Sunday, March 31, 2024

Happy Easter!

 

 

From the Easter Pug Bunny!

(Not MY Easter Pug Bunny, of course, but THE Easter Pug Bunny!

Other than that, I guess I don't have anything pious or pithy to say today, because as of late, I have gone from confused, to discouraged, to now disgusted by the things that my fellow self-proposed Christians are saying and doing to others in Christ's name ...

... to include false-prophet, rich-and-powerful politicians - the fruits of their labor clearly and obviously having nothing to do with Jesus - literally rewriting, endorsing, and hocking $60 bibles in idolatry, just to help pay for their own mounting legal fees, after finally being held accountable for very self-serving, illegal things they know they shouldn't have done, half of which we saw them do before our very eyes, which were NOT justified.

Now, I'll admit, my faith has been shaken by the way modern Christians have behaved and what and who they've supported.

I'll even go so far to say that if their version of Christianity is the true nature and intent of Jesus, then I'd want nothing to do with him and denounce Christianity altogether.

But thank God he isn't. 

And the evidence he has nothing to do with most of the political points Christians are making today are his own words in the four Gospels versus virtually anyone else in the bible 😊 

Thus, I remind myself that my faith shouldn't be dependent on how other Christians behave, and I offer up this prayer ...


Heavenly Father,

I pray that one day, we will look back on this time in history, shaking our heads at ourselves, for not helping to heal, as Christ intended.  
Instead, we "further tie up heavy burdens" of judgment on others' already-breaking shoulders "without lifting a finger to help," as Christ actually warned against in Matthew 23. 
I pray that we will not continue to simply gloss over all the exclusion from benefit, pain, and suffering that we have caused others in Christ's name, but take full responsibility and ask for forgiveness for it - rather than using backlash reactions to us having done so as both evidence and excuse to not make amends;  and worse, as some sort of a measuring stick to affirm our false sense of moral superiority and entitlement, vainly imagining that Christ's blessings come in the form of material prosperity because of our own harder work or better Christian works.  
I pray that we will return to more mission work and community service to help those in need, in your service - without labeling who is most deserving, as if we are God - as well as not to continue to use these things as a means of national or international Christian conquest out of our own insecurity with others not being like us.
Though we have had even worse moments in Christian history, we have barely scratched the surface of taking responsibility and making amends for it, helping others heal, as Christ intended us Christians to be; thus, we repeat this pattern, over and over.  
Thus, I pray that on that day, when we do finally look back on this time in Christian history with eyes wide open, the effect will be permanent, having finally learned our lesson - that we will have permanently evolved into Christ's true message of mercy, self-sacrifice, and love, because we have been given those things, and not by our own merit, but as a free gift.

I pray that by then, we will finally realize the purpose of Christianity isn't "all about us" or "me, me, me" - in fact, Christianity is mostly about helping others heal from pain and suffering as Christ did.

Jesus set an example that he expected us to follow to help serve and heal others, Christian or not, doing our best to make this world a better place than we found it. 

 

Thus, I pray that instead of demanding everything our own way, by our interpretation, we will learn to share - not just money material possessions, or even the right to various interpretations of Christianity, but to share the right to representation with others, to have a stronger voice in decision-making that affects us all, thus abandoning our selfish need to have the largest share and loudest voice. 

  

Along those lines,  I pray that when we DO share these things, we stop making ourselves the false victim, just because we don't take the largest piece of the pie for ourselves, anymore.

Further, I pray that we will stop using Jesus as just our own personal drug to cope with life and uplift ourselves, as well as a get-out-of-jail-free card, as well as to realize that he's more than just a ticket to a better place for ourselves when we die; again, it's about leaving this world in better shape than when we found it, before we leave it for a better place.

I'm admittedly confused by who you really are and where you are, in all of this, but I do trust that it's not this ... not this.  
Thus, I feel more confused today, and even a little sad, separated from my Christian brothers and sisters, even angry with them, rather than being uplifted by your sacrifice for us all - not only out of my own hurt (and actual former abuse) by fellow Christians, but out of empathy for all the pain we have caused others in Christ's name - including causing my own, during my own exclusionary, arrogant evangelicalism in my youth - as well as out of true remorse for the pain and suffering we have caused.  
I now humbly ask for your forgiveness on our behalf - forgive us, as you said, we know not what we do. 
I ask all of these things in the name of the Father, your son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.


Amen.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Things that Make You Go "Oh, no!"

 

So the inspiration for this post was a story that was just relayed to me about a teacher.  

Now, there are some great teachers out there, I live in the same building with them.  There are also some bad ones and some in between, all of them paid the same and always underpaid regardless, so I don't want to be too hard on teachers - this story is about one particular teacher.

I won't relay the story because I don't have permission, but it started me thinking about a particular teacher my daughter had in kindergarten.


Now, I had taken enough child-development courses in college and read enough articles to know that kindergarten is very important - it sets the tone.

However, being a single mom, local public school was the option, which is fine - I went to public school, and my high school is nationally renowned for producing a record number of national merit scholars - but I didn't live in the posh side of town now - and we're certainly NOT talking about Abbott Elementary, where the teachers really care about their students. 

Additionally, all of the teachers were white, despite the ratio of students of color to white students being higher.


So I walk my daughter into her classroom on the first day of school, and before we even get in the classroom, I hear some lady screaming at someone.   We turned the corner, and she's on her Nokia cell phone (it was back in the early days of cell phones), screaming at her husband - and it wouldn't be the only time.

"Oh, no," I thought - x 1. 


She sees me and hangs up quickly and apologizes, but doesn't explain. 

I introduce my daughter to her and she's clearly stressed out, but I'm still giving her the benefit of the doubt, like I do still today, that I would like for people to give me - sometimes too long.

So we're chatting and she goes "I have too many kids in my room.  And look at these black kids, one of them was just dancing on the desk.  I'm from Alabama, we don't put up with that shit."


"Oh, no" I thought again ...  x 2.  And 3.  And 4.


I was also thinking how hard it would be to actually stifle a laugh if I saw a kindergartener dancing on a table - and I doubt that's the first time that's happened, black, white, or purple! πŸ˜‚

Because it always makes me laugh when kids have no clue of the rules yet and no attention span, and are just expressing pure joy, not caring a fig of what anyone else thinks.


Of course, it's our job to teach them, though, so I might've taken him by the hand or picked him up off the table and some something like:

"Okay, Usher, I see you.  I KNOW, it's exciting, the first day of school, right? Yay for school, yaayyy! "

"And as cute are you are, doing that dance, it's not dance party-time yet.  Now is quiet-play time.  Look at THIS toy, pretty cool, right?" 

"Then we'll have quiet-listening time and nap time and snack time. And if you do those things for me, you can have dance time, later, I promise."

"And let's not dance on the furniture, either, because we don't want you to fall and get hurt and we want to take care of the furniture, right?" 


But I'm not trained teacher, that's just me - so I said nothing.

So I just stood there with my mouth open at what Mrs. S just said, still holding my daughter's hand because I didn't want to let it go and release her into the care of this racist, crazy lady, with no sense of humor! 

But back then, I was terrified of standing up for anything because it didn't go well for me when I did, so I "wouldn't say shit if I had a mouthful," as the Southern saying goes.   

That is because I was in a place where I was being so gaslighted that I didn't trust my own perspective, nor did I think I had a right to anything at all - but that's another story.


Regardless, whatever happened before, the child in question talking about was now seated on the carpet, talking excitedly to the other children, but looked up, smiled and said "Hi!!!" to both of us  - then he invited my daughter to play with him and the toys on the carpet, sharing his toys with her, it was very sweet. 😊


So then I was thinking to myself "The only person in this room behaving badly and wildly inappropriate, at this moment  - is you, Mrs. S" - but I still said nothing. 

As I said, didn't entirely trust myself, back then, so I just let it go.

I did, however, stay for another half-hour, playing with my daughter and the kids on the carpet, making sure things were okay, and observing how Mrs. S. behaved with the other parents that walked their kids in.

I've gotta say, Mrs. S seemed stressed out with everyone, which I could partially understand because they had too many students per classroom, but she was noticeably cooler and dismissive with the black parents, hurrying them out of the room.  

One of the parents wanted to linger a bit, a father of color in a mechanic's uniform, but she assured them his daughter was fine, and hurried him out of the room, too. 

Then she turned and looked at me and rolled her eyes. I did not respond to this eye roll in kind, as I didn't see anything wrong with him asking politely to stay for a bit, I mean, I was staying for a bit, so I just looked away and went back to playing with the kids, until I asked my daughter if she was okay for leaving her there for a few hours, and she said yes, enjoying time with the other children. 


Now, at the time, the public schools had a "ticket-pulling" system, where if you did something you weren't supposed to do, you "pulled a ticket."

The consequence for the first ticket was a warning, the consequence for a second ticket was separation in time-out from the other children to work alone, and the consequence for the third ticket was the principal's office.

Mind you, for kindergarten, the rules are supposed to be by the day, not by the week - because it's difficult for 4 and 5-year-olds to keep track of consequences by the week - and this information will be important later on in the story.


Now, my daughter was a big talker, still is - she started talking at six months old and then just never stopped πŸ˜‚


So about a month later, my daughter comes home and says "The teacher had a party with cupcakes for all the kids that didn't pull a ticket, and we had to sit and watch them eat them. Am I a bad kid, Mommy?"

I told her certainly NOT!  She's a great kid, but she does need to work on her talking out of turn in class because it was causing problems for herself and the others - but at the same time, I thought that there had to have been some sort of misunderstanding that had happened, this couldn't be the case, right?  

But regardless, that was my daughter's interpretation of what happened, that she was a bad kid overall, and I didn't want her left with that impression, so I called the teacher for clarification.

Sometimes kids misinterpret things and it's important to gain clarification so that they don't walk away with the wrong impression, particularly about themselves, right?

So I wasn't angry (yet), thinking there had been some misunderstanding that Mrs. S could clear up.


Now, my voice is literally shaking when I called her, terrified to confront anyone, even ask for clarification,  even with sugar on top.

I told her what my daughter said and that there must've been some misunderstanding that I wanted to clear up, so if she could tell me what happened from her perspective, instead.

To my surprise, that IS exactly what happened, and Mrs. S defended it.

"Oh, no!"  x 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!



Mrs. S: "Yes, that's right. These kids don't know how to behave, so I figured I needed extra incentive than the ticket system. In real life, if you're caught speeding, you get a ticket and a fine." 

 

Me: "Yes, but ... isn't the consequence for speeding the ticket and paying a fine already?  I mean, it's not like the non-holders have a big party at the end of the week and eat cupcakes right in front of the other kids, right? LOL.  
"And at 4 and 5 years old, I'm not sure they understand that it's the culmination of their behavior over the course of one week. I thought these tickets were daily for kindergartners and started over the next day.  One day is like an epoch of time for them, and they can't process the course of a week yet, right?"

 

Mrs. S: "Look, these kids need consequences."

 

Me: "Yes, I agree - but the tickets already have consequences, right? 
"And have we thought about what kind of message of denying food as punishment is sending, especially to young girls, many of whom will struggle with eating disorders later in life?" 

 

Mrs. S: "They won't settle down!  Not yours, she just likes to talk too much, but these other kids, their parents don't behave any better than they do." 

 

Me: - ignoring another racist jab, and the fact that she behaves worse than all of them -"Okay, well, I hear that you're overwhelmed, and you did say that there are too many kids per classroom, this year.  Have you talked to the principal about needing some help? You mentioned that you have more than your share of students, perhaps a parateacher?" 

 

Mrs. S: "I've gone through two already."

 

(She didn't say whether it was because of the kids or her lol) 

 

Me: "Okay. Have you talked to her (the principal) about  this again, and your extra-consequence cupcake-party plan yet, run it by her?" 

 

Mrs. S: "No, are you going to call her on me?" 

 

Me: "No, no, I'm giving you the opportunity to do that yourself, explaining also how overwhelmed you are, too.  Would you mind doing that for me?" 

 

Mrs. S: "Yes, I will, because she's been a teacher, she's been down here in the trenches with us.  I'm sure she'll agree with me."  

 

Me: "The trenches? LOL.  Good Lord, Mrs. S, I realize kindergarten-teaching can be challenging and difficult, but  we're not in an actual war with 5-year-olds, here, and perhaps there is help available, if you ask.  Yep, let's do that, Mrs. S. Let's you run it by her and see what she thinks, okay?" 


Half an hour later, the principal calls me herself, just after Mrs. S ran the whole thing by her. I never asked her to call me, mind you, she just did. 


Principal:  "Oh.My.GOD -  I'm absolutely horrified!!! I'm SO sorry!  No, of course that's not okay, it's very concerning! I appreciate you giving her the opportunity to tell me what she's doing herself, that was brilliant. " 

"She's a brand new teacher, this year, and I'm surprised no one has called me, I can't know until someone tells me, but that was the best way to do it - instead of calling me, have her run it by me herself, that's brilliant!  I can't believe she hadn't the sense to even try to hide it, thought it was okay." 

Me:  "Well, I originally called for clarification, and I DO recognize she is overwhelmed and needs help. As for calling you, I think generally people don't want to be a problem. Also, half the class are children of color.  I'm not sure their parents are comfortable calling, she isn't exactly warm to their parents, I've noticed."

 

Principal:  "Ohhh, I hear you.  Good point, I'm going to ask which students didn't get to eat cupcakes, under the guises of her "problem-children" theory, but unbeknownst to her, I'm going to call their parents and ask. Now, she does have too many students, but we're getting trailer rooms and hiring new teachers to take some of these kids into a fourth classroom, so just hang on until January and I promise, your daughter will be one of them."


As it turns out, other parents WERE upset about this, but too afraid to even ask - and that did indeed happen - my daughter was moved to the new classroom and she loved her new kindergarten teacher, and Mrs. S's contract was not renewed at the end of the year.

As for Mrs. S, I think not only were they sensing and reacting to her obvious anxiety, but I suspect they could also sense her lack of respect and even disdain for them, particularly children of color (which was obvious to me from Day One); thus, they had no desire to please her or do anything she said because they knew she didn't care about them, even displayed active disdain for them?

It just goes to show you that an institution or business overall can have the right values, right ideas, right everything - but if even one person that's in charge over others is warped and left unchecked, the  negative ripple effect it can have, with the most powerless paying the biggest price.


Now, my daughter did like the new teacher, but it did set the tone for quite a while about seeing teachers as a positive thing you could trust.

As an aside, it was awkward with this new teacher at first, having nothing to do with her teaching.

It was because I previously worked with her at the restaurant where we all worked during college - me, my daughter's father, and new teacher - and she had reportedly slept with my daughter's father while we were together, so he said himself.  

Awwwkward!

But I already spoke up once, though terrified, so there was no way I could muster up that courage again and look this gift horse situation in the mouth. πŸ˜‚

Ya gotta love living in the South - you can't make this shit up. πŸ˜‚



So at first, I was like "Oh, no" again - BUT - in her defense, I understood that after I left, and later became pregnant, my daughter's father told everyone that we'd broken up, the child was not his, and I was crazy.

All lies, of course, but in her defense, he told everyone that so that he could sleep around.  He couldn't bring himself to break up with me while pregnant, and in fact, proposed to me when drunk twice (which I refused, because I knew he didn't mean it and neither of us wanted marriage.) 

In fact, two girls later came forward to apologize to me, they also were told the same story before they slept with him, then he dropped them.

And 20 years later, during the recession while working a second-job at a restaurant, my male manager approached me, after working for him for several months.  He revealed ho he actually was - that HE had had been Z's strip-club buddy, when I was pregnant, that I'd never met.  

He told me that Z told him the same story, he believed him, covered the lies about being at work, even helped him wipe the stripper-glitter off himself before returning home, and that I had been correct - he was sleeping with everyone and Z had been gaslighting me about it, and when I'd figure anything out and get upset, he'd tell people I was crazy.  He said he started to figure that part out then, but it wasn't until he actually met me and worked with me that he realized how much of it was just lies so he could sleep around and party.. 

He apologized profusely, and said that he had observed me for months now, working for him, and he now knew that Z had lied about everything and he felt really bad for it, how sorry he was.  

I hugged him and told him it was okay, it was a long time ago, but how much I appreciated that validation.  I told him that we were young then, and we're even friends again now (and were at that time), so all's well that ends well. 

I did let him know, however, that I had broken up with him because he couldn't bring himself to break up with me while pregnant, so he did everything he could to make me break up with him so he wouldn't have to do it, all the while gaslighting me at the same time so he wouldn't have to take a look at himself, but I was better for it.  

Anyway, point being, this new teacher believed, like everyone else, that we weren't together and that the child wasn't his, and as I said, I liked her previously - so I gave her a chance - and I'm so glad I did, because she was great! In fact, she still teaches 😊

So see?  Sometimes giving the benefit of the doubt does work out - and other times it doesn't - I just had to learn, and am still learning, how much is too much benefit of the doubt, and for how long?

The new teacher was very wonderful with my daughter, I just felt awkward/uncomfortable about the whole having-slept-with-my-daughter's father thing, so I didn't visit the classroom as much anymore, as I probably should have, because of that, and that was my fault/discomfort.

But the happy ending is, she loved the teacher, and I'm happy to report that there were no long-lasting effects, in the end - she graduated from college in 2016, has a great job, and is living her best life on the West Coast, so all's well that ends well πŸ˜‚


Thursday, March 28, 2024

PS - Interesting Update ..

*PS added. 

So as mentioned, I'm looking for a second job or contract, due to work slowdown, and I have noticed a new hiring trend - AI skills assessment training.  This is just an update to that post below. 

As I said, I scored "proficient" on all, but I was curious about what it took to obtain the upper-echelon levels on these tests, which initially were listed as "very proficient" and "expert"  - so I went to Reddit, where there were several threads, with a lot of backlash (see below).


As of today - and I cannot speak for the third-party assessment tests being used by employers - but as for Indeed, they have since changed their skill-assessment test results to only either "proficient" or "not proficient,"  on at least the tests that I have taken.

I can't be certain, but this wasn't there a week ago, and there was a lot of backlash.

Though I personally didn't complain to Indeed, or post anything on Reddit, I presume that many did complain, because the following changes weren't there a week ago (at least on my view).

Now, you can actually see the score-range levels of the tests by clicking "i" on your score for more information, your profile skill-assessment page.  

Sorry, AI fans - though it may be a cheaper, quicker way of finding candidates, clearly, we are not at "Captain's log, star date" AI computer level yet, and perhaps never will be. 

Because AI still thinks first in binary terms, it does not know how to interpret non-finite/gray areas or know what to do with them, and completely misses subtle nuances, sarcasm, idioms, and innuendos. 

____________________________

PS - I will add here that Indeed seems to have the best of the bunch as far as AI, as crappy as it is.  Their algorithm for job searching is at least close to what types of jobs you search, if nothing else.

On two other sites I use, it sends me emails like this:

"We think you'd be a great fit for this job:  Licensed real estate broker."

πŸ˜‚Oh, hell yeah -  because I'm totally licensed and have ever done that in my life, or ever once searched for anything even remotely close to that! πŸ˜‚


But on a good note, I did receive a request for an interview yesterday on a contracting job through Indeed.

On a bad note, Indeed sent it to my old Gmail from 10 years ago, even though I changed my email and profile information last fall.

Thank goodness I checked it yesterday!


Nevertheless, I accepted the interview invitation and told them about it coming to my old email address that I only use for subscriptions now.


Regardless, of interesting note, Mark told me yesterday he read an article not long ago about these job-recruiting sites, the changes in them; specifically Indeed and ZipRecruiter (before they started implementing these tests).


He can't remember where he read the article now, but the article said that Indeed has a lot of jobs that the employers either never closed after hiring the person, or Indeed failed to close that are now "ghost jobs."

That makes sense, because also yesterday, I got an email from a place that I applied and tested for a month ago, that said they closed the job months ago and apologized.

The same article said that the reason ZipRecruiter sends you nonsense that doesn't even match you is because certain companies pay for advertising for their jobs, every hit gets them a certain amount.


Allrighty.  That explains both of those things, then.  

Indeed worked just fine for me before, to get my current contract (who creates, administers, and scores her own testing). 


Thus, it seems to me, as is often the case, the more bells and whistles these sites try to add, the more problems both employers and prospective employees are running into.



Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Mini-Vent: The New Trend in Hiring - AI Skill-Assessment Testing.

 

So I'm applying for a second job, right?

I love my current job, but I'm a contractor and the work has been slow, this year, which I'm assuming is due to the Inflation Reduction Act changing the game for pharmaceutical prices.

Now, I realize that potential employers could read this, and yet I'm fine with that, hoping that they'll take this as feedback for those trying out this new trend.

So taking tests is almost always a prerequisite in medical transcription, but the typical MO is the employer creates, administers, and scores their own testing, and I usually ace them.


HOWEVER, there's this new trend where many companies are using either Indeed's skill-assessment testing or a third-party test assessment, but regardless, both are usually created and scored by AI.

(Well, there was one that I took that may have been created by a human, because it was thorough and accurate, but still scored by AI.)

Now, if you take them through Indeed, you cannot take them again for another six months, and there's no warm-up.  

Thank God I scored proficient on all.


However, this morning, the medical-transcription knowledge test that I took was administered through a third-party service for a company and it was very thorough - and I failed it.  

 (Mind you, I have never failed one of these tests in my life in 26 years and I actually thought I scored very well on it.) 

Thus, Indeed automatically marked that job in my queue as the employer having declined me automatically.


Now, I knew I was a bit rusty with true, by-the-book AAMT BOS  medical transcription guidelines, as it had been five years since I'd done hospital transcription, but WTH - am I getting early dementia or what?  πŸ˜‚

I became so discouraged that not only did I feel like giving up on finding a second job, but I started wondering if I even deserved the med-pharm job I have now that I've been doing for five years! πŸ˜‚


HOWEVER - imagine my surprise when the recruiter for the company wrote me that I could proceed with the audio portion!

She said the answers that AI marked wrong were actually correct!


Oh, thank GOD, I'm not losing it after all!

They apparently were testing out this new testing and wanted to see how it went, we were guinea pigs πŸ˜‚. 


So it asked me things like to correct the spelling for "drug-eluding stent."

Thus, of course, I wrote "drug-ELUTING stent" in the blank, which is correct.  

However, AI marked it wrong, and the problem was, the test wanted me to correct the spelling of just "eluding."  

However, I had written "drug-eluting" because it's a hyphenated modifier and therefore is considered one word!

(Mind you, the instructions said just "correct the spelling.")

Other stuff like that, which apparently still confounds AI, it still thinks very binary, when you just can't in some fields πŸ˜‚


Thus, the recruiter found that I had actually gotten all five answers correct that AI had marked wrong, so I proceeded with the audio-transcription test, which they create and human-score themselves, which I completed and am waiting to hear back.

Ya know, considering transcription is rapidly being replaced by AI and we all live in fear of it - prematurely, I might add, over things like this - you'd think they, of all people, wouldn't have even considered AI testing and scoring, right? 

I guess the lesson we all learned here from them trying these services out is that all our jobs are still safe, for now  πŸ˜‚


But the one I just took tonight takes the cake!

So it was another test from another third-party testing service for a medical transcription position.


Did it have anything to do with medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, or even typing, spelling, grammar, Microsoft Office familiarity, or clerical stuff? 

No, it did not. 


It was essentially an IQ test, or more accurately, a college entrance exam like the ACT test, except instead of being given appropriate time, you're answering as many of 40 questions as you can in 12 minutes!  (I completed 24, hopefully correctly, although the last one is iffy.)


Things like ..."Unscramble the following letters to create a word that means "confident" - DRESASU.  What is the last letter of the word" - and then you chose multiple choice for the letter "D" being the last letter of the word "ASSURED."  

(That should actually be "self-assured" to actually mean "confident,"  if we're splitting hairs, not just "assured," but such is AI testing and it was the only word you could create out of the scramble that made sense to mean confident.)


Or like, "Planning is to goal as injury is to __"  - A) pain, B) winning,  or C) poor training - the answer of course being C, poor training, although this isn't always the case in the real world, but out of those choices, that's the ticket.


High-school math, and stuff like "Finish the sequence:  24, ___, 29, 32, 36 (answer 26),


Then some logic questions, like "Some people aspire to be promoted.  Most people believe they should be promoted.  Therefore, most people that believe they should be promoted, are promoted" and judging whether that is a valid argument or not.


(This is NOT a valid argument, of course.  There is not enough information in the logical argument presented to ascertain whether people are actually promoted.)


Keep in mind, you're being timed - you have 12 minutes to answer all 40 questions.  

I answered 24, hopefully correctly, but I don't know because this one didn't tell you your results!


WTF, am I trying to get into Harvard or just trying to get a clerical job that pays under 50K a year? πŸ˜‚

I mean, FFS, it's a clerical job, just transcribing a doctor's basic dermatology office visits!   πŸ˜‚


So this particular test didn't give me the results (it just said "Thank you for completing the assessment," so I have no idea what I scored on it. 


Now, my IQ has been tested 5 times, and it always falls somewhere between 120 and 129, somewhere between above average and superior, 3 times at 125, so I go with that, if asked.

 (I scored the highest on the MENSA test at 129, but you have to be 130 and above to be in MENSA, so it was a no-go).


But frankly, even if I scored genius level on the thing, why would my employer need to know my actual IQ number?!?

That's pigeonholing, and not to mention, kinda creepy, right?

Because let's say you score genius level or aptitude - are they going to expect you to be able to solve all of the practice's problems even better than the doctor?

Are they going to pay you $100,000 a year, just to type office notes for a dermatologist, just because you scored genus level on this test?

I don't think so.


Or let's say you're the sort of person who isn't a good timed-test-taker because you're dyslexic or you have ADHD or have severe test anxiety or something, or that you were coming down with the flu when you took it, so you scored lower -  are they going to talk to you like you're mentally disabled and say you're only qualified to like, clean the bathrooms or-?  πŸ˜‚


Also, I'm not sure a 40-question test in 12 minutes could even determine that accurately, nor do I think that we should be automatically equating speed with intelligence anyway.


So out of curiosity, I Googled this new hiring trend and found several Reddit threads where people were really upset/frustrated by it.


Though there ARE "highly proficient" and "expert" ranges - no one in any of the Reddit threads tht I read had ever scored either of those, just "proficient," including myself  - though some didn't pass at all in their fields, despite degrees in them.

In fact, I saw two comments on Reddit, an electrical engineer with a master's degree and an aeronautical engineer with a PhD respectively, both scored "proficient" rather than "highly proficient' or "expert" on the Indeed-administered 20-question engineering tests! πŸ˜‚

The PhD in aeronautical engineering actually withdrew his application later because he felt it was insulting and demeaning, to first of all be tested at all when he has a PhD, has published white papers, journal articles, and books, but even worse, some AI 20-question program that has no real grasp on the subject matter? 

So in the Reddit thread that I read, it seems most employers don't take these overall seriously, it's more of a pass/fail than anything.

Regardless, let us hope this trend of quick-shot testing is found to not assess pretty much anything accurately and is NOT a foolproof way of eliminating or promoting candidates, and thus dies quickly, yes?

I feel sorry for skilled employees that were actually ruled out because of this flawed process, right?

Regardless, scramble this - FUAI.  I hate U already, for a multitude of reasons!  πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚





Monday, March 25, 2024

PS - Update: Israel/Gaza Cease-Fire


The UN's security council passed the latest cease-fire agreement, but it's only temporary during Ramadan.

After China and Russia vetoed the first attempt, the US vetoed the second and third attempts, because the language was "permanent" cease-fire, on the grounds that they wanted to broker to get the remaining hostages back first.

After changing the language from "permanent" to lasting, the US . abstained from voting on a permanent cease-fire without hostages being released.

Okay, I get that ... but then I also don't ... because not sure NOT halting fire is going to help to get any hostages back.

It amazes me that so much of this violence is still based on religion in 2024, that we've learned nothing from history, and most astonishing is that each faith - including our own - wants to suspend our usual nasty that we do in God, Allah, or Jesus' name because we want a holiday, griping that no one will respect our faith, when we don't  even respect the teachings of our own faiths, when it's not a holiday! 

Also, in this day and age, IMO, we should be careful that the problem is truly about "persecution of faith," rather than the current, loudest MISrepresentatives of that faith aren't just a-holes, cherry-picking and twisting scripture for their own benefit, playing the victim.

And by that I mean, Muslim, Jewish AND Christian leaders, either in faith or government, or both.


.

Friday, March 22, 2024

The Smellers are the Fellers: Who's Actually Obstructing The Immigration Border Reform Bill and the Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire

*Updated after temporary cease-fire passed on 03/25/2024


For those of you who either only read right-wing press or who do read it, but are still hiding/twisting sh*t so Trump can win - here are the facts; not opinion, facts. .


1) Senate Republicans blocked their own Immigration Border Reform Bill on February 7th -  at Trump's request.

He first said he supported it in January, then said "Not to bother, Democrats will block it" - and then finally, in February, urged Senate Republicans to actually vote-against it/obstruct their own bill, without giving a reason why -  and they actually did it!  πŸ˜‚

 

Just because Trump said to, without giving a reason. 

Noooo, that's not cult behavior or anything! 

 

In fact, all Democrats voted FOR the Republican-drafted, bipartisan-preapproved bill, but in the end, only 4 Republicans did. 

Even Mitch McConnell voted against it, despite helping draft it and arguing FOR it just a few hours before the vote!  πŸ˜‚



2) At the UN today, Biden's proposed cease-fire between Israel and Gaza was vetoed by Russia and China.

 

(They also failed to condemn Hamas's initial acts as terrorism, and of course, invasion of the Ukraine, so go figure. )


Why? 


Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist - though this part is admittedly opinion rather than facts - this is an election year.

He wants the credit rather than Biden, for both of those things, and his far-right-wing, nut-job buddies in Russia and China are willing to help.


Now, it's not the first time a shady politician has obstructed a bill so he can receive credit later, making his opponent look bad, just the first time a party has been willing to obstruct their own biggest-complaint-issue bill,  just because their candidate told them to! 


In other words, MAGA Republicans - and other authoritarian-government nut-job allies of Trump overseas - are now willing to allow the continuation of all the chaos and violence they've complained most about with both immigration and Israel-Hamas - just so Biden can't accomplish anything and Trump can win this year's election?

Right,  Trump Idolators, because again, this is totally something Jesus would do, right?  πŸ˜‚

Speaking of what Jesus would do, where in the bible can I find that we should keep giving billions of dollars to a millionaire/billionaire politician's legal defense - despite one of those things being attempting to overthrow democracy that we all saw live on TV  - rather than giving that money to the actual poor, need and oppressed as Jesus encouraged?

Where is THAT in the bible, the Gospels or Corinthians or-?


πŸ˜‰


So ... y'all know that all religious cult leaders that have gone to prison for criminal activity thus far even murder, have still lost very few followers over time, smoking-gun evidence, right? 

Guess y'all will do likewise with Trump, maintain he was innocent and wrongly persecuted until the very end, despite clear evidence as to his guilt.

But still ... not a cult mentality, right?  πŸ˜‚


___________________________________________________


PS - What's also new in politics besides cult mentality is people believing stuff on social media is fact just because someone they don't even know said it on X, which in this day and age, could even be a bot.

This is not "proof" or "truth," it's opinion.

Even opinion should have at least some facts involved that are just speculated on, but in this day and age, any Joe Schmo - who secretly has a history of schizophrenia - can say "Candidate X has a vestigial tail and is an alien" on social media, without any proof or facts at all, and people believe it.  πŸ˜‚


It seems that far-right-wing people are especially susceptible to this, and in particular, seem to have a lot of trouble separating fact from opinion.

Either they don't understand the difference, or they do, but they don't care, they just want to place the power of suggestion out there so their candidate wins.


Not helping them is that press in general doesn't separate fact from  editorial opinion like they used to, on both political sides, but right-wing press is the worst about click-bait tabloid "journalism" that doesn't bother to separate fact from fiction, and often makes stories up entirely.


It reminds me of a high school friend, back in the 80s, whose Mom believed every word in the National Enquirer was the REAL truth, and nothing we said could deter her πŸ˜‚

We would try to point out that people got paid to tell stories there, and no one would buy them if they were boring - that doesn't mean they're true, it just means they want money.  We tried to show her the difference between speculation and facts, but to no avail.

At the time, most people knew it was garbage, but today, it's like everyone believes tabloid is truth!


My point is, with such people, don't even try - they see what they want to see and presenting actual fact to them just makes them angry/upset. 

You could have security footage and 73 phone videos of Trump shooting someone, his fingerprints on the gun, and they'd still say he was innocent and being persecuted, because that's cult mentality!



FYI, here, on my blog, I'm no journalist, of course,  and not perfect,  but I do try to delineate what is fact versus my opinion, as I did above, but most often I make jokes with a question mark about what that politician - particularly Trump - said was fact.

And I've been wrong a couple of times and have said so later in a PS.

So my advice would be, never trust anyone on social media or blogs that presents something as a fact and truth rather than opinion that doesn't cite credible sources.  And at this point, with AI-generated stuff everywhere, if they show you a picture or even a video without  giving you a credible source or context, it is suspect.


___________________

UPDATE:  The UN's security council passed the latest cease-fire agreement, but it's only temporary during Ramadan.

After after China and Russia vetoed the first attempt, the US vetoed the second and third attempts, because the language was "permanent" cease-fire, on the grounds that they wanted to broker to get the remaining hostages back.

After changing the language from "permanent" to lasting, the US . abstained from voting on a permanent cease-fire without hostages being released.

Okay, I get that ... but then I don't ... not sure NOT halting fire is going to help to get any hostages back. 

It amazes me that so much of this is based on religion, and that each faith, including our own, wants to suspend theπŸ˜’ usual nasty shit that we do in God, Allah, or Jesus' name because we want a holiday, griping that no one will respect our faith, when no one respects their own religious instruction, scriptures, or faith every other time! 


Also, in this day and age, make sure the problem is truly about "persecution of faith," rather than the current, loudest MISrepresentatives of that faith aren't just a-holes, twisting scripture for their own benefit.




Monday, March 11, 2024

Oscars Part 2: My Best Dressed List ...

It seemed the trend this year wasn't so much golden-age Hollywood glamour, but more of a black/white affair of updated 1950s mermaid dresses and 1960s Capote-And-The-Swans glamour. 

As for the tuxes, other than the basics, it was unbuttoned, open-neck or chest tuxes, which I don't particularly care for at formal events, but it depends on who's wearing it and how.  

I don't do worst dressed, I'd rather focus on the positive 😊

In no particular order - if anything, sorted by color of dress so as not to clash - at the top of my best-dressed list are:

Greta Lee in Loewe (*This one is likely my favorite) ...




Anya Taylor-Joy in Dior ...




Carey Mulligan in Balenciaga ... 




Haley Steinfeld in Elie Saab  ...




Lupita Nyong'o in Georgio Armani Prive 




Regina King in Versace ...




Haley Khalil (unknown designer) ... 




Liza Koshy in Marchesa (despite taking a tumble on the red carpet) ...



Xochitl Gomez (unknown designer) ... 



Eugene Lee Yang in Nimona ... 



Sterling K Brown, the best to rock the basic tux   ...



Riz Ahmed  ...




Ramy Youssef  ...



Mark Ruffalo 



Yorgos Lanthimos ...




Matteo Bocelli ... 




Bradley Cooper (one of only two who could pull off the open-collar/open chest thing well ... 




With Chris Hemsworth being the other, being literally the only person to pull off the open-to-the-chest thing well ... 




I dunno, I just thought everyone else in the open-shirt thing looked sloppy or cheesy?

Even Ryan Gosling couldn't pull it off without looking sloppy, IMO.


Some honorable mentions ... 


Zendaya in Georgio Armani ...




Laverne Cox in vintage Thierry Mugler ...




And there you have it, my best-dressed list for Oscars 2024!


Oscars Afterthoughts ...

 


Well, I don't know about y'all, but I'm still an hour behind today after the time change!

So I'm gonna post on the dresses later, but for now, some quick afterthoughts.  Okay, maybe not so quick, but I will have to write it and edit later πŸ˜‚


So whereas last year was clearly about redemption and second chances for a few in the industry, this year had no message or theme at all, politically or otherwise (making me wonder if everyone heard the message within American Fiction loud and clear πŸ˜‚.)

In fact, IMO, we are finally rewarding innovation and talent for talent's sake, regardless of skin color or faith - giving those stories a better shot now, of course - and telling new stories or old stories in a different way than we've ever seen before!

Wahoooooooooo!

AND ... no one slapped anyone else and it was pretty apolitical, actually, surprisingly so (despite what Trump grumbled about like an angry old man on Truth Social).

And Jimmy Kimmel did very well again as the host, moving things along and keeping them even-keeled with no overly controversial jokes (again, also despite what Trump shadow-boxed from Truth Social), which is one of only two times politics were even mentioned, when Jimmy mentioned Trump's post.


As I said, IMO, it wasn't about politics OR representation, this year - because if that were the case, then Lily Gladstone and Killers of the Flower Moon would've swept everything, but she/they didn't - it was about pure innovation and talent. 😞

In some ways, I'm very sad they didn't receive more awards because though I haven't had time to see the 4-hour film yet, this was an extremely important story to tell. 


So I'm not sure why Trump said that, other than the fact that some people of color were nominated and won?

If he had actually seen their performances, maybe he would get why, but I doubt he did, nor could he see the talent displayed (particularly by best supporting actress, Da'Vine Joy Randolph in the grief-stricken scene in the kitchen of The Holdovers) ...




... but even if he HAD seen any of these performances or films, he'd never get it anyway due to his racial bias. 


I just don't get how he can be THAT negative, ugly, and whiny and people eat it up and want more, it just floors me.


But I digress - otherwise, I absolutely loved, loved, LOVED taking five former Oscar winners to introduce each of the nominees in a personal way, a powerful way ... 




The Best Supporting Actress was the most emotional, perhaps because it was the first of these, but they all were very touching.

This may sound odd, but if you were a nominee, it must have been like listening to your own eulogy at your funeral, but in a way that you got to hear it live.  

You could see the nominees trying to hold back tears, or sometimes, just letting them flow, but regardless, the sincere gratitude for the accolades and congratulations from real friends, mentors, idols, and peers was especially affecting and nice touch, such that I found myself thinking "Why hasn't this been done before, this is brilliant!"   

It was also just simple kindness and encouragement, on a night that not only do you know that everyone is judging every little thing you do to gossip about the next day, but you may not win - and yet their words will resonate and encourage you for a lifetime  πŸ˜‚

I'm not sure, but I think the former Oscar winners got to pick which nominee they introduced?

I say that because some of them clearly mentioned personal details as their friends, as they lauded them? 

Then again, maybe not, because I know that Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone are very good friends, but Sally Field introduced Emma, so it also could be that Sally chose Emma because Emma has mentioned being influenced by Sally as a mentor? 

It works either way, but can you imagine that the person that made you want to do what you do in life,  standing on stage in front of God and everybody, now introducing you, congratulating your nomination and why you deserve it, welcoming you into the club and passing on the baton to you? 

Even if they didn't cry, I know I  did 😭😭😭


Otherwise, of course, the one I didn't have time to see, this weekend, won it all, but I knew that it would - Oppenheimer!

Well, I'm sorry I haven't seen it yet, give me a break, it is three hours long and I rarely sit down to watch a regular 2-hour movie without pausing it to get stuff done as it is!  

(This is why I post something often stream-of-consciousness, grab some quick photos, and then come back to edit later -  time!)

I was curious to see how Cillian Murphy would react to the whole Oscars thing, because I understand that in Ireland, being a "movie star" isn't as lauded as it is here; they'd rather you sit at the pub with them and behave just like everyone else, rather than "put on airs" about anything.

He seemed rather reserved (well, he is anyway) and unaffected about the whole thing, right up until he was standing on stage looking at a room full of his peers, half of whom probably made him want to be an actor when he was a little boy - and the first thing he said was "Wow, this is overwhelming," as many do. 

It happens so quick, when they call your name, and until you're standing onstage realizing the gravity of the moment, that it's really happened, that you get how important it is, who's shoulders you're standing on, and how every dream you had as a child has just come true and you've just joined the "greats" club! 

Well, not true ... the first thing he did was give the most tender, romantic kiss to his wife Yvonne.

(I apologize for the source of this video, but it was the only one, at present, to show it from the front view that we saw it live, versus other press photos from behind them.) ...


... 


... after which (not in the clip), and then she touched his face and either said "I love you," or "Proud of You," (not sure which,  I was lip-reading lol- and THEN he allowed himself to be hugged and patted on the back by those around him before going onstage. 





We actually saw all of this from the angle in the clip, a better angle from the front, but regardless, probably the best, most romantic, Oscars kiss moment I've ever seen πŸ₯°

Congratulations, Cillian!  

Okay, I haven't seen Oppenheimer, I knew you had it in you - anyone who has seen Peaky Blinders did.  πŸ˜‚


Speaking of being overwhelmed, Emma Stone's reaction at winning Best Lead Actress was THE best.  

She looked completely stunned, as if they didn't just call her name  πŸ˜‚

And that is because she wasn't expected to win, Lily Gladstone was. 

Then her dress broke in the back immediately, which she cutely mentioned right away in her speech, adding that she thought it happened when Ryan Gosling performed "I'm Just Ken" live πŸ˜‚

Otherwise, her speech was a quirky and disjointed, of course, after her dress broke, plus being overwhelmed, but but that's Emma - and we love her for it.  

 Here's the entire piece of Best Lead Actress with nominee introductions ...



This is why we love both Emma, AND one of her besties, Jennifer Lawrence - who touchingly helped her walk backstage with their arms around each other, like a sister helping her navigate and just simply deal with the gravity of this moment.  I couldn't find a picture of it, but here's a backstage view of just after.




Now - having said that, I had to twist my husband's arm to watch Poor Things because he said he thought Emma Stone was "plastic?"


Me:  "Emma Stone?  Erm ... are you sure you're not confusing her with somebody else?  She's one of the most quirky, goofy, genuine people in Hollywood.  She's got that Lucy or Carol Burnett quality."


So then I showed him clips of her on talk shows to prove it and he was still like "I guess so.  Let's see if it's real and not an act;, let's see how she acts if she wins."


So after THAT quirky, little-girl-inside speech after a wardrobe malfunction, I turned to him and said "Still think she's plastic?

Mark said "Definitely not plastic!  Not sure why I thought that, she IS pretty goofy and loveable."

Yep - and that's why we love her.  😊


And as I said in the post below, her performance in Poor Things was very impressive, it removed her from being typecast as the pithy, sarcastic college girl.

But I think Sally Field said it best in her introduction:  "It is an unforgettable and endearing character, created by an actor who is always surprising, who refuses to be categorized, and like Bella, is completely original."

Here, here πŸ™‚

And here are Emma and her mentor, Sally, together backstage ... 



Other favorite moments?

- Billie Eilish's nearly equally shocked look for her win.

-  The banter between Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling about the "Barbenheimer" rivalry.

- John Cena's nude introduction of "Best Costume Design"

- A years-clean-and-sober Robert Downey Jr.  finally winning an Oscar after previously destroying his career and nearly himself, roasting himself and thanking his "terrible childhood" for the win.

- Of course, the moment that popped Emma's dress (and mine), Ryan Gosling's live performance of "I'm Just Ken" ... 




I would love to end this quick-afterthoughts post on that note, but I would be remiss not to mention the most important thing said during an acceptance speech of the whole night -  and it's not political.

Cord Jefferson, after winning best adapted screenplay for "American Fiction" - which I thought was a brilliant film - said this: 


“This is a risk-averse industry — I get it. But $200 million movies are also a risk, and it doesn’t always work out, but you take the risk anyway. And instead of making one $200 million movie, try making 20, $10 million movies.”


I literally stood up, from my living room, and clapped when he said that, Amen!

It should be about quality above quantity in all things - and if this Oscars was any indication, we're heading in the right direction :)