Monday, August 29, 2011

As August draws to a close

Albi is happyBehold the glee that is Albi the Dog in her yard on a summer day. When Albi is happy, she does this happy roll on her back (Buster used to do that too). Note the hole she has dug next to the wood pile. She works on that regularly during sudden spurts of excitement.

It's so hard to believe she's almost 15. I'm so grateful that she's so healthy. I sure would like to take her camping once this year - she deserves it.

Please consider adopting an adult dog. We adopted Albi from a shelter. She's been MUCH cheaper than therapy!

* * *

Jayne at Dún Fhearghusa/New Grange, Ireland in 200110 years ago yesterday, I was on vacation in Ireland. It was near the end of my trip - the last 48 hours, in fact. I visited New Grange & Knowth, near Slane, Ireland, and was over the moon - it was incredible. I knew it one of the best days in my life.

Later, met a cute German biker dude at the B & B where I stayed. The next a.m., I saw him at breakfast & we exchanged business cards.

And then what?

Glacier National Park 2010 10 years later, we're married and living in Oregon and riding motorcycles all over the place. This is us at Glacier National Park last year.

To celebrate our 10th anniversary of meeting, we finally visited St. Joseph's winery, just outside of Canby. It's adorable - and really good wines. The owner seemed impressed that we had been to Hungary, where he is from. I'm really embarrassed that it took us almost two years to finally go!

Afterwards, we went to the tool section of Sears, and then the cosmetic section of Macy's. Can you guess which of us need to go where?

Which reminds me: go to Google.com. Search for cute biker guy. Note item #3.

* * *

Jayne Online in Afghanistan Some person I don't know favorited this photo of me on Flickr.

I try to figure out why.

I look through the person's other favorited photos. All are of women, some in provocative poses, some not at all, some total babes, some dumpy and middle aged like me.

And then it dawns on me: all of the women and girls have socks on, but no shoes.

SCARY FOOT FETISH PERSON NOW BLOCKED.

* * *

I want this license plate for myself. Note who shared it...

* * *

Your grandchildren will ask you in 2081: "Why was there a debate on gay marriage?" You'll respond: "Because people were idiots. Go enjoy your date with the robot." More at this hilarious daily blog.

Michele Bachmann says God killed all those people with the Hurricane, and causes that recent Earthquake, to get our attention. Wow, so that's how God works? Fascinating. And I just want to say again: I LOVE BEING AN ATHEIST.

Republican Rep/Tea Party member Chip Cravaack of Minnesota, last seen quivering in fear and spewing out blatant falsehoods about Pell Grants. His earned income for fiscal year 2010 topped out at $92,273: disability payments for sleep apnea, which ended his flying career with Northwest Airlines, now Delta Airlines, in 2007 (yes, he was in the UNION). More here.

Rick Perry wants to the USA to go back to Biblical principles. Really? Like encouraging a mob to gang rape your daughters (Gen 19:8)? Or to kill your daughter as a sacrifice because God gave you a victory? (Judges 11:34-40) Or to slaughter every man, woman & child in a village our country invades (Deut. 7.1-2; 20.16-18)? Or to stone to death anyone working on a Sunday? (Numbers 15:32-36) THOSE Biblical Principles? Well, I guess that's better than... SHARIA LAW.

International Law Expert Chuck Norris Is (Shockingly) Wrong About UN Arms Treaty. What a doofus.

Two American citizens apparently started the largest fire in Arizona's history. John McCain will retract statement about the fire being started by illegal immigrants as soon as he remembers he made it.

Remember how Florida Governor Rick Scott claimed drug testing welfare applicants would save millions? So far, only 2% have tested positive, saving $60,000 each year at total cost of $178-million annually.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Horror of Beauty Pageants

I thought I had some really great reasons already to hate beauty pageants. And then someone shared this video with me.

Watch the ENTIRE thing. Watch it and either laugh or cry, your choice.

And after you have spent those 15 minutes you can ever get back, and lost your faith in the USA again, check out this hilarious, and much shorter, parody video.

I'm going to stop believing in plate-tectonics, therefore, I will now believe earthquakes are caused by trolls throwing raves.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why I travel

Why I travel. Why I make travel a priority in my life. Why I orient my financial and time budget towards travel.

How travel makes you smarter, sexier and more productive – Lonely Planet blog

Believe it or not, some people have a BIG problem with this value of mine...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August update - No, I don't hate kids

Took a fabulous two-day trip to Crater Lake by motorcycles. A bit rushed, but still fabulous. The month before, we did a day trip to Mt. St. Helens.

I've done almost 10,000 miles on my motorcycle. And I've decided to dedicate a portion of my web site to women who travel by motorcycle (or want to).

* * *

Last weekend, we road our bicycles (yes, our other bikes) around the 'hood for a little exercise & to look at garage sales (I was channeling my Mamaw). For $5, we end up with: a coffee maker (makes 12 cups at once, as opposed to our current one, which makes 4), a broken boom box (they swore it worked when we bought it - we'll be able to use the speakers, which is what we really wanted), never-used lipstick, a biography of John Adams (hardback!), a basket (for a planter) & a toilet paper roll holder. AND I FIT ALL OF THAT ON MY BICYCLE IN ONE TRIP. I looked like a bicycle rider in a developing country. Sorry - no photo. Which is a shame, because I got a LOT of looks.

We discovered that the neighborhood about four blocks from us is waaaaay nice. Gorgeous homes, with small front yards and big back yards - our dream. But we're not going to move there - we want OUT OF CANBY. We just need a job to make that happen.

* * *
Go to Google.com. Search for cute biker guy. Note item #3.

* * *
Recently, I finally saw the original To Be Or Not to Be (movie). I now totally understand why Mel Brooks adored this movie so much that he wanted to remake it. What a gem! I love the remake as well. If you don't know the movie, you aren't alone: by the time it came out, the USA was at war with Japan and Germany, and the star of the movie was dead, killed in a plane crash on her way to promote war bonds. So sad, because had circumstances been different, it would have been a massive hit, and remembered for its scathing, snarky attack on the Nazis and their ideology.

* * *
A friend posted this to my wall on Facebook:

"Anything that disappears from your psychological inventory is apt to turn up in the guise of a hostile neighbor, who will inevitably arouse your anger and make you aggressive. It is surely better to know that your worse enemy is right there in your own heart."-Carl Jung (I read this quote, and thought of you!)

Yes, my neighbors with the all-hours screaming kids are, of course, a manifestation of the negative factors within my psychological inventory. You know, like the monster in Forbidden Planet. Just like that.

My rants on Facebook about the screaming kids that live in the house behind ours lead a Facebook frenemy to say I was being anti-children. I pointed out that I had never complained about the kids - all under 12 - that live next door. I've never complained about the kids that live on our street (teenagers - my least favorite thing!). And that these screaming kids in particular are so loud, the noise so constant, that my other neighbors, the ones that live across the street from us, who live at least 300 yards away from these neighbors, that live on a different street, came over while we were out of town to investigate the noise, convinced that there was a wild party happening in our back yard.

These kids, all under 12, have no bed time. They have been out on their trampoline in the back yard, screaming, at 10 at night on school nights. They scream and cry constantly when they are outside. The family leaves all the windows open at night and at least one of the kids is doing that loud, fake, whine-cry at 11 p.m. at night, setting off the grandmother, who starts screaming. And we hear it all, as we lay in bed, with our windows closed... I don't like to sleep in earplugs, because then I can't hear Albi, or any other noises in the house.

The music starts at about noon, and plays loudly through the day - and often into the night. When we're particularly unlucky, it's music with a loud bass, meaning nothing can block the vibration from our house.

Why do the kids scream and cry? My theory is that they are sleep-deprived. Life is a frenzy in that house, so they are always in a frenzy. The noise is constant, so they, in turn, make noise constantly. Their screams are sudden and piercing - I have jumped a mile when one of the little girls in particular lets loose, usually while jumping on the trampoline. The whine-crying starts as soon as a grandparent comes outside (the parents are rarely around) and just goes on and on.

This is not normal. And if you think this is normal, please, unfriend me now and never invite me over. The kids that next door, on our street, get loud - but it's never been annoying - it's that normal, happy sound-of-kid-chaos, and it always ends by 8 p.m.

We would just love to have dinner outside on our back porch one night - ONE NIGHT - and be able to have a conversation. When we try, we both say, "What?!" at least half a dozen times, unable to hear each other over the din. Usually, we just sit there, eating quietly without trying to talk amid the screams and crying.

We would love to be able to watch TV and have the back door open, letting in the cool night air, but we can't - we can't hear the TV over the screams and crying and grandmother-yelling.

What we would really love: to move. And only a job can allow that.

Call the police? I don't think the police would do anything, and I think it would add hostility to the situation, something I've been desperate to avoid.

So don't freakin' write me and say I don't like kids. You come stay here for a week, and then we'll talk.

* * *
I got a little emotional reading this article about the soundtrack to Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?. This soundtrack is very special to me, both because of the music, because of the reaction of so many friends and music stores to it, and because of the time of my life when this came out. It's nice to know more about the back story.

* * *
Big, big soccer tourney going on at the schools all around our hood all weekend, for under 12s. Really love seeing kids - especially girls - playing sports. Love hearing parents on the sidelines yelling encouragement - in English and Spanish. Love seeing parents there at all - that must be an amazing feeling, to look over at the sidelines and see a parent there.

* * *
Just 91 years ago this month, all women in the USA got the right to vote. I am so grateful to all those who fought so hard to make that happen, who fought in the face of so much hostility. May I be so brave.

* * *

I found this web site and got nothing done for an hour.

* * *
To create jobs, SOMEONE has to spend money: either consumers, the government, or the corporations making record-breaking profits and paying oh-so-few-taxes. For jobs, SOMEONE HAS TO SPEND MONEY. Who is it going to be?

* * *
If you aren't going to read Last Train to Memphis, the greatest rock and roll biography ever, then you at least need to read this article about why Elvis was such a revolutionary, and so important to American culture.

* * *
A recent Facebook status update: Ya'll better watch out: I just watched Freedom Riders, taped on PBS months ago, and I'm ready to sit my butt somewhere strategic and start singing "We shall not be moved." I'm most scary when I'm this filled with indignation about assaults on human rights. RUN! RUN FOR THE HILLS!

* * *

Do Not Name Your Wifi Network ‘FBI SURVEILLANCE VAN’.

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Star Wars If Dr. Seuss Had Created It!. Full of win.

* * *
Obama has taken 1/3 the vacation days that Bush did at this point in his presidency. Here's what should be the real outrage: The U.S. Is The Only Developed Country Where Citizens Aren’t Guaranteed Paid Vacation.

* * *

Actually, that's not in the Bible. If you read it, you'd know that.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

"I welcome their hatred."

"..Business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering... had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs... Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today... I welcome their hatred."

Excerpt from Franklin Roosevelt's Address Announcing the Second New Deal
October 31, 1936

How wonderful it would be to have such a President now, who would dare say such words...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dumping Wells Fargo (& a warning to other customers!)

(see the update at the bottom of this blog if you have already read the original story and want to know what's happened since)

If you have a joint Wells Fargo account with anyone - your spouse, a daughter, a son, a parent - and the employer of that spouse, daughter, parent, etc. gets into debt - not your spouse, daughter, etc., but the employer of that person - Wells Fargo will come after YOU - or, at least, turn your information over to a third party debt collection agency, to use you as a way to get to the debt holder.

Think it can't happen? It's happening to me!:

On July 29, 2011, at 2:21 p.m., I received a call on my private cell phone number from a person identifying himself as from Wells Fargo Bank, from the phone number 503 403 2695. He asked to speak to a person, by name, that is not me. The person? My husband's boss. Let's call my husband's boss Victor Voss (not his real name).

I was quite surprised. I do not work for Victor Voss nor the company Victor Voss owns. I have no affiliation with Victor Voss whatsoever. Also, the person was calling on my private cell phone number - a number Victor Voss, my husband's boss, does NOT have. Why would someone from Wells Fargo be calling *my* private number to ask to speak to my husband's employer?

I explained to the caller that Victor Voss was my husband's boss and that I am not employed by his company. I asked how this Wells Fargo representative got my phone number. The caller asked, again, for "Victor Voss of CITY_NAME_REDACTED." I repeated myself. He said that he was calling all numbers associated with the Victor Voss Wells Fargo account in question, using information provided by Wells Fargo. He said he would correct the problem, remove my number, and apologized.

I received a call from this same number - 503 403 2695 at 8:06 on July 30, but missed the call. At 2:21 p.m., I got a call again from this 503 403 2695 number, this time from someone different than who had called on July 29. He said he was calling from Wells Fargo Bank and he asked to speak with Victor Voss. I said this is not the number for Victor Voss, that Victor Voss is my husband's boss, and I demanded to know how he got my private number. He said, "I want to speak to Victor Voss. Of CITY_NAME_REDACTED. Is he there?" I also asked the caller for his name. He said, "I told you my name," laughed, and hung up the phone.

I called Wells Fargo customer service immediately to ask why my phone number was being associated with another Wells Fargo customer, someone I have NO affiliation with whatsoever. I was put on hold for about 15 minutes, and the person - Ryan, of Boise Premier Phone Bank - said he could find no number at Wells Fargo for me to call to report this problem, and suggested I try again on Monday.

I then did a great deal of research online, and here is what I have found:

The company calling me from 503 403 2695 is a third party collection agency that works specifically on Wells Fargo accounts. The company is
United Credit Recovery
http://www.unitedcreditrecovery.com

On Monday, beginning at 7 a.m. my time (Portland, Oregon), I called Wells Fargo customer service. I told my story again and again, as I was transferred again and again:

  • The first Wells Fargo representative denied that what I was saying could have actually happened. She said it was "impossible." After trying to explain to her that, indeed, it happened, it's why I was calling, she transferred me. I was on hold for several minutes.

  • The second Wells Fargo representative said it wasn't an issue her department could deal with, and transferred me again. I was on hold for several minutes.

  • The third Wells Fargo representative listened to my story, put me on hold, came back and said, indeed, 503 403 2695 is from a number of a company "affiliated with Wells Fargo", and she transferred me to that number, after explaining to the company *herself* that my number needed to be removed from the account. But she didn't stay on the line during the entire conversation with this company, and when I asked how the company had my number, the company representative hung up on me.

  • I called Wells Fargo again. The fourth Wells Fargo representative I talked to said she was appalled that this had happened, that it was clearly information Wells Fargo had provided, by mistake, and that I had every reason to be upset. She was the only Wells Fargo representative who acknowledged this error by Wells Fargo and acknowledged that I had every right to be upset. She said she was in the Wells Fargo department for home loan and mortgage, and could not see my phone number associated with Victor Voss' accounts in that department, and also said there was no debt collection activities being taken against Victor Voss per any home loan or mortgage. She said that it must be from Victor Voss' checking or savings account, and that someone in that department could look up the information and see how and when my phone number was associated with Victor Voss' accounts. She said she would transfer me to "absolutely the correct department", 1-800-869-3557, and she added, "don't let them transfer you! They have the ability to find out how your information was associated with this account."

  • Of course, I was cut off after she transferred me - the representative could not hear me over the hold music that was still playing (why was there hold music playing? I don't know). So I called 1-800-869-3557 directly. The fifth Wells Fargo representative said, after hearing my story, "I can't help you, I don't have access to any information that would tell me this." I asked to speak to a supervisor.

  • The sixth Wells Fargo representative I talked to refused to believe anything I was saying. She kept repeating, "Victor Voss MUST have given us your number." This despite Victor Voss NOT having my private cell phone number. Then she said, "Your husband must have given Victor Voss the number for some reason." My husband has never given my private number to his boss - why would he?! She then said, "Well, he must have typed in a number incorrectly and, by coincidence, it just happened to be yours. That must be what happened." When I tried to say, no, that was clearly not what happened, she began talking over me, saying, "I'm trying to help you, but you won't let me. I have explained how this happened. You are not listening." Finally, I got her to answer a series of questions, and in her answers, she said:

    1. she would not, under any circumstances, investigate what numbers have been associated with Victor Voss' account,
    2. she would not, under any circumstances, check to see if my phone number was ever listed as a contact for Victor Voss', and
    3. she would not, under any circumstances, check to see if, when Victor Voss' information was transferred to the collection agency, Wells Fargo ALSO gave the names of people also with access to the account (my husband), as well as any joint account holders with my husband (me).

    She said no investigation would take place on any of these three points. I demanded to speak with her supervisor. She at first said her supervisor was unavailable. I said I was not going anywhere, I needed to speak with someone. She said there was no one to help me. I repeated I was not going anywhere, that she was going to transfer me to her supervisor, and I would wait all day for that to happen.

    By now, I had been on the phone for 90 minutes.

    She put me on hold, and came back and said, "Miss Page, I'm going to transfer you." I said, "I'm not Miss Page. I'm Ms. Name_Redacted." She said, "Oh, sorry, Miss Page is whose information I have on my screen right now." She didn't have MY information up - the person with whom she was speaking? Anyway, she transferred me, and:

  • The seventh Wells Fargo representative I talked to said, "Good news - your number has been removed from this account, and you won't get any more calls after 72 hours." I told him that that was no longer the issue. What remains the issue: how did my phone number get associated with this account? Why did I have to speak to seven different people and *still* not have an answer - and even worse, have Wells Fargo repeatedly say, "That couldn't have happened!" If it hadn't happened, I never would have called!

    This seventh and last Wells Fargo representative said I had to write a letter explaining this situation to the following address.

    Wells Fargo Bank
    PO Box 5058
    Portland, OR 97208

    And that's what I just did. Followed by visiting OnPoint Credit Union where, in the coming days, all of both my husband and my accounts - checking savings, retirement, investments - will be transferred. I will be closing my Wells Fargo account at my earliest opportunity to do so.

  • Why couldn't I have been given this address on the very first phone call I made? Only Wells Fargo can say.

Wells Fargo provided my phone number to a bill collector for bills that are not mine, simply because that the debtor is a Wells Fargo Bank account holder and because my husband works for the person that holds that account - and because my husband also does his personal banking at Wells Fargo. Are you next?

Is it legal for Wells Fargo to give account holder information to debt collection companies that are NOT pursuing debt collections against that account holder? I'll be researching that later today (via the Oregon State's Attorney General's office).

UPDATES (since this original blog was written)

Update for August 4, 2011

Ofcourse I tweeted about what's happening. A couple of days later, Wells Fargo asks me to follow their Twitter feed for updates. WHAT?! My response, on Twitter, to them and shared on my feed for all my followers:

asks me 2 follow them to get updates on my complaint. NO! I deserve direct email or a phone call!

With a link to the blog you are reading now, of course!

Then today, I get a phone call from "Georgie" at Wells Fargo. She calls me on my private number - the one the debt collection agency used, the one I've now removed from Wells Fargo, so they won't contact me on it anymore. Sigh. She may have gotten it from a colleague - a friend of mine who works at Wells Fargo, who I asked to investigate this - he had asked me for the number, so he could check to see when it was given to the debt collection agency.

"Georgie" says, in response to my question about of an investigation as to if my number was ever on Victor Voss's account - which would boost the Wells Fargo theory that Victor Voss put my number into the Wells Fargo system as attached to his account - "there are hundreds of people called Victor Voss, and we cannot go through all of those." I reply, "There are hundreds of people named Victor Voss in CITY_REDACTED?" She pauses, and then changes the subject: she says that my number cannot be found in the system - the number she is now calling me on. I respond, "That's right, it can't be found in your system because, on Monday, when I realized what was happening, I removed it from the Wells Fargo system so that it could NEVER be used by you again - as you are using it now, so, obviously, that didn't work." She becomes angry. "I am trying to help you. I am assuring you that your number cannot be found in the system." I say, again, yes, that's because I have taken it out of the system, myself, on MONDAY - and that I'm tired of Wells Fargo people calling me to assure me the number is out of the system when that is not the issue anymore!

I tell her, again, that she needs to look at Victor Voss information, not just what is there currently, but what has been there previously, and find out if my phone number has ever been associated with his account. And her reply? Oh, you will love this, dear readers: "I have looked at his account, and your number is not associated with it, and has never been associated with it."

Check. Mate. Match.

Not only did she just admit that she HAD looked at his account information (contrary to what she had claimed in the opening of the call), but also, that my phone number was NOT a part of that account. That it had NEVER been a part of the account!

And guess what that means? That means the debt collection agency was telling the truth when they said they got the number from Wells Fargo, and that means I was right - Wells Fargo went through joint accounts held by Victor Voss, took the cell phone info from such, and then went through the joint account of THOSE people as well, and took the cell phone info from such - MY CELL PHONE INFO - and gave it to this debt collection company! "Georgie" just proved that that's how it happened!

I pointed this out. Her reply, "You are a very angry person. I can't deal with you."

Let me be clear on one point. Yes, I have been angry. But I have never:
  • cursed.
  • yelled. I have raised my voice, but I have never yelled.
  • been abusive or insulting.
Never.

Yes, I have been angry. And I have EVERY right to be. Not only has my credit rating been compromised because of the actions of Wells Fargo, I have had to tell the same story again and again. This is the third time a Wells Fargo representative has called to cheerfully tell me my phone number has been removed from the debt collection agency. The third time. Never mind that that is NOT THE ISSUE.

I have every right to be angry.

Wells Fargo - it's time for someone to call me AT THE NUMBER IN YOUR SYSTEM and say this:

Ma'am, we are so sorry that this has happened. You have every right to be angry. You have every right to have lost your patience. I have read everything you have written on this subject. I am not going to ask me to follow us on Twitter in order to get a response, I am not going to be the fourth person to tell you that your number has been removed from this debt company, and I am not going to tell you one minute that I can't look at an account and, a couple of minutes later, tell you I have, indeed, looked at that account. I am not going to tell you it couldn't have happened because, obviously, it did. I am going to be honest. I am going to be truthful.

I am going to review our procedures and find out on what date information for Victor Voss's account was given to this debt collection agency from Wells Fargo, and I am going to find out exactly what information was given to this debt collection agency from Wells Fargo. I am going to view this information myself - not be told about it by anyone else, but look at the data myself, on paper or on computer. And if your number is in that information, it means, no question, the debt collection company is not lying and your conclusion is correct: Wells Fargo provided that number, and that was wrong, and we apologize. If we find the number was NOT in that information, we are going to ask this debt collection agency - which we contract with - the date and time this information was given to them by Victor Voss, and we will call you with this information.

Either way, we have handled this entire situation poorly. Of course you are upset. You have every right to be. Not only has your information been compromised, but every Wells Fargo person seems to have told you something different. That you have had to talk to so many representatives just to get this call from me is embarrassing. Again, I am so sorry.


That's what Wells Fargo should say to me the next time they call. If they aren't going to say this to me - in fact, if they aren't going to call me and read those paragraphs to me, verbatim, I don't want to ever hear from Wells Fargo again - except in reply to the complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice I just mailed off.

One more thing - if my theory is correct about what Wells Fargo did, then why hasn't my husband, a joint account holder with his boss, received phone calls on his cell phone from the debt collection agency? For two reasons: one cell phone number was typed in incorrectly by my husband; he didn't realize it until he looked up his account when this whole debacle started. The other cell phone number is his company cell phone, which was discontinued months ago due to lack of payment by Victor Voss. I'm sure the debt collection company had those numbers as well, but they were useless.

Onpoint Credit Union called me today to set up an appointment to transfer my retirement accounts. They were soooo nice....

September 6 update:
Got a letter today from Wells Fargo. It never apologizes for releasing my information, it never says if it is investigating. It again assures me that their collection agency won't call me anymore - which I am SO TIRED of hearing. This is the FOURTH time a Wells Fargo representative has told me my phone number has been removed from the debt collection agency. The FOURTH TIME. Wells Fargo cannot understand that THAT IS NO LONGER THE ISSUE!

Do you think Wells Fargo customer service just simply doesn't read or that they are avoiding the real issue on purpose? We'll never know, but either way, it shows why you should NOT bank at Wells Fargo!

Don't even get me started on how Wells Fargo got one more surcharge in on us as we were moving accounts - the teller was oh-so-helpful in encouraging us to do something that turned out to have a $10 surcharge. I wonder if she gets 50%?

Let this blog serve as a warning to others!