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Monday, June 25, 2012

You CAN make a difference

The wicked witch of the west is dead. If I was allowed to mention her name, I would, but that could result in a lawsuit. So I’ll call her by her nickname.

When I first met this woman, I knew I was dealing with a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Standing barely 5 feet 3 inches tall, she did everything in her power to give herself importance. A business suit fit for Wall Street, a sleek perfect bob haircut, flawless makeup and above all ... nothing less than 3-inch stilettos.

She took pleasure in making candidates squirm during their interview, she checked up on them if hired, and even though she encouraged them to talk to her about problems, those who did lived to regret it. I did.

When I went to see the witch about a problem, something shared in confidence, she made fun of me and shamelessly shared my problem with colleagues.

“Report her,” one person said.
“Why bother,” said another. “Nothing gets done about it anyway.

Not one to rest on my laurels, I decided I would report her. As I said to others ... “If everybody keeps quiet and never complains then of course nothing will ever get done. But if I speak up and you speak up, if we all voice what on our minds, then maybe something WILL get done about it.”

In her position of power, she had a hand in keeping people out who should have been let in; she had people fired for no good reason; and she stood in people’s way who deserved promotion.

Whether it the accumulation of complains against her that led to the decision to let her go we’ll never know, but I’d like to think so. It took fourteen months and numerous emails, but finally justice was served. The witch was fired.

For me and countless others her dismissal comes too late but it might benefit those who come behind us. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cute baby owls looking for a home

A few weeks ago, while cleaning up a storage room at work, I came into possession of this baby owl and 499 of his closest friends. I opened a box and there they were, staring up at me with their cute little brown eyes.

I immediately thought of donating the lot to Goodwill. When I called and made inquiries if someone from the organization could pick up the box I was told that they didn’t do pickups. “Can you bring the box?” the woman I spoke to asked. 
Euh no ... it was a big heavy box, how was I going to do that? “Can you take a cab?” was her next question. 
“Will Goodwill pay for the cab?” I asked. 
Negative, a cab ride would be at my own expense.

My next call went to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. When I inquired how I would go about donating about 500 owls, the hospital representative asked me “Are the owls individually wrapped?” 
I replied that they were not wrapped at all, but packaged together in a large box. 
“Then don’t bother,” the woman said, “we’re not interested.” When I asked why, she replied “We don’t know what you did to these toys. You might have stuffed drugs, needles or razor blades in them. Goodbye.”
Oh yes, that’s what I do. I go around buying toys and then stuffing them with drugs or sharp objects. Preposterous!!!

So now I either had to throw the owls away or make a plan with them. The choice was easy ... I’m sure there would a lot of children who would be thrilled to have a little baby owl.

Interested? The cost price is only $1 and the proceeds go to The Toronto Cat Rescue (TCR).  An organization where no cat or kitten is turned down or put down. TCR is in need of funding though and every little bit helps.

To receive your very own baby owl, please leave me a comment and upon payment of $1 this cute toy will be mailed to you at no additional cost.

Predators in chat rooms

I admit, I spend a fair amount of time on Facebook playing Bingo. While the game is nice and relaxing, interacting with other players from all over the world in the chat rooms is often funny and uplifting. That is, until some nut job starts making sexual comments or innuendos. 

When this happens, members in the chat room are quick to give the sex talker the cold shoulder, tell him his comments are not welcome, or report him for offensive language.

Yes, men are often thought of as being sexual predators and women are advised to exercise caution on websites and chat rooms. But what if the sexual predator is a woman or a young girl?

This week someone by the name of Nikki entered the room. She greeted everyone with a “Hi” and for the longest time remained quiet. That is, until someone by the name of Adam made an appearance. Nikki’s interest was sparked and she latched on.

She started by asking Adam how old he was. He replied “24”. Her next question was “Where are you from?” to which Adam replied “London, UK”.

Nikki, obviously not a geography expert, asked where that was. She then said that she was from Alabama.

After some mindless chatting, Nikki asked Adam if she could be his girlfriend. Adam did not answer.

For the next five minutes Nikki posted comments such as “Adam are yu there?” and “Adam why dont you talk to me anymoor?”

Eventually Adam came back and asked how old Nikki was. First she pretended to be 22, but eventually she admitted to being 11. Adam must have heard alarm bells and seen red flags because for the next while he didn’t post any comments.

For a while Nikki kept up her mindless chatter, to which nobody replied to. She got annoyed and posted “If nobode wants to talk to me thats fine. Thats there choice. Im so bored.”

I half expected someone in the room would suggest that Nikki study English spelling and grammar, but apparently everyone was too polite to point out Nikki’s mistakes.

When Adam (who we all thought had left the chat room) won the 2nd price in Bingo his name and picture flashed across the screen and Nikki shot into action. “Adam, why are yu ignoring me?” – “I mis you” – “Do you mis me?” – “Pleese contact me, my email adres is ......”.

Adam didn’t respond and Nikki wasn’t having it. “Adam Im talking to yu” – “anser me, did yu rite my email adres down?” – “I want to heer from yu, I want to your girlfriend”.

Adam couldn’t be persuaded. Whether he left the chat room or merely ignored Nikki, we’ll never know but there were no more post from him.

Nikki then proceeded to telling the room that she was looking at shirtless pictures of Justin Bieber. One woman commented if Nikki wasn’t a little young for that and Nikki let fly with a series of insults and swear words which were censored by the chat room. At this point I had enough of Nikki’s silliness and left the room.

The next day I played Bingo again and found myself in the same room as Jasmine. Jasmine stated that she was getting married in three weeks and that she was desperate for a fling before tying the knot. Would any man please contact her at ... (she gave her email address).

If some men are predators, it would seem that some women are too. The strange thing was that while women remained silent, men cautioned Jasmine about giving out her private information. They were rewarded by the comment “Mind your own business grandpa”.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book characters

Aspiring actors are given the advice to avoid type casting. Only being able to portray one type of character might lead to an audience quickly becoming bored with that actor. 

Aspiring authors would do well to follow the same advice. Writing about the same subject over and over again will make what the reader can expect predictable. Some very talented authors can get away with it, weaving a completely different story writing about their favorite subject.

Among others, Jilly Cooper can do this. Whether she writes about Rupert Campbell Black’s antics in “Riders” or an emotionally abused grandma in “Jump”, somewhere along the line a horse is playing a part, but the stories are very different.

Author X (I shall not mention her name) is not such an author or she didn’t get the memo. All her books are about the rich and famous. I liked her first book, I like it enough to buy the second one. I was somewhat disappointed when the second story was again about people with money and power, but okay, maybe it was a coincidence.

Research about her third and fourth novel revealed that the story was again about the rich and famous and I thought “Oh hell no.”

Author X’s books summarized:

·       The main character is filthy rich. He’s not just a millionaire, he’s a billionaire. While it can be nice to read about people with pots of money, it can also become rather annoying. Especially if your bank balance lacks a couple of zeros.

·       Supporting characters work themselves into a stupor. Working 18 hours a day is part of the package in clawing their way to the top.

·       After work they attend parties (only movers and shakers invited of course) where they drink copious amount of champagne and sniff a few lines of coke. I have no experience with coke sniffing, but on the few occasions that I looked too deep into a glass I had such a hangover the next day that I was in no condition to go to work. 

·       When the supporting characters come home from the party they have steamy sex for hours on end. This really makes me wonder. If they worked an 18 hour day and got wasted at a party, how do they manage to romp around until the wee hours of the morning? When do these people actually sleep?

·       Still on the subject of sexual escapades … the men are always ready for action and the women have multiple orgasms. I have a little trouble with that too. I think it’s far more likely that a woman who’s been on her feet since the crack of dawn, and for whom the room starts to spin to moment she lies down (on account of all the champagne) is more likely to utter the words “Not tonight honey”.

·       While the women sleep their way around New York, Los Angeles, London, Sidney and a few other cities, they don’t give a second thought to sexually transmitted diseases. They meet a man who can help them reach their goal and hup, they’re between the sheets. Whatever happened to women making it on their own? Isn’t it a little degrading that they still use sex as a means of advancement?

·       The men in author X’s stories invariably look like George Clooney. I can only sigh and shake my head at the comparison. I mean really, is there only one attractive man on earth? Personally I don’t see what the big deal is. I’ve seen Clooney in his early years in the TV series E.R. and in movies such as “Up in the Air” and “The Descendants” and I see nothing special. He’s a good actor, but as far as looks are concerned he’s not my cup of tea.

·       The women in author X’s stories are always chic and glamorous. They wear designer clothing (of course, if you worked 18 hours a day in a power job you could afford designer labels too), their hair is always smooth and sleek no matter what the weather conditions are, and short of mascara and a bit of lip gloss they wear no makeup. They are blessed with a natural beauty.

Darn, I wish I was blessed with a natural beauty. When there’s moisture in the air my hair turns frizzy no matter what I do.
As for makeup, I need the full nine yards. If I was to just use a bit of mascara and lip gloss I’d look like death warmed up.

While some people will undoubtedly enjoy a story about millionaires and their entourage, that doesn’t mean that author X has to be the sole provider of those stories. Can’t she write about something else? 

Then again, maybe I’m taking this all a bit too seriously. After all, it is just fiction. But if I am taking these stories seriously, I’m hardly the only one. One woman posted on author X’s website “Could you give Adam H.  my phone number? Even though he’s selfish and arrogant, I want to marry him (and his billions)”.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kate has something to say

We have a guest blogger today. After yesterday’s Avon post, Kate S. contacted me with a comment. Kate is an experienced blogger, writing about anything and everything in a tongue in cheek way. What I like about her writing is that she says it like it is. There’s no dancing around the subject, there’s no sugar coated statements, she puts it out there … take it or leave it.

When Kate stated that she had been an Avon consultant, I was more than happy to let her have her say.

When I was about 17 years old I sold Avon. I sold Avon products for about a year and then quit, because I wasn't making enough money to make it worth it.

As a sales representative, I had to buy what should have been free items. You see, Avon sales reps must buy the catalogues customers look through. They also must be bought in bundles of tens, such as ten, twenty and so on. When I would buy ten, they would send me 20 and take the money out of my sales.

I also had to buy the 'free' samples sales reps gave out. I purchased the smallest samples to give to potential customers. I think we had to buy the bags reps gave customers containing their purchases also.

I remember smelling the leftover free samples I gave away for colognes and lotions and they smelled awful. However, I did buy Avon products such as anti-perspirants, several colognes, lotions and shampoos for myself, over that year. At first, I loved getting my monthly Avon box filled with new products I would be giving to customers. I adored looking through the glossy magazine-like catalogues.

After about six months I came to despise getting new catalogues in the mail, because I knew I'd have to start asking family, friends, teachers at school and neighbors if they wanted to buy anything. While some people were loyal customers, it seemed other people only wanted to obtain those free samples I had to pay for. 

I remember my mom saying that Avon had a lot of nerve to make their sales reps pay for what should be free--- like the bags, brochures, and samples---which of course ranged in price according to their size.

So no thanks, I for one will never be a sales rep for Avon ever again, because the sales rep ends up getting ripped off!

Want read more of Kate’s hand? Visit any of her blogs for views on marriage, kids, drugs, celebrities, writing and a whole lot more.