I write, fiction; or, as Kellyanne Conway might term it, alternative facts

As a four-year-old, my perception of the Cuban Missile Crisis was, “Mommy, the stooopid Prezsieden stopped my cartoons again!” As a teen, I had to learn about the event in my history classes and understood President Kennedy was not only taking a hard line on the Soviet Union building missile bases in Cuba, but that he was working to ensure the safety of American citizens as well as working with the UN. While President Kennedy did not want to wage war with the Soviet Union, he also would not back down from his duty to safe guard the United States as a whole.

Article I, Amendment 1 – Freedom of expression and religion: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (Wednesday, March 4, 1789 – emphasis my own) On January 20, 2017 – inauguration day – six journalists were arrested while reporting on protests against the sitting President’s inauguration. They were doing their job, reporting – see Amendment 1 directly above – and now could face up to ten years in prison. [See article here: http://www.snopes.com/2017/01/25/journalists-arrested-felony-charge/] The sitting President has banned several predominantly Muslim countries entry to the US and stated, “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” (January 29, 2017) However, let’s be very clear here. President Obama responded to an actual threat when it was uncovered that two Iraqi refugees had been implicated in bomb-making while still in Iraq, that had targeted American troops. The sitting President issued his executive order with no known triggering threats against Americans. President Obama did not halt or ban visa applications, although the process admittedly slowed considerably. President Obama did not authorize a “blanket ban” on all citizens of Iraq entering America, and from traveling through the United States – including greed-card holders. For those that do not know or understand, a green card is given as proof to legal permanent residency, to those that have officially been granted immigration benefits which includes permission to reside and be employed in the United States. The sitting President signed a “blanket ban” against seven countries – not against known or suspected extremists, but against everyone from those countries, presuming them guilty of terrorism without proof, from entering into America. The sitting President referred to the terroristic attacks on 9/11 as to reasoning behind this ban – yet, the countries not included in this ban are the very ones where the terrorists came from, were trained in, lived in (Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan to name two)… and also, I believe, countries where the sitting President currently owns hotels and has other business ties.

Christians believe in one God and follow the word of the Bible. Muslims believe in one God (Allah in Arabic) and follow the word of the Quran. From History.org, “… Islam, which means literally “submission.” This new faith incorporated aspects of Judaism and Christianity. It respected the holy books of these religions and its great leaders and prophets — Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others. Muhammad called Abraham “Khalil” (“God’s friend”) and identified him as Islam’s ancient patriarch. Islam traces its heritage through Abraham’s son Ishmael.” (emphasis my own)

Friederich Trump immigrated to America (from Germany) in 1885 and became a citizen  in 1892. Abraham Rutan came to America (from France) in 1675 – a full 210 years before Heir Trump. A Madame Duchesne settled in New Orleans (from France to Canada for many years and then America) in 1823 – over 50 years (62, to be exact) before Heir Trump, while a J.B. Duchesne also settled in New Orleans (also from France/Normandy to Canada and then America) in 1822 – also over 50 years (63, to be exact) before Heir Trump. Duchesne is another spelling of the French surname DuShane. My mother descends from the Rutan line and my father is a DuShane. By all accounts, my familial line has been in America longer than our sitting President’s familial line.

What is my point, you might be wondering…? Well, part of my family was here in America before the Constitution was even written and I happen to take pride in what that Document states. Oh, I’m sure many Americans take pride in the Constitution, I am in no way claiming my pride is stronger simply because part of my familial line arrived in America before it was even penned. I am no historian although I am educated, holding an MA in English; I read, a lot. I write, fiction; or, as Kellyanne Conway might term it, alternative facts. As a concerned citizen, I do not have a problem with our government taking steps to keep us safe – as President’s Kennedy and Obama did. No, not at all! I expect it, no, demand it – they have many whose entire careers concern gathering information and making the data known so the President can make an informed decision. Our Constitution was not founded in fascism, which seems to be the particular bent of the current Administration. Religious freedom and freedom of speech – including the press – are the very first things addressed in the First Amendment, for crying out loud.

What saddens me the most however, is witnessing the blatant bigotry and racism not only still present in this once great nation, but fervently shouted from rooftops. I cry for my country. I am so outtie….

Gotta do it

I am so damn proud of women today! Check out the images on this CNN story from yesterday, the USA Today story from the 21st,  this Snopes story about why protestors signs were left where they were after the march in D.C., the New York Times story about what comes next… I could post link after link after link. There is unity here, people – not just women, mind you – unified in their terror over this new era, unified in their anger over the habitual liar in the most powerful office, unified in their disbelief over claims of “alternative facts” replacing what the lies are – falsehoods and lies!

Dan Rather has posted some extremely powerful things in the last couple of days, like this one and this one, both posted on Occupy Democrats website. He’s calling tRump out, calling him the liar he is, and reminding every single American of our power and that we must hold him accountable! Dan’s the man….

Watch for the lies, people. Don’t let him slide. According to Robert Reich, the GOP will allow this continue while they tear apart the progress our country had made and line their pockets – no matter how many Americans it hurts, before they “pull the plug” on him. I paraphrased the Rawstory article and added my views to what Reich apparently said. It’s gonna be a rough ride.

*sighs* I am so outtie….

Memorial Day vs Veteran’s Day

I just left Facebook in disgust, overwhelmed by the high percentage of posters that simply do not understand the difference in these two Federal holidays. Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember those that gave (lost) their life, in the service of this country. It is a somber day, we honor our fallen warriors…. Some send out a blanket “Happy Memorial Day” to friends and family. Are you serious? Will you go to a loved ones funeral and say, “Have a wonderful, happy day today”? It’s basically the same, it is not an excuse to drink and party and light fireworks for kids to squeal at… it is, as I said, a somber day to remember and honor all those brave service men and women whose lives were lost in and for the service of their country.

Then we have Veteran’s Day – in November, folks – a day set aside to honor and give thanks to every single service men and women that honorably serve(d) this country; this holiday pays respect to living and dead soldiers.

Of course, I believe honor and respect should be given to all living beings every day; however, could we at least attempt to understand the meanings behind these two different days that honor service people? Lisa Respers France wrote an article, published in 2015, that explains the difference… Get it Straight: The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Please, educate yourselves, people. Stop wishing me a Happy Memorial Day. I’m fortunate to only have lost one single friend while he was serving; this is my day to honor him and remember him and wonder what wonderful things he might have accomplished – had he not died in the final days of the Vietnam War.

I am so outtie….

Bigfoot on History Channel

Okay, I have a problem with this. Now, I’m all for entertainment and I am a believer in a lot of things others do not believe in. I do happen to believe Bigfoot is real. [I also believe in Faery’s, Dragons, and a few other things some others might not believe in. But hey, it’s my belief system so who does that harm?] What I have a problem with is the History Channel putting shows on like Bigfoot: Captured or the one about a Mermaid being found [on Discovery Channel – another station I hold to high standards] as another example, filmed as a documentary with unknown actors claiming they are prestigious educators or scientists or researchers – i.e. experts, and showing it. These are mockumentories not documentaries! Advertise them as such, please, quit acting like they are true because that is belittling to your audience.

Let’s face it, folks… if a bigfoot had been captured, as this show is claiming, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN HEADLINE NEWS ON ALL CHANNELS! I expect better from History Channel; I hold this station to a high standard. I expect facts. I expect it to be legitimate. If they want to boost ratings with mockumentories, that’s fine, I don’t have a problem with that in the least. I’d likely still watch the show and probably enjoy it more because I expect to be entertained. However, when they present it as a documentary, I expect to learn something. I expect facts. I expect it to be legitimate. When they continue to show programs advertised as documentaries and they are completely untrue, you have to wonder about the legitimacy of the rest of their programming represented as documentaries on other interesting – and often historical – figures and items. Can I believe the current show on Alcatraz? Or did they toss in a few [legitimate] facts and mix it with fiction in order to come up with new answers? Same with the show on Hitler – how much is the actual truth and how much is fiction? I’m very disappointed in History Channel. Just advertise the truth, you’ll still have viewers.

I’m outtie….


Okay, I actually had a couple of posts yesterday but when I came to login and make an update a few minutes ago, there was an error – the URL had somehow changed to one of my other domains where WordPress is currently not installed, so I kept getting fatal errors… so I kept playing around and updating to my last backup [the current blog showing] and deleted the blog from the other domain… and kept getting errors! *sighs*

Obviously I finally got this much back, only missing two posts. Oh well.

So why is this in the Issues category? Because I have an issue with the Ramada Inn in Fargo, ND. Last night I booked a double room for my niece’s wedding in September. Had HUGE sticker shock when the rooms ended up costing me well over $700! Today, Jennie contacted me to offer me a room at the Hilton where she is staying, has two queen beds, for only $39 a night!!!! So I tried to cancel the Ramada Inn room and they say there is a no cancellation policy and they will be keeping my $725.52 – even though I cancelled roughly six hours after making the reservation and well over a month before I’m expecting to go!! The rooms were for September 25-28, that’s almost 6-weeks away. So I called Discover – the room charges were pending, again, almost 6-weeks before the reservation date, and [Discover is so freaking awesome!!!] Discover has my back. Jonathan told me to email the booking place and tell them I do not authorize the charge, he noted it on his end, and said to blitz them with emails that I am cancelling and have made Discover aware of this… so I did. He said it is not normal [so did Jennie, btw] to charge the fee this far in advance and legally they cannot ‘hold’ the charge in reserve for more than 10-days, so he said if they do not cancel I should use the ‘freeze account’ option through Discover and they will handle the problem on my behalf. See what I mean? Discover is totally awesome! Shame on you, Ramada Inn!

I am so outtie….

the Saga Continues…

So, after fighting with Windows 10 over ownership of my purple laptop and the new Microsoft browser playing games with my school forum boards [where a large percentage of my grade comes from, mind you] I finally got ticked off and restored to Windows 7. I am not gonna do the upgrade on this desktop, either, after my personal experience with my school laptop! I may allow the new Dell to keep using Windows 10, since it is the only touchscreen enabled PC in the house and just might be able to take advantage of some of the new stuff… but this ownership crap is a huge issue to me. I bought every stinking one of the computer’s in this house with my own hard-earned cash and savings, and now Microsoft’s Windows 10 says I don’t have permission to do things because I don’t own it?!?

Issues are still coming up, too. When I finally decided to restore Windows 7, I figured I would do a total system restore to the day before the upgrade. I had specifically created a restore point, just in case, before I did the upgrade. Did I restore? No. Apparently Windows 10 deleted that restore point and the only one left on my purple laptop is two damn years old! It destroyed/deleted every single current to semi-current restore point my laptop had on it! Damn dirty, Microsoft, damn dirty…. And I am back to the ownership issues once again, with my Outlook mail not allowing me to get my domain’s email because I don’t have permission, I’m not the owner, of the Outlook pst data files where all accounts folders are stored. I’m about ready to uninstall Outlook and re-install it fresh, to hell with all those years of saved messages.

I see so many program shortcuts on my desktop with ‘locks’ on them now – I guess I no longer own all of these programs I have purchased over the years and use daily… you did this soooooo wrong, Microsoft! I am not a computer expert and have never claimed to be. However, I have been the Administrator over my own machines for six or more years. As the Administrator, it is up to me to give permissions to the various programs and how/if other users can access them and to what extent. But this Windows 10 upgrade changed all of that, taking away and limiting what I, as the Administrator, am allowed to do – ON MY OWN MACHINE!!!!!!! And then takes away my ability to restore to a point right before I did the upgrade. I am beyond pissed over this – this is messing with my schooling for crying out loud! If I were to use that old restore point from 2013, I would lose half of my BA classes stored on the machine and ALL of my MA classes – and I’m almost finished with my degree. That’s a lot of records, folks.

I suppose I can use my new Dell and move all essential Documents and installation files to it, for safe keeping, and then do the old restore… and take hours to do updates to bring Windows 7 back to where it should be. That is, if either machine allows me to do that, with these ownership issues! And if I can simply download and install the Windows 7 security packs without needing to upgrade to Windows 10 again. Christ, what a mess… *sighs* You did this so very wrong, Microsoft… this is hitting me harder than losing my old blog and my old graphics folder, cause losing those was on me, my stupidity. But what’s going on with my purple laptop – that’s on Microsoft and is so wrong.

Damn. I am so outtie….

Microsoft 10 free upgrade

K, so I signed up for the free upgrade on three of my four computers. Laptops were done, yesterday. I opted to upgrade my newest laptop first, the awesome Dell Inspiron with touchscreen capabilities, cause I figured it would really enhance it. I wasn’t disappointed! Upgrade was done without a hitch, took maybe 15-20 minutes total and I finished [pretty much] setting up that laptop for my use – although I do still have a few small things to adjust yet, but no biggie. Checked my desk top, but the upgrade notice for it still hadn’t come in. So I moved to my older laptop, affectionately called the purple laptop.

The purple laptop is my five year old Dell Inspiron, used exclusively for school. The newer Dell will be my dedicated writing laptop in the very near future, as I am setting it up slowly, working around my school schedule… it’s lighter than the purple laptop, so I can see myself packing it up and taking it with me, more than I do the purple one.

I had a ton [i.e. an excess of twenty-five] windows open on my purple laptop, the rewards of my research for my school paper. Having recently lost my old blog and a folder filled with graphics I created, I was very mindful of save, save, save before starting the upgrade. So I went through all window tabs and either bookmarked for later reading, or saved pages that were actually pdf’s, to my desktop. I saved the work I had already done on the paper due this Sunday, closed everything I wasn’t using and began the upgrade. Took slightly longer for the download than the new Dell, but no complaints because there was a lot of data streaming from the house at the time. Once the download was complete, I began the upgrade process. Again, it was smooth, Microsoft did a pretty good job on making the transition easy; timing of upgrade was slightly longer than the new Dell’s upgrade, but the app stuff was pretty much all new to the purple laptop, so again, no real complaints.

However, once finished with the upgrade, I logged in to do more work to my paper. Settings had changed, it was now a ‘read-only’ document. Huh. Okay, I know the button to click off to stop an item being read-only… it wasn’t clicked. Huh. So I decided to use the good old save as and create a clean copy to finish working on… kept getting a Microsoft error message that I wasn’t allowed to use this Word feature, that I needed to check with the computer’s Administrator. Uh, that’s me, guys! It asked if I wanted to do a plain old save to the file, in My Documents. I figure why not, I can finish my paper and then move the corrected document to the folder it should be in and overwrite the read-only copy. Same message, I’m not allowed to do this and must gain the computer Administrator’s permission. Uh, guys> That’s still me….

I had to go through many, many, many steps to tell my faithful purple laptop that yes, I am the Administrator and that I ‘own’ the folder and all subfolders and files associated with it. By the time I figured this out and actually did it, it was early morning. So I didn’t work on the paper – and also had noticed that all of the annotated bibliography stuff I had written [I really hate writing annotated bibliographies!] was never saved, even though my Word documents are all set up to do an auto-save every ten minutes.

Apparently Microsoft, in all of its wisdom, chose to rename how things are done and where items go, with the new OS. For security purposes, mainly. Kudos for that, I suppose. However, with the new OS, my purple laptop no longer had my original Administrator account, AdminST. That account was the one that dealt with all system ‘business’ and gave permissions to my slightly lesser account, Shari, which mainly used Word and occasionally Paint Shop Pro 7; AdminST oversaw all installations and stuff, determining where things should be installed and who all had access. Business stuff. Might seem redundant since Shari and AdminST are the same person, but it was my own security protocol in case I allowed anyone else use of the laptop. The new OS got rid of AdminST and made Shari the Administrator – but locked things down so Shari had to search and find out how and where to go to get access back over her own darn computer! Now, instead of ‘My Documents’ where all important stuff was moved to, you know, the stuff you wanted to be sure was protected in case of crashes or recoveries, now I have ‘File Explorer’ to look for items… I guess File Explorer basically covers the old My Documents and Programs and all that mundane stuff [read sarcasm there, folks!]

My purple laptop is not touchscreen enabled, so it will never use the ‘tablet’ style built into the new OS. [Although I confess I adore it in my new Dell.] The newer security features seem pretty good, but I dislike hiding areas I, as Administrator, would need to visit periodically – like ‘My Computer’ among others. Hey Microsoft, why not build a style that resembles our original computer so that those PC’s that are not touchscreen enabled and likely never going to use the newer tablet style, can use – but with all of your new security built in? Wouldn’t that make more sense? I mean, I’m all for progress, but some of us simply cannot afford to purchase brand new computers every time you choose to upgrade, or once a year – whichever comes first. And I’m certainly not going to throw away/dispose of/trade-in my faithful purple laptop because it doesn’t have the capabilities to utilize the apps/touchscreen stuff, either. So how about some kind of happy middle ground for these older, still definitely usable, PC’s?

So now I’m really worried about my desktop. I use this for lots of things – creating graphics, web page design, some writing and blogging, playing games, relaxing on the web, email… and it’s at least four years older than my purple laptop. Still fast enough and according to Microsoft’s check, can handle the upgrade to the new OS. It also have several user profiles on it… my own Admin account and an Admin account for S, since he use to do the majority of repairs and stuff for my PC’s. His account had VPN access to my other PC’s for maintenance/repair purposes. I also have a user account for Joe, and one for Guests. But from what I saw on my purple laptop, all of those will go away. Now, don’t get me wrong, Microsoft does allow you to create new user profiles in the new OS. But, they must be associated with a Microsoft [Hotmail] email address in order to create them. I don’t want more Hotmail addresses, I have several domains I own and prefer to use them for any email address I might need. Plus the need to go through this PC and reclaim ownership of everything I already own. [Sorry, but that’s just plain stupid to me!]

So, the upgrade on a fairly clean, new laptop – awesome! Upgrade on a slightly older, well used purple laptop – pain in the ass. Upgrade on a much older, also not touchscreen enabled, desktop with loads of life and use left in it? Fear inspiring….

Oh, and by the way, I finished the required annotated bibliographies [*sighs* I so hate annotated bibliographies!] and wrote about half of my paper today. Like I said, it isn’t due until Sunday, so I’m back on schedule.

I am so outtie….