Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Desperate times

I pulled myself away from my feast-or-famine work today to do some errands, deposit checks, and pick up a few groceries. I’ve been tied to my or a computer for nearly 2 ½ weeks, with my only breaks being riding to work on the light rail (loving every minute of it, and the people watching is hysterical, but for another time maybe!) and sleeping. I have edited two 150-ish transportation studies, converted each into a publishing program (FrameMaker, no small feat) and I’ve edited three San José State University student thesis papers, all three are students of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. One of these projects was a 50-page thesis proposal (native Japanese speaker), and the other two were full complete thesis papers, one was 150 pages (and well written by a journalist, but it was my job to turn his paper into an academic work) and the second 120 pages, by a native Russian speaker. I have one more coming, from a Saudi Arabian student.

I graduated from SJSU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications nine years ago, so it’s my way of giving back. I tend to underbill the students. I’ll be making a template for students to use to format their papers properly (and will hand it over to one of my toughest but most favorite professors for her to hand out to students as she wishes) and on Monday April 6, I’ll attend the master’s program presentation for the two students I edited. At this point, their papers are sort of like my … stepkids.

Anyway, so I finally pull myself away from the computer this morning, and do some things I’ve neglected while I’ve been so busy. I’m on a very tight budget and had all of $1.50 on me. And an ATM card. I don’t have a credit card. I was driving through a parking lot at a Home Depot and spied the usual men looking for day labor. This time, I did a double-take. There was a small group of white, Non-Hispanic men standing around. White skinned, some had dark blonde hair, and all were speaking English.

So much for Americans not being willing to do certain types of jobs.

I do understand why people come from Mexico, I really do. I don’t understand how they can afford to live in the Bay Area and send money home. But I also am NOT an advocate for illegal immigration. Illegals take a risk by coming here and success is far from guaranteed, unless they are lucky enough to birth an anchor baby and get that kid’s instant U.S. citizen benefits.

I wished I could have come up with something for one of them to do. Heck, I wish I had more than $1.50 in my wallet.

Then I went to the grocery store, and in the entryway outside, there were a pair of woman asking for donations for a homeless shelter for women and children. When I begged off, claiming I had no money, both women were very polite and said “thank you, times are tough all around.” I got my cart, and took that $1.50 out of my wallet, telling the woman “there goes my light rail fare.” She thanked me and said “I used to be one of those women, my son and I were out on the street. Thank you for the donation.”

I keep being told that when you give, you get back. Well, I do feel somewhat better about myself in that I am a capable writer and editor who happens to be a physical wreck clusterfuck that no one will hire for full-time work. But it could be worse, couldn’t it?

Another thing I want to get off my chest is the freedom for a private citizen to attend court as a spectator and blog about it if he or she chooses. My friend Betsy has been faithfully attending the Phil Spector trial (version 2.0) and both times she has suffered abuse at the hands of the defense attorneys and the defendant and his wife of convenience. Why are they so scared of a little ‘ol blogger?

Last rant for the day: the thug that murdered four Oakland police officers got his sendoff to hell or wherever cop killer thugs/rapists of 12-year old girls go. There was a ridiculous “vigil” held for the gangsta last Wednesday and only 50 idiots showed up; 500 people showed up at his funeral. I wonder how many were just curious looky-lous wanting to see what a genuine thug being buried looks like?

Strength and blessings to the families of the officers taken for no good reason except the cowardice of a low life crook who didn’t want to go back to jail. May his death be a lesson to families of paroled felons who choose to keep guns… this whole thing could have been prevented!


Des said...

I think they're afraid of Betsy because of her obvious (and fully justified) bias for the prosecution. They're trying to pull the wool over the jury's eyes; Sprocket's making sure they don't pull the wool over the public's eyes.

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