a99kitten’s Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

Much has been made by Yahoo’s decision to pull the plug on remote employees last week. I was surprised by the decision since a lot of Bay Area companies have been allowing this for awhile now and it’s been gaining traction as a good way to attract employees. But I also understand why a company would make that decision.

I read a LOT of con articles, a few Pro and listening to pro and con on CNBC. I honestly wanted to smack a lot of the writers of the con articles, especially when they morphed into saying Yahoo was against women and mothers. And draconian. Give me a break.

I work from home. But I work for my own company so I get to make those rules. And if I don’t get my work done, I can fire myself with very little fanfare, threat of lawsuits or fear of taking to the internet with my gripes….against myself.

But I didn’t always work for myself (well…was still partially my company but totally different.) I was HR. And did receive requests for work from home policies. And we said no repeatedly for years. Not one single executive actually wanted it. Some said it would make some employees happy and they would live with it if the company established a policy, but none really wanted it. There are a lot of reasons for that. And some of those are the exact reasons Yahoo laid out as to why they were stopping their remote policy.

I get that, especially in the bay area, you can spend a fair amount of time on the road because you live far away due to housing costs or choosing to live away from the hectic business areas, near better schools, etc. Plus traffic is hellish. But that’s the way the bay area has been for years and years so it’s no surprise to anyone.

And I also get that, as a parent you want to spend more time at home with your kids. But that’s the exact reason I don’t think you are working as much as you should be if not in the office.

Face it – not every job can be done as well remotely. And really face it – not every employee can be trusted to work as efficiently when not in a work/office environment. And there are a lot of administrative reasons to not want employees working away from home – confidential/proprietary information worries, workers comp and labor law BS, etc. I was 100% against it as HR. Most of those things are never thought of by the complaining employees. Or reporters.

And frankly, the employees that we eventually allowed to work from home didn’t seem as part of the team. This includes me! When I changed my schedule to work from home part-time (before transitioning out completely), I noticed how I felt less like part of the team. And I didn’t have a department to miss – I simply reported to the CEO.

It all of a sudden becomes harder to get those employees to Team Events (even a dang holiday party for fun!), to team building things, company meetings, team lunches, department meetings, etc.

I know at least some of these employees at Yahoo took the job after being told they could work remotely. And yes that does stink. But company policies can change. And you have the option to change with them or not. But to cry and complain that you have to GO to work in order to keep your job is a bit ridiculous.

It’s not the job of a company or a CEO to make all decisions to make life easiest for the employees. It’s the goal of the company to create excellent products that keep customers happy and make money for their investors and shareholders (some of which are probably employees via options and stock plans!) And make money for the company. And a lot of this money is then spent on salaries, bonuses, benefits, perks, etc FOR the employees.

It is a job. You are employed. And if the company thinks they can get more and better work product out of their staff by having them work together and not apart, then that’s what the company should do. And you can feel free to quit and work elsewhere. I can pretty much guarantee that your job will be filled pretty quickly.

So let’s see, how many news organizations/journalists touched this story without apparently checking any facts? And yet the facts were clearly there to be dug up.

Sports Illustrated
ESPN
South Bend Tribune
Fox Sports
New York Times
NY Post
CBS
Associated Press
Los Angeles Times

I’m pretty sure all of the above (except maybe the South Bend Tribune?) have WAY more resources than Deadspin. But there are almost no real reporters nowadays. There are just a bunch of jerks who sit around trying to beat the rest to the fastest tweet or FB update or the blingiest link bait. It’s entertainment now, not news. Have you looked at what passes as news stories nowadays? Too much time/space to fill up and eyeballs to try and catch. Who has time for silly things like fact checking or investigating what you are putting out there as fact.

There was tons of false data during “Superstorm” Sandy. Tons and tons during the Sandy Hook shooting. And those are just 2 recent examples. I’m sure there are plenty more on a regular, daily basis that doesn’t make such a splash.

I’ve never even heard of this guy and, frankly, don’t really care since besides making himself look foolish, I don’t know what real harm came from it. But I love when reporters are shown to be idiots I believe most are.

I have no idea if the above represents all of the “news” agencies who wrote about this. I simply read the Deadspin article and copied down the news agencies. But I’m not a reporter. And have never claimed to be. So I have an excuse to limit my fact checking to simply reading someone else’s report.

All I’ve heard out of Obama/Washington is raise taxes, pay your fair share, the rich need to pay MOAR!!! But this post is not about that as that gets my BLOOD BOILING (look at my tax bill – I pay a LOT!)

No, this is about the attention NOW being given to the 2% FICA (that’s your Social Security) payroll tax “holiday” that was allowed to expire along with the other tax hikes on those “rich people”. This 2% change effected every single person who collects a pay check. So everyone had a tax hike. I won’t get into the lies Obama told about not taxing the poor and middle class blah blah blah. ALL politicians lie so it’s not like this is something original.

What I will say about it is GOOD. That 2% should be paid by everyone. These same everyones that plan on collecting social security, should have to pay for it. The company match didn’t go down at all. Companies still had to contribute the full 6% of gross payroll for YOUR social security. But you didn’t – YAY. Wait…what?

When the 2% tax “holiday” went into effect, I sent an email out to all employees at our company letting them know and pointing out that it was a good time to start contributing to a 401k or increase their contribution with this additional 2% in their pockets before they got comfortable with spending it and it was absorbed into their daily spending mindset. Time to start saving for their own retirement and not depend on social security which is a joke.

You know how many people did that? 0. Zero. Nada. Now, a few people already contributed the max for the year so they couldn’t do anything. But the rest? Well, apparently they are independently wealthy and don’t need to think about a retirement savings….

I know that not everyone can contribute the max per year. And that people have kids and budgets and emergencies come up yada yada. BUT – savings should BE part of your budget. What will you live on??? And I know what everyone made at work so not one person can cry poor to me. These weren’t minimum wage workers at a fast food chain supporting a family of 6. You can afford even a small savings budget. It adds up over time.

And when I see people walking around with the newest iGadgets, designer shoes & bags, new cars, vacations, going out all the time – but with NO savings? You are part of the problem. Did your parents or other guardian not teach you anything? Failed basic math? Planning on dying young?

So any cries about your first check of 2013 being smaller because of the tax “hike”…no. I reject this as whining. Not a tax hike anyway. Simply went back to the same rate as it was 2 years ago (after all, the Dems keep saying that about the tax brackets going back to Clinton era ranges…) It’s enforced savings. Do I think SS is a good plan. No. But that’s a whole other blog/rant.

Now, if you are in your 20s-50s right now, will you be able to collect any of that Social Security when you retire? I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. Start saving ON YOUR OWN. Because if even if you can collect some SS, it will NOT be enough to live on.

The government should not be responsible for you. The rich are not responsible for you. I am not responsible for you. You, and only, are responsible for you. Start acting that way.

This story annoys me SO much.

http://halfmoonbay.patch.com/articles/local-restaurant-refuses-to-serve-alcohol-to-nursing-mother

I have gotten pretty perturbed over the “power” of bad reviews on review sites. I went to leave a review of a local store and saw they have 1 review. And it was bad. But upon reading the review it became clear it was for the wrong store. If you are going to make the effort to login into your Yelp account and search for a store and leave a bad review because you are pissy, be sure it’s for the RIGHT place.

Too many times I have seen 1 or 2 star reviews for places but then you read the actual review and it’s either for something stupid such as “loved our food and service but my water didn’t have enough ice and this bothered me.” (I wanted to punch this reviewer.) Or my favorite was for Storm’s oncologist – this place is top-notch and the doctors are great. But a person left a review saying nothing about the doctors or clinic but complaining about the lack of parking. GAH!

If I’m searching Yelp for a good restaurant on the coast, am I going to see less stars and pass it over or read the actual reviews and see that they don’t serve alcohol to nursing mothers and think “ohmygosh – how could I go there?! They are violating everyone’s rights?!?!” Only if I was a nursing mother looking to drink I suppose. But I am sure some people will get worked up and freaked out and angry because that’s what people do, especially in the Bay Area where it’s evident that everyone is out to violate your rights and you need to get angry and do something about it because you clearly have Nothing. Better. To. Do. Miramar is a long standing tourist place and locals love it too so I can’t imagine it will effect them (aside from the drunkard moms), but it still bugs me.

I have no idea if the occasional drink effects your breast milk. But let’s face it – you know that in society, you will be judged. I cannot count the times I’ve been to Napa and see parents getting loaded. With their kids in tow. Why in the world are you bringing your kids on a wine tour? Because you suck as parents, that’s why. And I will judge you. Guess what? When you make the decision to become a parent, you don’t get to do certain things. Or it becomes much harder and involves more planning. Deal with it or don’t breed.

I think the bigger issue with the moms in this story is that you probably haven’t been drinking much being pregnant/a new mom (at least I hope not) and that 1 glass of bubbly might just effect you enough on that drive home. Do you really need to do that? Especially with your baby with you? Have your friend over for lunch at your house and enjoy it there if you need it.

So give me a break. They don’t want to serve you (which is their right) so you move on. Who cares. People need more to do in their lives if this makes them cry or “ruins their day”.

And I love this restaurant and will continue to go there.

This is making the rounds on Facebook. While I actually doubt Morgan Freeman released this statement (although it makes us feel better to imagine his soothing voice saying it), whoever wrote it is 100% spot on:

TURN OFF THE NEWS…….

Morgan Freeman’s brilliant take on what happened yesterday :

“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.”

RIP :(

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto,27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6

I know several people who say they aren’t voting. The common theme is “oh, my vote doesn’t really count where I live anyway” and “I protest the entire corrupt 2 party system.” Uh-huh.

I live in the Bay Area of California. Blue State Central. But I still proudly cast my VERY red votes whenever given the opportunity. But you know what else I do? Vote on Statewide propositions and state and local elections where 1 or 2 votes CAN make the difference.

So if you are sitting there smugly not voting for whatever dumb reason you’ve made up in your head as a valid one, think about the many countries where people have fought (and were killed) for the right to vote. Or think about 15th Amendment which finally granted black males the right to vote (in 1870 I think). Or think about the 19th Amendment (1920) which also ***finally*** gave women the right to vote. Think about what these people, who battled for the right to vote, would think about your lame ass excuse.

And whatever you do, do NOT complain about anything. Because you did nothing to try and change it.

Today Disney (DIS) announced that they bought Lucasfilm. WHAT?!?!?! I ran into the living room to see the TV thinking that I must have misheard it. Wow. Lucasfilm has been held privately by George Lucas since creation. He, along with Copploa’s Zeotrope Studios, were created by these guys as a solution to the big studio system they felt wouldn’t understand them, let them make their films, etc etc.

Now, I have been a HUGE Star Wars fan forever. And Indiana Jones. And since touring ILM twice, I always look to see if they do the special effects on movies. George and his team truly created a new frontier. So when, in addition to the purchase, Disney announced a Star Wars episode 7 in 2015 with additional movies following every 1-2 years my head (figuratively – no Belloq action) exploded. I had given up on Episodes 7-9 after eps 1-3 and George said he was too tired.

Now, I was EXCITED. But a lot of twitter, mostly the self-confessed nerds and hipsters, were screaming NOOOOOOOO Vader-style. Some refused to even comment other than to comment that they weren’t commenting. But why? Disney bought Marvel and I have to say X-Men: First Class and Avengers have been 2 of the most enjoyable movies that I have seen in a long time. If you disagree – you just can’t enjoy fun films and probably prefer art house suicidal self portrait films. So if Disney can find some great talent and get Star Wars back into prime action – I say YAY!

I was reading some of the tweets and stories and was both annoyed and amused by their upset. I mean, you know this is mostly a group of evolutionists who can’t get their heads around their beloved childhood franchise evolving one little bit. That thought made me snicker. And all of them likely grew up loving at least one Disney (and/or Pixar depending on their age) movie, if not the entire catalog.

Now, let’s be clear – if Disney announced they were REMAKING (or even “reimagining”) the original trilogy, that would be a different blasphemous story. That. Better. Never. Happen. But they want to take the story past where it ended which is what George originally intended. And what we all grew up hoping for!

I have been collecting Star Wars (and Indy) related stuff (you know…collectibles) since I was a kid. I have quite a bit. Quite. I’m slowly getting it all out and displayed and thinking of new ways to display it. Now it seems I might need even more room. Although the original stuff will always be some of my favorites. But now I will need to get this poster (that was given to me by a friend) re-framed NOW:

I have bought a FEW Disney Star Wars weekend items over time but have tried to mostly stay away as Disneyana collectibles takes you down a long, dark road to bankruptcy. Or appearing on an episode of Hoarders. I do have Goofybacca though:

And have been on the search for a few years for Han/Donald in Carbonite:

I didn’t think I actually wanted it but then saw it in real life at ILM. Very cool. I have the action figure-sized one but I need the big one. To match Goofybacca of course :)

The fact that George wants to turn his helm over to Kathleen Kennedy and a Disney team, while remaining a “Creative Consultant”, bodes well I think. George is a genius. And he is great. But his constant monkeying with the original trilogy has been maddening. Now, I didn’t hate the prequels like some nerds or “truists”. I didn’t love them the same way as I loved the original trilogy but I can still watch them over and over and enjoy them. And the last 30 minutes of the Revenge of the Sith is pure nonstop awesome.

And let’s face it, George introduced Star Wars to an entire new generation or 3. Little kids walk around with toys and costumes because they think Anakin is a Jedi hero. And Ben is young. Yoda still kicks ass. And yes, Jar-Jar talked funny. If you want to expand your brand, you do what he did.

I JUST yesterday said out loud, after seeing a Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 billboard in San Francisco, that Twilight was probably going to be the last midnight movie I will wait in line for 2 hours for and care to stay up so late for. And now look – it seems there will be more :) OK, I can do it! Although I will still probably prefer the 10pm “midnight” show like we are doing for Breaking Dawn Part 2 :)

So to all the nay-saying geeks and fake geeks who just like to complain – I say a pox on you. Wait until we see what they give us before you have your nerdtearsattack. You might just enjoy it. You’ll probably hate to admit it though.

I am pretty sure that I will love it. And am damn sure that I will give them a chance. And will probably be as excited as I have been today until it gets here. In 2015….tick tock…tick tock…..I am about as excited as when I was a kid by this :)

I’m sorry but if you know your daughter has ANY type of heart issue, you do NOT let her drink a lot of caffeine. And if you know you have a heart issue, you do not drink a lot of caffeine. And sure, the doctor probably should point out that high levels of caffeine are not good.

But you know whose fault it’s NOT? The company that sells the drinks to a gazillion people without heart problems who drink them with no issue. But of course that’s who gets blamed. Because people are simply not responsible for their own condition anymore. It’s always someone else’s fault.

I have SVT. It’s a heart thing. Not a serious one. Not a big deal. I cannot die from it unless I don’t lie down when it happens causing me to get dizzy, pass out and crack my head open and bleed out on the sidewalk. But guess what? I limit my caffeine. And I can tell when I’ve had too much and know to stop having it and drink more water. I also can’t use DayQuil or any cold/allergy product containing ephedrine. Oh well. Pretty simple. And guess what? No doctor has ever actually told me that. I figured it out all on my own. Magic.

This lawsuit against Monster Beverage is gross. In my opinion, the below quote says ‘we knew my daughter had a problem and didn’t care to protect her nor did she care to protect herself. Our doctor didn’t tell us but still we should have known but are complete idiots’ *real quote* “A lawyer for her family, Kevin Goldberg, said that the 14-year-old had been aware she had an underlying condition but added that her doctors had not told her to restrict her physical activities or her caffeine use.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/23/business/fda-receives-death-reports-citing-monster-energy-a-high-caffeine-drink.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

Caffeine is WELL known as a stimulant. The more you have, the more your body is stimulated. That’s why you are probably drinking it. So how do you NOT know that’s bad for you with an underlying heart condition? And if, at 14, you are claiming you are too stupid to know this then your parents should have.

It’s awful that this girl died. Of course it is. But it’s her and her family’s fault. Monster Beverage is marketed VERY clearly as a highly-caffeinated beverage. Not like they snuck it in on you.

It’s called common sense people. If you don’t have it, don’t go outside and ruin it for the rest of us.

Yesterday I placed an order on Amazon. My first since the California sales tax BS for Amazon that went into effect mid-September. It wasn’t a huge order but a few hundred dollars so tacking on another 8.25% tax on that was annoying. I do not blame Amazon for this. They fought this as long as they could.

I already pay WAY MORE in income tax than is my “fair share”. So to then have to pay even more tax to spend the same *leftover* money is so beyond annoying it’s ridiculous. California is so mismanaged it’s criminal. The amount of money wasted in this state is criminal.

A large portion of people do not pay income taxes. Some of those do pay payroll taxes, but a big chunk of that is Social Security and medicare (which is matched by employers – actually more than matched currently thanks to the tax holiday still in place for employees but not employers). But beyond that, they are able to not pay additional income taxes and, in fact, get refunds each year.

In my opinion, everyone should pay the same percentage. You make $100, you pay $10. You make $1,000,000 then you pay $100,000. The “rich” will then be paying more *as they already do* than the non-rich. Or some set percentage that is across the board.

I work a lot. I have worked a lot since I was like..14 years old. I am decently financially successful now. But we have had to worry about our company being successful, making payroll, pay our bills, make deals to keep income coming in, work on holidays and nights and stress when things go bad. So how is that the same as some person who works a 9-5 job who punches a time clock and collects their check and demands a lifetime pension and medical benefits? And has none of those worries or concerns. I should be penalized for working hard? How is this fair? How does this make sense to ANYONE??? France just imposed a 75% tax on millionaires. 75%. How does anyone but a complete psychopath think that is fair?

I could go on and on about how this is so pathetic and unfair and gross. But I won’t, You either already know this and agree. Or you disagree. If you disagree – please move to Russia, Cuba or China and see how awesome those places are.

I love the state of California for its natural beauty. And if my taxes supported the parks, beaches, and border patrol – I wouldn’t mind. But it doesn’t. 2 of those 3 are the first things cut and the last is a constant political football. Don’t even get me started about what it does pay for.

I pay high federal income taxes. I pay high state income taxes. I pay property tax. I pay sales tax every time I go to a store. And now every time I order online? FU California politicians.

Already seeing the typical Labor Day tweets and Facebook posts from people saying how you can thank Big Labor and unions for your day off. Or to feel free to work on Labor Day if you are against unions.

You know who Big Labor can thank though? The entrepreneurs who starts companies that grow and employ a lot of people. Or maybe just 5 at your local corner store. Or the CEOs and executives who make sure employees receive good benefits, salaries and a good work environment. But you never see anyone thanking them. IN FACT, the current administration wants you to not like them at all. After all, they didn’t build anything anyway.

I’ve worked for myself or for a company that I’ve been part owner of, since 1999. Before then, I worked for a family-owned and run hedge fund that rewarded their employees greatly whenever they could. Grossly so really. And grew up with my father owning his own business and always bonusing out to employees whenever it could be afforded. But they are evil in today’s climate. Undoubtedly cheating on their taxes and ruining the lives of their employees or cheating them in some way.

I worked yesterday. I have worked today and will do more later. And I will also work tomorrow. But I would not have it any other way. Have I thought how nice it would be to never have to think about work when I left my desk at 5pm? Sure. Absolutely. But in the end – not me.

So no – I do not thank big labor for anything. Or unions. Or Obama. Or the government. I thank the people I have worked for. And myself. For working hard. And that’s it.