Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

The Real Reason People Voted for Donald Trump
January 17, 2017

I have never been good at putting myself in someone else’s shoes, thinking in more than one perspective, seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, whatever you want to call it… Despite that, once I ask the right questions, and give things a lot of thought, I am eventually able to understand why someone feels the way they feel, and makes the choices they make. However, I just don’t understand why people chose to vote for Donald Trump, or why they felt he was a better option than Hilary Clinton.

I have heard the “reasons”. Both on and off news media, I swear to you I have heard the reasons. The reasons just don’t make any sense, even when they come from someone who seems like a sensible person. From the most primitive reasons, like “to make America great again” and no explanation afterward, to reasons like changing the way corporations run America with a whole lot of explanation. At the end of it all, no matter how much I listen, I always come back to the same thought: How can you vote for someone who is so blatantly racist?

How can you hear Trump talk about building a wall to keep Mexicans from entering the United States, say Mexicans are rapists (and turn around and say sexually inappropriate things about his own daughter and admit to sexually assaulting women), be totally okay with being endorsed by the KKK, and still vote for someone like him? How can you hear those things and not be sickened and disgusted by them? I refuse to believe that people who do not support racism and racist behavior, would vote for someone like Trump. Supporting the American people of all colors, wanting people of all colors to have equal opportunities and fair treatment, is a sensible and empathetic way to think. It’s not the kind of thought process that leads to someone saying, “I support all Americans so I want to vote for Trump who wants to keep an entire ethnicity out of this country”.

The only logical conclusion I can make is that decent Americans who voted for Trump are just painfully ignorant (which is likely a VERY teeny tiny percentage, like maybe 0.000000000000001%), or these people who voted for Trump only care about specific groups of people in America, but not Americans as a whole. These people have no empathy or feelings toward the humans who live in this country, because how could they? How could they care about other people when Trump so clearly, CLEARLY demonstrates that he does not care about other people.

And yes, I have heard all of the reasons why people voted for Trump because they didn’t like Hillary Clinton. Yes, the woman who could have been the first female President. The woman who talked about rights for ALL PEOPLE on a regular basis. The woman who talked about raising the minimum wage, taking steps to halt corporate greed, and did so honestly and sensibly. The woman who cared about the reproductive rights of women. The human being who obviously, despite some of her own imperfections and history as a politician, demonstrated a genuine empathy for the American people. All the people, even those who are apathetic and voted for Trump (Note: When she called Trump supporters a basket of deplorables, she was scolding their behavior). There is only one reason why someone would choose to vote for Trump instead of Clinton.

You don’t care about the American people.

Windows 10 Updates Broke my Operating System
March 18, 2016

I am writing this as a serious warning to anyone who upgrades from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 to Windows 10. DO NOT DO IT.

Here’s the story: I saw that the upgrade was available and free, so I figured, hey, why not? I wasn’t totally happy with how 8.1 was running on my computer, so I thought this would be an improvement. When Windows 10 decided to install without giving me an option to back out of it, I knew there was no going back. That’s really what I thought, that there was NO GOING BACK. Microsoft will not straight-up tell you that Windows 10 has a “Go Back” feature within 30-something days of your upgrade. So I continued on with Windows 10. It ran pretty smoothly. I updated a lot of my drivers for sound and processor and was quite happy.

Then things got slow, really slow. I got to a point several weeks ago, where uploading my videos to Youtube would slow down my internet so significantly that I had to upload while I was sleeping, so both myself and my mother could use the internet during the day. My computer was also taking a long time to start up. I mean, I had a lot of stuff on my hard drive, and certain programs like Skype, AIM and a few others that would load on start-up, but they are small programs. They loaded up just fine when I was using 8.1, and honestly, 8.1 started up real quick before the upgrade. Before the upgrade, my computer was well beyond the minimum upgrade requirements.

I also have a very powerful antivirus – Panda Antivirus Pro 2015/2016. And when I say it is powerful, I mean it is POWERFUL. So don’t even suggest that malware was on my computer, because it wasn’t. That’s how much faith I have in my antivirus.

Last week, Windows 10 updates were downloaded. There is a way on Windows 10 to disable updates, but I have no idea how to do it, and I won’t say no to security updates. I like my computer to be secure. But I did enjoy having the option not to receive them, you know, because of the freedom to choose. This past Sunday morning, they were scheduled to install. So, they installed.

I go onto my computer, to discover that I cannot open ANY of my web browsers. Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer. NONE OF THEM. Most of my files won’t open either. My start menu won’t open. Basically, my computer was a useless fold-up rectangle.

The only thing that would open, strangely enough, was GIMP 2, a photo manipulation program I use. It would take a good five minutes to open (versus the 30-45 seconds it normally took).

I did what most people would do in a situation like this: A system restore. Well, it got to a certain point and it just sat there with a black screen for an hour. AN HOUR. Seeing as that wasn’t working, I shut my computer off an turned it back on. Before everyone freaks out on me and tells me you should never do that, what other option did I have?

So, I tried to get back into my computer but got an error message saying Windows couldn’t start up correctly. So I called Microsoft support (greatest oxymoron in existence). I was told that my operating system was corrupted because I did not complete the system restore, and had to do a clean installation. They actually wanted to blame the whole problem on me, even though I had explained that this started after the updates installed, and I had done a system restore to try and fix it. I got sick of arguing with this guy, so I hung up, and called back. I got a woman who could not formulate a sentence. And I don’t mean someone who speaks English as a second language, I mean someone who talks like this: “So tell me, after Windows updates and after system restore, what happen what you, did what to change.” You try and decode that. I have a language impairment, but I can formulate a sentence better than that.

So in my frustration, and after repeated attempts to get this woman to speak clearly, I started shouting for a supervisor. Her immediate response was that all supervisors were with other customers. I call bullshit on that one, because nobody can figure that out in 10 seconds or less! I hung up.

I tried two more system restores. The first one failed. So I undid the very first system restore, and that got me back into my screwed up desktop. I called Microsoft support again, and got a really nice person this time, who helped me to get to system restore through a “backdoor” method. Sadly, it didn’t work. So I reset my PC.

Finally, I had a desktop and I could go on the internet and also back up my files. During this process, all I kept thinking about was the hours upon hours of video footage I had made for my Youtube channel, and how I didn’t want to lose any of it. My videos are a part of my daily routine, and are also language therapy. This is important to me, because it helps me with my speech and it helps me with my self confidence. I was on the verge of tears at the idea of losing all of that work.

However, I could not reinstall my antivirus. Panda support wanted to charge me a fee to install it for me, and I said no to that. Something was still wrong with my computer, and I had decided that I would not leave Microsoft alone until it was fixed. People had the audacity to suggest I just buy a new computer. NO. This is NOT my fault, and Microsoft will be held accountable. PERIOD.

So I called back, and got a guy who tried to reinstall Windows 10. During the installation, he stopped it, and would not respond to the support chat. He basically abandoned me. I called back the next day and made a complaint about that. I also asked that the re-installation of Windows 10 be continued. This technician would not do it, and kept trying to get me to buy Windows 10 and do a clean installation. That will WIPE OUT all of my files, and I had no way to properly back them up. So I started shouting for a supervisor. And I wouldn’t let up until he transferred me to the supervisor.

There is a part of me that thinks that Microsoft intentionally corrupted my operating system to try to get me to buy it. Mainly because, during this process, the first thing out of these technicians’ mouths have been about buying an antivirus or Windows 10, rather than trying to fix the problem.

So when I got my hands on that supervisor, I kept explaining that I wanted to reinstall windows 10 and keep my files. He kept arguing that that wasn’t possible. And finally, I let loose, and told him that Microsoft will reinstall Windows 10 for free, and if they don’t, I will not only contact the Better Business Bureau, but also demand reimbursement for my laptop which I still could not use properly, and even file a lawsuit if necessary. Is that a bit much? Yeah. Do I care? Obviously not. He transferred me to a technician who listened to me retell the story, then transferred me again to a very sweet woman who thankfully knew what she was doing.

And by sweet, I mean sweet. Like, when we were going through the re-installation process, she would say to me, “This will take a while so you can go get a coffee or a snack and relax while you wait”.

Sadly, the re-installation didn’t work. So we agreed to try again tomorrow (It was 1:30 am at this point). The next day, I was called by support and they scheduled a level 2 technician for me to try the re-installation. Windows 10 still wouldn’t reinstall correctly. We decided the last, and best option, would be to go back to Windows 8.1, and you can imagine how happy I was to hear that. They are also doing it for free.

So yes, they are taking steps to fix the issue. And to get them to do that, it took 5 and a half days, screaming matches and me going to bed at 1 or 2 in the morning. I have a pretty nasty head cold right now, maybe because of the stress related to this, and lack of sleep it not a good thing for me while I am sick. I had to take time off of work, and could not go to my classes at my university because of being sick.

We live in an age where computers are necessary. Sure, the fun side of the internet and Youtube are not necessary, but to be able to write papers for my classes, submit papers and quizzes online for my classes and communicate with my professors, it is VERY NECESSARY.

I will never upgrade to Windows 10 again. And if, someday, I may need to replace my laptop, and Windows 8.1 is no longer available, I will not buy a computer with Windows 10. Even if all of these bugs and serious problems are fixed. Instead, I will get an Apple computer, something which I never thought I would say within my lifetime.

Note: If the installation of Windows 8.1 is successful, I will let you know. If any other issues occur, I will keep you posted.

Dogs Don’t Make ‘Good’ Pets
January 14, 2015

I’m sure there are many dog lovers who are going to jump up and down in disagreement about this blog post. I’m sure many cat lovers will also being jumping up and down in triumph. But I firmly believe that certain animals do not make ‘good’ pets, and aside from still enjoying the company of my cat, I’ve come to learn that non-mammalian pets work better for people.

Dogs are not violent, dangerous animals. Some breeds work better for certain living situations than others. Some dogs are great with kids or small animals, and others aren’t. It’s called research, and given how 98% of the U.S. population has access to the internet, there’s no excuse not to do that research. At the very least, there’s probably a public library nearby that you can go to.

But the absence of that research, and the absence of common sense, are why I believe dogs don’t make ‘good’ pets. Dogs require attention, and cannot self-regulate like a cat, or a bird, or another type of reptile. Dogs have to be cared for like a human infant. If you ignore your dog, they won’t just make a mess in your home, they’ll destroy it. If you don’t train your dog well because you’ve ignored it, they bad things happen. A good example is that dog that stalked that little boy in his driveway and attacked him last year – if his mother and house-cat hadn’t been around to chase away that dog, he’d be seriously injured or dead.

I am one of those firm believers that any breed of dog can be taught to attack people. But all animals, mammal or not, start out in life being wary of humans. Kittens and puppies are not born automatically loving humans. All pets have to be taught straight after birth that humans are safe to be around, otherwise they will show aggression. All animals are wild until they are taught to live with humans.

I’ve seen cats do some pretty nasty damage to people, and other animals. Cat scratch fever is not a myth, it is a real illness caused when exposed to the bacteria that cats sometimes have underneath their claws (kind of like the dirt under your fingernails). And cat scratch fever is not brought on by a tiny scratch or two, it’s brought on by being mauled by a cat. Despite the level of injury a cat can inflict on a person, we don’t live in fear of cats. We don’t worry about cats lurking around the corner and snatching our tiny chihuahua or child and mauling them. Maybe it’s because even though humans can do some dumb things in regard to taking care of their cats, even the most unruly cat can still be reasoned with. Dogs have to be repeatedly reminded who the boss is, and if they aren’t, they can snap. And that snap is the end of the road.

I don’t understand why, even with smaller dog breeds, anyone is comfortable with having a dog. It’s not that I don’t like dogs, I just have accepted the fact that I would not be able to devote the time necessary to the dog, to ensure that the dog is safe for myself and others to be around.

Several Reasons Why I Believe Hunting Should Be Outlawed
January 5, 2015

I am well aware of the laws regarding hunting for “sport” that already exist. I am aware of what animals are protected species and endangered, and that laws forbid those animals to be killed. Despite those laws, humans still kill wolves and claim they thought it was a coyote. Humans go to other countries and kill animals because those laws are more lenient. I would prefer that this hunting for “sport” so that you can wear it’s fur or mount it’s head on your wall, ought to be outlawed everywhere on this entire planet. However, that’s an unrealistic expectation. What is realistic, however, is banning hunting for “sport” in the United States. No exceptions. That does not include hunting for food, or indigenous people whose cultures embrace nature and only hunt out of necessity.

1. The damage to the ecosystem.

I’m not the first argue this, and I certainly won’t be the last. Endangered, protected or neither, whenever you alter the population beyond what nature intends, you cause damage. Wolves are endangered because they have been hunted to the point where their population has difficulty sustaining itself. Wolves prey on deer, mostly. But if there are less wolves, there are more deer. Some people believe the solution to this is to hunt deer to balance it out. Let’s say you have 100 deer, and 30 wolves in one area. You kill half of the deer, and half of the wolves. Now you have 50 deer, and 15 wolves. Doesn’t really balance out, does it?

2. Hunting for “sport” is ignorant.

The massive difference between hunting practiced by indigenous people, and “sport” hunters, is that the first method makes use of every part of the animal, and multiple tracking methods. Methods which require an understanding of these animals, where to find them, how to approach and how to track them if they are able to run after shot. Sport hunters don’t typically do this. It is mostly sitting around and waiting, or laying traps with bait and hoping something gets caught.

3. You lack appreciation for nature and life.

Gaining enjoyment from killing an animal and using it’s body parts as decoration is a sociopath behavior. If you want to experience nature, go to your local hiking trail and do just that, hike. Take a camera with you, and document what you find. Whether you want to admit it or not, you are a part of nature, therefore, you should learn to be a part of it. If you ruin nature, it will not be there for you when you need it most. I’d like to think animal populations that have been at the mercy of hunting, feel like nature cannot be there for them when they need it most.

4. You aren’t killing only one animal.

Even if you go out and kill one deer every season, you aren’t killing just one deer. Males are less plentiful than females, so the more you kill, the fewer can breed their genetics. Without genetic diversity, a population suffers illness and shortened lifespans. If you kill the dominant female in a wolf pack, the pecking order changes dramatically. The wolves will fight for leadership, and at times seriously injure or kill each other. In other parts of the world, if you kill a lion, the pride is in danger of being invaded by rogue males. Lionesses will violently defend their cubs, which could lead to their death or the death of the invading males. If a male succeeds in taking over the pride, he will kill all of the cubs.

5. This behavior can be self-deprecating.

It’s not just that some folks will think wrongly of you for your chosen hobby. You are desensitizing yourself to the well being of another being. A good example is Sarah Palin’s many hunting trips, and her recent approval of her young son stepping on the family dog. She has decided her dog’s discomfort is okay, and she has also taught her son that causing the discomfort of the dog is okay. By and large, people who support and practice sport hunting also participate in other groups which do not have the best interests of the public in mind (specifically Republicans and related groups).

I Don’t Understand the Fascination with Smart Phones.
September 20, 2014

Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t understand why people are fascinated by their smart phones.

I went into the Apple store in my area a while back just to look around, and while checking out an iPhone, I could not figure out how to put in a phone number. This was a long time ago, but the salesperson ended up showing me a very complicated way to get to putting in someone’s number to make a call. To me, a cell phone should be a cell phone, and do what it was originally meant to do, make a call. How am I supposed to call 911 in an emergency, if it is that complicated to do so? This was over a year ago, mind you, but it is the reason why I’ve never touched a “smart” phone again.

I’m a fairly social person on the internet, but not in every day life. I don’t like talking to people on phones, or talking to the general public. And I’m not the first person to say this but, it really bugs me that people sit around staring at their phones, rather than looking at each other. Unlike folks who have an easier time talking to and getting along with people, it’s something that is very hard for me, so I don’t take it for granted. I might not strike up a conversation with everybody but I like seeing the diverse faces around me.

I’m on the city bus for about 4 hours every day, 5 days a week. And I see so many people with these smart phones. I’m not a nosy person, but it’s hard not to notice the people sitting beside me who are doing one of the following things: Texting, playing candy crush or angry birds, listening to music, or visiting a social media site. I don’t see the justification of spending hundreds of dollars on a cell phone that you use to play candy crush. I especially don’t see that justification when you get on the bus with your daughter still in her pajamas and sandals in 60 degree weather, a backpack with both straps broken, dirty hair, but man, that iPhone was in PRISTINE condition. And the child’s mother spent all of her time messing around with the phone, and never once acknowledged her daughter. This is not the first time I have seen this happen. I think we have a problem when a cell phone becomes more important than a human being.

Another thing that infuriates me, is when a car accident happens, or someone is being attacked, and the first thing people do is get out their “smart” phone and they start taking pictures and recording video. A perfect example of this is the case of Eric Garner, who was choked to death by a police officer and a civilian stood there and recorded it with his phone. While having video evidence of Garner’s murder is helpful after the fact, what would have been more helpful is if the man with the cell phone, and all the people standing around actually stood up for Eric Garner and tried to stop the officer from killing him in the first place. And don’t tell me it’s impossible for a group of people to stop a bunch of cops from ganging up on someone. In this video, several soccer players and fans come to the aid of a protester who was being beaten with a baton by one of the officers.

It amazes me how protective people are of their smart phones. They will spend over 30 dollars on a cell phone case, disregard what their children say to them in favor of what the phone is doing, and they need to periodically check the phone for the littlest update. Is that text, which probably says nothing more than “hey wassup?” really that important?

Texting within itself, no matter what kind of phone you have, has got to be the most irritating thing ever invented. Truthfully, I do text my mother from time to time, if we are meeting up somewhere or if she needs me to pick up something from the store. But that makes logical sense. However, texting during one of my classes does not make sense. “hey wassup?” does not have the same value as learning to speak Japanese. I remember my first semester at my college, a freshman asked the teacher for permission to leave the room to answer his cell phone. The teacher told him that if he left class, he shouldn’t come back. There were numerous people on a waiting list, trying to get into the class in case someone drops it, and here’s this goofball taking his education for granted because he values his cell phone more.

If I was a college professor, I would make all of the students turn off their cell phone and put it on the table/desk in the front of the room. I would also take attendance as people did this, and they could get it back after class. And if this bothers you, don’t come to class, because you will not disrupt the education of everyone else.

I’m not going to make this rant any longer than it needs to be, so I will say this: Turn off your damn smart phone, put it in your pocket and take a look at the folks around you. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the world.

You Don’t Have My Permission.
September 20, 2014

I think this is something many black folk can relate to and agree with: I’m tired of white people who think they need my permission to say or do “black things”. As Whoopi Goldberg once proudly said, if you have to ask permission to say something, then you know it’s something you’re not supposed to be saying.

The most common permission seeking issue seems to be white people wanting to refer to their black friends as “nigga”. I don’t like it when anyone says any variant of ‘nigger’, but especially not some white guy who probably thinks that makes him “street” (whatever ‘street’ is supposed to be). I am not, never have been and never will be your nigga, period. Gain some class and call your friends for what they are: your friends.

But the worst in my eyes, seems to be women who think that being with a black man, and/or raising a black child means that they have automatic permission to “act black”, and act as those they have been through as many struggles as we have. A prime example is a woman I had an argument with today on the city bus. As we were in line to get on the bus, a black woman in front of me got on, and this white woman standing next to me got mad because the black woman got on before her. So as I start walking to get on the bus, the white woman sticks her hand in the face, says “Don’t even” and cuts in front of me. So my response was as follows: “Uh, excuse me, what the hell are you yelling at me for? All I’m doing is standing here, and you wanna get up in my face?” So her boyfriend tried to tell me to be quiet because his girlfriend’s been having a bad day, and I told him I didn’t care what kind of day she having. So she said to me, “Don’t start with me cause your not the right shade.”

There’s a massive hypocrisy in that statement that is so obvious, I don’t need to point out to you. But what I do need to point out is that I don’t give a shit what shade you think I am, having a black boyfriend does not give you permission to run your mouth, get up in my face, and not expect me to get back in your’s. You wanna be in an interracial relationship, have at it, but have some fucking dignity, or shut the fuck up.

So no, you do not have my permission to behave like a trashy white person who is pretending to be black because they think it makes them appear street.

I’m Angry.
August 13, 2014

Let me put it to you this way: I’m angry. I’m angry at a 63 year old man who had millions of dollars at his disposal to buy the best doctor in the world to treat his depression in the best way possible, and he threw it all away. I’m angry that I suffered from depression for 12 years, had a fraction of what Robin Williams had, and I took steps to improve my life and get whatever treatment was available to me. I’m angry that at age 7 I decided I wanted to die, and without the maturity or knowledge of an adult, I chose to live. Robin Williams had the same choice as me, and he chose to throw it all away.

I’m angry too because a woman who lives in the house behind mine verbally abuses her two year old son, simply because she doesn’t like it when he wants to play in the backyard. I’m angry because I have worked with refugees who have lived in filthy refugee camps after watching their family members killed in front of them, and have been forced to move halfway around the world. In spite of that hell, my students could find joy and peace of mind in something as simple as drawing and painting.

I’m angry because recently a man named Eric Garner was choked to death by NYPD officers, even after he said to them “I can’t breathe”. Where are the profile photos and long status updates for Eric Garner? Why is it, that Steve Jobs and Fred Shuttlesworth can die on the same day, but people still mourn Steve Jobs like it happened yesterday?

I’m angry that Americans mourn celebrity suicides and use the excuse “but he/she gave us so much!” I don’t like it when people hurt themselves, but I also don’t like it when a drive by happens at a local park in the inner city and someone’s child, brother, sister, friend, is killed. You know these people gave? Their blood, and we have forgotten them.

You can call it mean spirited, or lacking in empathy or sympathy, or even say that because I have suffered from depression that I should know better. Your opinion does not matter to me right now, not just because I’m angry but because these are things which need to be said. The truth sometimes sounds best coming from a high-riding bitch like me.

The Hunting Party – Strangest Reaction
July 27, 2014

As you may, or may not know, I’ve been a fan of Linkin Park for a long time. The only album of their’s that I do not like is Hybrid Theory. The more I listen to Hybrid Theory, the more I dislike it. Last month, they put out a new album titled The Hunting Party. This album officially became the first album that I hate. And I don’t like saying that, because I want to like it. I want to find something good about this album but just when I start to dig a song, it takes a really weird turn for the worst. I don’t think an album has ever weirded me out, and made me so uncomfortable that I couldn’t sit still, until now.

Linkin Park’s 5th album, Living Things, was not their best, but I like it. I can see where it needs improvement, but that doesn’t hurt the overall quality. I actually can say that about all of their previous albums, even Hybrid Theory. I definitely can’t say that about The Hunting Party. And I didn’t make it pass Mark the Graves, after that one I stopped listening. I just couldn’t anymore. Now, my discomfort could be partially due to my hypersensitivity, because there are certain sounds at certain frequencies I can’t handle, and they give me the heeby-jeebies. But every single song I listened to had these weird sounds I couldn’t tolerate. Does anyone else feel this way?

It sounds like they were trying too hard to do something, and I’m not even sure what that something is. Is this a punk rock album? A heavy metal album? A rap/rock album? An attempt at sounding like the love child of Metallica and System of a Down? An… album?

“But A Thousand Suns was weird!” No, it wasn’t. A Thousand Suns was an album of epic proportions. It said something, it did something and it pushed the envelope. I am writing this not more than ten minutes after listening to most of The Hunting Party and I don’t even remember the lyrics. I don’t even understand the songs. I’m all for simple lyrics, after all, I grew up listening to Motown. Simplicity can be profoundly moving and even philosophical, but The Hunting Party never did that. The lyrics are so generic that they’re empty.

I’m all for bands switching up rolls. My favorite is 2NE1’s song Clap Your Hands (bakksu chyeo), in which Park Sandara raps. I don’t think any 2NE1 fan had ever heard her rap before that single came out. It was not only different, but it sounded great. She has a natural reggae voice, and since it’s a reggae song, it worked well. This is a great combination of a singer with plenty of self-confidence to try something new, and a great producer.

Why did Mike Shinoda try to sing like Chester? I think over the last 14 years it has been clearly established that Mike is not a rock singer, and resembles a dying cat if he screams. I don’t even remember what song this took place on… I only remember that it happened, and I think my brain is desperately trying to make it unhappen. Now all I can think of is Mike’s old blog entry about seeing The Happening, and leaving the movie theater because it was so bad. Well, I left the album.

I think my strange reaction is also due to a very old fanfiction I read many years ago about Mike Shinoda going totally insane and making this weird punk/industrial rock music, and The Hunting Party sounds like a real-life manifestation of this story. I think we’ve gone so deep into the insanity realm here, that we can’t get out. We’re screwed.

Neopets is NOT Kid Friendly Anymore
July 20, 2014

Disclaimer: I have chosen not to use sources for this blog entry, and refer to all incidents/stories described in the following blog entry as “rumors”, to protect those people involved and their right to their opinions about The Neopets Team, Neopets Virtual Worlds and Viacom.

When I joined the Neopets website, I was 13 years old. Back then, Neopets had a sidebar, no advertisements, the games room was only four categories with a Cybunny holding the “puzzles” sign, Faerieland was still in the sky and Lutari Island didn’t exist. The objective of Neopets was to take care of your Neopets, and you could have up to four of them. You could go with a Cybunny, which is really just a cute looking bunny, or take a more daring approach and create an Aisha, an alien cat with four ears. All you had to do was feed them, and they’d be fine. You could choose to groom them for contests, play with them to improve their happiness, and even paint them with a special paint brush to change their “color”. You literally could turn a an Aisha which was all yellow, into a RAINBOW Aisha. I mean, wouldn’t you just love it if you could do that to your fellow humans? Just adopt some black person and paint them with a “Caucasian” paint brush.

Okay, I don’t think The Neopets Team ever intended a racial undertone with the paint brush system. And every website has its problems. This is why Neopets has rules that if broken, result in a punishment. Back in the old days of Neopets, if you broke the rules they didn’t freeze your account like they do now. Instead, you just lost your neopoints, had your pets’ statistics set to zero and if I remember correctly, lost your trophies too. If you spent hours upon days upon months earning those things, and lost them, like most gamers you’d rage quit. It never happened to me, but at age 13, it was plenty of a deterrent from breaking the rules. Nowadays you just get your account frozen, and you have the option to appeal to get your account back. Some people deserve to have their accounts frozen. Some people however, have had their accounts frozen for unfair reasons. Allow me to share those stories with you.

A young boy, who we’ll call Tom, had a species of Neopet called a Tonu. He had painted his Tonu with a paint brush, and it had taken him a very long time to get that paint brush. So one day, he goes onto the website’s message board and starts talking to a group of boys. One of these boys sent Tom a food item, so Tom fed it to his Tonu. Then his Tonu turned into a standard yellow Tonu, and lost it’s painted color. When he asked this boy why they sent him an item that would do that, they all laughed at him, and reported his account. Tom’s account was frozen simply because it was reported multiple times.

Another story I heard recently is a grandmother who uses the site, had gotten extremely good at a very difficult game called Bouncy Supreme. I promise you, I am horrifyingly bad at this game. The objective is to “bounce” from one platform to the next to get yourself more time to continue bouncing. She was so good at this game that she scored over 100,000 points. The highest score for that game right is 69,000 and change. The Neopets Team investigated her score, and claimed she cheated because her score was just to good not to be a cheat. While playing this game she had accumulated so much time that when someone knocked on her front door, she could get up and answer it, come back to the game and finish playing. It’s possible they thought she was cheating because she had been idle in the game for a little while. Her account was frozen. She appealed to have it given back, and was unsuccessful.

If people are very good at games and earn neopoints quickly, their accounts may be frozen for cheating as well. If someone buys a lot of items with their neopoints in a short time span, they are accused of autobuying (using a computer bot to search for items and buy them for you) and they are frozen. Neopets has a clause in the Terms of Service that says they can freeze your account for any reason, which is why they get away with this. They don’t have to prove you did anything wrong, they just have to THINK you did something wrong. They also don’t put all of the website’s rules on the website, so when people inadvertently break those unlisted rules (which has happened to me twice) they are either sent warnings or frozen. Neopets gets away with this, because a clause in their Terms of Service says they aren’t responsible for how you interpret or understand their rules.

So why does Neopets do things like this? I don’t think it’s to be mean, I think it’s a combination of population control and marketing. Anyone who is extremely good at games, needs to spend less time working for it on the website, thus Neopets can’t make money off of them. And people who are inactive for a long time, or accidentally break an unwritten rule, are frozen to control the population. There are milions of people on Neopets. MILLIONS. Their dirtiest trick is they have a rule that if you post links to other websites, you can be frozen for it. This is not about protecting kids from malware/viruses or pornography. This is about keeping people on the site for as long as possible, so that they never leave. This is why earning neopoints is such a time consuming task.

The worst aspect of Neopets though, is the censors. Neopets is not a kids only site, it is all ages, which The Neopets Team actually has said. The filters disallow words like “basement” and “advertisement” because they happen to contain the word “semen”. The filter is strangely hypocritical, because the word “weeds” is not allowed in private messaging (neomail) but is allowed on a game a called Word Poker. In addition, the word “stupid” is banned but “idiot” is okay.

Certain subjects are also banned from the site. Religion and politics are slightly understandable, though plenty of kids can have healthy opinions of and discussions about those topics. But talking about sexual orientation is also banned. That’s only in recent years, and I’m going to guess it was put in place after the site was bought by Viacom. Here’s the thing, the owner of Viacom is big on Scientology, and any money that is spent on the “Neocash” feature of the site or a premium account, goes to, you guessed it, support Scientology. So if you spend money on the website, you are being forced to support a religious practice that is actually banned from being talked about on the Neopets site. Logic, where did it go? So now Neopets is just a cash cow for idiots who believe dinosaurs evolved and died out in less than 7,000 years.

Here is where Neopets becomes dangerous for kids: Kids are easily manipulated. Plenty of scammers exist all over the site who hack into these kids’ accounts, steal their neopoints and items, then sell those items on other websites. Some people put “cookie trackers” in their user created shops, which are places where people can purchase items for smaller amounts of neopoints. These trackers are used to hack email accounts and then hack into a Neopets account and steal items, neopoints and even pets.

The worst hacking story I’ve read about is a girl who’s email was hacked, followed by her Neopets account. Her account was frozen after being hacked. They say they freeze hacked accounts to protect the owner of that account. That may in fact be true. The thief proceeded to steal all of her neopoints and rare items. Even worse, that same thief tried to transfer her pet Draik, an extremely rare limited edition pet that is very difficult to get, to another account. This girl did get her Draik back. But her items and neopoints were not returned to her. The Neopets Team accused her of giving her password to the thief, and said that’s the only way a person’s account can be hacked. That’s like saying a woman deserved to be raped because she worse sexy clothing. Not that I go around hacking but no website is impenetrable, even the U.S. government computers can be hacked, though it would probably take over a decade to do it. But why would they return her stuff to her? Because then she wouldn’t have to come back and invest hours, days, months, years, in getting her stuff back.

I am debating leaving the website permanently. I don’t want to, but I’m not sure I like being there. It’s a website and it’s not important, but two of my pets are named after real life pets, combined with the time I’ve put into the website over the last 12 or 13 years. So we’ll see what happens.

No, you can’t leave your child alone in your car.
July 16, 2014

In the last two and a half weeks, several children in Connecticut under the age of twelve have been left alone in cars on hot days. Some of these children have been removed from these situations before suffering the serious, and deadly, effects of heat stroke. Other children, unfortunately, were not found in time and passed away.

There were numerous times when my mother would let me stay in the car while she was buying groceries. I was an atypical kid, so I had the common sense to get out of a car if it were too hot (and our car didn’t have child proof locks). I firmly believe in the intelligence of young children and their ability to make choices, and take appropriate actions. I also firmly believe in the science of the human brain. Children on average begin developing common sense at age ten. That does not mean the instant they turn ten years old, they magically acquire the common sense of an adult. No matter what we tell our children to do, no matter how much we teach our children, we have to operate under the belief that they do not know better, because they don’t. They are not the adults here, we are. And just because it was okay for me as an individual, that does not mean it is okay for the entire population of children throughout the United States, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

I recently had a heated debate with a group of people over this issue. Many of the people I was talking to believed children as young as eight years old can be left alone in cars. That if the car gets too hot, they can just get out of the car. If there are child proof locks, then they can climb into the front seat and exit the car that way. This suggests that it’s okay for people to take such a risk as leaving their child in a car alone. This also suggests that if a child didn’t try to get out of the car, they deserved to suffer heat stroke. It’s not that different from suggesting that a woman deserves to be raped if she wears a short skirt. Maybe some of these people thought if heat stroke starts to set in, these children’s bodies have ways of shutting that whole thing down.

There are other reasons why children should not be left alone in cars, but I’ll get to that later. First, I want to share a video report from USA Today on an incident of two small children being left alone in a hot car: Shoppers smash windows to rescue kids in hot car.

It can be argued that there were other ways to handle the situation. Such as looking for the parent and/or guardian rather than breaking into the car. I read a very long article a while back (I couldn’t find a source link) in which a mother left her son in a car alone while she ran into a store to get a couple of things. A man who was in the parking lot, saw her leave her son, called the police and video taped her son in the car. If it were me, I would have said something to her directly instead. If she was unwillingly to take her son with her, then I would call the police. Letting her make that mistake, led to a massive custody battle in which she almost lost her child. But if I see a child in a car gasping for air, I’m telling the nearest person to call 911, and I’m breaking a window. The only thing I think should have been done differently in that video, is regardless of how much the mother begged, they should have called the police anyways. She lost her second chance when she almost killed her children.

Another argument I’ve heard is that not letting a ten or eleven year old sit in a car alone, takes away their independence. As I stated previously, ten years old do have common sense, and the ability to make choices. Choices such as, getting out of the car. And if you can’t leave your ten year old in a car alone for fifteen minutes without them doing something terrible, what does that say about you as a parent? Well, not much, because there are several flaws in this argument. Not every child knows what to do in every situation (most adults don’t either). Let’s say you want your ten year old to have air conditioning, so you leave the keys in the ignition, but tell them to leave the keys alone. The child waits until you are gone, and decides to give themselves a driving lesson. This is not a farfetched thing, there are a lot of kids in that age range who have attempted to drive, even stolen their parents’ cars. This may be a hypothetical scenario, but as we all know, there are times when we tell our kids not to do something, and they do it anyways.

Suppose your child was abducted after you left him/her in the car alone. That says nothing about your child’s ability to behave themselves, but it does say a lot about how irresponsible you are. Let me be very clear: Children are abducted from all kinds of places. School grounds, front lawns, street corners, and there are many variables to those incidents and parents/guardians are not always at fault. The organization Love 146 was founded by a man who was doing an undercover investigation of a brothel in Southern Asia. This brothel was filled with girls around the ages of ten and eleven. You may want to say to yourself, “But that’s a third world country! That doesn’t happen in the United States!” I haven’t been raped, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It’s a common and frustrating misconception that human trafficking only happens in a third world country. Contrary to that, Great Britain has one of the highest human trafficking records in the world. You can go here hear to read all about the statistics of human trafficking in the United States: Polaris Project – Human Trafficking Statistics in USA.

I’m not saying we should shelter our children. I have seen the effects of a sheltered childhood and it isn’t pretty. I don’t think we need to scare our children into being safe either. But, at a certain age, we ought to be honest with them about what is not safe. We need to put away our pride and understand that our child’s safety is top priority over our laziness to be a parent. Leaving your kid in a car because you don’t feel like going through the mild hassle of bringing them into the grocery store, hair salon, or wherever, is laziness. So what if your kid begs you to stay in the car because they think the grocery store is boring. You don’t need to be intimidated by a ten year old, you can say no to them. And if you aren’t willing to be a decent parent, then don’t bring your kid with you to do your errands. There are things called babysitters and family members who will watch your kid while you’re gone.

If you still think it’s okay to leave a child in a car alone, then I have another video for you. Granted, the video is made by a veterinarian responding to people who leave their dogs in hot cars, but the end result of the experiment is the same whether it’s a pet or a child in the car.