced.. Why? because everyone is stressed out and living on the edge with little or no job security..

2-To those who feel BART workers get 'too much'.. what does that mean? They make more than you hence they shouldn't get what they feel they deserve? What wage would make it ok strike? 10k? 20k? 30k? 40k? Do we express similar concerns about high six figured executives who are not directly servicing you who have demanded they get paid or have raised fares on you to make sure they are well compensated?

I saw folks running around last month complaining that workers at fast food joints shouldn't be asking for 15 bucks an hour, that somehow they were greedy.. even as those places make billions a year..Whats an ok wage for 40 year old working at fast food joint when they can no longer get work? 10 an hour even as it is being shown one needs to be on public assistance to make ends meet at such a low salary?

I seen folks complaining about a BART strike not complain that Congress was getting wage increases while voting to cut wages and benefit packages to their underpaid staffers who do all the work, read the bills, make recommendations on votes etc.. Last week during the shutdown Congress voted to strip their staffers of benefits..Would they be greedy if they went on strike, or are we happy they don't have a union to protect them, thanks to Congress voting to prohibit that??

Far too many have been silent when there were calls to protest executives getting wage increases while fares were being raised, many declined to join those protests or do a people's strike..

3-The media narrative has been to interview people and paint a story of how the average commuter is inconvenienced by the 'evil BART workers' who are striking... Now corporate owned news outlets are running around with cameras in hand asking how you feel..Now they are expressing concern.. This is the same news outlet that went nowhere near an unemployment office, WIC lines or into your poor neighborhood to ask how you felt when the government was shut down for the past two weeks..

These are the same media outlets who never came around to ask how you were inconvenienced when BART fares went up last year, the year before and the year before that, when there were no BART strikes and executives were getting raises..

These same outlets were nowhere to be seen asking about your hardships when BART increased daily parking rates to go along with your increased fares.. Some parking lots charge 5 bucks a day in poor neighborhoods like West Oakland while remaining damn near free in rich neighborhoods... Lets talk about that..

4-Last BART strike I personally witnessed reporters running trying to egg on commuters to speak out against BART workers.. They had a rough go of it.. They were frustrated because while the BART strike was unnerving many poorer workers understood and didn't trip.. You wouldn't know that from the coverage..In one instance one of the reporters from KRON actually asked if they was anyone angry with BART workers..

This time around almost all the news outlets are doing coverage in affluent communities like Walnut Creek where parking is $1.50 a day vs $5 in West Oakland. I guess they are hoping to find commuters who will fit the 'Unions suck, Bart workers are greedy narrative'...

Make no mistake about what's going here.. The end game for BART executives is to break the union and limit workers rights..This is why the lead negotiator Tom Hock who makes 400k a year in tax payer money and not even a Bay Area resident went on vacation for two weeks in the middle of negotiations.

Last week in the 11th hour he bounced out-of-town to do a speaking gig in Southern Cali on 'how to negotiate a deal'.. He was brought in to bust up the union not work things out..Remember the money concerns were agreed upon by the union.. They agreed to the offer.... the sticking point was the Hock and his team inserting language that would prevent BART workers from striking.. That's called union busting..

Busting unions is not limited to BART, this has been going on all over the country.. We are seeing that where ever there are public sector unions which are comprised of people of color, then the attacks are all out to shut it down.. That ranges from the postal unions to public transit unions to teacher unions etc.. Let the media outlets cover that.. Let the media ask why so many POC are even in those unions and the long history and continued practice of discrimination in many private sectors.

Let's note the 'greedy workers shouldn't be striking' narrative has not been applied to screen writers, actor guild and even SAG/ AFTRA members which many news reporters covering the BART strike are a part, even when they did work slowdowns or went on strike while holding down million dollar salaries..

We seem to have given sports teams a pass, Hockey, Football, Basketball, Baseball etc.. all who have gone on strike in spite them making millions..More people attend the games than ever before, even with high-priced, tickets, high cable and TV bills and out of this world tax payer stadium costs, to watch the teams etc.. Folks didn't stop wearing their football jerseys talking about greedy players .. why? because they understand these owners make billions..

However last summer when concession workers who don't get benefits and barely and made 10 bucks an hour went on strike, we heard the 'workers are greedy narrative pop up..

All of us should be fighting to make sure workers of every stripe have job security, living wages and safe conditions on their jobs.. If the conditions at your workplace are lousy, no benefits, wack wages and a tyrannical bosses, you should be asking how can those conditions change..

Instead of getting upset about workers striking ask yourself why your boss is making you come to work vs telecommute, or allowing you flex time or making accommodations so you can park your car? Many employers have not made such moves..why? Because they have invested in a business culture and ethos that wants to bash on workers and keep them on edge as a way to get you to accept lower wages and messed up work conditions for fear of you losing your job..

2-To those who feel BART workers get 'too much'.. what does that mean? They make more than you hence they shouldn't get what they feel they deserve? What wage would make it ok strike? 10k? 20k? 30k? 40k? Do we express similar concerns about high six figured executives who are not directly servicing you who have demanded they get paid or have raised fares on you to make sure they are well compensated?
I saw folks running around last month complaining that workers at fast food joints shouldn't be asking for 15 bucks an hour, that somehow they were greedy.. even as those places make billions a year..Whats an ok wage for 40 year old working at fast food joint when they can no longer get work? 10 an hour even as it is being shown one needs to be on public assistance to make ends meet at such a low salary? 
I seen folks complaining about a BART strike not complain that Congress was getting wage increases while voting to cut wages and benefit packages to their underpaid staffers who do all the work, read the bills, make recommendations on votes etc.. Last week during the shutdown Congress voted to strip their staffers of benefits..Would they be greedy if they went on strike, or are we happy they don't have a union to protect them, thanks to Congress voting to prohibit that??
Far too many have been silent when there were calls to protest executives getting wage increases while fares were being raised, many declined to join those protests or do a people's strike..
3-The media narrative has been to interview people and paint a story of how the average commuter is inconvenienced by the 'evil BART workers' who are striking... Now corporate owned news outlets are running around with cameras in hand asking how you feel..Now they are expressing concern.. This is the same news outlet that went nowhere near an unemployment office, WIC lines or into your poor neighborhood to ask how you felt when the government was shut down for the past two weeks..
These are the same media outlets who never came around to ask how you were inconvenienced when BART fares went up last year, the year before and the year before that, when there were no BART strikes and executives were getting raises..
These same outlets were nowhere to be seen asking about your hardships when BART increased daily parking rates to go along with your increased fares.. Some parking lots charge 5 bucks a day in poor neighborhoods like West Oakland while remaining damn near free in rich neighborhoods... Lets talk about that..
4-Last BART strike I personally witnessed reporters running trying to egg on commuters to speak out against BART workers.. They had a rough go of it.. They were frustrated because while the BART strike was unnerving many poorer workers understood and didn't trip.. You wouldn't know that from the coverage..In one instance one of the reporters from KRON actually asked if they was anyone angry with BART workers..
This time around almost all the news outlets are doing coverage in affluent communities like Walnut Creek where parking is $1.50 a day vs $5 in West Oakland. I guess they are hoping to find commuters who will fit the 'Unions suck, Bart workers are greedy narrative'...
Make no mistake about what's going here.. The end game for BART executives is to break the union and limit workers rights..This is why the lead negotiator Tom Hock who makes 400k a year in tax payer money and not even a Bay Area resident went on vacation for two weeks in the middle of negotiations. 
Last week in the 11th hour he bounced out-of-town to do a speaking gig in Southern Cali on 'how to negotiate a deal'.. He was brought in to bust up the union not work things out..Remember the money concerns were agreed upon by the union.. They agreed to the offer.... the sticking point was the Hock and his team inserting language that would prevent BART workers from striking.. That's called union busting.. 
Busting unions is not limited to BART, this has been going on all over the country.. We are seeing that where ever there are public sector unions which are comprised of people of color, then the attacks are all out to shut it down.. That ranges from the postal unions to public transit unions to teacher unions etc.. Let the media outlets cover that.. Let the media ask why so many POC are even in those unions and the long history and continued practice of discrimination in many private sectors.
Let's note the 'greedy workers shouldn't be striking' narrative has not been applied to screen writers, actor guild and even SAG/ AFTRA members which many news reporters covering the BART strike are a part, even when they did work slowdowns or went on strike while holding down million dollar salaries..
We seem to have given sports teams a pass, Hockey, Football, Basketball, Baseball etc.. all who have gone on strike in spite them making millions..More people attend the games than ever before, even with high-priced, tickets, high cable and TV bills and out of this world tax payer stadium costs, to watch the teams etc.. Folks didn't stop wearing their football jerseys talking about greedy players .. why? because they understand these owners make billions..
However last summer when concession workers who don't get benefits and barely and made 10 bucks an hour went on strike, we heard the 'workers are greedy narrative pop up.. 
All of us should be fighting to make sure workers of every stripe have job security, living wages and safe conditions on their jobs.. If the conditions at your workplace are lousy, no benefits, wack wages and a tyrannical bosses, you should be asking how can those conditions change..
Instead of getting upset about workers striking ask yourself why your boss is making you come to work vs telecommute, or allowing you flex time or making accommodations so you can park your car? Many employers have not made such moves..why? Because they have invested in a business culture and ethos that wants to bash on workers and keep them on edge as a way to get you to accept lower wages and messed up work conditions for fear of you losing your job..

The sentiment I mentioned before "Fuck the rich ass BART workers"  echoed with "I know 100 people who will do that job for less than what they get paid".  That's exactly what the BART executives want.  They want the unions to go away so they can pay people shit wages and longer hours.  Conservatives and big business hate unions because it forces them to have a conscience, which isn't good for profits.   While it may be inconvenient for you the commuting average Joe, just remember what unions are and what they have done for you.  Ultimately, as far as I'm concerned the opposite of unions is slavery. 

Oct 17, 2013

TV Apps Still Suck

Who uses the social networking apps through their TV?  The interface is so bad on TV based apps I even hate using the Netflix app sometimes.  But with apps like Netflix, Youtube, Hulu and Pandora it's worth it because those apps seem like what smart TV's were created for.  Entertainment based apps that utilize your TV or Home Theater to watch video or audio content. Not post facebook statuses. 

Browsing through thumbnails is one thing but searching for a video, or anything that requires actual typing is just useless. This is why I can't imagine how anyone would use Facebook or Twitter on a television based UI.  Yet, companies keep including them as bloatware.  I suppose if for some reason you have an Internet connection but no computer or smartphone you can still keep up with Farmville.

TV apps in general just need to be way better than they have been.  Using a TV remote or play station controller does have its limitations but why does it seem like smart tv, game console and Blu Ray player apps feel like an afterthought by the designers?

Oct 15, 2013

Just Be Better

I keep hearing all this yap about SEO (search engine optimization). I always get clients asking me "how do I get to be the top of the google?"   How about, "don't suck, get popular and people will find you".  This is why I actually kind of like the way Google is supposedly doing it now. From what I understand it searches based on content rather than keywords.
  
When I was in a band that had just gotten signed to a record deal and was selling out all the local venues, the new bands we met would always ask "so, how did you get signed?"  the answer was the same as the SEO bs..   We practiced 4 days a week, we wrote a million songs, we played EVERY show we were offered, we had a consistent clean logo and appreciated every fan we had.  So these piece of shit upstarts that have nothing but spam to offer, driving the SEO marketing movement are just like those shitty bands who rehearse 3 days a month, haven't written a new song in 5 years, and complain that they aren't getting the attention they deserve asking me how we got signed. 

We just did what we did and were passionate about it. We never asked for, or "tried" to get anything.  Our marketing strategy was  to just be cool, be something people wanted to be involved in.  Which is how businesses should be able to be.  Concentrate on being a good company, have good branding and be passionate. Be something that people want to be a part of.  A "If you build it, they will come" sort of thing. 

Maybe I'm naive because I know nothing about marketing, business or "SEO" but I just think if you have something good, people will take notice. you dont need to fake search results with clever marketing code techniques. 

Sitting Here Trying Out This App

I'd tried the official Blogger mobile app in the past and it sucked balls. I found a third party app that worked ok but, while being kind of clunky it was way better than the one google gave us. I was looking through Google Apps and found this updated version so I'm trying it out. 

So far so good?

Oct 10, 2013

PYMHM - Cursed! Jan 2009

I'm sorry I have been slacking on Posts You Might Have Missed.  I've been busy looking for a job.

Here's a gem from a rare heat wave in early 2009.
Cursed! 
On my way home from Santa Cruz with my friends Steve and Chris, where this radness happened....
We were driving back over the Santa Cruz Mountains on Hwy 17 and we stopped at this funky little roadside store to go pee. Near the entrance I notice a restroom sign on a giant wooden bear statue outside but the arrow pointed towards the road. There's no one in the place so Steve goes into the back looking for someone to clarify what the sign means. Chris and I are milling around contemplating filling our pockets with salt water taffy when Steve comes out getting yelled at by this aggravated old Chinese guy. He's like "I DON KAYAH YOU HAVE PEE!! YOU GO HOME, GO PEE!! BATHROOM OUTSIDE!! YOU FOLLOW SIGN!! FOLLOW SIGN!!" woah! that guy hates people! then he saw us in the store "WAT YOU NEED? WAAATT!!!!" aaahh! holy shit. 
So we go out side back to the sign that appears to tell us to pee in the road. We do as he said and "FOLLOW SIGN!!" to the dirt shoulder next to the highway, make our way around the freaky totem pole fence and see another sign pointing to a port-a-potty 5 feet from traffic. As I wait to use the facilities I notice some more signs posted on the totem fence and near the outhouse. What they said kind of caught me off guard. 

Holy shit these people are fucked! fires of hell? seventh generation? blind in one eye? For littering WTF?
This sign starts out normal then they get all fucking crazy again. DUDE!? I felt kind of weird after because I think i got a little pee on the floor. I hope nothing bad happens.
We've been cursed!
_______________________________________________________________________
Nothing earth shattering has happened so far, I mean, I'm unemployed that sucks but noone has gone blind or anything.


This place I later found out is called Casa Del 17. They may have gotten new owners since 2009, but back then, it was nuts.  Forget the Mystery Spot ^ beware of this place. ^

Oct 4, 2013

Wendy's Update

So I forgot to mention that a couple weeks ago I went back down to the bay area, and one of my stops was at the Wendy's Hamburgers on Alhambra Ave. in Martinez Ca.  Guess what I ordered?

remember this post from July?



I got to finally try the coveted Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger.  It was wonderful.  The only thing I didnt like was the lettuce. They used spinach/springmix salad as lettuce.  I prefer iceberg.

Here's mine.  I opted for the double patty 1/2lb version.  I kinda felt like shit the rest of the day but it was worth it.



I also got this as a gag gift to myself. 



It was more gag than anticipated. Tasted like someone poured used bacon grease into a bottle of expired cream soda.   Never buy this. unless you buy it just to laugh at it for a few minutes when you give it to someone.

In other news, in the location of the defunct Wendy's here in Eureka, they've started building a new something.  It's not clear what it's going to be yet but it does have a drive thru and the only thing they didn't tear down is the Wendy's sign shaped sign carcasses along the parking lot.  Maybe we'll get a new Wendy's I'll very rarely go to.