Tag Archives: Sacramento

Thank You Starbucks

7 Jun

2365380736_3bd420ce3fI have been wanting to post this for a while now but when you are working full-time, going to school full-time, marriage, and dealing with a serious illness in the family – well, it is hard to do the small things.

I wanted to give a big shout out and a huge thank you to the Starbucks staff on the corner of Fulton Avenue and Cottage Way in Sacramento.  The reason why?  My Mom.  My Mom is currently battling stage 3 Melanoma cancer where there are not any good treatments for her i.e., no Interferon and offered her to be in a ‘case study’ where she may or may not get a placebo.  So it is a 50/50 wait and see game at this point.  Scary? The answer is yes.

While our Mom was in the hospital, we discovered that she had kept some of the Starbucks clear cups (they were cleaned of course) with kind words written on them to my Mom.  We asked our Mom after her surgery what the deal was with these cups?  I want to let you all know my Mom is a kind woman who can make friends with ANYONE.  She has the gift of gab.  Well – apparently this is a really nice crew that works at this location and apparently Mom had developed a friendships with several of the staff.

Once we got Mom home, and she was cleared for coffee drinks (no sugar at first) – either I or my two sisters would go get her drinks.  My experience was ordering the drink and the gal behind the counter said “Is this for Suzanne?”  They knew I was getting Mom’s drink but were confused about why there was no sugar being ordered.  It was at that point during several Starbucks visits that either I or the sisters would advise the Starbucks crew of Mom’s status. We would bring Mom’s drinks home, let Mom know they missed her etc.  You would think that I would have looked at the cups post surgery….but I have been so out of my mind on Cancerwatch, so there is that.

Well, I finally did and I have to say – the staff wrote some of the most kind, uplifting and positive words to my Mom on those cups.  The staff at Starbucks took the time of their busy workday to communicate to my Mom since she could drive until literally this weekend.  They didn’t have to do it, but they did.  It meant the world to Mom and I really think it helped her knowing they were rooting for her.

Again a big thank you to the Fulton Avenue/Cottage Way crew.  It really meant a lot to Mom and to myself and sisters as well.  Big props to the Sacramento Starbucks crew.

K.G.

**Don’t forget to wear sunscreen daily people**

Social Media Assignment

21 Mar

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Preface: The assignment in my Social Media and Society class was the question on how I felt about the 4th Amendment and how it pertains to social media. Should social media accounts be private or public forums? Most of my peers focused a lot of the 4th Amendment in our discussion. I guess that would be okay, but this is a collegiate setting and I am almost positive that our Professor does not need a history education. I became increasingly agitated with my peers with not discussing the elephant in the room which no one wanted to discuss: The U.S. government, the NSA and monitoring of Americans. Not even an Edward Snowden mention. Who are these people?

In their defense, the only person(s) that can have decent conversations about this subject these days are my Husband (computer geek and old school IRC champ) and sometimes Mom. Yes I know, my Mom. When I try to have these conversations with my peers or whomever I believe has something between the ears, I get silence. Or “oh yeah that is scary huh?” My favorite is “well it doesn’t bother me.” Huh? What? Say that again please? When the suggestion is made to see Citizenfour (the Edward Snowden documentary) to people, I get the blank stare. Am I missing something? Why do people not care? It is frustrating for me and you will see it in the piece of work I submitted to the Professor and the class. So without further ado, my paper below.

When looking at the question of how the 4th Amendment rights come into question about social media use, one would need to read what a well-known activist has said on the subject (in a roundabout way). “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this ability, the majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards” Edward Snowden. Just take that comment in for a moment. When one reads the 4th Amendment which states “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,” the NSA (US government) has basically used the Amendment as toilet paper and flushed it down the toilet. We, the American public have allowed that to happen. How and why?

It was not until 9/11 that everything changed. Fear and terror became headlines to this day and our elected officials began to write a bill to combat terrorism. The United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 was placed into law on October 26, 2001. Most individuals in Congress did not read it when this act was placed into law (Appalachian State University, n.d.). The Patriot Act was rushed into law and not signing the bill would have seemed unpatriotic. The Patriot Act gave the government, military, and police departments’ unprecedented access to our lives. We the American people voted these individuals to office. Still do.

We became obsessed with our cell phones. We tuned out and stopped true communication with our family and friends. We collectively read our cell phones on work breaks, lounging in the sun or on the couch, at the dinner table, during family time – the list goes on. We tend to wake up to Twitter or Facebook, read our quick news segments on our news apps and go on with our day. We post our “look at my kids, food, shoes, me, me and oh, me” and buy stuff with our phones. Distracted driving is at an all-time high and why? Our cell phones! Our overall attention span to anything that affects us is minuet.

Since we are not paying attention to what is happening around us and trust our own government immensely, a few events happened along the way. The U.S. and UK spies hacked into the largest producer of SIM cards in the entire world. Big deal? Think again. These spies were a “joint unit of operatives from the NSA and British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ” (Scahill, 2015). The company name is Gemalto, and the chips were made for “mobile phones serviced by AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and for next generation credit cards” (Scahill, 2015). Gemalto creates 2 billion SIMS a year. It is unknown how much this joint operation took. The reason this was done? Both governments needed encryption keys for 3G, 4G and LTE. Your SIM is now your Social Security Number (Scahill, 2015). Remember when Snowden talked about credit cards? Read the Scahill piece further about the link with the payment from your cell phones. I would not use Apply Pay or Google Wallet anytime soon. Feeling a bit violated yet? It gets better.

Recently, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) filed a lawsuit against the Sacramento County Sheriff’s department for their unwillingness to produce documents under the California Public Records Act for the Sheriff’s use of the product “Stingray” (Lang, 2015). The ACLU is asking what the Sheriff department plans to do with the information obtained by the Stingray technology. What can this Stingray technology do? It is a type of IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) tracker, or a device that can mimic a cell tower. It can track anyone in real time as well as “the unique ID and phone numbers” (Bott & Thom, 2014) dialed by a phone. This includes outgoing calls and texts. The Sacramento Sheriff department is citing the Homeland Security Act for not cooperating and has a “confidentiality agreement with the federal government, which provided the technology” (Lang, 2015). Huh? Why does the Sacramento County Sheriff need to know what is said on Facebook or maybe a text to a friend?

Our children are being monitored. In an article from Politico.com, by Stephanie Simon states that ”School districts and colleges across the nation are hiring private companies to monitor students’ online activity, down to individual keystrokes, to scan their emails for objectionable content and to scrutinize their public posts on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram and other popular sites. The surveillance services will send principals text-message alerts if a student types a suspicious phrase or surfs to a web site that raises red flags” (Simon, 2015). In fact, a security test company working for the publishing giant Pearson is looking for kids’ posts online about Common Core’s tests (Simon, 2015). It has come down to sleuthing the children.

If you are a person who uses the Internet, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media application and have an expectation of privacy, well then you have to be an idiot. Privacy does not exist. It is ridiculous to think otherwise. Facebook has ways to market to the individual in their own feed by what they say or do (Constine, 2014). Twitter is starting to give their users “promoted posts” much to their users’ dismay. These websites can monitor topics, posts or individuals that could be considered offensive or inappropriate for some users and block the material. Somewhere along the way, we the American public are okay with monitoring. When did that happen?

We are all monitored now without a warrant or cause. It is our own fault and this should bother every single American. The NSA via the Patriot Act has basically shredded the 4th Amendment with the unchecked monitoring of the citizens of the United States. Although individuals say “I do not do anything wrong so it is okay.” Is it okay for the government to know your conversations with family? What if you hired an attorney? Is it no longer “confidential?” Is it okay for the US government to know how much money you spend and where? Is it okay for the government to monitor what you view on the Internet? What if you have an opinion? Is it okay to have to keep it yourself for fear it will have ramifications with your own government at a later date? Have we as Americans become too lazy, too apathetic to what is going on or are we all too scared to speak up and say anything? What is going to take to say this is not okay and it needs to stop? If dissention and protest conflicts with Pilates on Wednesday, well there are priorities right? The lack of outrage is disheartening, embarrassing and disgusting.

Citizenfour is a documentary directed by Laura Poitras, about Edward Snowden speaking to Glenn Greenwald in Hong Kong before the first leak about the NSA. Regardless if the people believe he is a traitor or not, he believed he had to expose the US government in their monitoring tactics. It is undeniable based on information presented that there is no such thing as privacy, although people think it still exists. There is a reason why governments want the focus on privacy and ponder on the following. In Citizenfour, Edward Snowden makes a statement that is a poignant and true: “What we used to call liberty and freedom we now call Privacy” (Poitras, 2014). Liberty and freedom is the core of the Constitution and we the American people have allowed our own government to have its way with it. Nice.

Works Cited
Appalachian State University. (n.d.). The USA Patriot Act. Retrieved from Department of Government and Justice Studies: http://gjs.appstate.edu/media-coverage-crime-and-criminal-justice/usa-patriot-act

Bott, M., & Thom, J. (2014, June 23). Is sheriff’s department using tracking and data-collecting device without search warrants? Retrieved from News 10 Sacramento: http://www.news10.net/story/news/investigations/2014/06/23/is-sacramento-county-sheriff-dept-using-stingray-to-track-collect-data/11296461/

Constine, J. (2014, April 3). Why is Facebook Page Reach Decreasing? More competition and Limited Attention. Retrieved from Techcrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/03/the-filtered-feed-problem/

Lang, M. (2015, March 10). Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department sued over ‘Stingray’ surveillance technology. Retrieved from The Sacramento Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article13281356.html

Poitras, L. (Director). (2014). Citizenfour [Motion Picture].

Scahill, J. B. (2015, February 19). The Great SIM Heist . Retrieved March 21, 2015 https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/19/great-sim-heist/

Simon, S. (2015, March 21). Common Core’s cyber spies. Retrieved from Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/cyber-snoops-track-students-116276.html

Hire Dancing Dan! Save Street Sign Professionals!

11 May
Dancing Dan

Dancing Dan – Sacramento

During the height of the housing boom, there was a man that worked here and there on Howe Avenue in Sacramento.  He would wear super hero outfits and dance on corners of Howe Avenue to get drivers to stop and go to the store he was promoting.  He was a sign guy.  His name is “Dancing Dan.”

Dancing Dan was fun to watch.  He would be jamming out to whatever was playing on his headphones, twirling around with his sign and was able to get everyone’s attention.  A lot of motorists would honk, and at times – he would put his sign down and put his hands together as if to pray and place up to the sky to thank God for the job he had.  Dan was a muscular kind of guy, extremely athletic.  Let’s face it there are those who just barely wave a sign – and there are those like Dan that make it an art.  Something fun to watch.  I appreciate a little fun like that while stopped in traffic.

Once the housing boom went B-U-S-T,  I did not see a lot of Dancing Dan.  Now in all fairness, I worked in another office for a period of years so I didn’t have the opportunity to see a lot of him.  However I did frequently visit my family in the area and noticed that Dancing Dan was not around.  I looked forward to seeing him at Enterprise Drive and Howe Avenue or Fair Oaks Blvd and Howe Avenue doing his thing – dancing and making motorist smile.

I recently moved back to a larger office on Howe Avenue, and noticed on my commute into work – that he is now working again on Howe Avenue.  However, it’s a quite different “Dancing Dan.”  At first, he didn’t even have a sign.  He wore his old Superman or Spiderman shirt over his clothes and he looks a bit haggard.  He wore a huge fanny pack and had a bicycle.  My first thought was …. oh cool, there is Dan.   However, I thought again – this isn’t the Dancing Dan I know.  He is no longer working in the best part of Howe Avenue – but at Marconi and Howe.  I think hard times have hit Dan…..but he still continues to dance.   Two weeks ago, he was able to get his own sign made so he can gain employment.

It is my hope that he will gain employment so he doesn’t have to work on the corner of Marconi Avenue and Howe Avenue anymore.   However, what I have seen as of recent that is not helping Dan’s cause is the weird female mannequins who are charged by a car battery on many corners in Sacramento.  I understand the fact that this is an inexpensive way to get foot traffic to your business, but at what cost?  I personally would prefer a “Dancing Dan” or a Moving Pickle – than seeing this impersonal job taking piece of machinery on the corner of my local streets.  In fact, I wish these machines were banned in the hope that people see that REAL people need jobs – just like “Dancing Dan.”  Let’s not take away jobs from people who really need them.  Again, seeing real people being creative with signs is more fun and productive than seeing them homeless on the streets of Sacramento.

So if you are someone who needs a “sign person” for your small business to promote your business in Sacramento, call this guy – Dancing Dan.  I tried in vain to catch his phone number on the photo….so if you can read it, which I had a difficult time doing so – great.  OR stop by Marconi Avenue and Howe Avenue on any given morning between 7AM to 9AM, Dan will be out there doing his thing …… Dancing.

~K.G.

*One more photo of Dan to HIRE him!*

Dancing Dan

Hire Dancing Dan!!!!

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