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Unemployment Blues Revisited

I finally went and got my snail mail this evening.

I found out about the ‘problem’ with my unemployment check Thursday evening long after the Oregon State employment department offices had closed for the day.

I had already checked my mail on Thursday before finding out about the ‘problem’ and there was no letter from the Oregon State employment department at that time.

There was no point in getting the mail yesterday because our mail is delivered between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm, and the Oregon State employment department offices throughout the entire state were closed yesterday due to a budget furlough.

At least I don’t have to prove that I’ve been job hunting since (and I quote)

“No payment was made because of a question regarding your eligibility for a possible new claim. In order to file a new claim for you, the information we need  from you includes the employers you worked for in and outside of Oregon, including the federal government and military, within the past 24 months. Please call the office listed above with this information immediately. Continue to report as scheduled.”

This notice is dated 4/13/2010 and I filed my report on 4/11/2010.

I earned around $1350.00 total in 2009.

Oh well, will be calling them first bat out of the bucket tomorrow (Monday) and will file my last report on the old claim today (Sunday)

Context…..Colors Everything

Now, I don’t deny that I’ve been disgruntled with Bend Broadband long before this most recent round of postings and comments.

Normally, however, I keep my grumbling about them to myself or I grumble to online friends in Canada, The Netherlands, and other parts of the USA.

The night that I received my latest Bend Broadband bill was NOT a good night for me.

My 81-year-old mother–who lives in La Grande– called the police here in Bend when I didn’t answer my phone or return her phone calls. She may or may not have had a stroke, but she is acting delusional, telling lies, and causing problems.

My next-to-last unemployment check was delayed due to a ‘problem’ and I found this out the day AFTER it was supposed to have been direct deposited in my checking account.

I have around $100.00 to my name–in total. ETA: as of Sunday April 18, 2010 I have around $60.00 to my name.

I am unemployed and I receive a whopping $104.00 a week in unemployment.

My space rent is 7 days late (the only reason it isn’t FOUR MONTHS late is a dear friend paid for January, February, and March).

I eat only because I get $200.00 a month in food stamps (I have no children and am not elderly or disabled so food stamps are the only self-sufficiency program I am even eligible for).

I stay warm and my pipes don’t freeze only because a local charity working with a local wood yard delivered 1 1/4 cords of wood to my house as part of my ‘energy assistance grant.’

In October 2009 I  sold my fathers remaining guns to pay November’s space rent, electricity bill,  and other bills.

I also sold three hundred dollars worth of silver coins (that I unexpectedly discovered while cleaning my house) and  I sold some gold jewelry/dental work that belonged to my stepmother and maternal grandmother.

ETA: all of the aforementioned people are long deceased and I was the legal owner of anything sold.

In the last 2 weeks I have applied for 15 jobs and gotten how many interviews?

ONE. That’s right… interview.  And I am not applying for jobs that I am unqualified for either, mostly I am overqualified but I am also not picky (heck, I worked in retail over the Christmas 2009 season).

I have a Bachelor of Science in Business/Economics, an Associate of Science in Hotel/Restaurant Management, 2 additional years of college-level education, and 12 years of experience in my field.

I can’t even get hired as the local dog catcher (no offense to Bend animal control officers intended, I am simply trying to make a point here!)

The bill from Bend Broadband was the proverbial last straw that broke this camel’s back.

Finding out that I couldn’t drop my landline without increasing my internet bill (and vice versa) just made things worse.

Finding out that I normally use less than 20% of my bandwidth allowance every month and that I cannot get a smaller package just rubbed salt in the wounds.

Of the $60.00 currently in my checking account (thanks to US Cellular payment being auto-deducted), Bend Broadband will take $67.74 on May 2, 2010.

Central Oregon Electric Co-op will take $45.00 on May 1, 2010.

Do the math and you will see that unless I get another unemployment check between now and May 1, I will actually have overdrawn my checking account for the first time since September 2006.

So given everything else, I was totally stressed out BEFORE I got the IMO excessively high bill from Bend Broadband.

And since I was already blogging about the situations with my mother, the cops,  and my unemployment check, it just felt natural to also express my displeasure with Bend Broadband.

If John Farwell had taken the time to read any of the posts regarding my mother or my unemployment check before commenting on the first Bend Broadband post, perhaps he would have realized that he was reading the writings of a rather stressed out and clearly upset person.

Perhaps he would have had the intelligence at that point to either NOT comment at all or make a relevant comment and simply leave it at that.

If John Farwell had taken the time to read any of the other posts on this blog, perhaps he would have realized that the poster was a female.

I have to admit that when he referred to me as HE, that set me off even more than his IMO irrelevant comments about high definition, video on demand, and Trail Blazer packages.

His comment after he found out that I was female fell far short of an honest and meaningful apology too.

“I’m sorry I got your gender wrong–I was writing this before work and was rushed and was trying to be gender neutral as I wasn’t clear if it was a male or female poster. My BAD!”

That’s a direct quote without editing of any kind (you can see for yourself if you click on comments related to “Bend Broadband doesn’t READ Either).

Well first off that’s a string of excuses that makes him look like a child caught with his hand in the candy jar.

Hmmm, writing it before work from a work-related email.  I wonder if Amy Tykeson –the CEO of Bend Broadband–would like to know that one of her employees is using company bandwidth and resources to repeatedly harass an unhappy customer.

Since when is HE gender neutral?

HE is masculine, pure and simple.

My BAD! really comes across as more sarcastic than anything.

The comment was submitted at 4:57 am PDST so either ‘poor John’ was at work really really early or he was using company resources while still at home.

Unless he works in the technical area of the company….and why would a troubleshooter be concerned about or have access to a Google alert….Bend Broadband’s hours of operation are 8:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday (9:00 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday).

While non-technical employees may be at work somewhat earlier than that, I doubt they are there 3 1/2 hours before the business opens to the public.

His repeated refusals to admit that his comments were intended as a free advertisement for Bend Broadband also upset me.

Who was he trying to convince of how wonderful Bend Broadband is?

He already knew I had switched to Dish 7 months ago (that is specifically mentioned in my post) and had a two year contract with them (he even mentioned in his first comment that Bend Broadband doesn’t require a two year commitment.)

So why tell ME all the wonderful things about Bend Broadband including but not limited to HD, Video on Demand, and the availability of Blazer television?

Had I posted anywhere that I wanted any of these things?  Had I posted anywhere that I was interested in any of these things?

I mean read the damn blog for pity’s sake, if I was interested in the Portland TrailBlazers (or any other NBA team) don’t you think it would be mentioned somewhere?

If I had an HDTV don’t you think that would also be mentioned somewhere, particularly in light of the fact that I had posted about an issue with Dish already.

If I was interested in movies and video on demand, don’t you think there would be a post sometime in the last 7 months  saying I watched this or that movie or some video on demand programming and boy was it great!

The last movie I actually saw on tv or in a theater was “The Other Sister” starring Diane Keaton, Tom Skerritt, and Juliette Lewis.  This movie was released eleven years ago.

So we can logically surmise that I don’t much care for movies therefore have no need at all for video on demand.

Those comments regarding all the benefits of Bend Broadband (and comparisons of programming and pricing) were directed solely towards other Central Oregon residents (by that I mean residents of Bend, LaPine, Sisters, Redmond, Sunriver, Black Butte, Culver, Madras, Metolius, Prineville, Powell Butte, and Terrebonne) who might happen to read my blog and who also might be considering switching from Bend Broadband to Dish Network or Direct TV.

Since I am not an employee (yet) of any company I do not have to provide free advertising to Bend Broadband or any other business/organization.

I do not have to defend my opinions of the business practices of any organization unless those opinions would be found to be violating the first amendment of the United States Constitution (to wit, as a resident of the United States of America, I am entitled to express my opinions freely  without fear of censorship or harassment).

I do not have to listen to the other side–particularly when that ‘other side’ includes expecting free advertising and/or posting  insulting/insensitive comments– when I was simply venting  in the first place.

I found his third comment, the one I trashed, to be insulting and insensitive.

Even after I told John Farwell to stop commenting here and/or emailing me, and that I was feeling totally threatened by his comments/actions/posts/position with my ISP, he just had to send one last email.  Some people just can’t let things go, they have to have the last word in any argument.

I hope he’s pleased to know that his email was deleted unread.

Gender Neutral

HE is not gender neutral.

Gender neutral in the English language is defined as ‘phrased in such a way as to be applicable to either gender’

HE is by definition male and therefore cannot be gender neutral. Stating that HE is gender neutral is a contradiction in terms.

The person being referred to as HE was a SHE who is quite a bit smarter and has quite a bit more education  than your average bear (or your average internet service provider employee, for that matter)

When the ‘gender neutrality’ excuse was thrown into the mix, SHE didn’t go running into the corner and weep bitter tears because she didn’t understand what gender neutrality was.

No, SHE laughed her head off because it was clear the person trying to shame HER into shutting up was the one who had absolutely NO CLUE what gender neutrality really means

Opinions, Opinions, Opinions

An opinion is a thought or a belief.

An opinion is not a statement of fact.

An opinion is not required to be objective or factual.

An opinion does not have to be reasonable to other people.

For example, I don’t believe in the existence of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), yet millions of other people do.  I don’t have the right to call their belief/opinion unreasonable.

An opinion or the expression of said opinion is definitely covered by the first amendment to the United States Constitution.

This means that as a resident of the United States of America I am legally allowed to express my opinions without censorship and/or limitation.

Although the right to free speech is not absolute and is sometimes subject to limitations (such as those placed against pornography or hate speech) none of the comments made on this blog are subject to any of those limitations.

I am legally allowed to post my opinions (and that is all they are, nothing more and nothing less) on this blog without fear of harassment, arrest, or censorship.

I should not be required to defend my subjective opinions, and on the flip side I should not  have to listen to or be forced to agree with the ‘other side’ as–whether you believe it or not- I am not looking for a freaking argument in the first place.

There’s a rather nasty saying about opinions which fits right into this topic:

*Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks*

*(found on yahoo answers and quoted from the movies “the dead pool [1988] and ‘home for the holidays [1995])*

Bend Broadband Just Refuses to Understand……..

Here’s the deal.

I will continue to post my experiences–good or bad–with ANY company without feeling compelled to be accurate for ALL experiences for ALL customers of said companies.

This is MY personal blog.

This blog is not sponsored by any corporation, individual, organization, or other entity and therefore NOBODY has the right to tell me what to post.

These posts are my opinions and my experiences–nothing more and nothing less.

Opinions are by definition subjective and do not have to be accurate no matter how much the company or person being blogged about would prefer that they were.

I do find it more than a little odd that *Safeway, *the Bend Bulletin, *Aflac, Pantene, Garnier Fructis, *Saint Vincent De Paul, *FreeCycle, *Del Taco, *Taco Time, *Burger King, Dish Network, *Sears Roebuck & Co, * Perfect Look, Paul Mitchell, Wells Fargo Investments, Heinz Brands (Ore-Ida), *Kinkos, *LazerQuick, Joan Didion, Sara Davidson, the estate of Julia Phillips,  the estate of Erma Bombeck, Ted Kerasote, Les Stroud, Paula Deen, *the Bend, Oregon Police Department, the Oregon Employment Department, *the High Desert Museum, *The Pine Tavern, *St Charles Medical Center, *Goodwill,  and/or Emigrant Direct haven’t felt compelled to come rushing to my blog to dispute my postings or even to say thanks for the publicity.

After all, most of the postings about the *local companies* have been very specific about locations (in some cases even down to the street address) and situations.

Even the postings about the national companies have been very specific as to my experiences and my opinions/feelings about them

They’ve also been ‘bad’ publicity for many of these companies and/or negative comparisons to other companies.

Somehow those other companies don’t feel compelled to respond to one woman’s honest comments–which again are nothing but her OPINIONS– about her experiences.

I wonder why out of all the companies/people/organizations I’ve mentioned in the last 8 months Bend Broadband is the only one that feels compelled to  respond not just once but twice and in addition feels compelled to trash me and my OPINIONS in the process.

Bend Broadband is being so defensive and so compelled to repeatedly tell me how wrong I am about everything. I wonder why?

What I’m finding totally hilarious though is that my Google Ad Sense ads (contextual) are advertising other broadband services.

I have no control over what Google Ad Sense shows on my blog (other than no adult content) and I was not/am not recommending any other internet service.

I am NOT a paid spokesperson for any company, I’m not an employee of any company (YET) either,  and whatever ads Google Ad Sense shows on my blog are served by Google Ad Sense.

I’ll bet if someone was reading the post about Sears, Google Ad Sense would be showing ads for Walmart, Macy’s, Fred Meyers, etc.

And if someone was reading the posts about Safeway, the ads shown would be for Albertson’s, Rays Food Market, or Thriftway.

It’s all about the context of the post, and the tags I chose for each post, although I do have to admit I laughed out loud to see Verizon, Comcast, and Qwest being advertised right next to my comments about Bend Broadband.

Having said all this, this is my last response to Bend Broadband on this issue, although I do reserve my rights to criticize them in the future if necessary.

Any further comments from anyone at Bend Broadband regarding this specific topic will be trashed, as I do not have to give any business free advertising–particularly one that seems determined to tell me how wrong I am over and over and over again.

Am I any more impressed with Bend Broadband after this experience than I was before? I DON’T THINK SO!!

Bend Broadband Doesn’t READ Either…..

Referring to a disgruntled FEMALE customer as HE is not the way to make points with the disgruntled female customer.

While I’ve not made a big deal of my gender in prior posts here’s a word to the wise: a male wouldn’t post a topic called “Safeway and the Single Girl” nor would they describe themselves as fat, feminist, and liberal on the about page.

A little reading of other posts and other pages might have saved the day for the Bend Broadband paid shill. Then again, given the fact that he expects me to provide a non-paid advertisement for his company…..I DON’T THINK SO!!

I’ve been pissed off with Bend Broadband since July 2008 when they went to charging for actual internet usage with no warnings.  My bill almost doubled due to 160 GB being used in one month.

When I called to express my extreme displeasure, the so-called customer service representative threatened me with “noting my account” several times simply to try to shut me up.

When I got the chance (more than 18 months later) to more than cut my bill in half by switching to Dish, of course I jumped at it.

I remain seriously happy that I did so, particularly when I’m all warm and cozy in my bed with 2 cats watching television in the bedroom (a TV set that was never even hooked up to digital cable because I couldn’t afford it).

Now we have a Bend Broadband mouthpiece using MY blog to promote Bend Broadband.

I’m rereading his comment and seeing that he thinks my comments about video pricing are misleading.

Well here’s a newsflash, I hadn’t noticed that I was paying hosting for MY blog and doing all the work on MY blog to promote Bend Broadband (after all, he does a good enough job of that while trashing me at the same time).

The posts on my blog are simply MY OPINIONS and my experience.

The posts on my blog are not paid blurbs from Bend Broadband, Safeway, Del Taco, Taco Time, FreeCycle, the Oregon Employment Department, AFLAC, or any other organization I’ve mentioned since I started posting back in 2009.

I am not an ‘official representative’ of Bend Broadband nor have I ever stated on this blog or anywhere else that I am.

Therefore I don’t have to be making statements that are accurate for ALL Bend Broadband customers.

I do not have to post disclaimers regarding MY experience with Bend Broadband simply because its not the experience for ALL Bend Broadband customers.

I can only compare the two providers based on MY experience, I was paying over $87.00 per month solely for digital cable for ONE television from Bend Broadband and I now pay $43.99 for satellite from Dish Network for TWO televisions. DO THE MATH.

I don’t care that the Dish Network site states that they normally charge $62.99 for my package because I am NOT paying that price.

I approved his comment after considering trashing it solely because it ticked me off.  Then I realized that it would be much more fun to pick the comment to bits, starting with the fact that I am female and don’t appreciate being referred to as HE.

And did I say I was going to change phone companies?  No I didn’t.  I know perfectly well that $18.95 is the best I can do for LANDLINE service.

But I don’t use my landline phone more than 3-5 times per month since most of my calls are long-distance, and 450 minutes of nationwide long distance through US Cellular goes a long long long way.

Why should I pay $40.00 for that cell phone package and then pay an extra 5 cents per minute to use Bend Broadband’s long distance?

And here’s the kicker: I don’t care what the fees Bend Broadband has to pay are.

I don’t care about video on demand. I don’t watch video on demand.

I don’t care about HD channels.  I don’t have a HD television and can’t afford one.

I haven’t cared about the TrailBlazers since 1990 or so.

I care about what comes out of MY pocket every single month. $104.00 per week only stretches so far and it would stretch a lot less further if I was dumb enough to use Bend Broadband as my digital cable provider.

I don’t much care about the fact that they don’t require a 2 year contract either (reality check: for me 2 years of Dish @ $43.99 = $1056.00 and 2 years of Bend Broadband @ $87.74 = $2106.00)  Again, DO THE MATH.

And I won’t be bothering to contact Bend Broadband unless of course they decide to terminate my phone service and/or my high speed internet service for these blog postings.

Different Day, Same Old Male Bovine Fecal Material

So I was looking for some support or at least some kind words particularly in relation to the crap my mother is shoveling in my direction.

At one forum, where everybody else gets kind words, prayers, and patted on the back when they are having bad days I get ……..ignored.

And this is a forum that prides itself on being kinder and gentler (kinder and gentler than what, I might ask?) to the point they wouldn’t even set up a ‘complaint’ folder, it had to be ‘concerns’

Well, I’m ‘concerned’ that to get any kind of sympathy at this forum you have to kiss up to certain people

So I go to another forum that specializes in helping victims of verbal and emotional abuse.

Now I don’t know if my post is moderated –it is my first post at this particular forum–and has yet to be approved, all I know is that after I posted my post just plain disappeared.

I’m feeling abused, and not just by my mother!

Turn Off The “Drive Thru Open” Sign If It’s NOT Open………

In light of the very stressful day I had, I was looking forward to some chicken nachos grande with extra cheese and no beans from Taco Time.

They are the only fast food place in Bend, Oregon that sells decent chicken nachos–by decent I mean they are made with real cheese not that horrible orange glop that’s supposedly cheese sauce.

So I run off at 9:10 pm to buy my dinner.

There’s at least one car in the Taco Time parking lot, the lights are on in the restaurant itself, and the neon “Drive Thru Open” sign is all lit up.  However, I sat in the drive thru lane for a good 3-5 minutes with nobody even acknowledging my existence much less taking my order.

So I back out of the drive thru lane and go check out their hours posted on the door.

Winter hours, close at 8:00 pm; summer hours, close at 9:30 pm; regular hours, close at closing.  Nowhere on the door does it specify what months are considered winter or summer, and ‘close at closing’ is about as non-specific as you can get.

When you are closed, no matter if it’s summer hours, winter hours, or Martian hours,  turn off the “drive thru open” neon sign if its not actually OPEN.

That’s not really a difficult concept if you ask me, but then again this is Taco Time, where their motto is “screw the customer as much as you possibly can” so expecting any sign of intelligent life is probably expecting way way too much.

BTW, I went to Del Taco and bought 2 tacos, deluxe chili cheddar fries with extra cheese, and a large coke.

I spent less than I would have at Taco Time (they gouge their customers on the chicken) and Del Taco employees have the brains to shut off ALL their lights if they aren’t open.

Mother Redux

My mother actually called the police here in Bend when I didn’t pick up the phone or return her phone calls.

I was out getting dinner (there will be a blog post about that in a bit too) and almost hit the police car when I pulled into my street.

Good thing the speed limit inside the park is only 10 miles an hour or I’d have even more problems than before I left to get my dinner (not to mention I would get a ticket for driving uninsured in addition to any tickets for excessive speed or hitting the police car)

I was like, what the hell is a cop doing in MY street as most of the houses other than mine are vacant and for sale.

I parked in my carport and got out of my truck.

The cop followed me, gets out of his car, and asks me  are you Suellen?

When I answered that yes I was, he asked if I knew an Oma Miller.  She was actually on the phone with him– in his police car–at the time.  I told him to tell her I would call her as soon as I got in my house.

She also called an old friend of mine who lives here in Bend.

My friend tried to get in touch with me too.

Now I am feeling bad because  my friend probably got deafened by the fax machine beep as she only has my landline number and that’s the number where the fax machine kicks in after 7 rings.

I called my mother–only because I’d told the cop to tell her that I would call her, and knowing her she would probably call the cops again if I didn’t.

To make a long story short, I am NOT going up there to visit her unless things pick up financially (and if I get a full time job, the best I could do was leave here on a Friday after work and come home late on Sunday).

I’ve also agreed to call her twice a week–on the cell phone since I have national long distance on that plan.

I am still freaking shocked that she called the cops.

Between the Dish debacle when I called the cops and my mother calling the cops tonight, the entire Bend, Oregon police force probably thinks we are both total fruitcakes (I beg to differ in MY case ROFLMAO!!)

And Now Just to Add To The Stress Level…….

My mother wants me to come visit her.  And yes this woman knows that I have NO money, NO job, etc.  She offered to pay for ‘some gas’ if I came up there (up there is La Grande, Oregon, 350 miles away one way)

Well here’s a few newsflashes for my  mother (even though she already knows much of this, she doesn’t care because the world revolves around HER and her alone)

1) I have $134.00 in my checking account, that is all the money I have in this world

2) my unemployment check for this week has been delayed due to a problem and the employment offices through out the state of Oregon are closed tomorrow.

3) my last unemployment extension expires next week. The total left on that extension is $146.00, one full check of $104.00 and one partial check of $42.00

3) There is about $34.00 left on my EBT (food stamp) card for April and there are 15 days left in the month.  This is the only welfare program I am eligible for because I am only 50 years old, I am not disabled, and I do not have any children under the age of 18.

4) A friend paid January, February, and March space rent for me. I am 5 days late with April space rent.

5) Exactly who will take care of my cats if I go visit ms needy of 2010? Nobody has needs other than my mother

6) I have applied for 15 jobs in the last 2 weeks and gotten one interview.

I’d be a lot more understanding of my mothers needs and willing to go visit her except for the fact that this woman is verbally and mentally abusive even from 350 miles away.

The last time I visited her was in September 2007 and that visit ended within 15 minutes after I arrived solely because of her anger and verbal abuse.

Last Christmas time (2009) she expected me to ship my Christmas ornaments to her even though I couldn’t afford the postage.

When I started this blog, she very rudely said to me “Who is interested in what you have to say?” and when I tried to explain blogging to her she interrupted me.  It’s obvious she is the one who is NOT interested in anything I have to say other than “yes, Mother” “no, Mother” and “please do kick me in the teeth again, Mother.’

She harassed me for months about her 80th birthday present and then didn’t even say thank you for it until 2 weeks after her birthday.

Am I going to go visit this woman? I DON’T THINK SO!!