Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fighting back after getting burned on line

This summer wasn't considered the most defining of my life, not that it was all that bad, but it wasn't anything to brag about either. The only thing learned by me was how to survive financially after being burned on line twice in the same summer.

I have made and lost a job in the space of three and a half months. Jobz For Writers was a great place to work, provided the employee was available to take on projects last minute, due within five hours or less or a 50 page project with the expectation from the client and employer that it be completed over night including the research..The people who made the decisions as to who got what assignment took too long. They sat on the assignments for at least two days before they were given out. Even though my last client was in the Masters program, they didn't understand the easiest of questions, like:

  1. What direction was the paper to go?
  2. Where would one get the articles needed for this piece?
 For the medical journals one had to buy the articles to use them.  It took the client two days to download information needed to write the paper.

There was no way to write this paper in two days time after all the smoke cleared. My computer crashed the day before the first deadline. I got burned again twice with this trying to get the problem fixed. but by the time the smoke cleared here, there were three on line companies that were vying for repairs on my laptop. They were none too kind when my phone call came through to cancel all three because of my financial problem. There was a light at the end of the tunnel. because it taught me two things:
  1. Never let anyone over the phone scan the computer for problems that didn't exist.
  2. Know one's rights when agreeing to services offered by a third party. 
Even though all three companies told me it was known what was offered, [they read a statement over the phone stating their position] one of them coerced me to take extra coverage for a computer that was not in use.This one gave me some of the money back to avoid getting a black mark over their coercion. It wasn't the service offered it was the price.Since my phone call came through the tech assigned to help me got their $99 regardless. The last was a scam because no one from the company they represented or the one called by me to get things going right again, knew who they were so my refund here was in full .

Waking up to $1.70 in my bank account on August 20, made me start to economize in order to pay bills for the next few months by cutting unnecessary expenses. reducing the cost of some services and, paying out of pocket by buying on a need only basis. While it saved me from being evicted from the apartment, it left me with some serious concerns on what to do next. In spite of my efforts to save and the big chunk left in my account, it still left a big gap in my cushion.

The truth was, while all this was going on, my VR Counselor informed me that there were two weeks left in our association before they had to close my case on September 8. Since it was already known by me how to:
  1. write a resume and cover letter
  2. handle myself during an interview
  3. follow up with a thank you letter
There was no need to pay another vendor to help me job develop.They had no idea that Work Services did this the second time. If my mother hadn't found the job as a part time tutor at the Eastside Girls' and Boys' Club, the nine year disaster with the first counselor would have occurred again. Even if there was a job outside the home, the two jobs occupied by me took half my paycheck. Even though both were around the corner from Mom's house, the money I made went to the cab company. A lot of the customer service jobs they recommended were out of the county like Richland Hills and Corral, Texas. Most of the greeter services offered at Walmart, IHOP, and the like were cut because of the economy. The ironic thing was they didn't know this. After nine months of listening to how they knew what I went through and how hard things were here, it felt like I was lied to.Contractual work was great but at this time it wasn't lucrative.

 Mom mentioned other state services, but knowing what I did about them, I'd have to be homeless and penniless before I qualified for them. Even Section 8 housing required a part time job while living on their rosters and meeting income requirements to boot.Since finding these services were harder because of the economy, it might have been wiser to stay with contractual work like writing. At least it was something that bought money in.

Hopefully, there won't be any more burns suffered by me if my wits were kept. Only God knew what was.


   

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Knowing people by their fruit: On line advertisers not honest all the time

Knowing people by their fruit: On line advertisers not honest all the time

While it was great getting another writing assignment from Jobz For Writers, some of the mistakes made me feel like an idiot. My having to buy, Flash Fiction Forward, 80 Very Short Stories, edited by James Thomas and Robert Shapard, was as expected. Nothing was free anymore. Every site visited by me that had that book in .PDF format, wanted a fee to download it, supposedly for free. It cost more on those .PDF site than where it was purchased by me.

Stealing and faulty advertising was a breach of the eighth and ninth  commandments. It sounded like the phone app on one of the sites that was supposedly free only after signing up for three offers that weren’t needed. One site promising free .PDF downloads let me have the book, but told me to sign up for three offers before releasing the password. The other site requested membership then asked me to pay $1.99 for the download. My login was declared invalid on part of the site. It wouldn’t take any of my credit cards either. The only thing wasted here was time. My sin would’ve been in not reporting this snare.

This bad experience was not to turnout like Academia-Research because the book was in stock on Amazon.com. There wasn’t to have been any Inter-library loan or use of the local college library either. Books-A-Million had the book, but it was not known if the store in the mall had it. There wasn’t enough cash on hand for cab fare and purchase of the book. In order to have had it here before the holiday, the two-day shipping price was almost double. Luckily there wasn’t more than one copyright date on the book above.

My ads weren’t working. It was a simple error made by me. My not knowing how to circulate my referral link got one of them banned on one of my affiliate sites. The goal was having them posted on the different affiliate sites. E-mails could’ve still been sent. In a way, what was done by me was also wrong. No one clicked on my ads because they were already members of the site they were being referred to. At least my account wasn’t suspended because of these mistakes.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Paper, pencil, and pen vs. smartphones, tablets, and computers

Was there any need  for paper, pencil, or pen  now that there were computers tablets and smart phones? Some would say no, others would say yes. For me, this was a “middle of the road’ issue. There were times when electronic gadgets were loved by me, other times my wish was that they worked better.

When there were activities at church with my Sunday School Department Fellowship next week and my class Fellowship Dinner next month in Decatur Texas, putting these things in my phone saved me the trouble of keeping track of sticky notes or finding a pencil with a point or a pen that works in the kitchen. In doing this, it also worked with other appointments made with doctors and my Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor because the office location was shown on a map. Sometimes, this helped the cab driver in knowing the best route to take. Unless the note was in front of me on the side of the microwave, that was the only reminder available. With a smart phone reminder, there is a sound that went of other than the basic default whistle when one got mail or other notifications.

Other times, my wish was that these electronic devices worked as well as they were supposed to. My on line writing depended on internet access. There were three times last year when my internet access was needed and was not working. It was important for me in keeping the encyclopedias my brother kept insisting was no longer needed now that there was on line access. My distrust of my internet connection justified my keeping those books. They held up the second to the last shelf with my jewelry boxes on it. The shelf supports gave out before my sister moved in 2005.

1.  February 14-21, 2013 Problems with setting up the appointment on the customer service line almost cost me my job with the Examiner. After complaining to a supervisor, Time Warner Cable gave me a discount on my bill until February this year.

Last April, while talking to my Aunt on the phone, two of my WordPress blog posts were written like that before. It gave me something to do while waiting for the problem to be fixed. While this issue got fixed, there were other blog posts  and pieces for me to start.

2.  May 6, 2013 After getting my smart phone, someone in my apartment complex cut my cable wire and hooked it to their box. The technician told me not to pursue the people who did this because an inquiry took too long. It was a prank done during graduation week  at MSU and there were a lot of people moving out anyway. I got a credit on my bill for the two and a half days of having no internet access.

3.  October 5, 2013 Sometime during my mother’s visit that afternoon and 9:30 p.m. there was no internet, cable or wi-fi access. With all of the Sunday School teachers unable to teach being otherwise occupied either in another part of Texas or another state entirely or physically hurt, this left us with no teacher or prepared lesson. Without internet access, there was no way of my teaching the lesson on adultery that Sunday. The lights went out three times before the technicians got it right. Working in the dark was not easy anyway. The light from my phone kept me from panicking.

Like a Girl Scout, a writer was prepared  always keeping paper and pencil or pen handy to jot down their ideas. Stephen King wrote a review of a long ago popular movie using plain notebook paper and pen. My uncle, who resided in Florida, still wrote his blog posts longhand, in draft before typing on a computer. There were benefits to  this “old fashioned” way of doing things.



It helped me maintain the old time skills of writing learned in elementary, junior high, high school and college. One of my college English professors told me my writing skills propped up my grade in class. Another told me that there was no need for the evening class another professor was trying to get me to take. With my command of the English language, there wasn’t any need for Structures of the English Language, taught after the current class by the other teacher who gave that compliment.

Today was a good day for doing things semi-old fashioned way, hence my “middle of the road” answer. My use of Microsoft Works to set up my next few blog posts made it that way. Because one might’ve needed their cell phone to call a cab to get home, it was better carrying pen and paper in jotting down information. One needed to conserve the battery.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wanted: House for rent. Quiet cul de sac preferred





Up until a week ago., my mother told me a house wasn’t a good idea. Growing weary of hearing my neighbors noises really got on my nerves. For the last six years the pendulum swung from one extreme to another. A detached house on a quiet cul de sac would’ve been nice.

One of the problems with renting an apartment or house, there were a few things that bothered me but all this had to have been asked before signing an application or lease:

1.Section 8 Housing required everything in my bank account plus 20 hours outside the home. When most of the places accepting this situation found my not being able to meet income requirements, they laughed in my face or made smart aleck remarks about my getting a job. They also appeared on hand to inspect the house’s condition and what the owner had in it. My smart phone would’ve been a red flag to them.

2. Was there easy access into and out of the apartment? If not would the complex have done that? Most of the apartment complexes looked at by me said they weren’t required to do so, so the application was not filled out and signed by me either. One allowed alterations to the inside, but the expense to return it to its former state was the tenant’s responsibility.

Luckily one of the apartments looked at by me that didn’t work out recommended my current residence. There was no ramp upon my arrival here, but they built one in 2002 and had it redone in 2007 correctly. Even though there were no discounts on my rent until 2005, all was well until 2007, when my neighbors behavior began to change. If they weren’t hollering loud enough for neighbors to call the cops, they were having loud intimate relations.

 It was a good thing my knowing my rights as a renter. My lease stated a few things:
  • Rent was due on the first of every month but the deadline was extended a day, from the 5th to the 6th. The office opened at 8:30 a.m. Rent was late if the clock said 8:31 a.m. and fees applied.   
  • Visitors had a 72 hour rule when staying with a tenant. After that time notification had to be put in writing if it were any longer. 
  • Community Rules: Rowdy visitors were warned of their behavior. Three strikes and an eviction of the tenant took place, This included any noises that disturbed the neighbors and caused them to complain to management such as blaring music, arguing inside the house and outside.. 
  • There were to be no home based businesses on property. Tenants got suspicious if people were running in and out of another tenant’s residence. They might assume illegal drugs were being sold, which was a felony and a lease violation. 
  • If there were a problem with a tenant, one was to call the appropriate people first, then tell management. To avoid retaliation, never confront them alone. 
  • Lock the car and apartment door. There were three locks on everyone’s apartment door, use them.


Those were a few of the rules in my first lease signed in August  2001. Now, after 13 years at the same place, my wariness increases as new neighbors came and went during that time. Recently, Mom told me of a house near Southwest Parkway. It was previously occupied by an elderly person, so it was easy getting in and out of the house. Unfortunately, the rent was too expensive. With utilities included, it was $600 a month for that two bedroom. There was another problem. With nine months left on my lease, breaking it would’ve been detrimental to my bank account. Because income requirements were unable to be met by me, they gave me a discount because my income came from the government.

In order to terminate my lease, the nine month discount would’ve had to have been paid back in addition to the administrative fees for breaking my contract. That left a black mark against me because the new landlord would‘ve been notified of that which made me a risk. It was better leaving in 2007 when management was more willing to waiver those fees, but no one else offered the perks I had here. Most of the apartments only gave one month at a reduced rate just to hook the prospective tenant.

My problem with the other places reviewed by me was that they were not ADA compatible either inside the apartment or outside. If they stated the We weren’t required to speech, the application wasn’t filled out by me because there was no obligation to. One apartment complex allowed alterations to the inside of the apartment, but the tenant had to pay to put it back as was. It my have taken them five years to fix the ramp at the end of the sidewalk, or get sued, but it was fixed.

One thing that shouldn’t happen was renting a house and having to vacate in 72 hours because the landlord sold it and the new owner demanded the occupant leave in that time. It happened to one of the former members of my church. They moved four times in as many years before changing churches.

There was a thought of moving to the other apartment complex down the street, but it was the closeness of my neighbors that deterred me from that. And the easy access rule of my own.  There was plenty of time for me to decide where to live between now and the end of February 28, 2015

Friday, February 14, 2014

Faith in Action: The under one hour five-step dinner plan

This had to be reprinted becuse it was too good not to put here.
Ok, its dinner time. Nothing was thawed. No one wanted what was in the fridge. Pizza night was two nights away and fish was eaten previously. A favorite show came on in an hour. One must have had faith. Don’t panic because, there’s a solution. Below was an Under one-hour five-step dinner plan that would’ve fed even the hungriest of people.
Hebrews 11:1 said (NIV):
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup of elbow macaroni, or favorite pasta
  • ¼ cup of broccoli pieces, or favorite vegetables
  • Small piece of cut meat, or prepared
  • Three tablespoons of cheese

Directions:
  1. Boil, on medium to medium-high heat in a two-quart saucepan, ¼ cup of elbow macaroni or a favorite pasta. Drain and return to saucepan.
  2. Boil, on medium to medium-high heat in a two quart sauce pan, ¼ cup of broccoli pieces or a favorite vegetable. Drain and add to the macaroni.
  3. Heat, a small piece of cut turkey, 2 minutes and 30 seconds in the microwave from frozen, or along with prepared meat and ½ cup of cheese sauce. Add to the macaroni vegetable mixture.
  4. Heat on medium to medium-high heat until coated with cheese.
  5. Carefully pour into a medium cereal bowl and enjoy. Served one.
Matthew 17:19-21 said (KJV):
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
This was tried by me last week and it worked All was done in under an hour. “Family Guy” came on at seven o’clock on TBS on Mondays and Thursdays, which was enjoyed by me while eating dinner.

Removing the speckle: Critiques better left to the public

Removing the speckle: Critiques better left to the public

Winter’s Tale, the movie being released on Valentine’s Day nation-wide, was not based on Shakespeare’s play, but Mark Halprin’s book. Unlike the person who saw this movie but never read the book, all this hype about the movie made me want to read the book and watch the movie either by cable, incidentally Time Warner Cable was bought by Comcast, or by computer download on Amazon.com. Critics were everywhere, so my problems with them were somewhat justified.

The Bible said in Matthew 7:5 (KJV):

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

My  three biggest problems with critics were that they:

  • Thought their words carried a lot of weight. By panning something that they didn’t like, it might have kept box office receipts down. In all fairness, sometimes they were right. There weren’t too many movies unliked by me except perhaps Avatar and the movie version of  Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera
  • While the author of the review read by me did not read the book, this future reviewer wanted to read the original story and watch the movie so an accurate review was written. At least my reading the American version of Phantom of the Opera was read while watching all the movies. 
  • While everyone was entitled to their own opinions, that’s what reviews were. The final judge on whether the movie was good or bad should be left to the ticket buyer. It wouldn’t have been what the reviewer said about the movie that kept me away, but the price of the ticket. Movies had to have been good to have spent $8 just to have seen them. The last movie seen by me was The Butler last August, and that was during a matinee time.  

Watching the movie might have told me where Will Smith and Colin Farrell fit in this movie. My return was assured to have my own review written and have that issue answered.

Followers