My Theory About Current Events

We’ve dealt with nothing but pure bullshit for the last, what? SIX years?

First, we had T**** elected by the hillbillies. That was bad, umkay? Then we had the pandemic. That was worse, umkay!

But the thread for all the jackassery has been, for the most part, OLD PEOPLE. Not all the hillbillies are old, for sure, but it’s the old people that I had an epiphany about recently.

Boomers and older Gen Xers are the demographic that are the loudest and most devoted right wing extremists. I started wondering why that is. I had a conversation with a boomer lady who argued that I was wrong to vote Democrat. I told her, NO, she was the one in the wrong. We argued good-naturedly about this when I realised what I think the issue really is: inability to believe that America could possibly allow misinformation and propaganda to be spread by the news. She simply could not believe that misinformation was being used. (I do hold much contempt for old GenXers, however, since I AM ONE and I managed to navigate all the new tech and managed to CHANGE MY MIND about a lot of things, so they can, too. Assholes.)

Think about it. When they were growing up, they had Walter Cronkite READ THE NEWS without any opinionated input at all. The news was strictly facts, no slant, as much as possible. News reporters took pride in being neutral. Same with newspapers. Now, lies and bullshit have always gone on in the government, that will never change, but the news was dependable. Now think about how that has changed. Now you cannot believe any news source without vetting the information yourself. These old people can barely check email or use a smart phone. They have zero ability to vet news or social posts.

When you pair how they were raised, believing in the news as fact, and not understanding current tech, you can see the recipe for being easily led. I think they simply cannot wrap their heads around the new reality of news being pretty much all opinion at this point. They have no way to figure out what’s true and what’s propaganda since they aren’t internet savvy. So they believe what Fox News tells them. Because they really, truly, cannot discern the lies.

I am NOT giving them a pass, mind you, but I do feel that old people have some legitimate reasons for being so easily duped. Now, the young people who are raging hillbillies DO NOT GET A PASS OF ANY SORT. If you’ve grown up with the internet, you should be able to vet information just fine. There really is no excuse for anyone under 40 not being able to understand what bias is and how to combat it. These assholes are just militantly ignorant and wouldn’t believe the sky is blue unless a right wingnut said so. I’m not addressing this bunch, they are useless and not worth my time.

But the old people. Hmmm. There really is no way to convince them that they are believing lies, because THE NEWS tells them the lies. This covers Covid, too. They are told that the vaccines are useless by talking heads and they simply believe it.

I have no solution for this, but I think I get why they are acting like they do. Giving up the notion that THE NEWS would lie is just something they cannot do. Just as they refuse to learn technology, they also refuse to learn to question and be skeptical of what “news” is being disseminated. It’s just too much for them. They are overwhelmed with all the tech and they have a hard time simply navigating the every day world because of their lack of tech savvy. Everything is a chore to them: smart phones, computers, internet, it’s all HARD.

While I do get it, I also feel sad that they have reached their limits of being able to adapt. I went through the amazing tech changes from the 70s to now as a young person. It was relatively easy for me to adapt. I got into the tech world in 1995, so dealing with the internet has been second nature for me. I did have a pretty steep learning curve for computers, but I did it because I thought the internet was fascinating. In my opinion, other old GenXers could be as tech savvy as I am, or at least be able to change their minds and deal with the new norms.

I saw this resistance to tech with my mother years ago. She refused to use a computer even for typing because she’d been traumatised by DOS – which I totally understand. But she would not learn to use a simple Mac because of her bias against ALL computers. This is very, very common with Boomers. They are afraid of tech because they are not adaptable like younger people are. So they fall more and more behind. My mother watches TVLand all day because it’s all the programs she watched when she was a part of the world. She refuses to use a smart phone, although the excellent accessibility offered would make it very easy for her to use with her limited motion. She has cordoned off her existence and cannot interact with the outside world at all now. At least Boomers who still work (like the lady I was arguing with) are a bit more tech savvy, but they still have these limits of how far they’ll go with tech. Landlines and FAX machines are still important to Boomers.

As I said, I have no solutions to offer, I just wanted to toss out this theory about Boomers and older GenXers. I’ve thought about it a lot and this seems to be why they are the way they are. They are still wrong and misguided and all that, but I see no way to fix it. So I try to be a little bit patient with the Olds. Patience is not my thing, but I try. I will still fight against their misguided efforts to install fascism in order to keep their “values” intact, however. Fuck that. Things change, folks, you gotta roll with it.

The Fall of Afghanistan

So. Afghanistan. I agree with Biden’s decision to leave. I just don’t see what can be done at this point. It’s their civil war, it’s not our business to interfere. All we’ve done is stave off the inevitable for 20 yrs. It is a country of women and children. The men left yrs ago to escape death by the Taliban. It’s shitty.

I just read a book about what it’s like to live there and I don’t think we’ve done a damn thing to help in all the 20yrs we’ve been interfering. We’ve kept the Taliban from formal control of the government, but they still control the PEOPLE.

The book, if you’re interested in the plight of women in Afghanistan, is The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle T Lemmon from 2011.

I hate that the Taliban is going to get control, but there’s not a thing we can do about it. Best to just get out. Perhaps the men that left can band together to take back the country. I don’t know the answer, but I feel that it’s not our place to interfere.

The US has interfered with the Middle East since forever and look at the fucking MESS we’ve made. Also read Queen Noor’s book Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life if you’re interested in learning more about the Middle East and what has transpired there since the 70s. It ain’t pretty.

Afghanistan has been the hot potato for presidents for 4 administrations. At least Biden is willing to take the hit and do the right thing by getting out of there and letting that country mind its business. It is not our place to control a CIVIL war. We really need a Prime Directive. Sigh.

Business Consulting

I have been a small business administrator for over 20 years. I have worked with a local restaurant as well as run my own companies over the years.

I have a unique skillset that is geared for small businesses. I understand that asking for help is hard to do AND I understand that paying for it is also an issue for most small businesses with razor thin margins.

However, over the years, I’ve seen how much money I have saved the restaurant as well as myself and I think what I do is pays for itself easily with the money I save small businesses over all. I negotiate contracts (Comcast, ATT, gas, other vendors), I compare prices (vendor comps), I can spend my time holding on the phone with large companies and allow the business owner to run their business. I can charge by hour or by project – as much or as little as you need.

I have a very wide skillset that covers many disparate areas. Here are a few of the things I can do for you:
– light accounting with Quickbooks (checkbook, general journal, various reports)
– A/R and A/P bill handling
– light payroll (NOT filing taxes, but reporting employees’ hours, etc.)
– vendor comps
– inventory pricing
– vendor contract negotiations
– equipment sales or procurement
– social media management
– website design
– graphic design (signs, menus, biz cards, logo creation, truck wraps, whatever)

For more information and examples of the logos I’ve worked on over the years, please hop over to my business website: IndigoDragon Studios. You can email me at misangelaspam at gmail or message me on FB.

Customer No Service

Everyone knows I am notoriously impatient and intolerant of companies with shitty customer service. It’s called No Service for a reason.

These days, it’s considered “Karen” behaviour to ever demand better service, EVER, but I think demanding service has gotten a bad rap because of the Karens who just want SPECIAL service. There’s a difference between demanding to be treated as SPECIAL and demanding decent service in general.

I demand decent SERVICE. If I’m paying a company – any company – for a service, then I expect to be given decent service. It’s that simple. I deal with companies for a living. I’m an admin assistant aka office manager and I get to deal with vendors for everything from linens to internet service. I won’t tolerate bullshit – especially from a sales weasel – and I expect to get the best deal possible. YES, I want a detailed bill. NO I won’t accept your “bundle” just because. Lookin’ at YOU Combastard.

I run my house the same way. This is how I get 200mbs internet for $50/mo. I negotiate. I demand. And I usually get what I’m after because I’m persistent. Persistence is the key when dealing with vendors, especially large corporations.
Continue reading “Customer No Service”

More Observations on Money

Or perhaps I should say on poor people and how they handle money. Or not even necessarily “poor” in the sense of underemployed, but poor in the sense of never having assets or a savings account no matter how much money they make.

I know many, many people in this category. It’s safe to say that 90% of the people we know are in this category, sadly.

Despite our current situation of me having almost no work and Nick being VERY underpaid, we are still doing well in our savings and investments. Granted, the unemployment I’m getting has been a BIG BIG help, but we’ve put that money to use in our investments and upgrading some things that needed upgrade in our house. We’re also going to take a big vacay (well, 5 days, which is big for us) and we’re buying some stuff for the games gig, too.

But even before the pandemic, we managed pretty well with the little scratch we had.

We talk about this often. We take risks with money – usually BIG ONES – but we also make sure that what we have works for us. We are also tighter than two coats of paint when it comes to big purchases. We plan ahead and we SHOP for deals. We also buy ahead if we find excellent deals on things we know we’ll need eventually. My chest freezer is full of protein that I get on sale, for instance. I rarely pay full price for proteins! That chest freezer ($175) has paid for itself a dozen times over in what I’ve saved!

We see our friends constantly broke and struggling, yet they pay full price for most things – INCLUDING big ticket items, where savings are significant if you’ll just SHOP. Appliances, cars and houses are the biggest expenses for most people. With planning, most of these expenses can be shopped for to get the best deal. Of course there’s always shit that breaks, but that goes to having SAVINGS for shit that happens.

Let’s take appliances first. If you know you’ll need a new big ticket appliance, then get on the phone and call around. There are myriad off price places to get deals! Look around your area and you’ll find tons of little off price stores. Of course there’s American Freight (prev. Sears Outlet) and BrandSmart, but look for scratch and dent and don’t rule out USED! We got our Bosch (the BEST) dishwasher used, probably about 10 years ago at this point. It was $300 (retail is around $800) and the only thing we’ve done was replace the control panel ($95) a few years ago. Our washer and dryer was purchased new at the Sears outlet in 04, $800 for the pair. The washer died after about 10 years (about right for front loader) and we replaced it with another similar model for $495 in 2014. How do I know? I kept the receipt. Another thing people do NOT do that drives me crazy.

Now let’s look at cars. Automobiles are probably the biggest item that Americans waste money on. I see this EVERY DAY. Americans will buy new cars rather than used and they’ll pay whatever the sticker says. LOL!! This is the dumbest thing in the world. But Americans’ lack of will to do the work and get a deal has resulted in CarMax and the other places that slap a price on a car, and that is what you pay. It’s billed as a positive thing: “No dickering! No high pressure sales!” They are basically saying “Trust US! We’ll give you the best deal!!” LOL again. They absolutely DO NOT give you the best deal. They give you RETAIL prices for used cars. And Americans lap it up. Sigh. It never ceases to amaze me how much people will pay for a car and how much they DO NOT pay attention to the financing or overall cost. If you get a new car and finance it for six years, you’ll pay about as much in interest as you will for the car that you’ve already paid too much for. It’s simple math. But MATH??!! OMG, NO! We don’t want to do MATH!! I see poor people buying new cars all the time. They pay full price, get a high interest loan for six years and lose about 20% of the value of the vehicle when they drive off the lot. How is this smart? It is not. But it’s QUICK!! So people sign on the dotted line and never think twice about the actual costs. This is why people stay poor.

Houses are another boondoggle that people feel the need to do. First of all, buying a house is NOT the panacea that it’s made out to be. Yep, your credit will go up, but you’ll also be house poor with all the constant repairs you’ll be making. We see this all the time. The “American Dream” of home ownership is overblown and a LIE. I see people who have umpteen roommates to pay the mortgage and are STILL broke. Why? Because they don’t manage their money, they have no savings and they waste 25% of their income on stupid shit like interest and buying shit at full price.

Overall, it’s the lack of patience that poor people have to take the time to find bargains and save money. In my observations, poor people tend to be impatient with the ways of money and they tend to NOT want to deal with it, which means they are not interested in calculating interest or finding deals or using a coupon. I think this comes from the constant stress of living paycheck to paycheck. I mean, I totally understand that most people do live paycheck to paycheck. But I also think that being unable or unwilling to choose wisely when it comes to spending is a big part of it.

For instance, we choose to forgo expensive health insurance, because we’d rather have a fat savings account. We’ve proven that when shit happens (see Nick’s hand incident from 2019), you WILL BE FINE without insurance. We paid nothing. We also buy used vehicles ONLY. We shop and we find deals. The Ranger was a fair deal from a wholesaler and Romeo was a good deal from a dealership lot. But these deals did not fall in my lap, I SHOPPED. I called every car lot in town looking for Romeo! I scoured the internet! I worked for it. And I got a racehorse deal on the exact car I wanted. It took me about a month. NOW, granted, we could get by with one vehicle and a friend lent me his spare vehicle, and I understand most people can’t go without for that long. BUT. Even renting a car or using Uber every day would have been economical for the deal I got. I saved thousands! We financed because this was BEFORE the pub debacle, but my rate was 2.89%, I think. (We paid it off before the bankruptcy from the pub.) What I did not do was panic and run to CarMax and pay whatever they wanted. DO. NOT. PANIC.

I also use coupons for groceries, wait for % off coupons at Vitacost, use Rakuten for cash back, buy protein on sale, buy in bulk when I find a deal and just keep my eyes peeled for bargains. We also never pay full price for technology. We buy all our Apple gear from eBay, unless a good deal is found elsewhere. Boost was offering the iPhone SE2 for $250, so we jumped on that with both feet. That is less than an open box on eBay! We pay a little too much for our cell plans ($35 each) but we’re not motivated to change for $5-10. But I was tempted by Xfinity’s mobile deal for a second. ;)

We monitor all expenses. We keep receipts. Basically, we run the house like a business and you know what? IT IS WORTH IT. Our efforts are why we can live WAY above our pay grade. Nick is underemployed as am I. Yet, we have a nice house, solid cars and fat savings and investments. We do this by being frugal and making good choices with our money. This is also how we rebounded from losing about $160k on the Pub. We’d made the money back before the pandemic. The bankruptcy fucked our credit, but our ACTUAL money situation is very good. Fuck Experian and the rest of them. They only see what they want to see. Which is a whole ‘nother rant, for another day.

Lack of patience and panic are the two characteristics I see most commonly from poor people. What they don’t get is that their lack of patience and planning is WHY they get panicked when shit happens. It’s a vicious circle.

You got two choices in this life: control it or be controlled. We control it – for the most part. When we roll the dice, we KNOW we are rolling the dice. Even when we get snake eyes, like the pub, we can recover because we are mentally tough and we know that it’s only money. Money can be made again and controlled. Poor people tend to be controlled by money. They don’t budget, they look at the bank account and spend accordingly. Which is why they run out of money regularly. Lack of planning and lack of WILL to control their situation. We don’t have a physical budget, because we’ve run our lives like a business for so long, we can manage intuitively. But we are the exception. MOST PEOPLE NEED A BUDGET. A physical one, with numbers and shit. I really wish I could help my friends with this, but they are not interested in the work it takes. It saddens me to see them struggle, but it’s not like I don’t TRY to help. I do. I offer to make budgets and help them shop for big ticket items. But for the most part, my efforts fall upon deaf ears and they continue to be controlled rather than be IN control. They panic and pay whatever is asked. They overpay for things and every dollar overpaid is a dollar NOT in savings.

To each his own, I guess. It just bothers me that SO MANY people could be in better shape if they’d slow down and do the work. Sigh. It’s endemic of our times. People have zero patience and want everything quick without effort. It is usually worth the effort. Trust me, we are living proof that our methods work. I wish much luck to all our struggling friends. Change your mind, change your life. It’s not just a slogan. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk! :)