Friday, April 24, 2009

A crazy idea

A friend of mine has suggested that I write up my story for a magazine and sell it. Or try to sell it. I guess the woman's magazines are into these kinds of story. The story that I have. Now, I'll admit, it would seem egotistical to me to write this up and try to sell it. It just seems strange.

Another friend suggested I do it as a book.

I had never thought of it until she suggested it, but I'll admit I am kind of curious about it. I don't want to just regurgitate what I've written here, so it would be a challenge. So I was wondering what you all think about it.

Is it too egotistical?

Would it be worth reading?

Would anyone care?

Could I make any money off of it?

What tone would I take with it?

How much information would I put in?

Should I even do it?

Let me know what you all think? After all, you'll be the ones doing the proofreading.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Did you know that Americans are pushy?

According to the Discovery Channel, Americans on the Titanic were rude and pushed ahead of other passengers to get on the lifeboats, while the Brits:

on board the sinking Titanic died while politely queuing to get their place on a lifeboat, while Americans pushed their way on

This is according to:

new analysis of passenger data
Nothing like having concrete evidence to prove something:

David Savage, a behavioral economist at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, and Bruno Frey, of the University of Zurich, Switzerland, spent more than a year studying survival rates from one of the worst maritime disasters in history.
Because as we all know from saber metrics, the numbers tell the entire story, and there is no evidence needed. And by all means, let's pick a bullshit hypothesis and make the data fit it in order to prove a point:

"The Titanic was built in Great Britain, operated by British subjects, and manned by a British crew. It is to be expected that national ties were activated during the disaster and that the crew would give preference to British subjects, easily identified by their language," the researchers said

They found that British passengers, who queued for a place in one of only 20 lifeboats provided for the 2,223 on board, had 10 percent lower chance of survival than any other nationality.
So lets look at this. The ship, built by, and manned by, the Brits, sank because the British captain was trying to set a speed record and was going too fast at night for the conditions. The British company that built the ship decided they didn't need to spend money on binoculars for the look out to actually spot the iceberg. And the British crew let the lifeboats, manned by British seamen, pull away from the ship half full.

But the Americans are rude, pushy, murderers, who jumped into the lifeboats at the expense of other passengers:

In contrast, Americans, who reportedly elbowed their way to the front of lines, had a 12 percent higher probability of survival than British subjects.
Now, lets look it another way. The ship, sailing to America, was carrying Americans. Who were going home, not immigrating. So lets assume, since this is what this entire study does, that most of the Americans had money and were traveling in first or second class, and not steerage. Therefore, they were close to the decks, closer to the boats, and more likely to have loaded before the immigrants from the lower decks were able to get up there. While all the Brits were not immigrants, it is certainly reasonable to assume that many of them were, and were in the bowels of the boat with others. Proving my point:

Passengers of the first and second class were advantaged: they likely had better access to information about the imminent danger, not to mention that they were closer to the boat deck.
Remember, Brits comprise English, Welsh, Scots, and Irish. British here is a handy word for English, and ignores the nationality of the others.

When the sailors were loading the boats, it was most likely in a first come-first serve basis of women and children. From what I read, the study doesn't break it down by gender, but says younger women and children were more likely to be saved. This all jives with those who survived, and doesn't prove a damn thing at all.

Americans can be pushy, and might have pushed their way to the front. But Brits are just as likely to be pushy. I live here, and I see it all the time. Think of hooligans. It's nice to think of all Brits as being the polite, Jeeves's the butler robots, who would stand by and let themselves drown while others save themselves. Much as many Americans did, to include John Jacob Astor, who died on board. This is conveniently overlooked.

I don't understand the point behind this. The sinking was done in a British boat, with a British crew and captain, and owned by a British company that failed to provide enough boats. So, in order to make sure they don't get blamed, Brits now want to blame America's for the deaths because of some numbers on a list. This is just blatant anti-Americanism, and they don't do anything more to prove their case then I have done to disprove it. And I'm not even trying.

With all the problems in the world such as terrorism, the economy, children dying in Africa by the millions, and no clean water, is something like this really necessary. Seriously, what was the point of this. I just don't see Americans can be considered guilty of anything.

We are, however, guilty of James Cameron's awkward moment at the Academy Awards, and that song by Celine Dion that just won't die a natural death.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pole-ar opposites

I had a little bit of a dust up at the house on Saturday night. There are currently 10 people living here. A Spanish couple, me, a British woman, a Polish man and his son, and his girlfriend (who isn't supposed to be here, but is), and a young Polish couple. As you can see, I'm kind of outnumbered.

The Polish couple like to go out on the weekends, and have friends who come to the house on occasion. I don't care about that, they live here and can have friends. We all can, and have. Having guests isn't the issue. Having guests who are rude, abusive, and violent is.

They guy has a friend who comes over several times a week. He's in his early to mid-20's. A typical punk. The way the house is laid out, I'm on the second floor just to the left of the front door as you look at it. The Polish couple live right above me. Their friend will come over, stand outside the house (my window) and shout at the window to get his friends attention. It's kind of annoying, rude to the neighbors, and just plain stupid. He's done it several different times, as late as 11 pm.

After listening to it for a month or so, I finally got tired of it. It's obnoxious, and I live in the house and pay rent, and I don't want to listen to it. And I don't have to. So one day, when he was doing it, I went to the front door. He just walked right in and tried to go past me, like I'm the door man and he can do whatever he wants. I stopped him and told him not to do it again. I told him to use the bell, knock, or call. He just laughed and went upstairs. He did this a couple of other times and I told him to stop doing it, but he didn't take it seriously.

So on Saturday, I was in the kitchen, fixing my dinner, and he did it again. I went to the door and opened it, and he tried to walk by me like he owned the place. He and his girlfriend started up the stairs, and I stopped, and let him know in no uncertain terms not to do it again, or I would call the police on him.

He started with F^*) you, which I don't take from anyone. I told him people didn't get to say that to me in my own home (shared or not), and to stop acting like a child. At that point, he started back down the stairs and told me he was going to kick my ass. Then I was pissed. Big time. And I wasn't afraid of him, but I didn't want to get something started. I'm on a visa, and I'm trying to renew it, and I don't need to get into a fight over stupid shit. So I told him to get the Polish guy and have him come down stairs.

The Polish guy, Jurec, came down to the kitchen, and as I was talking to him, the punk walked in, brushed past me with his shoulder trying to knock me off balance, and yelled, "Don't touch me."

So he's acted like a child, laughed at me, cussed me, threatened me, made contact with me, and just generally acted like a complete dick. And in someone else's house. I could see it getting out of hand, and wanted to kick his ass so badly. But he is half my age, and it's been a few years. Instead I decided not to get stupid. So I called the police and had them come over. The emergency operator told me I should wait outside until they showed up.

I told her thought that was complete bullshit. I mean, it's my house, why should I have to go outside and wait while the idiot stayed inside. The operator told me it was to keep things from escalating, but I wasn't worried about it. I can take care of myself, he was in the wrong, and he wasn't going to try anything. Or if he did, he was going to jail. But to get her to shut up, I went outside and waited. It was only about 2 minutes until the police showed up.

They came up, took all my information, and of course the first question was, "Have you been drinking?". Which of course, I had not been. Because I'm so broke I can't afford to pay attention. I always hate when they do that, like sobriety solves every problem. Then they told me they couldn't really make him leave, because its a shared house, and only the landlord could make him leave, and someone would have to call him. I informed the police that I wanted him out, I wouldn't call the landlord, and if they didn't remove him, they shouldn't get to far away, because they would be back.

They stated again that they couldn't remove him, and two of them went inside while one stayed outside to get my information. They got mine, but didn't get his. Nice. I don't know what happened inside, but it went from "we can't make him leave" to "you have to leave now and don't come back", and the punk being escorted out by angry police officers. So he must have said the magic word.

I stayed out of the way while it was going on, but his girlfriend, who I had not said a word to, now decided to get involved by walking by me and throwing an elbow into my ribs. Right in front of the cops. Stupid. They didn't arrest her, but they should have. I told the police that if I would have done that to her, they would have arrested me, and it was only fair that she be arrested, but they wouldn't.

So I went back in the house to discover he had spit in my dinner, and I had to throw it out. Since I'm pretty much broke, and only have enough food to last a few days, and will likely end up borrowing money to buy food, I was really pissed off that I had to throw a meal's worth of food away and fix my dinner all over again. Then the Polish couple started in on me, trying to tell me all the things I've done wrong, and how they are so perfect and don't bother anyone, and I was wrong to have their friend made to leave by the police.

So lets review the facts:

He doesn't live here
He stands outside my window at all hours shouting at the people above me because he thinks its cute
When I tell him to stop, he laughs at me
He cusses me in my own house
He threatens to kick my ass
He shoves against me trying to intimidate me.
He threatens me again
He spits in my dinner
He gets escorted out by the cops and told not to come back
He comes back that night at 1:30 in the morning, stands outside the window, and shouts again.

And I'm the bad guy who's done something wrong? I don't think so. The Polish couple told me I didn't have the right to tell their friend not to stand outside and shout, and that he could if he wanted to. So I told them I was going to have friends of mine come over and stand outside their door, banging pots and pans together. And when they complained about it, I would tell them it was too bad and they couldn't do anything about it. All of the sudden, they kind of, sort of, somewhat got the point.

They ended up apologizing to me for what they had said to me. I explained I wasn't concerned about their actions, but I wasn't going to be threatened and pushed and cussed in the house I live in, especially when the punk had been given fair warning to stop, and wouldn't because he thought it was funny. I explained to them that he had no rights in the house, and I did. They still aren't happy, but it's all cool now.

They did say they would have him apologize to me, but I told them that after he spit in my dinner, there was no way I was accepting his apology. I can be petty like that, but I don't care. And I told them if the girl came back and got within 10 feet of me, I would call the police again. I can't hit her, so she doesn't get to hit me.

Seems fair, does it. Man, I can't wait to get out of here.

I've lived a lot of places in my life, and been the foreigner many times. There are a lot of Poles living in the UK, and a lot of Brits aren't happy about it. They don't want them here, as the crime rate has gone up since their arrival. That doesn't mean all Poles are bad people, not by a long sight. The ones that live in the house with are great, and I've never had an issue with any of them, at least until Saturday. The problem is, when you're a foreigner, it just takes one shithead to ruin it for everyone else.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A job at last

Yes, I've finally gotten a job. After 5 1/2 months. It was getting hard. I've never went that long without working before. The longest I ever took off was the last 3 months in the Army, but I took terminal leave for 89 days. So even though I didn't work for 3 months, I still got paid for it. And I did umpire baseball games, which is more work than people think it is. Especially on those hot Missouri summer days.

The job is working for a lawyer, who does family mediation. Kind of ironic, isn't it. It's writing letters, doing financial disclosures, and any other admin job that needs to be done. Just up my alley, I think. Also, she has an office in London, and another out west, so she's out of the office quite a bit. And will be in Spain for 3 weeks.

I think I only got the job because of my gender, which is a switch. I don't know for sure, but just going by what she said. She has all women working for her, and she thought it might look like she was always taking the woman's side if there were no men in the office. I explained my situation to her during the interview, and I think the fact that I have experience going through what the clients are going through made a big difference also. I don't really care, it's a job.

It was supposed to be 30 hours a week, which I didn't have a problem with. I have enough going on right now that those hours would have been okay with me. But when she called to offer me the job, she said she wanted to go to 40 hours a week. The office would be open until 5 instead of 3. Okay with me. If I'm done with the work, and I'm just sitting around, I can get some writing done. No problem to me.

I'm a little nervous about going back to work. It's been a long time, and while this isn't brain surgery, it is important, and there is no margin for error. It's about people's life, particularly the kids. And I know how important that is.