Website Upgrade

Since my job was phased out in April, I restarted a project that was to upgrade the graphics for Chaotic Fringe. I knew with time changes is needed to keep up with the delivery systems and way people get information. I spend some time working on a new graphics scheme, a different layout for Chaotic Fringe and other innovations to make the experience better.

A few weeks ago my site was hacked, and while the attack was limited to a small section of my site, I felt the time might be right to do a full overhaul of my database online. I figured it might take months to fully get things in order but early Friday morning I got a crazy idea. I decided to do a drastic overhaul of all of the sites connected with GenX Noir Productions. For the past few days I’ve had little sleep while I worked on the modifications. It took some time and there were a few missteps but I did finish things ahead of schedule.

As of now Chaotic Fringe, the Chaotic Fringe blog and GenX Noir Productions have been reconfigured and are online and live. Now most of the sites under the GenX Noir Production banner are visible and active on desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets. Enjoy.

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Ranting About Memes

A meme has been shared by a number of people in my Facebook area and while it pains me to do so, I’m going to have to calmly try to explain how utterly insulting you have been to me. Since the shooting of the two reporters in Virginia, some people have tried to use the identity of the shooter, a disgruntled gay black man co-worker, as a way of discrediting people who have concerns about gun control and those who are alarmed at the number of black people killed by police. These people have taken to a variation of the one drop rule; if one black person kills a white person, doesn’t that mean black people killed by the police isn’t a bad thing?

I already know the counter argument. People in the black lives matter movement and other ‘race baiters’ (their words) use a tragic incident to fan the flames of racism in the country. Here is something I would like for all those folks to do for me; give me a list of 25 black gay shooters who have killed white people in the past two years. OK, let me make it easier and ask for 25 black people. Can you do it?

CF2016-0828aNo you can’t and please don’t give me the tired argument that the media doesn’t cover those stories. It seems when you need to support your argument you are more than willing to find any troll site available and use their dubious numbers and information as facts. The meme I have posted is from a site I’ve never heard of, but its questionable stance is being shared by hundreds if not thousands of people, and that sharing only confirms there are people more than willing to assume the worst of a large section of the community. The people that shared the meme didn’t think of the differences in the situations, of the actual facts that would render the meme wrong. That’s why I posed the question to come up with 25 black people who have killed white people in the past two years. If the numbers are that high, I’m sure one of the troll sites would have those facts readily available, but I bet you won’t find it because the numbers aren’t there.

I will go a step further and let’s say I accept the argument that the black people killed by the police were justified. The black people were breaking the law and deserved to have whatever judgement the officer made at the time. It is tragic that they were killed but they broke the law. If I accept that rather flimsy assessment of each situation, what was their crime? Seriously, sit down and write down what the crimes were for the ‘thugs’ as you call them. Let’s see, we have Trayvon Martin that you guys say was on drugs and was bad in school. You have the guy selling loose cigarettes on the corner. You have the woman with the illegal turn. You had the kid that shoved and stole some little cigars. You have a guy who broke into a car dealership. Those are the ones just off the top of my head and if I looked harder I could come up with over 20 black people in the past few years that have died in police custody. My question would be what is the violent crime that was done to justify them winding up dead?

In April there was a gunman running through my neighborhood. He shot a couple of people. Police were on an all-out manhunt for the guy. He was captured alive. He was white. A few months later, a black man who possibly had marijuana in his car pulled up to his apartment complex where the police were conducting a search. Supposedly the man ran to his apartment, the police were in pursuit and the encounter ended with the man being shot. The issue I think many people have with police shooting incidents are the inconsistencies of encounters. What a lot of people want to do is put this as a black / police issue. What that does is give people who share memes like the one I posted a sense that the issue doesn’t apply to them. If you aren’t black and a criminal, you have nothing to worry about from the police. I would ask you to look at the black people who were killed by the police. Again, if we are to listen to your logic and assume they were criminals, what crime did they commit that was so dangerous that they had to be killed? Some of the people who have been killed by the police recently were running away from the police because of traffic violations. Should that be a death sentence by pursuing officers?

Essentially the people who are so proud of sharing this meme are comparing apples to oranges. You are taking one black man’s murder spree and linking it to police who are killing black people. If you want to equate one black man killing two journalist as a counter to the police killings, then let’s look at the Charleston shooting, the Aurora shooting, the Sandy Hook killing and the vast number of other killing by white people, a good number of which have been white people killing other white people. Why have there been no outcry of the white on white crimes? Why have we not talked to white leaders about stopping the senseless killing among their people? You’re not going to see it because that’s not how our society works. I would love it if we could talk intelligently and responsibly about the violence we are experiencing but every time I want to have hope, people throw up memes that disgust me, giving me the impression that we are not going to have a thoughtful conversation about these strong issues. We will continue to balkanize ourselves and try to find a way not to be part of the problem. We would rather blame others whom we deem criminals for the actions that befalls them; that it of course until someone close to us becomes the victim through no fault of their own.

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Recap: Frustrations of Unemployment

Since April 1 of this year I have been out of a job. My pay for rent job, as I like to call it, laid my department off. Our division was dismantled because it was cheaper for automation to do our job, so the clients we had were outsourced to another company. I was pretty mad for the first week, but I was able to suppress some of my anger and got on with my life. The big thing I knew I had to do was look for a job.

The past few months I have sent out resumes, hit job fairs, did massive searches on craigslist and have done a lot of interviews trying to land a job. Like my parents told me long ago it can be work looking for work. If I had to list something I really dislike about job searching is the feeling of helplessness I get. It’s a combination of things that bring those anxiety feelings to the surface. Having to fill out forms every week and send those into the unemployment office makes me feel like I’m being watched. I wonder if some purchase I make is going to trigger some alarm someplace and halt the money coming in. On the flip side, I’m old fashioned and hate getting money for sitting on my ass doing nothing. The balance is I want to work but I don’t necessarily want to get any old job just to take myself off the unemployment roll.

CF2015-0827a

That feeling ties into another side of unemployment I dislike. I’ve been on a lot of job interviews where what I was told over the phone or what I saw in an advertisement was different when I got there. An ad might say the pay is $15 per hour but in reality the pay is $8.50 and the fine print is you can make up to $15 with commissions. All of the lovely health care and other benefits listed are set for people working 40 hours a week, but the company schedules you for 32 or 37 hours. To get the 40 you have to work overtime but it isn’t really overtime so you don’t get time and a half. Inbound help positions become outbound cold sales calls.

Someone like myself wants to tell them where they can stick their job but on the other hand once I had been on unemployment for a few months, I started to worry if I was every going to find a job. Unemployment lasts for six months and the last thing I want to do is come up to the last month and find myself desperate for any job.

Something I didn’t really think about until I lost my job was the realization that I’m old. I don’t mean foot in the grave old but at 51 I’m starting to understand there are companies unwilling to hire someone my age. They don’t come out and say it but it’s a feeling I get. They think I’m ready for social security, which I’m not. They think I’m just going to be there for a year and leave, which isn’t necessarily the case. What I found not only with companies but dealing with unemployment is there are slots they want to put people in out of convenience. It makes their job easier in assessing what can be done with a person but it ignores the uniqueness of the individual.

For instance, about a month into being unemployed I had to go to an unemployment center to get evaluated for job placement and other opportunities. Throughout the conversation I was asked about my veteran status, my wife and kids and a couple of other questions that in no way fit me. I had to correct the interviewer numerous time that I wasn’t married, had no children, lived alone, wasn’t a veteran, hadn’t been in jail and yes I had an education. I was left with the impression there was nothing that could be done for me.

July was the big body blow because I was out of town when I filled out my information about my employment search which triggered a possible fraud alert with the system. I had to wait a month before the situation was investigated and the funds were given to me. It was in that desperate time I went into training for a job that I knew from the beginning wasn’t right for me. At every turn there were changes to agreement I thought we had. Some of the procedures set up, such as payments and benefit schedules, didn’t seem fair to me. In fact, after I studied the information closer I realized it wasn’t, but I plugged on because with the scare of what unemployment did to me fresh in my mind, I was desperate to make sure I had money coming in. Ultimately it turned out to be a bad fit.

Right now I’m in an uncomfortable position because I might be on another unemployment watch list because I did earn money from that training. I reported it, as I was supposed to, but I got the dreaded warning message when I finished my filing on Sunday. Hopefully when I apply for the allowance this coming Sunday it will be authorized but being honest I can’t say I have much hope for that. I have my gut telling me there will be some dot I forgot to fill in which will result in another hold being issued, which means it can be up to a month before I see that money. It’s my doomsday thinking but I feel I have to keep my mind in that zone to make sure I’m not hit by any surprises.

I’m still job searching, hoping for the best, but a few things I’ve had to reevaluate. I really wanted to find something in the production industry. There have been a few possibilities, but most of the jobs I have applied for haven’t contacted me back or have plans contingent on other factors that can take months to resolve. A few of the tech jobs I’ve applied for have been like casting calls for a movie. Tons of call backs but no decisions yet. All I can do is keep my head up and forge forward.

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