Thursday, July 30, 2015

Womanfreebies.com is a scam

Recently an ad came up on my facebook feed about WomanFreebies. "Coupons! Try Products free!" and the like. Naturally being a mom on a budget, I signed up. The form to sign up pops up in front of the regular screen, or so it appears.

Not noticing "Terms" below the pop-up where I was entering information, I moved forward.

Within a day, my inbox was completely full of hundreds of emails, as was my junkmail box.

Unfortunately, in a very stupid lapse of judgment, I used the email address that I use to coordinate events for my improv performance team - the email address that's all over our publications, flyers, and websites. So I can't just switch email addresses.

So I started unsubscribing. One after the other, I hit the unsubscribe links. For every one I unsubscribed to, 20 more poured into the bottom. It's literally impossible. WomanFreebies literally sold my email address to HUNDREDS of companies.

I tried emailing the founder, whose email is on their website. Obviously I got no response. I think I'll forward everything I get to her on a daily basis until she STOPS. Though she won't.

I'll post the Terms below. I couldn't find anything about how they would sell your info to every single marketer in the universe.

I did however find this little gem inside of the Privacy Policy link:

Do we disclose any information to outside parties?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.

So basically, they can give your information to ANYONE that they deem a third party who is 'servicing you.' Trust me, if I was being serviced, someone would be kind enough to pull my hair and choke me a little bit.

Long story short, had I used any of my throwaway email addresses, I wouldn't have noticed anything different. But since I stupidly used my main email address, I'm now inundated with an impossible amount of junkmail in my inbox and in my junkmail box.



I probably get 20 emails a day in my inbox... and around 100 a day in my junkmail. And there's literally no way to stop it. Prior to signing up on this website, I got zero emails from new parties. I got no junkmail. NONE. It was great. I knew I could log in an every email was relevant to me. Now? It's a nightmare.

What have I gotten out of womanfreebies? NOT A DAMN THING. It is a scam website that sells your information to literally thousands of companies, that you cannot get rid of.






Terms as of 7/30/15:

WomanFreebies.com - Terms and Conditions

ACCEPTANCE OF USE
THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS DESCRIBE YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES, AND BY USING THE SITE, YOU ACCEPT AND AGREE TO BE BOUND AND ABIDE BY THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND OUR PRIVACY POLICY, WHICH IS INCORPORATED HEREIN BY REFERENCE. THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS FORM A LEGAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN YOU AND US REGARDING YOUR USE OF THE SITE ALONG WITH THE RELATED SERVICES, FEATURES, CONTENT AND OFFERS PROVIDED ON THE SITE. YOU AGREE TO MANDATORY ARBITRATION AND WAIVER OF THE ABILITY TO BRING A CLAIM IN A CLASS ACTION FORMAT.
IF FOR ANY REASON, YOU ARE UNABLE OR UNWILLING TO AGREE TO ALL OUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS, PLEASE IMMEDIATELY STOP USING OR ATTEMPTING TO USE OUR SITE, BECAUSE IF YOU USE OR CONTINUE THE SITE, YOU WILL BE AGREEING TO EVERYTHING IN OUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS AS A CONDITION OF SUCH USE.
YOU AGREE THAT BY USING OUR SITE YOU REPRESENT THAT YOU ARE AT LEAST 18 YEARS OLD AND THAT YOU ARE LEGALLY ABLE TO ENTER INTO THIS AGREEMENT.
The following terms and conditions (the "Terms and Conditions") govern your use of this web site provided to you by WomanFreebies.com or one of its subsidiaries, and any content, features or functionality made available from or through this web site, including any subdomains thereof, or application (the "Web Site"). The Web Site is made available by adjump.com Inc. or its subsidiaries ("we" or "us" or "our"), each of which have adopted these Terms and Conditions with regard to its web site.
We may change the Terms and Conditions from time to time, at any time without notice to you, by posting such changes on the Web Site. BY USING THE WEB SITE, YOU ACCEPT AND AGREE TO THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS AS APPLIED TO YOUR USE OF THE WEB SITE. If you do not agree to these Terms and Conditions, you may not access or otherwise use the Web Site.
Proprietary Rights. We own, solely and exclusively, all rights, title and interest in and to the Web Site, all the content (including, for example, audio, photographs, illustrations, graphics, other visuals, video, copy, text, software, titles, Shockwave files, etc.), code, data and materials thereon, the look and feel, design and organization of the Web Site, and the compilation of the content, code, data and materials on the Web Site, including but not limited to any copyrights, trademark rights, patent rights, database rights, moral rights, sui generis rights and other intellectual property and proprietary rights therein. Your use of the Web Site does not grant to you ownership of any content, code, data or materials you may access on or through the Web Site.
Limited License. You may access and view the content on the Web Site on your computer or other devices and, unless otherwise indicated in these Terms and Conditions or on the Web Site, make single copies or prints of the content on the Web Site for your personal, internal use only. Unless otherwise specifically indicated in these Terms and Conditions or on the Web Site, use of the Web Site and the services offered on or through the Web Site, are only for your personal, non-commercial use.
Prohibited Use. Unless otherwise specifically indicated in these Terms and Conditions or on the Web Site, any commercial or promotional distribution, publishing or exploitation of the Web Site, or any content, code, data or materials on the Web Site, is strictly prohibited unless you have received the express prior written permission from our authorized personnel or the otherwise applicable rights holder. Other than as expressly allowed herein or on the Web Site, you may not download, post, display, publish, copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, modify, perform, broadcast, transfer, create derivative works from, sell or otherwise exploit any content, code, data or materials on or available through the Web Site. You further agree that you may not alter, edit, delete, remove, otherwise change the meaning or appearance of, or repurpose, any of the content, code, data, or other materials on or available through the Web Site, including, without limitation, the alteration or removal of any trademarks, trade names, logos, service marks, or any other proprietary content or proprietary rights notices. You acknowledge that you do not acquire any ownership rights by downloading or otherwise using any copyrighted material from or through the Web Site. If you make other use of the Web Site, or the content, code, data or materials thereon or available through the Web Site, except as otherwise provided above, you may violate copyright and other laws of the United States, other countries, as well as applicable state laws and may be subject to liability for such unauthorized use.
Trademarks. The trademarks, logos, service marks and trade names (collectively the "Trademarks") displayed on the Web Site or on content available through the Web Site are our registered and unregistered Trademarks and others and may not be used in connection with products and/or services that are not related to, associated with, or sponsored by their rights holders that are likely to cause customer confusion, or in any manner that disparages or discredits their rights holders. All Trademarks not owned by us that appear on the Web Site or on or through the Web Site's services, if any, are the property of their respective owners. Nothing contained on the Web Site should be construed as granting, by implication, estoppel, or otherwise, any license or right to use any Trademark displayed on the Web Site without our written permission or the third party that may own the applicable Trademark. Your misuse of the Trademarks displayed on the Web Site or on or through any of the Web Site's services is strictly prohibited.
User Information. In the course of your use of the Web Site and/or the services made available on or through the Web Site, you may be asked to provide certain personalized information to us (such information referred to hereinafter as "User Information"). Our information collection and use policies with respect to the privacy of such User Information are set forth in the Web Site's Privacy Policy. You acknowledge and agree that you are solely responsible for the accuracy and content of User Information.
Submitted Materials. Unless specifically requested, we do not solicit nor do we wish to receive any confidential, secret or proprietary information or other material from you through the Web Site, by e-mail or in any other way. Any information, creative works, demos, ideas, suggestions, concepts, methods, systems, designs, plans, techniques or other materials submitted or sent to us (including, for example and without limitation, that which you submit or post to our chat rooms, message boards, survey responses, and/or our blogs, or send to us via e-mail) ("Submitted Materials") will be deemed not to be confidential or secret, and may be used by us in any manner consistent with the Web Site's Privacy Policy. By submitting or sending Submitted Materials to us, you: (i) represent and warrant that the Submitted Materials are original to you, that no other party has any rights thereto, and that any "moral rights" in Submitted Materials have been waived, and (ii) you grant us and our affiliates a royalty-free, unrestricted, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully transferable, assignable and sub licensable right and license to use, copy, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, display and incorporate in other works any Submitted Materials (in whole or part) in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, including for promotional and/or commercial purposes. We cannot be responsible for maintaining any Submitted Material that you provide to us, and we may delete or destroy any such Submitted Material at any time.
Prohibited User Conduct. You warrant and agree that, while using the Web Site and the various services, features and functionality offered on or through the Web Site, you shall not: (a) impersonate any person or entity or misrepresent your affiliation with any other person or entity; (b) insert your own or a third party's advertising, branding or other promotional content into any of the Web Site's content, materials or services (for example, without limitation, in an Embedded Video (as defined herein), RSS feed or a podcast received from us or otherwise through the Web Site), or, except as otherwise specifically authorized in these Terms and Conditions or on the Web Site use, redistribute, republish or exploit such content or service for any further commercial or promotional purposes; or (c) attempt to gain unauthorized access to other computer systems through the Web Site. You shall not: (i) engage in spidering, "screen scraping," "database scraping," harvesting of e-mail addresses, wireless addresses or other contact or personal information, or any other automatic means of obtaining lists of users or other information from or through the Web Site or the services offered on or through the Web Site, including without limitation any information residing on any server or database connected to the Web Site or the services offered on or through the Web Site; (ii) obtain or attempt to obtain unauthorized access to computer systems, materials or information through any means; (iii) use the Web Site or the services made available on or through the Web Site in any manner that could interrupt, damage, disable, overburden, or impair the Web Site or such services, including, without limitation, sending mass unsolicited messages or "flooding" servers with requests; (iv) use the Web Site or the Web Site's services or features in violation of our or any third party's intellectual property or other proprietary or legal rights; or (v) use the Web Site or the Web Site's services in violation of any applicable law. You further agree that you shall not attempt (or encourage or support anyone else's attempt) to circumvent, reverse engineer, decrypt, or otherwise alter or interfere with the Web Site or the Web Site's services, or any content thereof, or make any unauthorized use thereof. You agree that you shall not use the Web Site in any manner that could interfere with any other party's use and enjoyment of the Web Site or any of its services. You shall not obtain or attempt to obtain any materials or information through any means not intentionally made publicly available or provided for through the Web Site.
Public Forums. We may, from time to time, make messaging services, chat services, bulletin boards, message boards, blogs, other forums and other such services available on or through the Web Site. In addition to any other rules or regulations that we may post in connection with a particular service, you agree that you shall not upload, post, transmit, distribute or otherwise publish through the Web Site or any service or feature made available on or through the Web Site, any materials which (i) restrict or inhibit any other user from using and enjoying the Web Site or the Web Site's services, (ii) are fraudulent, unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, offensive, pornographic, profane, sexually explicit or indecent, (iii) constitute or encourage conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any local, state, national or international law, (iv) violate, plagiarize or infringe the rights of third parties including, without limitation, copyright, trademark, trade secret, confidentiality, contract, patent, rights of privacy or publicity or any other proprietary right, (v) contain a virus, spyware, or other harmful component, (vi) contain embedded links, advertising, chain letters or pyramid schemes of any kind, or (vii) constitute or contain false or misleading indications of origin, endorsement or statements of fact. You further agree not to impersonate any other person or entity, whether actual or fictitious, including us or our personnel. You also may not offer to buy or sell any product or service on or through your comments submitted to our forums. You alone are responsible for the content and consequences of any of your activities.
Right to Monitor. We reserve the right, but do not have an obligation, to monitor and/or review all materials posted to the Web Site or through the Web Site's services or features by users, and we are not responsible for any such materials posted by users. However, we reserve the right at all times to disclose any information as necessary to satisfy any law, regulation or government request, or to edit, refuse to post or to remove any information or materials, in whole or in part, that in our sole discretion are objectionable or in violation of this Terms and Conditions, our policies or applicable law. We may also impose limits on certain features of the forums or restrict your access to part or all of the forums without notice or penalty if we believe you are in breach of the guidelines set forth in this paragraph, our terms and conditions or applicable law, or for any other reason without notice or liability.
Private or Sensitive Information on Public Forums. It is important to remember that comments submitted to a forum may be recorded and stored in multiple places, both on our Web Site and elsewhere on the Internet, which are likely to be accessible for a long time and you have no control over who will read them eventually. It is therefore important that you are careful and selective about the personal information that you disclose about yourself and others, and in particular, you should not disclose sensitive, embarrassing, proprietary or confidential information in your comments to our public forums.
Linking to the Web Site. Unless otherwise specifically indicated in these Terms and Conditions or on the Web Site, you agree that: (i) if you include a link from any other web site to the Web Site, such link shall open in a new browser window and shall link to the full version of an HTML formatted page of this Web Site; (ii) you are not permitted to link directly to any image hosted on the Web Site or our services, such as using an "in-line" linking method to cause the image hosted by us to be displayed on another web site; and (iii) you agree not to download or use images hosted on this Web Site on another web site, for any purpose, including, without limitation, posting such images on another site. You agree not to link from any other web site to this Web Site in any manner such that the Web Site, or any page of the Web Site, is "framed," surrounded or obfuscated by any third party content, materials or branding. We reserve all of our rights under the law to insist that any link to the Web Site be discontinued, and to revoke your right to link to the Web Site from any other web site at any time upon written notice to you.
Product Redemption. From time to time we may distribute deals, freebies, or samples (collectively, "Offers"). The availability of the Offers may vary based on location and timing. In redeeming an Offer, you further agree to the WomanFreebies.com Terms and Conditions.
Promotions. From time to time we may offer sweepstakes, contests, or other similar promotions ("Promotions"). Promotions vary and may require you to submit information about yourself to us. Each Promotion has its own Terms and Conditions, which govern your participation in the Promotion. You must read and agree to these separate Terms and Conditions before entering into any such Promotion.
Third Party Content and Links from the Web Site. If the Web Site contains links to other sites and resources provided by third parties, such links are provided for convenience purposes only. This includes links contained in advertisements, banner advertisements, and sponsored links. We have no control over, and no liability for any third party websites or materials. We work with a number of partners and affiliates whose Internet sites may be linked with the Web Site. Because neither we nor our Web Site has control over the content and performance of these partner and affiliate sites, we make no guarantees about the accuracy, currency, content, or quality of the information provided by such sites, and we assume no responsibility for unintended, objectionable, inaccurate, misleading, or unlawful content that may reside on those sites.
Similarly, from time to time in connection with your use of the Web Site, you may have access to Content or websites that are owned by third parties ("Third Party Content"). You acknowledge and agree that we make no guarantees about, and assume no responsibility for, the accuracy, currency, content, or quality of Third Party Content, and that, unless expressly provided otherwise, these Terms and Conditions shall govern your use of any and all Third Party Content.
Third Party Merchants. Our Web Sites contains many offers from third party partners and affiliates which may allow you to order, receive, or redeem various products and services by business that are not owned or operated by us. The delivery, guarantee, maintenance, and all other matters concerning your transactions with these businesses are solely between you and such businesses. We do NOT, in any way, shape or form, endorse, warrant, or guarantee any such third party offers and we are not liable for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such information or the availability of any offers.
Embedded Video Links. Certain pages of the Web Site provide the functionality for you to "embed" videos appearing on the page on other web sites or blog pages (together with the Player, as defined herein, the "Embedded Video"). The functionality is provided by giving you the necessary HTML code to include on such page to make that Embedded Video appear. If you include the HTML on a web or blog page, the actual video stream for the Embedded Video will be served from our servers but the Embedded Video may be rendered to the visitor of that page as part of that page. If you elect to embed video on a page, you agree as follows: (i) you will not alter, in any respect, the Embedded Video (including without limitation the content, format, and length and advertising associated therewith) from how it is served from our servers; (ii) you will not facilitate access to the Embedded Video through any video player or other tool other than the video player that is provided by us when the Embedded Video appears (the "Player"); (iii) the Embedded Video may be used as part for commercial purposes, including on an advertising-supported page, provided that: (a) the Embedded Video shall not be included in, or used as part of, a service that sells access to video content; (b) you shall not insert advertising, sponsorship or promotional messages in, or immediately adjacent to, the Embedded Video or Player; and (c) to the extent you sell any advertising, sponsorship or promotional material to appear on the same page that includes the Embedded Video, the page includes other content not provided by us which is a sufficient basis for such sales. You may not block, inhibit, build upon or disable any portion of the Player, including without limitation links back to our site. You understand and agree that all measured metrics related to the access and viewing of the Embedded Video shall be credited to the Web Site without limitation of any provision of these Terms and Conditions, we shall have no liability to you for any reason with respect to your use of Embedded Video and you agree to defend, indemnify and hold us and our affiliates and our affiliates' directors, officers, employees and agents harmless from any and all claims, liabilities, costs and expenses, including attorneys' fees, arising in any way from your use of the Embedded Video.
Copyright Infringement. We respect the intellectual property rights of others, and require that the people who use the Web Site, or the services or features made available on or through the Web Site, do the same. If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please forward the following information to Legal@WomanFreebies.com
  • Your address, telephone number, and email address;
  • A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed;
  • A description of where the alleged infringing material is located;
  • A statement by you that you have a good faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
  • An electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright interest; and
  • A statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or are authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf.
For Customer Service, please contact:
WomanFreebies.com
1338 Wellington Street West, Unit 200
Ottawa, ON K1Y 3B7
Canada
e-mail: admin@WomanFreebies.com
Indemnification. You agree to defend, indemnify and hold us and our affiliates and our affiliates' directors, officers, employees and agents harmless from any and all claims, liabilities, costs and expenses, including attorneys' fees, arising in any way from your use of the Web Site, your placement or transmission of any message, content, information, software or other materials through the Web Site, or your breach or violation of the law or of these Terms and Conditions. We reserve the right, at our own expense, to assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter otherwise subject to indemnification by you, and in such case, you agree to cooperate with our defense of such claim.
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES. THE WEB SITE, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ALL SERVICES, FEATURES, CONTENT, FUNCTIONS AND MATERIALS PROVIDED THROUGH THE WEB SITE, ARE PROVIDED "AS IS," "AS AVAILABLE," WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY FOR INFORMATION, DATA, DATA PROCESSING SERVICES, UPTIME OR UNINTERRUPTED ACCESS, ANY WARRANTIES CONCERNING THE AVAILABILITY, PLAYABILITY, DISPLAYABILITY, ACCURACY, PRECISION, CORRECTNESS, THOROUGHNESS, COMPLETENESS, USEFULNESS, OR CONTENT OF INFORMATION, AND ANY WARRANTIES OF TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND WE HEREBY DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL SUCH WARRANTIES, EXPRESS AND IMPLIED. WE DO NOT WARRANT THAT THE WEB SITE OR THE SERVICES, CONTENT, FUNCTIONS OR MATERIALS PROVIDED THROUGH THE WEB SITE WILL BE TIMELY, SECURE, UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, OR THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED. WE MAKE NO WARRANTY THAT THE WEB SITE OR THE PROVIDED SERVICES WILL MEET USERS' REQUIREMENTS. NO ADVICE, RESULTS OR INFORMATION, WHETHER ORAL OR WRITTEN, OBTAINED BY YOU FROM US OR THROUGH THE WEB SITE SHALL CREATE ANY WARRANTY NOT EXPRESSLY MADE HEREIN. WE AND OUR AFFILIATES ALSO ASSUME NO RESPONSIBILITY, AND SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR, ANY DAMAGES TO, OR VIRUSES THAT MAY INFECT, YOUR EQUIPMENT ON ACCOUNT OF YOUR ACCESS TO, USE OF, OR BROWSING IN THE WEB SITE OR YOUR DOWNLOADING OF ANY MATERIALS, DATA, TEXT, IMAGES, VIDEO CONTENT, OR AUDIO CONTENT FROM THE WEB SITE. IF YOU ARE DISSATISFIED WITH THE WEB SITE, YOUR SOLE REMEDY IS TO DISCONTINUE USING THE WEB SITE.
WE TRY TO ENSURE THAT THE INFORMATION POSTED ON THE WEB SITE IS CORRECT AND UP-TO-DATE. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE OR MAKE CORRECTIONS TO ANY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THE WEB SITE AT ANY TIME AND WITHOUT ANY PRIOR WARNING. WE NEITHER ENDORSE NOR ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY OPINION, ADVICE OR STATEMENT ON THE WEB SITE, NOR FOR ANY OFFENSIVE, DEFAMATORY, OBSCENE, INDECENT, UNLAWFUL OR INFRINGING POSTING MADE THEREON BY ANYONE OTHER THAN OUR AUTHORIZED EMPLOYEE SPOKESPERSONS WHILE ACTING IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, OTHER USERS OF THE WEB SITE). IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO EVALUATE THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS OR USEFULNESS OF ANY INFORMATION, OPINION, ADVICE OR OTHER CONTENT AVAILABLE THROUGH THE WEB SITE. PLEASE SEEK THE ADVICE OF PROFESSIONALS, AS APPROPRIATE, REGARDING THE EVALUATION OF ANY SPECIFIC INFORMATION, OPINION, ADVICE OR OTHER CONTENT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO FINANCIAL, HEALTH, OR LIFESTYLE INFORMATION, OPINION, ADVICE OR OTHER CONTENT.
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. IN NO EVENT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO NEGLIGENCE, SHALL WE, OUR AFFILIATES, OR ANY OF OUR DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS OR CONTENT OR SERVICE PROVIDERS (COLLECTIVELY, THE "PROTECTED ENTITIES") BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, EXEMPLARY OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES ARISING FROM, OR DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY RELATED TO, THE USE OF, OR THE INABILITY TO USE, THE WEB SITE OR THE CONTENT, FEATURES, MATERIALS AND FUNCTIONS RELATED THERETO, YOUR PROVISION OF INFORMATION VIA THE WEB SITE, LOST BUSINESS OR LOST SALES, EVEN IF SUCH PROTECTED ENTITY HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATION OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES SO SOME OF THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO CERTAIN USERS. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE PROTECTED ENTITIES BE LIABLE FOR OR IN CONNECTION WITH ANY CONTENT POSTED, TRANSMITTED, EXCHANGED OR RECEIVED BY OR ON BEHALF OF ANY USER OR OTHER PERSON ON OR THROUGH THE WEB SITE. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE TOTAL AGGREGATE LIABILITY OF THE PROTECTED ENTITIES TO YOU FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION (WHETHER IN CONTRACT OR TORT, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING FROM THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OR YOUR USE OF THE WEB SITE EXCEED, IN THE AGGREGATE, THE AMOUNT, IF ANY, PAID BY YOU TO US FOR YOUR USE OF THE WEB SITE OR PURCHASE OF PRODUCTS VIA THE WEB SITE.
Photosensitive Seizures. A very small percentage of people may experience a seizure when exposed to certain visual images, such as flashing lights or patterns that may appear in video games or other electronic or online content. Even people who have no history of seizures or epilepsy may have an undiagnosed condition that can cause these "photosensitive epileptic seizures" while watching video games or other electronic content. These seizures have a variety of symptoms, including light-headedness, disorientation, confusion, momentary loss of awareness, eye or face twitching, altered vision or jerking or shaking of arms or legs. If you experience any of the foregoing symptoms, or if you or your family has a history of seizures or epilepsy, you should immediately stop using the Web Site and consult a doctor.
Termination. We may terminate, change, suspend or discontinue any aspect of the Web Site or the Web Site's services at any time. We may restrict, suspend or terminate your access to the Web Site and/or its services if we believe you are in breach of our Terms and Conditions or applicable law, or for any other reason without notice or liability. We maintain a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of the Web Site use privileges of users who are repeat infringers of intellectual property rights.
Changes to Terms and Conditions. We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change, modify, add or remove any portion of the Terms and Conditions, in whole or in part, at any time. Changes in the Terms and Conditions will be effective when posted. Your continued use of the Web Site and/or the services made available on or through the Web Site after any changes to the Terms and Conditions are posted will be considered acceptance of those changes.
Miscellaneous. The Terms and Conditions, and the relationship between you and us, shall be governed by the laws of the Province of Ontario, Canada. You agree that any cause of action that may arise under the Terms and Conditions shall be commenced and be heard in the appropriate court in the Province of Ontario, Canada. You agree to submit to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction of the courts located within the Province of Ontario. Our failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of the Terms and Conditions shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any provision of the Terms and Conditions is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the parties nevertheless agree that the court should endeavor to give effect to the parties' intentions as reflected in the provision, and the other provisions of the Terms and Conditions remain in full force and effect.
These Terms and Conditions were revised 04/28/2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Perils of Walmart Shopping

I ran to walmart last night to grab a few essentials. That was my first mistake.
My daughter and I went to the cash register and, since I was at Wal-Mart, only two registers were open. There were 3 employees at the empty Customer Service desk, of course. But two cashiers in the whole goddamn place.
So we went past the regular checkout and it was packed with people whose carts were similarly packed. I had about 15 items, so I went to the 20 Items or Fewer register (well, that's what it should be titled, but "proper grammer" and "Wal-Mart" don't often go together). This happened to be the only register where one can buy tobacco and baby formula. For that reason, this is the lane that many people have to go to, but idiots like me who just have fewer than 20 items get in it too.
Our cashier had disheveled hair, red eyes, and spoke in a mumbly voice that nobody was able to understand the first time. My first thought was, "Holy crap, this dude is drunk as fuck."
The lady at the front of our line was a tall blonde who looked far too clean and affluent to be at a Wal-Mart. We'll call her Buffy. Behind her was a miniature hispanic lady. I assume she was hispanic because she responded once to a comment with what sound like something my friends learned in high school Spanish class. Day Nada? Right. Okay, so we'll call her Maria. Then there was me, and a few minutes later someone appeared in line behind me but I didn't turn around to see who it was.

Buffy was buying one thing, with a $10 off coupon. That's a damn good coupon, you get it girl! And put the money you saved right into your IRA. Cashier Dude couldn't figure it out, so he had to call over a manager. Somehow he ran the coupon incorrectly. Manager came over and fixed it, with some trouble. The woman checking out apologized to us twice while waiting. The hispanic lady in front of me just smiled and made a noncommittal noise, seemingly perplexed as to what the fuck was happening, while I reassured Buffy that she was just fine, no worries. Because I didn't know that her delay was the first in a long line of delays that would make me want to stab my own brain through the ear with a clearance fork. 
Meanwhile, Maria only had diapers and wipes on the belt. Since the belt was mostly empty, I emptied my cart onto the back. This would prove to be my second mistake: now I was stuck in this aisle, unless I took everything off the belt and put it back in my cart.
Right as Drunk Cashier was about to start ringing up the lady in front of me, I became aware of a commotion behind us. A beautiful, tall black woman in her 30s at most asked if she could hop in front of me, because "Otherwise he's going to wreck the store." I turned to see that she was referring to a a white man in his thirties who appeared to have a cognitive issue, and who was drinking a can of pepsi from an opened carton in the cart. Based on their ethnic differences and what happened next, I assume she was his nurse or caregiver in some capacity. We'll call her Hellooo, Nurse. "Please, go right ahead," I said. Hellooo Nurse looked so disheveled that I wanted to help her or hug her or buy her a whole jug of wine with a straw.
She squeezed ahead of me and threw a few items on the register, informing the man that since he opened the soda, she would be paying for it with his money instead of hers. She got out his money bag and had him pay Drunk Cashier for the stuff he'd opened, gesturing to it in her cart behind me. Drunk Cashier rung him up, and then she threw her other few items on the belt to be paid for on her own card. Meanwhile the gentleman with her was yelling loudly, asking her questions, and causing a commotion. She patiently answered his repeated questions, which seemed to be in some kind of code that only she and he understood. "Whatime?" he would yell, and she would say "Wednesday." This would repeat a dozen times before he switched to "Wedsday?" and she'd reply "That's today."

Both myself and Maria smiled encouragingly at Hellooo Nurse, who clearly had her hands full but was rocking it. When she apologized to us, I told her she was doing a great job. She thanked me as she blew her hair out of her eyes and dropped her wallet, dropping change everywhere. My daughter helped her pick it up while I moved my cart behind hers so she could access her stuff and get out of there easier.
As Hellooo Nurse was gathering her bags back into her cart, Maria stepped up to have her items rung up. They were still on the belt. Drunk Cashier said, "Oh no, I already rang those up on your card." What? Whaa- how had he rung up those items if he hadn't scanned them? Apparently he'd seen her gesturing to her cart and instead thought she had also been intending to pay for Maria's 3 items, which he'd somehow rung up. There was a whole mess of confusion, resulting in another manager coming over and having to negate payments and re-ring various items. The people in the customer service department just nonchalantly looked over at us, chatting away to each other with their zero customers, while I did my best to wish diarrhea on all of them for being so goddamn useless. Hellooo Nurse again apologized. The non-English-speaking woman just looked terrified. My daughter sighed. 
Finally it was our turn to go. Drunk Cashier rang us up, and two of the items rang up differently than they had been marked in the aisle, so i had him remove them from my receipt. He apologized profusely... for the one thing all night that hadn't been his fault. I got the impression by his manner of speech that perhaps he wasn't drunk or on drugs (though I've never really been around drugs to know how they make you behave), perhaps he was struggling with the same type of mental competency issues like Hellooo Nurse's charge. I'm still perplexed as to why a national superstore would place this man at the busiest register in the store, without keeping a manager nearby. He was clearly struggling and causing more problems than he was solving. It seemed to be the equivalent of me giving my 9 year old daughter the job of driving my car so that I could sit in the passenger seat and control the radio instead. Sure, it'd make her feel good, but it'll be basically suicide for all of us. 
We got out of there, and on our way out, the Bath Fitter dude stopped us. If you've never heard of Bath Fitter, they come out to your moldy-ass nasty bath tub and put a new bath tub shell over it, so you can appear to have cleaned your tub once in awhile while ignoring the inevitable stench wafting up from between the layers.  But fine, Bath Fitter guy. I'll call him Raspy due to his obvious habit of smoking since he was a fetus. Raspy was in his 40s or 50s and wearing a leather jacket with a button-up shirt underneath, which was unbuttoned down to his navel. He called out to us and, exhausted, I politely declined - "It looks nice, but we can't make changes because we're renting." All true. All my attempt to get the fuck out of there without talking to this obviously pushy guy. 
But Raspy took my rental explanation as cause to run out and stop us. He placed himself in front of my cart and said that he'd give me a 10% off coupon for when we buy a house. Sure, dude. I'm going to buy a house with a bathroom so unsightly and unkempt that I have to refinish it with your bullshit solution. I understand that this is Walmart, but you're aiming too high here, bro. Either way, I wanted to leave. So I decided the quickest way to get out of there was to take the free 10% Off coupon. But to get that goddamn coupon, he said I had to sign up on a contact card. Fucking fine.

I wrote down my previous address which no longer forwards my mail, and my "cell phone number" which was a conglomeration of my parents' landline and some other random numbers thrown in. Raspy read my name from the card and jumped into full Salesman mode. And he was doing the hard sell. "Becky, if you see here, this does this" and "Becky, if you get your landlord to meet with my lady that'll call you, this and this and this will happen." Becky, did you know that Bath Fitter does kitchen cabinets too? Look at this --" Then he started quizzing me about how close my landlord was to us, what my landlord's gender was, and asking for my landlord's phone number.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that my landlord was a serious control-freak of a bitch who had paid extra to have my house's kitchen done by a custom cabinet dude from Amish country, and who had nearly had a bowel-exploding stroke one time when a magnet fell off from one of the cupboard doors. He continued on for well over ten minutes, not pausing long enough for me to interrupt. He finally asked a question, probably something like "Do you hate yourself enough to refinish your entire bathroom with a veneer bathtub?" and I saw my chance to speak.

"I need to get my daughter home to bed," I said, yanking my child's head sideways against my hip in faux maternal affection, while mentally channeling the phrase "Pretend to be tired, you little fucker, I want to leave!" He said he understood and went through another 3 minute speil detailing exactly how they'd get in touch with us (they'll call me, I GOT IT DUDE), how great my daughter was behaving (You should see what I'm holding back from doing to you, Raspy), and asking her if she did well in school (Better than you, bro.). I backed away and said goodnight, and he kept talking as we walked away. "Have a good night!" I shouted, shuddering from the pushiness and frustration of everything.
My daughter quizzed me later in the car. "What on earth was that about?" I explained her how I was just being polite, and how stupid it was to be indirect, and how indirectness can get you caught up into sitiations like that. What better life lesson on how dangerous indirectness is than being street-harassed by some dude who works on commission. 
So. I'd like to conclude this story by saying that Pennsylvania needs to update their shittyass liquor laws, because I definitely needed a drink after that, and that entire thing would've been so much better if I'd been able to pop open a bag of wine with a twisty straw and slurp my way to oblivion. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Do we really need to "KEEP CHRIST in CHRISTMAS" ?

Christmas is, of course, a holiday that is considered to be a "Christian" holiday. Naturally since we Americans live in a nation that has had many Christians in its history, Christmas has become a national holiday where banks, businesses, and schools are closed.

It's also become a source of contention between groups that seem to be at war.

First, you have many Christians who claim it as their holiday, and who are hurt, offended, or angered by the implications that anything other than a Christian viewpoint on Christmas is a travesty. Then you have the rest of the nation - people who don't see themselves as Christian either because they have a different religion or don't identify with a religion altogether, or they are ambivalent about the Christian roots of our current Christmas celebration.

Facebook is awash with usually-sincere, sometimes obnoxious, often overly-capitalized memes being shared by those in the former group. Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!, they say. It's merry CHRISTmas! JESUS is the REASON for the SEASON! Personally, I'm not big on public displays of ANY religion, so they just make me eyeroll in the same way that I roll my eyes over verses, inspirational quotes, and "#blessed" hashtags. Pipe down, Sparky. Nobody cares what you believe if you're annoying or preachy about it.

But I think the topic is worth discussing. To clear things up, I was raised in a very strict Christian home, went to Christian college, and am engaged to a Christian man. I've taught Sunday School almost every year since I was in high school. But I'm nothing like your "classic Christian." I got kicked out of that Christian college. I got pregnant to an atheist weeks later, and didn't attend church for years afterward. My daughter is now 9. I had her the day before I turned 21.

But, I drink and swear and am living with the aforementioned fiance. After attending a whitewashed Christian college that sorely disappointed me, I found myself looking at Christians and Christianity through a new lens: not the Christian lens (which seems rose-colored and ill-fitting to me) or the non-Christian lens (which seems hopelessly gray and loose to me at times), but through a different lens: the realist's lens, which is forged of necessity from an eye that's tried on both lenses. I have friends who range anywhere from "self-proclaimed Jesus Freak" to "Staunch Atheist." (The agnostics are my favorites because they're the most open-minded.) After years of pretending to be someone I wasn't, I threw off the chains of Public Opinion and decided that I would only believe what I personally believe because I've researched the facts and feelings and have decided that it works for me personally, and me alone. If I had to title my "religion," I'd say that I'm a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, non-denominational libertarian with an affinity for etymology, facts, and honesty and a regular penchant for hedonism slipping through. That's the truth where it stands. I'm not going to pretend to be a great example of Christianity just so you'll respect me or identify with me more or less, or so that you can share this on facebook and say "Yes! THIS GIRL GETS IT!". If I did that, it would be a lie, and lies are for teenagers and criminals. If you'd like to discuss whether I'm a hypocrite, I'm absolutely open to the discussion because I'm constantly wondering the same thing myself. Seems I only see my hypocrisy in retrospect.

So. Because of my unique perspective of being a super-religious Christian throughout adolescence, getting rejected by churches and Christians in early adulthood, going through a rebellious/finding myself phase, and slowly coming around to just core beliefs...I feel like I can speak frankly and honestly toward various crowds: the religious Christians, the "Christianity is a relationship, not a religion" crowd, the atheists, the agnostics, the people who don't really think about religion...

I saw this link from Honest Mom come up on my facebook feed. I clicked it with the hope that some other blogger had captured my words so that I, lazy and busy at the same time, wouldn't have to write something up just to get these words out of my brain, which happens often for me.

The article made some excellent points: Christmas is not only "ours" as Christians. It's a secular holiday now, celebrated by people of all religions in various countries. Christmas has roots in Christianity, but many of our traditions are pagan as well.  Christmas is only about commercialization if you make it that way. All excellent points, and all worth discussing in a respectful setting. I personally was displeased with the article because it also focused on not offending people, which is a silly concept. Yes, we should be respectful. But as soon as you bring the word "offended" into the mix, this isn't about respect, it's about pandering to popular opinion.  If you look around, you'll see groups of people just waiting with baited breath to be offended. You'll see politicized groups watching the news with the hope that someone on "the other side" will say something that can be attacked and dissected and used in out-of-context memes forevermore. While the Bible calls Christians to LOVE, it does not call them to people-please. I don't mean to be dismissive of the article - it's a good article and the author is obviously a genuine and thoughtful person. I was just hoping for something a little more... in-depth, I guess?

So, to the keyboard I go, and here we are.

To my Christian friends sharing these memes and hurting because this holiday that you feel strongly about has become something that feels dismissive of your beliefs:

I'm glad that you care so strongly about your faith. It's nice to see genuine, passionate people in a world full of ambivalence.

But please understand these four things:
  1. Many employees cannot say "Merry Christmas" without penalization because many business do not allow this. Businesses often do not want to take a stance on issues that are politicized, such as religion. Understand that they might do this for various reasons: they don't want to lose profits, they don't want to be in the middle of a political firestorm, they don't want to alienate their employees. Those are all respectable viewpoints. A business is allowed to make a profit. A business is allowed to be politically correct. Businesses are usually started to sell a product, not a viewpoint.
  2. Fellow Christians understand the meaning behind Christmas as a religious holiday. But unlike various other religious holidays, this one is celebrated nationally by non-religious entities like the banks and public schools that close on Christmas. Therefore, Christmas as its current definition stands is not so much about Christ, as it is about 'a holiday.' And the joy with holidays is that you can make them out to be whatever you want them to be. Your Spring Break in college might have included community service; mine included sleeping a lot on my parents' couch and probably fighting with my sister. Your family Thanksgiving might include lavish decorations; mine is all about board games after we eat. This is okay. It's okay to define a tradition for yourself. It's okay if someone's definition doesn't match yours.
  3. When you try to "take back" this holiday, you're alienating other people. No, you shouldn't say "Praise Allah" just because your neighbor comes from that other religion. You shouldn't change who you are or what you believe just to appease The Masses.  The Masses can shut their pie holes. But you should step back and realize that when you talk about "taking back" Christmas and how this country is going down the drain, please understand that you're dangerously close to 'that dude's a bigot!' territory, which really doesn't jive with the whole "Jesus loves you and died for you" goal of the Bible. Yes, Christmas is a Christian holiday in tradition and original definition. But it's not yours. It's not ours. It's not 'theirs.' It is what it is: a holiday that's got various traditions attached by various groups. Shouldn't we be more focused on the giving spirit and the loving nature of Christ, than in telling people that their commercialization/politically correct/pagan-ish/not-Jesusy-enough/etc celebration offends us? Stop it. And go read that verse about how we should clothe and feed people physically before we try to feed them spiritually. Feed the world. When that's done, you can try to change their beliefs. (Hint: that will never be done.)
  4.  If we truly believe in the Bible, and if we truly believe that God gave us free will, then we as Christians absolutely should not want Christmas' official definition (for government use, let's say) to be about a religion. While various arguments exist about whether this nation is truly a "Christian nation" (the founding fathers had many religions; this nation was founded on freedom of religion but not on religion itself, etc - google that and come back in 7 hours when your head is spinning), should we actually want this country to be a "Christian nation?" Prayer was taken out of schools.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    Think about it. Do you really want a state-run public school to be teaching religion or leading our children in prayers? I don't even want my neighbor having discussions about morals and ethics with my impressionable daughter - not because I want to brainwash her, but because I want to do the opposite. I have a way of presenting viewpoints that allows for discussion, in the privacy of our home where peer pressure does not exist and parental pressure is intentionally nonexistent. Why would I want a school teacher that my daughter naturally adores to stand in front of a classroom and tell a room full of little children about someone's opinions? We live in a country where freedom is the most important thing for many of us. It is not freedom to have a state religion; it's exactly the opposite, in fact. God gave us free will. This means that you have the freedom to make choices for yourself, whether they be helpful or harmful to you or others.
If you truly believe what you believe, no government or public opinion or political pandering should be able to change that. You can still write lawmakers and get involved in politics if you feel that laws are being passed that are unconstitutional or unfair, or immoral. But it is not "caving in to secularism" to appreciate the fact that other people come from other backgrounds and hold different worldviews.If you want to be "in this world, not of it", then you should behave like someone who is not offended by everything. Leave the butthurt to the people who are actively seeking it (Hi, Mayor Bloomberg), and go out and do some good for the world instead.

To my non-Christian friends: 
  1. Sorry about this whole "attack mode" that a lot of Christians go into if you dare to suggest that your personal Christmas isn't about Christianity. Please understand that when someone strongly believes in something, they have a tendency to may make misguided statements or take misguided actions in their passion. It's really hard as a Christian to believe that the people you care about might not be going to heaven. Hell sucks. Seriously, it sucks; I don't want you to go there if it's real. So sometimes Christians get overzealous and try to go on missions to save the world. We love you. Just like an older brother who slaps you around out of love, sometimes we Christians get slappy with our faith. I'm sorry. We're sorry.
  2. Christians are often defensive because they are attacked, constantly. I know, I know: other groups are attacked, too. Atheists and homosexuals in particular face a lot of disadvantages in the workplace even in today's day and age. But it seems that Christianity is the only group that is universally mockable with no repercussions. Just watch any comedy show, stand-up special, late night talk show, or even sitcom. You'll see it. Christians are portrayed as small-minded rednecks who cling to their religion and are also usually racist. That stereotype would never fly with any other group. Seriously, replace "Christians" in that sentence with Muslims, atheists, women, gay men, or any minority group and you'll feel indignation boil up inside you because it's unfair and stereotyping and untrue. But put "Christians" in there and you'll squint and slowly nod. "Sounds about right."  That's because we're all seemingly okay with mocking this one religion harder than any other religion. I've met Christians who fit that stereotype, but I've met atheists who do as well but who cling to their non-religion just as heartily. I've also met Christians and atheists who are the exact opposite of that. Stereotypes are for ninnies. In addition to this, Christian viewpoints are constantly being attacked and minimized through politics and social norms. So many Christians feel minimized and marginalized. This whole Christ in Christmas thing is just a symptom of the existing problem. 
  3. Thank YOU for being open-minded in your beliefs. As an American, your likelihood of being Christian is much higher than in other nations. (And in other nations, different religions are more common.) You went against the grain in your belief system and that's so respectable, even if it scares some Christians. Since science cannot and will not ever be able to prove or disprove the existence of God, many Christians have a hard time with the disparity that comes with fully believing something, having a logical mind, and having rational human doubts. Christianity is a lesson in faith, and faith is not something that comes easily to anyone - especially faith in the unseen. Please understand that Christian faith is terrifying and unsure but also it's uplifting and comforting, and that's okay. We do appreciate that you have different viewpoints, but we're not always open to discussions because it seems like an attack (seriously, watch TV for one day and see how many times Christians are mocked). 
All Christians aren't jerkfaces. I promise. Cut them some slack in their passion, and they'll (hopefully) cut you some slack in yours.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hipster Kids

I can't handle being friends with hipsters.

First of all, the facial hair. Who decided it would be considered 'hip' (or whatever the hipster word for 'hip' is) to have sprouts of pubes growing out of your faces?

Then, there are the clothes. The men dress like skinny girls, even if they're neither skinny nor girl, and the women shop in the teenage girls' department. Listen, hipsters: if I wanted to look like I hang out with men whose balls haven't dropped and prepubescent high school girls, I'd become a pedophile, okay? I'm all about having personal style, but when your personal style matches color-for-color, garment-for-garment the colors and garments of the scads of other twentysomethings who are lined up outside the same concert venue as you carrying the same chai latte as all your friends, that's not style. That's idiocy. A 30 year old's fashion accessories shouldn't be the same as my second-grade daughter's.

Seriously, kids: you look like a Tim Burton film trying to casually dust off and stroll away after a violent collision with a Lisa Frank Trapper-Keeper.

But worst of all is the up and down of the trends with these kids. They obsess over something for a year - mustaches, PBR, some random band who's not from the USA, an indy TV show that nobody else likes because it's awful but they like it because the jokes are funny in an unfunny way - and then suddenly they're over it, they're no longer interested, and you're uncool if you happen to still like it. Seriously? Did all these people suddenly become an aloof version of the insecure pretty girl in sixth grade who needs to be in on 'the next big thing' in order to like herself?

Ugh. I just have no time for it. I wish someone would do a study on the income, spending habits, and work habits of anyone who's labelled as a hipster. I guarantee they all have Iphones, don't work 40 hours a week, and don't even pay rent to their parents.

What a generation...

Monday, January 13, 2014

How to find the right neighborhood



Are you trying to find a new place to live, and you need to know if an area is white trash poor, middle-income normal, or full of people so rich they could afford to purchase black-market organs without batting an eye (or going on a kidney donor list)?

Are you scared of moving into a lovely area, only to discover that the local residents petition the Neighborhood Watch to stand guard outside your house simply because you drive a car that's more than 2 years old?

Conversely, are you frightened that the neighborhood will turn into rape alley at nightfall and that you'll have to learn to fall asleep to the sounds of women and children screaming in terror outside your Quaint Suburban Ranch House with Wrap-Around Terrace?

Search no more! I've created this handy little list of indicators so that you can visit an area just once to know whether this is a town in your desired income range.
1. Pet Paradise

Check for a presence of doggie day spas. No no, not for humans. Not boarding kennels. Day. Spas. For. Pets. Where you can send your pets to be pampered with massages, treats, and 'premium services' (puppy happy endings?) for a day or a weekend. If there are many of such spas in the area, approximately 95% of the local women are trophy wives. If there few to zero of these places, then it's likely that the local women have these crazy things called "jobs" and "mortgages" and maybe even "children." And if you have no idea what a pet spa is, congratulations, you're not ridiculous.

2. Weed-free

In the summer, do you see dandelions in yards? After moving from Pennsylvania’s Clearfield County, which is 6 spots away from the poorest in Pennsylvania, to the county that holds the top seat in terms of affluence and douchebaggery, my sister and I noticed that nobody around here has dandelions in their yards in the summer. It's like, not a thing. There is however a plethora of Mexicans mowing lawns and doing yard work at various businesses and residences. Although who knows; maybe Mexicans just hate dandelions and they pluck them out of their neighbors yards for aesthetics...after arriving by the dozen in one mid-size Ford truck...

Okay, there’s nothing wrong with taking care of one’s lawn or hiring someone to do it (at fair wages). But I can promise you that families who are struggling to keep their electricity on have better things to do with their time (like work, sleep, and um, eat) and money (like keep their children clothed and um fed) than to meticulously and regularly groom their yards for perfection.
3. High-End Cast-Offs

Check the local Goodwill. If you see name brands like D&C, Prada, and Kate Moss, there’s a wealthy pocket of housewives nearby who have too much of their husbands’ money and not enough time on their hands.  Capitalize on this – one woman’s trash is another’s treasure. My local Goodwill sells Target overstock – meaning you walk in and see 3 dozen of the same dress in EVERY SIZE, and 55 pairs of the same weird purple Target heels on the shoe racks, unworn. Yeah baby.

4. Artistic Flavor

Is “art” a thing? A good indicator of an area’s prosperity is whether there is private funding for community art programs like community theater and art studios. Usually areas with these factors also have a nice variety of nightlife/concert venues available as well. It’s a sad thing, but in many small towns, there simply isn’t enough money to pay for anything that isn’t a necessity.

5. Electronic Security

And then there's the old stand-by - if there are bars on the windows, keep house-hunting... unless you like the late-night thrill of waking up to a guy trying to murder you because he ran out of his latest injectable and your face looked tasty. A "monitored by ADT" sign might be tacky, but it's not as tacky as having a neighbor who, you know, gets murdered for the $10 in his wallet.
Happy house hunting!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bucket List

Like most moms, I don't really spend enough time on myself. As I noticed that I was depressed and bored with the minutiae of my life, I began to seek ways to break up the tedium.

A few years ago, my friend Christa bought me this book called "You can do it! The merit badge handbook for grown-up girls." It's a really fun book with about 60 chapters, each chapter detailing a potential goal to accomplish - hobbies to try, dreams to pursue - and gives you a detailed way to try to accomplish this goal. Each chapter includes a "advice on how to get started" interview from someone experienced in that field, realistic checklists on how to get started, list on potential steps you might want to achieve (how to just try it out, how to get good at it, how to do it as a career), and a list of resources (websites, books, magazines, organizations) to check out for more information.

I've been tackling this book for the past month or two, chapter by chapter as they interest me. (I skipped right over "Starting a rock band" and "quilting" because they're of no interest to me, for example.) It's a really cute book, and it's definitely come a long way toward giving me a clearer picture of the goals I want to accomplish in my lifetime.

So, in the name of trying something new, this is the list I've made both from the book directly and inspired by my hobbies. These are things I want to do someday:


  1. Write a novel. Complete it.
  2. Get published online - opinion pieces, satire pieces, short stories
  3. Knit a damn scarf and actually finish it and wear it
  4. Tour America by car. Visit the Grand Canyons, the Pacific Ocean, and the Great Lakes for the first time. Revisit Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, the Black Hills, New England, and the deep south again. Mingle with the locals. Pick up an accent temporarily.
  5. Write my life story. Let people read it. - WORKING ON THIS SLOWLY AND IN PIECES
  6. Try out for a play - community theater
  7. Act in a play
  8. Take an improv class - DOING THIS NOW!
  9. Take singing lessons
  10. Take a bellydance class
  11. Sing karaoke, in public. This terrifies me.
  12. Learn a new language - I'm thinking German
  13. Join the NRA. Buy a gun and practice target shooting. Become proficient with its use. GOT MY SMITH & WESSON M&P COMPACT 9MM IN 2013. RECEIVED MY CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT IN 2013.
  14. Learn to play pool 
  15. Play guitar again
  16. Play volleyball again
  17. Sell some of the jewelry I've made - somewhere, anywhere
  18. Attend wine tastings. Discover which wines I love
  19. Throw a truly great party - wedding?
  20. Learn to play chess
  21. Try yoga - I'm gonna fart, I know it
  22. Go fishing with Dan's Granddad ( :'( this one never happened, Granddad passed away in 2013.)
  23. Be comfortable with jogging in public
  24. Learn to change my car's oil and do other routine maintenance
  25. Go camping. Sleep in a tent, build our own fire, fish and relax for days. Don't die.
  26. Discover my family tree on both sides; trace my lineage back as far as possible
  27. Learn to salsa dance - might as well put these hips and this Mexican heritage to good use
  28. Learn to swing dance. Again, hips.
  29. Visit Europe, don't die in a bathtub full of ice without my internal organs
  30. Go to a concert festival
  31. Go hunting with my dad
  32. Read through the classics that I haven't read before
  33. Give a public speech with a large audience, just to feel the rush
  34. Study a topic that interests me. Write reports on that topic. I miss college.
  35. Buy a brand new car, be the first person to drive it
  36. Go scuba diving; don't get eaten by a shark or other marine creatures
  37. Buy a house with my man. Make it our own.
  38. Re-pierce my nose or dye my hair a crazy color
  39. Spend a day at the spa and truly relax.
  40. Learn painting techniques. Attempt to paint something half-decent
  41. Learn to play poker
  42. Go on a cruise  - this is what we plan to do for our honeymoon
  43. Spend a weekend away at a nice hotel. Drink, sleep in, have loud sex, wear comfy robes, steal the toilet paper.
  44. Go to a major league baseball game and a Steelers game
  45. Pay off my student loans - almost there!
  46. Set up an investment portfolio. Profit at least $5 when it's all said and done.
  47. Get front row seats to a band I truly love (done this with a few bands such as The Airborne Toxic Event - thanks Luke! I'm still sad that you were sick for this - but I want to do it with more!). Met Hanson in 2013 and Taylor dedicated MMMBop to my daughter - best day of my damn life.
  48. Sponsor a child and actually make the payments. Sorry, Abusa from Ethiopia! I hope you're still alive.
  49. Drive a boat. Steer a boat? Whatever it's called. I'M ON A BOAT.
  50. Go to a good play.
So, who's doing what with me? And what's on your bucket list?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Church Sign Double-Whammy!

My favorite church has a double-sided sign, and yesterday I actually pulled over to take a picture because the irony was just too great. I'm sure I'm using the term "irony" incorrectly but I don't even care. This is too good.

On one side, the sign says, "To belittle is to be little." Basically, they're saying that if you insult and belittle people, you are weak. A fair point. 


But then on the other side, they actually belittle you as you drive by:


"If you are unkind, you are the wrong kind." I get it - they're trying to make a play on words and give a little inspirational message about kindness. But using your church's billboard to call passersby "wrong" is probably not the best way to get them to step inside your doors. It probably IS the best way to get them to roll their eyes and join a cult. Probably. I dunno.

I've proposed some alternate church signs that they'll probably use in the future, if they finally decide to stop beating around the bush.

Romans 8:31, Victory Baptist Style.


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Verily, verily, I sayeth unto thee, thou shalt speaketh in terminology that confuseth the average man so that he might see the errors of his ways and come unto you, humbled, and shall be washed in the blood of the lamb. Macbeth.




Monday, October 15, 2012

Cohabiting: Is it okay?

As an unmarried mother, I've endured plenty of judgmental comments from people, both Christian and non-Christians alike, because I'm not married to my child's father. I've also gotten comments because I "claim to be a Christian," yet I live with the man I love despite the fact that we aren't married. My best friend was recently insulted at her bank, where the bank employee essentially told her that having a joint bank account with someone you're not married to is a major risk - strongly implying that any issues with her joint bank account that she has with her boyfriend are a result of them being unmarried. This same best friend was also insulted by a former close friend that she used to nanny for, who made her feel like a bad Christian for living with her boyfriend before marriage. I myself have been lectured, insulted, and have received various 'loving hints' from Christians about how I'm clearly not trusting in God  because I'm living with my fiance before marriage.

It turns out, those Christians who insulted me were right. These are the things I've learned from searching the internet for websites debunking Cohabiting as being non-Biblical:

  1. Every time a couple lives together before marriage, they have sex. The term "cohabiting" (living together) is absolutely synonymous with "sex before marriage," 100% of the time. According to this website, at least.  If you live with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you're gonna bang, even if you've decided not to. I think there's like, an evil demon-elf that sneaks in to cohabiting couples' houses and makes them 'do it' when they're asleep. I hear it doesn't feel as nice as when you're awake but at least the little guy cleans up for you both afterward.
  2. People who live together before marriage are bad with money.  Obviously you moved in together because it was more affordable, but "the majority of cohabitants do eventually break up and economics are obviously not an overwhelming impediment then, so why allow it to become a controlling factor from the start[?]"  Basically, you moved in together to save money, but you WILL split up, and money doesn't keep you together then, so you're stupid and bad with money.
  3. Conversely, when you get married, you automatically become good with money. You never overdraw your checking account, and you always pay all of your bills on time. You always consult one another and various websites and experts before making any financial decisions, and you never regret purchases. Marriage is awesome for your wallet! And financial problems are definitely not the number one reason for divorce. Nope.
  4. Living together is an insult to the institution of marriage. And interesting note about that institution: you and I were probably unaware of this, but even when Jesus was walking the earth, people were actually still required to get a certificate of marriage in the United States of America. Their marriages were only valid with that certificate from the U.S. government. All marriages that took place without a United States Certificate of Marriage were invalid. Pretty cool, eh? Go 'merica!
  5. Living together before marriage is stupid. Trying anything out before you 'buy' it is obviously a bad idea. Anyone who has purchased a car sight-unseen from Craigslist can attest that if something appears to be great upon first sight, it's going to be great; no questions.

    Obviously, if you both love God, then you're 100% perfect for each other. Personality differences, personal beliefs, financial differences, sexual mis-matches, bad habits, and other incompatibilities don't exist. All it takes to make a marriage work is for it to be "right in God's eyes" which means that you have a United States Certificate of Marriage BEFORE you get naked together. Even if he's verbally abusive or an alcoholic, or if she's a withholding jerk or if she has emotional issues that cause her to be unstable, it doesn't matter. Because you are married in God's eyes! Make it work!

    Trust me, every single thing that you need to know about the person you're dating can be ascertained without having to commit the atrocity of living together. You actually don't ever need to set foot inside of the same building as your partner. Simply ask your partner's mother if they were neat and tidy, and quiz your partner's exes and you'll know everything you need to know about how easy this person is to live with. You don't need to be a heathen to find out if you're compatible!
  6. The issues that plague non-married couples don't even affect married couples. There have been 0 documented cases of abusive husbands in the history of mankind; there are only abusive boyfriends. Never in history has a man treated his wife badly. Not once has a wife cried herself to sleep due to abject loneliness. That kind of thing only happens to the Unmarrieds (especially The Gays).
  7. If you marry someone, you automatically become sexually compatible. I know I have never met a married couple where the man wanted sex more than his wife was willing to give it to him, and who either felt lonely or gypped or cheated because of this. That simply doesn't happen. Apparently when both parties put on their matching wedding rings, a special hormone is released in each person's Dirty-Before-Marriage Parts that causes instant, whole, complete sexual attraction and compatibility, forever and ever, til death do they part.
  8. If you were such a heathen that you had kids before marriage, your bastard child will automatically become a menace to society with no moral basis and no ability to contribute to society. Keep your legs closed until after marriage or you'll give birth to the next Hitler or Housewife of New Jersey.
  9. Until you have a marriage ceremony, you're not committed to one another. You're only kinda-sorta-barely-into-each-other. Only people who have paid for a $20,000 party complete with flowers and catered meals are committed to each other. Everyone else is a jackass who's faking it.
  10. Remember that kid in your Biology class who threw off the curve for everyone else, because he studied or was a friggin' genius and somehow managed to get like a 99% when everyone else got like a 72%? You hated that asshole because, if he hadn't scored so high, everyone would've gotten a better bump in their scores. But because that jerk was so smart, everyone else was screwed.

    People who live together before marriage are just like that jerk who scored so high. You see, they don't have to do all the stuff that the "good" students of marriage did. They didn't stay pure until marriage (because as we noted above, every couple living together before marriage always screws like bunnies, like 30 times a day), they didn't go bankrupt to hold a wedding, they didn't wait to kiss until their wedding day. They cheated, and they still get all the benefits of a relationship! That's NOT FAIR! HOW DARE THEY still claim to be happy, despite the fact that they aren't legally married? How DARE they pretend that they're emotionally fulfilled with their partners? It's disgusting.
So basically, if you even THINK of living together before marriage, you:

  1. Are slutty
  2. Are definitely bad with money
  3. Are a bad Christian
  4. Are a bad American
  5. Have no faith in God to pay your bills for you
  6. Are too concerned with sex to be a good spouse anyway
  7. Are destined to have a child out of wedlock
  8. Are a bad parent
  9. Are uncommitted to one another
  10. Are cheating at life.