Front Porch:Home:Author's Note

Well, I haven't updated this page in a while, huh? I've now got a blog on LiveJournal. So you can read further ranting there, although I'm not even writing there as much as I should because a web BBS I participate in is tapping off most of my black and yellow bile.

Previous Author's Notes

Wells Fargo Sucks

I hate Wells Fargo. Let me tell you why I hate it today. I called their 800 number to check what my real balance was and found that a lot of my most recent payments consisted of "customer service call" charges. They've begun charging for calls to the 800 number! This is after they cut off all ability for the average customer to call the local branch. If you call 411 and ask for the number for your local Wells Fargo, you will most likely get the 800 number.

Of course, this is after they've been cutting tellers left and right and trying to encourage customers to use the 800 number and ATMs for convenience. Sure it's convenient. Sometimes I want to talk to the manager of my local branch, too.

Now they say they want tellers again but you can bet that those jobs are without the benefits tellers got before. Why do tellers deserve benefits? They're only cannon-fodder for the next bank robbery...

All this is on top of the fact that they repeatedly hold transactions that ought not to be held (transfers of money between Wells accounts, checks drawn on a Wells account) and put through checks pretty quickly. The result is that although I transfered money into my account on 1pm Saturday, a check drawn on my account submitted on Monday somehow got through before there was money there. Hmmm. So Wells would actually pretend it didn't have money it had just so that it could collect an overdrawn penalty? Sure it would.

I've seen this coming down the pike. Almost any company that merges with another company will be looking to leverage the payment on the backs of its employees and customers. I'm now in the market for a good credit union.

Check out the Wells Fargo Sucks site and read the stories of other folks who've had it with this institution.

Previous Author's Notes

March 30th, 1997

This is my first stab at the Author's Note, as those of you who have been getting 404s will note. This moment's subject is men's facial hair fashion. What is up with all the moustache-less beards? Is Abe Lincoln the fashion role model of the nonce? Is it really hip to look like an Amish elder? I have seen some seriously ill-advised facial hair fashions on men lately. What about the look where the guy cultivates hair only wherever it grows beneath the chin line? I figure these guys are spelunkers who who thought that stalactites looked so cool that they would try to grow some. We all know where mass culture female fashion starts - the fashion industry. The fashion industry really swipes it from kids in all the happening art and music towns. Where does male fashion come from? Who was the guy that made it "hip" to look like a Dutch Master?

Since this is the net, I can spout off my individual tastes to my heart's content. I believe most men look better clean shaven. Not all. Those with no chin, or too many chins or extremely thin faces or whatever, may find that they can "cheat" with a beard and mustache or just a mustache. Of all the different facial hair fashions for men, I prefer the goatee. Although I did try to convince a friend to grow a Van Dyck because his hair was so close to it naturally.

May 10th, 1997

I gotta start carrying a Dictaphone with me or something. My memory been going the way of sock garters due to candidiasis. Of course my brain is hopping with many subjects on which to speak ex cathedra, but I can't seem to remember them when I'm sitting in front of the computer. Do I speak about the rude littering habits of smokers, or do I declaim about people who smugly jaywalk? I guess I should address the issue of involved citizenship.

I'm really the sort of goody-two shoes who believes that I have rights and duties as a citizen. I really took that democracy line that I got in grammar school hook, line, and sinker. As an adult I have found out and continue to find out how different the reality is from the 8mm educational films we were subjected to in school.

I find it as hard to get off my duff and engage in activism as the next person, but have recently been involved in trying to get bike access on the various Bay Area bridges. For the first time in my life, I have attended public hearings and taken my 3 minutes of comment time. This has made me feel as if I'm doing something positive, but has also enlightened me as to how "representative" our democracy is.

The first hearing I attended was a meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Its commissioners come from various cities in the Bay Area. Their Bay Bridge Design Task Force is currently chaired by Mary King, a supervisor from Oakland. She is quite imperious in manner. What really amazed me was when she chastised a citizen who was commenting because he had some not entirely positive comments about CalTrans. Now, last I knew, we were supposed to have free speech in this country. I understand needing to keep a civil tongue in one's head, but this gentleman had not engaged in any vitriol or profanity. He merely opined that CalTrans no longer hired the quality of engineer that it once had and therefore he felt it would benefit the citizenry if the design of the proposed new Bay Bridge were actually the result of an international design competition. She cut him off in mid-comment saying that CalTrans is MTC's partner and that no discouraging words regarding CalTrans were to be tolerated.

I attended a second MTC hearing on 5/8/97 and Ms. King chastised me for intimating that CalTrans does not usually have the best interests of cyclists at heart. I think my assertion has been amply proved by the fact that although they are the California Department of Transportation (not Automobiles), they failed to come to any of the commissions under whose jurisdiction the various bridges lie with plans that implemented bike access. They had not even calculated what the costs might be. They did not do so until bike activists urged the commissions to put pressure on CalTrans. After I had spoken, Ms. King warned the entire public in the gallery that the commission would tolerate no critical comments regarding CalTrans. So I see that public comment at public hearings is to be of the "if you can't say anything nice about somebody, don't say anything at all" variety. I fail to see how our society will improve with such blindered thinking when considering plans that have great public impact.

A couple other items irked me. Presentations about routes and design plans were made at the meeting. Although this was a period for public hearing and comment, the screens were aimed toward the commissioners and the presentation was directed towards them. None of the public save those in the first row or two could see the various options that CalTrans was proposing. This demonstrated a striking lack of concern for public input. This impression was further strengthened by the fact that a couple commissioners (including Oakland's mayor Elihu Harris) left before more than a couple members of the public had commented. As soon as members of the public stood up to comment, commissioners took that as a sign that it was okay to now talk to each other like classroom cutups. They did not even bother to maintain the impression they were listening, turning their heads away from the audience, grooming themselves and otherwise displaying a lack of manners.

I grew up with the notion that we were all equals in this society and that any honorifics and respect had to be earned. Elected officials are supposed to be citizens among citizens. They are supposed to be servants of the people, not treat the people like serfs. Keep this in mind as you interract with public servants and insist on it. The only way we can keep our rights in this society is by being vigilant.

May 25th, 1997

Today's rant is on smokers. I have despised smoking since I was a little girl and have not changed my mind since (unlike several of my brothers). I don't know whether smokers are the sort of people who are rude even before they take up the evil habit, but they usually become rude afterwards. Notice how many smokers toss their butts anywhere they please. They operate under the assumption that a cigarette is not trash. Wrong. Only some of that cigarette is biodegradeable. Not only that, but a concrete or asphalt surface is not exactly the best place to encourage the composting process anyway.

Furthermore, they don't really notice or care about the effects of second-hand smoke. Personally, I would rather sit next to a heroin addict than a nicotine addict. The heroin addict politely injects themself alone, they don't inject everybody else in the room. The smoker, however, will blithely subject everyone in the room to the ill effects of their chosen high. Most smokers don't even ask those around them if it's okay if they light up. A few do, and I commend them, but are they prepared to listen to "No, I'd really rather you didn't."? Another thing that irks me is that because tobacco smoking (not opium smoking, not marijuana smoking) is legal, smokers can feel that they have rights that outrank those of nonsmokers. The junkie of an illegal substance is usually discreet about their habit and does not force it on others. Smokers have lobbying groups to force you to suck in their trash.

Case in point-- I went to a trade show. Outside were tables for having lunch. I carefully scouted out where I could be farthest from smoke. Five minutes later a "gentleman" lit up upwind from me. He didn't ask if I would mind all his smoke blowing into my face while I tried to eat my lunch. He just did it. Now I admit that with the rise of anti-smoking ordinances at workplaces that junkies have to have somewhere to light up. My first suggestion is in the privacy of their own home. Barring that, though, they do have some right to light up outside. However, the open air is not as good at dispersing that smoke as smokers think. I prefer that there be smokers' and non-smokers' areas outside. I still don't want to be anywhere around smoke, even outside.

I have friends and relatives who smoke. Love the person, hate the habit. For instance, my brother has lit up in my car even though I forbid it. He's got a monkey on his back and civility be damned, he's going to smoke. So I guess my point is: If you want to kill yourself, that's your business. If you want to support an industry that gives money to people like Jesse Helms, fine. That does not mean that you do not have to same obligation to be polite that everyone else has. Throw your cigarette butts in the ashtray or a trashcan. If you're not near one, hold on to it until you find one. Don't just chuck them anywhere. If you are in a public place where smoking is allowed, ask the people surrounding you before you light up. If they don't want you to smoke near them, don't. Find a furtive place where you can make your obeisance to the tobacco god.

Yak Back to Spidra Webster: spidra at speakeasy dot net

I used to update something on this site about every two weeks. Unfortunately, things are probably going to be mothballed for a while due to a hellacious flareup of Repetitive Strain Injury. I also had some bad data loss, so if you wrote in before with a suggestion or comment, please write again! There are some folks I would love to keep in touch with, but whose addresses I've lost.

Back to the drawing board...

Last modified on 2/3/03