Challenges of Blog Challenge

I’m a bit behind om my Blog challenges.  I have made one every day.  but the hard part for me is I get home from a job that works my brain and then it hits me I got to use my brain more.

Probably what I should do is after getting home take some time to unwind then get to blogging.  But I’m afraid that will lead me to relax and not write.  Because I’m already unwound.

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I am doing this.  And I am happy with the over all quality of subjects and ideas.  I haven’t covered everything I thought I would but life has a way of influencing what topics are important in the moment. I know there are grammar and spelling errors in the mess but that’s a bit of the point.  Get it out and published.  It is not like I have ten thousand people reading these.

Here’s to another quickie blog to meet my obligations.  🙂

A Radical and Me

I sat down with an old friend yesterday.  We were never close but were both involved in the Occupy Movement.  We had some tussles on social media and decided to actually sit down and have Coffee together.  Imagine that, sitting down in person with someone.

We are both on the social justice, Black Lives Matter, Feminist, pro-LGBT rights end of the spectrum.  She is, for lack of a better term, more revolutionary than me.  Where we differ the most is how we approach changing the world for the better and deal with our beliefs in every day life.

I approach things that we need to communicate and understand those who disagree with us in order to change someone’s mind.  Those tough conversations need to happen where you confront people’s actions and words.  To end racism you have convince a racists they are wrong.

Her approach is that any bigotry is intolerable.  She will call you out on it. Stand up against social injustice to the point of loosing friendships.  Her ideals are so important to her that she will not tolerate those who do not agree with them in her life.

I admire her conviction. I wish I had more passion to do all she does.  But I am not her.  I think people like her who put their lives on the line often in the name of truth and justice are vital to any movement.  I need people to keep me honest and moving forward.

While thinking back on the conversation reminded me of a response I had to another of my Feminist friends posts.  She had posted that you should never tell a women to smile.  My insensitive comment back was about how I’ve told men and women to smile and what does that make me?  She go very mad at me and I didn’t understand.  I’ve worked sales and retail and smiling is part of the job.

What I didn’t understand is how, outside of those situations, that asking a women to smile is usually part of a cat call.  “Hey beautiful, smile for me.”  And that is, many times, the start of sexual assaults.   Now I do because she explained it to me and I took the time to really think about it.

We concluded our conversation better understanding each other. We will probably never be close but I hope we can have more conversations.  On a broader note, I think people like both of us are vital in movements.  Though as she pointed out to me “Without struggle, there can be no progress.” – Frederick Douglass

Social Media Cleanup

Something I was planning on doing along with this blog a lot in November I was going to go through my derelict media sights and clean them up.  I have a friend working on a logo for “Bytes of Infinity” I have 3 YouTube channels that need some real work.  I had forgotten that this WordPress sight is tied to a Tumblr.  I have a Twitter and an Instagram and others.  I probably have a MySpace out there.

The point being that it is a good thing to do and I plan on sharing some of the deep cuts I find before doing some internet scrubbing.

Moving Forward With President Trump

It happened.  We have to deal with it.  So as a person who thinks Trump is a dangerous person to have as president move forward with him in the job.  First off I did wake up the next day, the sun rose, my job was still there, I got work done, the mood was down but still moved forward.  I went home after work.  Everything is still here.  Life continued.

There was no second coming, the world has not ended.  IMG_1065

I know I am a straight white male from a christian family and a lot of the rhetoric that, if put into practice, would not hurt me.  I also think it is important to acknowledge that it could help me financially.  I cannot know what those who are “Not like me” must feel to be made to feel less, treated as less, legally less than me.  I try to listen and understand and empathize.  Call me out on my crap.  I may not get it right away but believe me I will think about it in private moments and attempt to understand.

Back to Trump.  Actually a story from four yeas ago.  I was sitting down with a group of people talking to the presidential candidate from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Pete Lindsay.  As the conversation continued I talked about getting people out on issues even if we don’t agree on everything.  I brought up an anti-war protest and we should invite all anti-war groups like Libertarians.   Basically she said she would never march with Ron Paul because he is a racists.  I argued that we will never succeed at changing anything if we can’t work together on the things we agree on.

The point I am attempting to make is that we cannot remain myopic and bring the world together.  So heck yes, call out every bigoted action that Trump takes but if he does the right thing on something, like universal health care (long shot but he was for it at one point) we should jump on it.

Be strong advocates for your beliefs but not narrow in their scope.

How I handle Trump’s Election

Donald Trump

Trump in Iowa on Dec. 5, 2015 (Source: Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

All right here it goes.  I have been waiting until now to really get into the election here.  I do have a lot to say but I am going to start here.

I was wrong

I thought Trump had no chance. I had calmed friends and even wrote a lighthearted piece after Trump won the Republican Nomination on why we should embrace him as a candidate.  I concluded with he can’t win.  Many people were wrong on this but we should all take a moment and admit it.  That brings me to my next point.

Trump will be our next President

There are those who say he didn’t win because electoral college.  It’s the system we got and it was put there for very good reasons.  Also if you are one of the people saying “He’s not MY President.”  He is.  If you live in the USA he is the President of it.  I remember people saying that after Obama won (Some are still saying it.) and when Bush won.

It does nobody any good to delegitimize the person in a position you want someone with your beliefs to hold.  Unless you want there to be no President don’t taint the position.

No voter supports or even knows every position of a candidate they voted for

Did you know that Hillary wanted animal breeders and zoos to be required to have disaster plans for the protection of animals in their care?  I didn’t until a minute ago and look for an obscure position to write here.  If you know me you know I am not a fan of Hillary or Trump.  I was hoping Hillary one between the two.

Labeling all supports of X as Y is wrong, bigoted, hateful, and dangerous.  Let me just list a few and I’m sure one of them will be hurtful to you while another will be something that you had thought.  I am doing this as an example because it is so important to understand this.

All supporters of Gay marriage are gay
All supporters of creationism are idiots
All supporters of Black Lives Matter are criminals
All supporters of legalizing weed are drug addicts
All supporters of abortion rights are going to hell
All followers of Christianity are hypocrites
All followers of Judaism  are rich
All followers of Mohamed are terrorists
All followers of Atheism have no morals
All supporters of Trump are Racists
All supporters of Hillary hate America
All supporters of Nickelback are tone-def

You do not fit into those boxes and they do not define who you are.  You are complex and have tremendous life experiences that make you who you are…  and so does everyone else.  Please do not box others.  It just allows others to put you in a box.  We must accept that there are those out there who are not tone-def and still like Nickelback.

We must still call out stupid, hateful, untrue, bigoted, and hurtful statements and actions.  I still will. But one thing I have learned over the years is this.

Calling someone a racists does nothing to change the fact that they are racists

Calling someone tone-def because they like Nickelback will not stop them from liking it.  This is true for anything.  Calling someone an idiot has made no one smarter.  In fact it can make people dumber or to play more Nickelback.  Telling a girl that girls are bad at math may influence them not to study or like math because they were told they would be bad at it.

So what do we do?  For me the answer is simple one but very hard to do.

Do not call them a racists, tell them that action is racists.

A couple of male friends I was with were a bit inebriated.  One called to order food and after handing the phone off to the other said louder than he new “Hey, she sounds hot.” and the repeated “Ask her if she’s on Tinder!” over and over again.

After the phone call I confronted my friend telling him that was harassment.  He argued that it wasn’t and I tried to explain that she was just doing her job and doesn’t deserve to have to fend off unwanted advances to earn a living.  We didn’t convince each other and eventually moved on.

You may not agree with me that it was harassment and that a bit of the point.  How does a harasser know that they are harassing unless you attempt to explain what action that they themselves took was harassment.  I’m saddened to say that racism will not just die out.  at some point, if the goal is to end racism we will have to convince some racist that racism is wrong.

I am afraid that this may get the biggest reaction in this whole article but to cure a Nickelbacker you are going to have to make them listen to Metallica.

40 Blogs in 30 Days Update

Every other Thursday is a crazy day at work.  Thus I am mentally drained.  I will put off another day my response to the election and do an update on my self challenge.  This will be blog 12 in 10 days.  A little behind where I want to be but election day kind of messed with the schedule.

I’ve done a varied blogs topics.  From crazy warm November to politics to customer service.  I want to keep trying new topics as I move forward.

The word count I have been fairly good at.  But I think I might shoot for an average overall instead of a minimum.  Forced writing for length is not what I want to do.  This one will be short of the 300 word count goal but I did one near 1,000.

I just don’t have it in me today.  I plan to sit back and be a zombie tonight.  Hope you are doing well.

Avast Customer Service Follow Up


I had some seriously bad customer support at Avast.  After a Twitter rant I wrote a post explaining what happened the next morning.  Now that it is completely resolved I’ll talk about their response.

First, I should not have to do what I did to get a response from Avast.  Good regular processes can prevent these things.  Whatever they had in place failed to work.  I became the squeaky wheel and I got the grease.

To quickly sum of the product problem and Avast’s response. I got double charged (likely my fault) and didn’t get the deal that was offered ($20 for a $50 product.)  Avast, 5 days later, offered me to make one license out of charges so I would pay $100 for 2 years instead of the $20 for 1 that I wanted. After complaining loudly they offered me a refund and free 2 years of service. ($0 for 2 years)  I said yes.

Now on to how they have handled it in customer service terms after the “Oh Crap!” moment that happened at Avast HQ on Sunday They responded on twitter.  Then were able to track down my complaint from my blog (Probably from me directly quoting the response and giving the first name of respondent)  and got the apology to me quickly.

…I am really sorry to learn about the bad experience you had with our support team.

I totally agree with you that neither the response time nor the actual response was appropriate. I will discuss the details with our internal team in order to improve both for the future.

…Please accept my personal apologies about this whole incident. I would also like to thank you for letting us know about this issue so we can learn from it and to change our procedures, in order to provide a better customer support experience.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.

That is a wonderful response.  I also know that my angry post got passed around the company and they are keeping an eye out for this follow up.  (New views from Europe, Hello!)  Couple of things. Maroni, the customer care manager who sent the response, did say I could contact them anytime but responded through the Avast customer care general email address.  So I can’t contact you anytime, I can contact general customer care and hopefully gets filtered to you.  Also my response email, while I did not asking for one, was not responded to.

Customer service is a craft.  If done well it goes unnoticed or is greatly appreciated, mostly unnoticed.  If done poorly can cost customers and money.  The fact that this $80 mistake has gain so much attention by Avast that the time of people not in customer service there. (and therefore money) should be a clue of the wise investment preventing a squeaky wheel can be.

I’ll close with something I said in my email response. Empower those employees who are the first line of contact to make decisions that are right for your customers.