Category Archives: Advice

Publishers Clearing House Scam

So, I just got a call from a possibly Kingston Jamaica number claiming to be Publisher’s Clearing House. The speaker was probably a computer because the inflections were very wrong. It sounded like it was the scam that wants you to say “Yes” so that they can steal stuff using your information. Unfortunately I said “Alright” to one question, but I don’t think that was enough because the call didn’t immediately end. When I asked who they were and they said Publishers Clearing House, I immediately knew it was a scam and said “No” to the next question they wanted an affirmative answer to. Then they said, “You doubt who I am?” And I just hung up on that one!

I just got my first smartphone and was disappointed to find that I couldn’t report that number as a scam directly from my phone. In a world that wants better ability to trace these people, you’d think reporting it as a scam immediately would be useful information.

Anyway, I then went tothe PCH website to alert them to the scam. Their Customer Service page even has a number designated for telling them there’s a PCH Scam! So, I called it. And I got a recording thanking me for my interest in working with them (?) and a reminder that their office hours are (whatever) M-F. And then the call ended on their end.

AGAIN! If the goal is to put scammers in prison, more information is necessary! I know that they can’t do anything with one report of one number, so I don’t mind that there wasn’t a live person to talk to. BUT THIS IS SUPPOSEDLY THEIR SCAM REPORTING LINE! You’d think they’d take a message!

This isn’t exactly rocket science.

Norfolk teen who was pepper sprayed by officer will be charged with a crime, police tell family | Courts & Crime | pilotonline.com

https://pilotonline.com/news/local/crime/article_a221c7b2-ce59-11e8-ad03-1388f5173015.amp.html

“The video starts with the two officers pulling out of the parking lot of the Cook Out on Monticello Avenue and Tariq walking down the street, Muhammad said.

The officer in the passenger seat asks Tariq if they can talk to him, Muhammad said. Tariq tells them he has nothing to say to them and keeps walking.

The cruiser stops, Muhammad continued. The officer in the passenger seat gets out and “snatches” Tariq’s shirt and book bag “in a very aggressive way,” spinning him around.

Tariq pulls away from the officer who’s grabbing him and tells him to get his hands off of him, Muhammad said.

That’s when the second officer, the one who’d been driving the cruiser, pepper-sprays Tariq in the face, Muhammad said.”

The police had no right to grab at him until they investigated why he wasn’t in school! He could easily have a pass for late arrival or any other valid reason for being late on that particular day. I remember getting stopped a few times as I walked late to school usually do to SOL testing or final exams. I was a person with a study hall my senior year for one of my last classes of the day (block scheduling so my last block was 7 on A days and 8 on B days). Rather than get the pass so I could go home early, I got a year long pass to go to the library so that I could surf the internet (since we had dial-up at home).

Literally my encounters with the police were: “Why are you late for school?” Me: “SOL testing.” Or “Final Exams” and the cop would say something along the lines of “Okay. Good luck.” And they’d drive away.

Being a cop doesn’t give anyone  the right to put their hands on anyone! How do I know this? First responder training. In search and rescue, if we find someone and they are conscious, we have to ASK  if they want us to check out and treat their injuries before we can put our hands on them. If they say no, they’re happy where they are, we can’t just manhandle them to get them to safety! That’d be assault!

When you go to a hospital, if you are conscious, you MUST give consent to treatment! Even though consent is technically implied because you drove yourself there, if you are conscious when you get triaged, you must give explicit consent. It’s one of the forms you sign before anything more than blood pressure and temperature get done (if that much).

The only legal implied consent in the medical field is when the patient is unconscious. THEN you are safe to assume that they would want you to do everything in your power (that you are cleared to do within the scope of your training) to save them. But, first you must determine the extent of the unconsciousness! You must speak loudly and clearly to them to see if they wake up. You must still ask for consent before touching them! If they don’t answer, you can assume implied consent, but if they were merely napping and wake up, that’s assault if you touched them without attempting to wake them up verbally first.

On a related note, you should never attempt to awaken a potentially injured person by shaking them. Jarring a spinal injury can cause serious damage. Always assume there is a spinal injury unless it’s extremely unlikely (or the surrounding area is more dangerous than the risk of spinal damage); it’s better to be safe than sorry!

The medical profession has extensive protocols and training about consent and informing the patient about exactly what will be done to them before anyone lays a finger on them (for anything more than routine blood pressure and temperature). 

I’m curious about informed consent and assault training for police officers. When it comes to “routine” stops where there’s no time to get a warrant (personally, I think there is ALWAYS time to get a warrant!), at what point are cops legally allowed to commit assault?

I think policing would go a lot smoother for everyone if the rules were more clear cut:

  • Officers cannot put their hands on (or point their weapons at) anyone until they determine that a significant type of law has been broken. This can include assault on the police officer, in those cases where the suspect swings first.
  • Arrests can’t be made without a warrant. This includes putting someone in handcuffs “for their own safety” while they sit in the back of a cruiser. Unless, of course, a significant type of law was determined to be broken as described above.
  • Before touching and/or arresting someone, the officer must clearly describe exactly why they are touching and/or arresting the person. This is where implied vs. explicit consent come in most clearly. Asking to search a person or vehicle is obtaining explicit consent. Having “probable cause” to search a vehicle is implied consent, but it’s like giving CPR to someone taking a nap. Rather than determining whether the person is truly unconscious the “rescuer” has decided on their own that they’re dying. In truth, taking an extra few moments to determine that they’re just sleeping isn’t going to hurt anything, as is waiting a few moments for a warrant or other confirmation from a reputable source that a search is valid.

The rules must be consistently enforced! A white girl and a black boy should not have such completely different interactions with police when rhey are both equally late for school! And honestly, when it comes to truancy, the police should be given a list of names of kids not in school on a particular day (only those kids with a confirmed history of truancy; so essentially a warrant has been issued on these particular kids) and they can only stop kids who match the description (photo??) of kids on that list.

Though, really, how involved should police be with truancy? I think this is a problem best solved by the school, parents, and courts. Rather that worrying about the bandaid issue of one kid skipping one day of school, there should be a stricter structure for the kids skipping multiple upon multiple days of school without just cause.

Walmart planning ‘net-connected trolley’ – BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45809924

US retail giant Walmart has applied for a patent for a smart shopping trolley that can track a shopper’s heart rate, temperature, grip and walking speed.

Such a system would provide valuable information about how shoppers respond to different stores, it said.

 

I think this would go down better with shoppers if it automatically scanned items and had a running total of the expense so that checking out was just a matter of pushing a button, swiping a card, or stopping by a cashier for paying cash.

‘I’m constantly asking: Why?’ When mass shootings end, the painful wait for answers begins. – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/im-constantly-asking-why-when-mass-shootings-end-the-painful-wait-for-answers-begins/2018/03/15/6fb0347e-1d8a-11e8-b2d9-08e748f892c0_story.html?utm_term=.febc803e891c

Toward the end of their interviews, Reid asked Holmes what he believed caused him to kill others. Holmes boiled it down to hard numbers: 45 percent was caused by his belief in the point system, another 45 by the feeling it would prevent his suicide, and 10 percent by his broccoli-like hatred.

Reid, however, said he found those answers lacking.

“You could call them excuses in a way, because they don’t make sense,” he said. “People break up with their girlfriends every day; that doesn’t mean they become killers. They struggle with depression and impulses; that doesn’t mean they become killers. These things are associated with the action, but they are not predictive.”

Reid is a forensic psychiatrist who clearly has no clue how mental illness works.

This sounds exactly like OCD to me, except instead of checking the locks 3 times or washing hands for exactly 45 seconds to prevent bad things from happening, Holmes was certain that killing people would save his life because he knew the alternative was him committing suicide, something he knew he didn’t want to do.

While this seems like an unsatisfactory answer, it is one that shows that there is a way to prevent future attacks of this type. OCD can be treated.

Now, I’m sure that some people are thinking, “well, such bad thoughts can be shut down; they’re a choice.” Uh no. They’re not a choice. People don’t get to choose what their obsessions are or what works or doesn’t work (for them).

I have a problem with songs (and thoughts) getting stuck in my head for hours on end. Hours. But I randomly found a trick that works to stop the repetition: I’m a Little Teapot. Yep, somehow this nursery rhyme a) doesn’t get stuck in my head and b) is capable of shutting off whatever has been on repeat when nothing else has.

You may be thinking, “well, I get songs stuck in my head all the time!”

For days on end? 

With no relief?

Where you happen to stumble upon one thing that brings you quiet for a little while?

This forensic psychiatrist has unintentionally shown exactly what’s wrong with the current system: we don’t recognize universal symptoms as universal when it’s easier to assume that there must be a deeper problem.
 I get why this happens. We don’t want t stigmatize all OCD as the same. We don’t want to stigmatize the issue. And that’s fine! That’s great! There are many many different flavors (from mild annoyances to severe “I can’t live like this”)!

But ultimately, it is all the same. And it needs to be treated as such if we want to move forward as a society. Not because a handwasher and door-lock-checker can suddenly become a serial killer (actually, since these are coping mechanisms they’d be less likely to “snap”), but because everyone deserves to live in peace and while we may think of handwashers and door-lock-checkers as quirky and harmless when compared to people whose coping mechanism is murder, neither group gets to live in peace. Both are slaves to their obsessions. That’s not fair to them.

What makes the Parkland shooter different is that everyone in his life knew he was troubled and wanted to gwet him the help he needed.

But their efforts were stymied by red tape. The type of red tape that seems to stem from a lack of money invested in mental health care.

Calls for putting more police officers in schools, arming teachers, and installing bullet proof glass and metal detectors all strike me as reactionary. They are all things that will respond to the next shooting, but will do absolutely nothing to prevent it. 

I think such money would be better served by creating an in-school suspension system that focuses on mental healthcare rather than just shuffling troubled kids along. And there should be a seemless transition between graduation and adult mental health care. Cost should be no object because anyone asking for help for themselves or a loved one should receive it. Period.

Hubby has Diabetes

And it’s like the best thing ever!

A little over a week ago, hubby drove himself to the hospital because he thought he was having a small stroke (he was really zoning out, his face felt more numb than usual, and he was drooling a bit; he sounded fine on the phone with me, so I wasn’t super weorried).

He passed all the neurology tests with flying colors, but his blood sugar was through the roof. He refused insulin because a) he has a serious needle phobia (with good reason) and b) he was blaming drinking 6-8 Mountain Dews a day for the past year or so (and Caffeine Free Coke or Fruit Punch soda before that) and figured he just needed to work it through his system.

They kept him overnight and I stayed with him. I was very unimpressed that they did not put him on a diabetic friendly diet, though we chose him the better of the options for lowering his sugar. I was also unimpressed that no one pushed him into alternatives for the injected insulin he was refusing (though, we were in the neurology ward, so there’s probably a different mentality there).

Actually, the nurse that pissed me off most was the one in the ER who told him that his sugar was too high, but yes, he could have “something” to eat then immediately ran out of the room so quickly I couldn’t ask her what would be best for me to get him. She didn’t come back as at all.

Anyway, after more than 12 hours in the hospital with his sugar not getting into normal range despite better eating/drinking practices, I gave him an ultimatum: he either took the insulin with his lunch OR he would go for a brisk 30-45 min walk after lunch, get his sugar checked again, and if it was still to high after some exercise (because laying in a bed wasn’t lowering his sugar) he would accept the insulin without complaint!

He agreed to walk. Keep in mind, the stroke in 2010 took all the feeling from his left side (without affecting muscle tone or motor control), which has slowly been coming back as pins and needles when it’s not numb. In other words, walking is at best uncomfortable and at worst HURTS! 
After checking with the charge nurse, I left him to walking while I went home for a shower and some supplies (they were planning to keep him a second night at the time), but while I was home, he was seen by a doctor who told him they’d release him as soon as they checked his A1C (which he bombed fantastically!).

I wasn’t 100% confident that he would take his new diagnosis seriously enough, so I’ve been his little Dictator about it for the past week. But, he’s surprised me completely!

He’s been walking a lot more! He drinks more water (limiting himself to 1 20 oz Gatorade (or other sugary drink) a day because he doesn’t really like water)! 

And shockingly enough, he’s been getting up “early” (10 or 11 am) AND EATING BREAKFAST!!!

HELL! When he came to bed (4am this morning), he told me to wake him up at about 9am with a specific breakfast request!

Hehe. You see, I’ve been slowly releasing the Dictator reigns as he proves himself capable, but he screwed up yesterday (his first real weekend where no one was likely to call him before noon). He went to bed at 3am, but didn’t wake up until 1:30 pm when I asked him if he was planning to take his medication. Yep, I let him oversleep his pill by a few hours to prove my point about him either setting an alarm or asking for a wake up call.

I was completely shocked this morning when he actually answered my question “What time do you want to get up in the morning?” with real answers, first 8am with just the pill, but later changing to 9am with  breakfast 😊. Good Boy!!

What’s most interesting is seeing his rapid shift into normal wakefulness! You have to realize that for the past 6 months to a year, he’s been sleeping as much as possible (14+ hours) after staying awake as long as possible (often 24+ hours). He had many seemingly valid excuses for his sleep habits, but since the diabetes diagnosis, he’s been practically spry! Getting him out of bed for whatever reason had been a chore, but for the past week all I have to do is offer him breakfast and he’s up for the day! I fully conclude that the trouble getting out of bed and his lethargy had everything to do with his blood sugar ☺.

His new medication hasn’t been kind to his stomach, but I already fully expected we’d be spending the next 6 months dealing with all kinds of fun side effects while he and his doctor figure out exactly what he needs. This doesn’t bother me one bit.

His main motivation is to be able to control his diabetes with diet, exercise, and a pill rather than needing insulin shots and in this I’m his biggest cheerleader. My family has every flavor of diabetes you can imagine (including 2 who control it solely with just diet and exercise), so I don’t care how he treats it so long as his sugar gets to where it should be!

Anyway, I should get up and get my butt to the grocery store. Of course he wants food we don’t have in the house for breakfast, haha! {Nah, I kid; I need to do the weekly shopping anyway and I like doing the shopping while most people are at church on Sunday mornings.}

Hubby Got Mansplained…

…by his son, haha.

Remember my post about the mansplaining I witnessed at work? 

Well, Hubby got to experience getting mansplained today after he had a busy afternoon. First, he had to go change the water heater at his dad’s house and then shortly after he got home, his phone rang for a police call. From my perspective, he was telling me about the water heater and then he left for the call and when he came back, he was bitching about his son.

What had apparently happened is that while he was changing the water heater, he texted his son about it, but didn’t get much of a reply because his son was working. During the police call, hubby got a text back from his son that listed all the rules and regulations of changing out a water heater (his son is a plumber’s helper).

Hubby pretty much grew up in the plumbing industry since his mentor was a plumber and he got dragged into working on plumbing early. His son knows this, which is why hubby was so annoyed to get a text that essentially lectured him on the proper way to change a water heater hours after the job was done.

Once I figured out what had annoyed hubby so much, I could only laugh.

I explained to hubby all about mansplaining including what happened at work with the pressman mansplaining how ink works to the GM.

Ironically (not really), hubby ended up mansplaining the whole thing to me as he bitched about being mansplained to, hahaha! When he was done, I pointed out that he’d just mansplained to me and that this was why I tune him out half the time, but that he was exempt from hard feelings about it because of his blue screen of death 😊. I got flipped off for my trouble, but I could only smile at that, haha.

I think it was a very productive conversation because now if he starts mansplaining something for real (not just a blue screen moment), I can reference the time he got mansplained to in order to head him off! Woohoo!

Texas Church Shooting Video Shows Gunman’s Methodical Attack, Official Says – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/us/texas-shooting-video-devin-kelley.html

If there are no criminal negligence charges filed against those people in the Air Force who didn’t do their job and report his assault convictions to the federal background check system…I don’t even know.

Will Republicans who have been bitching for years about how perfect the background check system is (“there can’t possibly be a way for someone who shouldn’t get a gun to get through the system! We don’t need more gun laws!”) finally understand what we (moderate) gun control folks want?!?!

1) A comprehensive background check (extreme vetting? Sure, IF we’re going to be assholes to refugees, too.) And a life sentence in prison if your negligence leads to someone purchasing/using a weapon that they use to do harm.

2) Comprehensive and regular gun safety training. No one should be stupid enough to leave ANY gun where a child can find it! Regular reminders of how badly gun ownership can go IS A GOOD THING! And, yes, I’m cool with having similar retraining for a driver’s license!

3) A limit on the number of guns a person can buy in a month (ideally in a lifetime). A gun is a WEAPON, not a toy! It should NEVER be an impulse purchase. If you start crying like a three year old because you can’t get a toy RIGHT NOW!! you are part of the problem. Grow up!

Guns become illegal when a person with no (recorded) criminal past purchases guns to sell to people who can’t purchase guns themselves. Period. Limiting the supply (with limits on purchases) not only increases the price on the black market (which will cause purchasers to need more money, leading to more non-gun using crimes (because they can’t afford one yet) that will make it easier to catch them before they buy the gun), but will obviously reduce the total number of illegal guns on the streets… eventually. TL;DR: Make it harder for criminals to buy guns on the black market=more slip ups=more arrests=ultimately less crime.

No, these 3 demands AREN’T perfect! Probably nothing would have stopped Paddock in Las Vegas. But I live in a place where between the 7 cities where is usually a gun related murder (or 2) every night. The status quo doesn’t work. There is a hole in the system that can be closed IF we quit pretending it doesn’t exist or worse care so much about our own ability to purchase guns like candy that we feel no guilt when someone’s death is directly related to our own greed and entitlement.

I nag, my tween complains — how do we end the struggle over chores? – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/help-my-12-year-old-wont-complete-chores/2017/02/21/582a1992-f553-11e6-8d72-263470bf0401_story.html?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.00fb79b0ac9d

On tying chores to allowance, here is how I would do it:

Once the kid grasps the concept of money (needing money to buy things), they are old enough for their chores to be linked to their allowance. Since they should have already been doing age appropriate chores°, they will love getting paid to do what they’re already doing and will probably not realize over the years that an increase in the number and type of chores they’re doing is related to their age and development not an increase in allowance.

Let me explain. At 5 years old, the kid learns about the importance of money. They want money, so you say, “okay, if you complete all your chores this week, I’ll give you X dollars on Friday”. The kid thinks, “Sweet! I already do all my chores every week, so this is easy money!!”

As the kid gets older, they will want more money and you know they need to do more chores. They will gladly consent to doing more chores for more money. But, you were already planning to increase their allowance because you know a 10 year old probably can’t survive on $5/week. They think they’re getting the payraise for doing more work, when in reality, the payraise and work is unrelated… sort of.

You see, there’s a big problem that can arise with tying chores to allowance: what do you do when the kid doesn’t do their work? The simplest strategy I’ve thought of is that the kid loses money for every chore not done. $1/chore, depending on how the numbers crunch?

Since I believe that kids should be given reasonable choice as much as possible, I think that they should be allowed to choose their chores as much as possible.For younger kids, they may pick their daily chores for a given block of time* while older kids, have a master chore list^ for them to check off that let’s them choose the chores that fits their mood on a given day.

Any overlap between younger and older kids chore charts should be hashed out at the ~monthly meeting when the younger kids pick their chores for the month. Younger kids should be given first dibs on chores that are age appropriate, but be allowed to take on more responsibility if appropriate (like, they want to scrub the shower every week or help cook dinner).
°Note: There is a difference between chores and good habits.Chores are things that need to be done regardless of whose doing it. Habits are personal responsibilities that everyone has to do to be considered a responsible adult (brushing teeth, picking up their toys, etc). Chores can be mixed and matched depending on one’s roommates, spouse, or children. When a person lives alone, all the chores fall onto their shoulders. When living in a group, chores can be spread around (you don’t need 3 people washing dishes every night), but everyone, no matter their living situation, needs to automatically take care of their personal hygiene and pick up after themselves; teaching good habits is different from teaching how and when to do chores!
*So, every month or so, the younger kids decide on what they’re chore list is for every day: feed the dog, set the table, wipe up the bathroom, etc. When they get bored with these chores, they can choose a new set of chores. Younger kids take longer for their interests to change and they do better with a strict daily list of tasks.

^Older kids are capable of doing just about everything moms and dads can, which means they, like moms and dads, can decide what needs to be done and when. Someone needs to figure out dinner every night; who’s in the mood to cook? I’d suggest making the agreement = the total number of chores per week×/the number of people covered by that chore list @the amount of allowance that is appropriate. The teen is going to look at the list of everything that needs to get done in a week (7 dinners, 7 dish washings, etc, etc, etc) and pick the things they like best, based on their ever changing mood. If there’s more than one older kid, there will be competition over the choiciest chores, which seems like a good problem to have! Moms and dads, as members of the household, should also be included in the chores equation. School=Work, so none of this “I have a job and you don’t” argument (truthfully, school is more work than most jobs because of homework).

×However, it’s important to remember that not all chores are created equal. I’d suggest ranking chores by difficulty and making a hard chore like washing clothes count for more than an easy chore like feeding the dog. To adjust the equation, simply add together the rankings rather than the base number.

Here’s an example of a partial master chore list:

Family members: 2 parents, 2 teens = 4 participants

Dinner (7×2 (ranking)) = 14 points

Feeding dog (7×1) = 7 points

Washing clothes (includes washing, drying, folding, sorting/putting away) (3 or 4 (or however often as necessary) ×4) = 12 or 16 points

Dishes (7×2 (4 in my real house because we don’t have a dishwasher) = 14 or 28 points

Take the number of points (47 or 61) and divide it by the number of people responsible (4) so, each person is responsible for about 11 or 15 points worth of work. The ranking score above is how many points you earn for doing a chore once. A person who primarily feeds the dog will have to cook or wash dishes a couple days while that cook/dishwasher gets the day off.

Of course, your milage will vary.

A Week Without Trump

I just came up with the ULTIMATE April Fool’s Day prank from America to Donald Trump!

Since Trump loves being the center of attention, wouldn’t it  really piss him off if the media refrained from using his name and photo/video for the week leading up to April Fool’s Day. Feel free to use the generic “the president” as necesary. By March 28th, he’ll probably be sweating bullets wondering what happened.

But, here’s the best part: on April 2nd, everything goes back to normal and nobody tells Trump what happened.

When the President acts like a middle schooler, you treat gum like a middle schooler.

So spread the word folks! Let’s do this!

If nothing else, it will give us all a much needed break.

DemandBridge Offers Great Advice

The print shop I work at has a warehouse that we use to store and ship some of our customer’s stock (so that they can order bigger quantities to save money per piece and not have to worry about suddenly running out if they mind the reorder memos). We use DemandBridge to write up all the orders, keep track of the inventory, and generate invoices (and it probably does a lot more stuff too).

Every time DB opens up, the “intro screen” has some witty quote or proverb that I always take the time to read. Today’s particularly made me smile:

Some things never change.

No matter which way you turn, your butt is always behind you.

It seems to me that this is an excellent perspective from which to view the world.

Well. For those items that you really can’t change, of course. There’s a lot of stuff that people say we can’t change, but that’s just because people are lazy and/or don’t want to change. There is a difference!