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Evan Hughes
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The Social Security Administration has STILL not corrected my birth date. I've made repeated phone calls to the individual who I talked to that finally acknowledged that the SSA may have made an error, but he's very hard to reach. Finally reaching him last Thursday, he had completely forgotten about my case (understandable since it had been over 2 months). He poked around, and found out that while his supervisor had mailed the copy of my birth certificate to San Angelo (to verify its authenticity despite the fact that what I provided was notarized and matched exactly my Passport), the other office had never responded. He told me he'd call them first thing in the morning, as it was after office hours in Texas, and then get back to me with his findings.

Well, 8 days later, I still hadn't heard from him, so I went to the SSA office in Manteca once more to hopefully get more accomplished in person. The woman with whom I spoke told me he'd gone home for the day (by 2pm!), and that she would not even try to do anything on the case as he was working on it, even after I pointed out to her that it's been over 2 and a half months, was only to take 3 weeks, has cost me a job, and I now cannot get a driver's license because the DMV has to confirm my info with the SSA, which will of course conflict with what both my birth certificate and passport show. She was adamant she would not do anything beyond taking a message for the individual with whom I'd previously spoken. 

To say, at this point, the SSA's unservice is ridiculous is an understatement. I have contacted 7 on Your Side in attempt to get media help and will be contacting Senator Barbara Boxer's offices by the end of the weekend.  

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Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
Current Music: Stone Temple Pilots: Plush

 My Job Search is still ongoing. I know, a month and a half ago I posted that I had employment at Sears. Well, I don't. What happened? Let me explain, and this is a story that goes back to 2000. See, back in the Year 2000, the Social Security Administration changed databases. When they did this, they altered my birthday with no record of having done so. I only discovered this when I tried to electronically file taxes, and the IRS rejected my application telling me my birthday was wrong. After several phone calls to the IRS, I discovered that they verify electronically with the SSA, who had a (now) incorrect date for my birth. I attempted to correct this back then, but the SSA told me the only way for me to get them to rectify the information in their database was to apply for a brand new social security number. I wasn't about to do that, since that's tantamount to starting your financial life from scratch. So, to file taxes, as at this point this was the only inconvenience being caused by the SSA having false information for me, I was forced to perjure myself to the IRS. Not too big a deal, so I did what I had to do.

Fast forward to 2010. I get a job at Sears. They require, in order to give me any hours, that I have a copy of my social security card on file. This card had been lost along with my wallet sometime in the late '90s. It hadn't been an issue since there are plenty of other documents one can use to verify one's citizenship and satisfy the I-9 when obtaining employment. Except Sears wants this. So, I make multiple trips to the nearest Social Security Administration office (in Manteca, about 18 miles from here, and I have to bicycle there since I don't drive) to get them to correct the error. They refuse to admit that they ever made an error. Finally I get one competent employee there who, upon viewing both my passport and birth certificate, which amazingly are in agreement with each other and me, admits that maybe the information in their database is incorrect. But. First he must verify with their office in San Angelo that my birth certificate is valid. This has taken over 6 weeks so far, and since Sears has retracted their employment offer.

And thus, I find myself still unemployed after almost a full year of job searching. I recently had an interview at Allstate for a liability adjuster trainee position, for which I am eminently qualified - it's the next step up from what I was doing at Allstate before, and I have won that company's highest award while working with them before - but they hired someone else. 

I do have one other promising prospect on the fire, but I've only told a few people. I don't want to jinx it. But it is competitive, with 99 candidates applying for only 14 positions. I'm really hoping I get it, because, beyond this last one, I'm highly, HIGHLY discouraged. I have never in my life had such difficulty finding work. Usually, when I've begun a job search, I got a job for one of the first couple companies to which I'd apply. Now it seems nobody wants me and for the life of me I can't figure out why. 

Current Music: Velvet Acid Christ: Mindphlux (Tripzone)

It seems that every time I start to develop a little faith in my fellow Americans, I come across something so utterly dumbfounding and appallingly stupid that faith is shattered into a fine powder.  Case in point: I just received an e-mail from HP for a proposed settlement of three class action lawsuits against them. The first two completely floor me as to the sheer audacity, stupidity, and overblown sense of entitlement necessary for a consumer to feel they have a legitimate case in filing against hp. The third, well, admittedly if that were true, a legitimate gripe exists there.

Let me go through them one by one.

"The first lawsuit (Ciolino) claims that certain HP inkjet printers used "low on ink" messaging technology to indicate that replacement of a cartridge is needed when the cartridge is not empty and is capable of additional printing, and that this technology confused customers into prematurely replacing their inkjet cartridges." 

So, essentially, HP is being sued in this case because they dared to install a feature on their printers (which ALL modern printers have) which warns you when your cartridge is low on ink, and therefor at risk for performing poorly, and running out. Essentially the same thing as a car have a warning indicators that you're low on oil. The argument that the low on ink warning "forces" consumers to buy new cartridges prematurely is absurd. First, a printer cannot "force" you to do anything. It's a lump of plastic and metal. Second, last time I checked "low" does not mean "empty." As an English speaker who passed the second grade, I am capable of making that distinction, and had previously assumed that an American adult would also be able to do so. Evidently, I am wrong, else this suit would never have been filed. 

The second lawsuit, with a bit of legalese: "(Rich) claims that certain HP color inkjet printers used color ink in addition to black ink when printing black text and images without disclosing this to consumers and without providing consumers with the option of disabling this feature, that HP misrepresented and/or failed to disclose the actual page yield for the products at issue (including the true basis for the page yield and cost per page information provided to consumers), and that HP failed to disclose its use of color ink when printing black in connection with stating its page yields." 

In short, HP is sued for designing their printers to do what every colour printer does. They supplement the black ink with colour ink to extend the lifespan of the black ink cartridge and to ensure better print quality throughout the lifespan of the back ink cartridge. Anyone who's printed anything should have the modicum of observational skills to discern that 80-95% of the content of printing is black text. If the printer did not supplement the black ink catridge with colour, two things would happen: one, the black ink cartridge would empty astonishingly rapidly, and, two, once the black ink cartridge reaches about 25% capacity, the text would gradually fade into a unintelligible blur as the cartridge slowly runs out of ink and the printer is unable to extract sufficient quantities to produce quality print. Anyone who's had their inkjet printers run out of ink during a print job has seen this effect. Sueing HP for failing to disclose this, when ALL colour printers do this, is akin to suing McDonald's for not disclosing that the coffee was hot. Oh, wait, someone did that already. 

The third I'm not going to get into, because it's not the point of this rant (and, really, it is a legitimate complaint were it true. If you want to look into it, the site is: https://www.hpinkjetprintersettlement.com )

Both of the above class action suits are indicative of the increasingly ludicrous sense of entitlement that the American consumer has, in addition to just vast stupidity and lack of thought. In essence, they are both the results of consumers clamoring for free product to which they are not entitled, and getting upset that the machine DID WHAT IT IS DESIGNED TO DO, and is designed to do FOR THEIR CONVENIENCE. Personally, I WANT my printer to warn me when it's low on ink or toner so that I might have a spare cartridge (or two) on hand when it finally does run out. And I WANT my printer to supplement a low black cartridge with colour ink so that my documents do not come out faded and quite unprofessional looking. And I want my coffee hot, and do not need to be informed that it is. I can figure that out on my own, just as I can figure out the difference between low and empty, and can accept that my printer is smart enough to supplement one low cartridge with another.

Current Location: Home
Current Mood: cynicalcynical
Current Music: And One: Bodypop

First, thank you to everyone who's helped out so far. It's very much appreciated.

I wanted to update y'all on Grey's progress. We were able to get Grey into the vet, and have blood, urine, and ultrasound tests done. Those all come up completely negative for anything other than what we already new - he had high levels of bilirubin and liver enzymes in his blood, as was evidenced by his bright yellow skin. This points to him having been ill with something previously, which caused him to lose his appetite and stop eating, leading to his body consuming his fat stores and overloading his liver. When I took him into the vet, he was bright yellow and had lost about 3 pounds. He also wasn't drinking or eating on his own, but I'd managed to get him to eat and drink when I prompted him and gave him running water and wet food. At the vet, we were able to afford a two-night hospital stay for him as well as fluid treatment and anti-nausea injections with appetite stimulant (cyproheptadine). The vet would like to do a cytology on his liver cells to rule out cancer, but all signs so far point to the scenario I just described, and I can't afford anything further, regardless of what the cytology reveals (if he has cancer, there are no more funds available for any further treatments, and if it turns up negative, there are no funds available for setting up a feeding tube and further hospitalization for him, which would really help guarantee his recovery). The best course of action right now is to get him nutrition, which means getting him to eat. On his return from the vet, he seems to have improved quite a bit already. He's more vocal and active, and is actually spending a little bit of time out from under the bed. The yellow is noticeably departing from his skin, though he's still a little yellowish. I've got more cypro for him to try to stimulate his appetite, and I managed to get him to eat almost a quarter can of food over the course of three different feedings last night. And he's *trying* to use the litter box, though he's missing. This is all still a marked improvement.

I had to calm the other kitties and get scents shared between them last night as Carrie and Stripey didn't recognize him because of the strange vets smells and they were preparing to attack him. Once odors were shared amongst them (I rubbed a pair of my pajama bottoms that I'd worn on all three of them to get a common smell on them), Carrie and Stripey calmed down a little and today seem to have accepted his presence back amongst us a bit more. Treats helped, too.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can continue to get him to eat and drink and that he'll continue improving. Again, thank you all for your well wishes and help.

Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: DeVision: Miss You More

 As many of you know, I'm still woefully unemployed. This means I can't afford vet bills.
Unfortunately, I've got a doozy that just landed on me. My poor kitty Grey, whom some of you have met, and know he has a very sweet, laid-back personality, has fatty liver disease. It's already cost $800 to diagnose him, but he needs one more test and further hospitalization and therapy to get nutrients to him. One of the problems is that he just doesn't have an appetite. But if we can get food in him (which may have to be done through a feeding tube), he'll recover. One dear dear friend has already helped out and covered the initial costs, but most likely can't cover anything else. So I need help once again. I've finally started getting job interviews, so I might be able to pay some back once I get work, but Grey desperately needs money now. I don't have the list of new costs yet, as the nurse is drafting that at this very moment. Please help out! You can use my paypal:

Updated: The nurse just contacted me with the care plan. The total comes to $2994.97

Current Mood: distresseddistressed

Apparently bald men in skirts are terrorists.
Every time I fly since 9-11, I have been "randomly" selected for pat-down. Every.  Single. Time. This clearly is not a random event, but one of profiling. I do not fully understand the reasoning for this profiling, as I am aware of the fact that my mode of dress makes me stand out quite a bit. Does TSA truly believe that the person who stands out the most in the crowd is the terrorist? If so, they need to reevaluate their profiles. 

Dear TSA: 
Terrorists do not wish to stand out in a crowd. They wish to blend in. Standing out, and being able to be easily singled out, is completely detrimental to their mission. They want you to ignore them, not notice them, and thereby allow them to slip by undetected. Until they're ready to do their dirty work. They do not wear turquoise or fuchsia full-length skirts and wear bondage belts that go clinky-clinky-clinky. Well, the women might wear the skirts, but not the men.

Current Location: Home
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Current Music: Combichrist: Get Your Body Beat

Thankfully, I have been offered a place to stay for me and my kitties. So no homelessness will be had by me.  I'll probably be moving next weekend (not this coming). So I'll be back up in the Bay Area in a couple weeks. Not close in, though - it's in Tracy, but at least it's Bay Area-ish, it's near the Amtrak lines, so commuting won't be too hard. Also, it's a roof over my head, and I don't lose my kitties.

To those who have helped me in the past, and are helping me now, thank you. Some day I hope to be able to return the favor.

Current Location: Home, for now
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: Beastie Boys vs. Rage Against the Machine: Zero Panik Mix

Unfortunately, I was unable to gather the money I needed to pay rent, so now I have to prepare to leave. If possible, could anyone help with:

A) Boxes
B) Storage
C) Somewhere for me and my kitties to stay
      It's okay for this latter to not be in the Claremont area. I have just enough money for a train or Greyhound if necessary.

Current Location: Home, for now
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed

My life has really been a roller coaster of ups and downs the past couple years. For the most recent events:
The good:

As of February 25th, I have finally finished my undergraduate work and now hold a Bachelor of Arts in Physics from Pitzer College. This has taken me literally 15 years to finish, due to intermittently bad finances, and 3 different schools. But it's done. It's a huge relief and extremely elating that I've managed to finally do it.

I'm having another story published. This one is a dark fairy tale, and it's even being illustrated. There's also a possibility that Jack Zipes will turn it into a short movie.

The bad:
*Still* unemployed. I've been searching for work, and have only gotten one interview, no offers. There are tons of leads out there, and I'm still continually sending out resumes, but nothing's biting. Yet.

This means I can't afford rent. I haven't paid February or March's rent, and, as such, my landlady served me with papers that say I have to come up with $1500 by Monday, March 8th (they were dated March 5th and said I have 3 days to do it), or I'm going to be evicted. I don't have the money, not even close. So I'm screwed. I have nowhere to go, and noone seems to be able to help me out this time. Suckage. Not sure what I'm going to do, but I need to figure out how I'm going to keep a roof over my kitties and my head. I will not abandon them.

Current Location: Home
Current Mood: scaredscared

Is not very good. So here's how it is. I was denied any spousal support at the divorce trial, due to the fact that Jessie is conveniently working as a full time volunteer while living with her employed boyfriend at his parents house (which I've seen from outside - it's big and it's nice). I'm already $30k in debt in student loans, with one of them being a private loan that my Dad (who is living on retired Army pay) cosigned last summer. I'm down to $65 to my name. I have an ebay store (http://stores.shop.ebay.com/LordHylas-Miscellenia__W0QQ_armrsZ1) at which I'm trying to sell various collectibles that I've obtained over the years, and it's sold a little bit, which has helped, but it hasn't even come close to paying a month's rent. I'm two weeks late on rent right now as it is, and my student loans are still pending at the college. Which means at least a week, probably 2 to 3, before I get my disbursement check. I'm also working as a student grader, but that will only be $660 a month before taxes, and I won't get my first check from that for another 3 weeks. So, I'm forced to do something I *really* don't want to do. I'm asking for donations to the "Help Evan actually graduate college this time around and not have to drop out like he's been forced to do twice before, and keep a roof over his head" fund. Lengthy title, that, yes it is. You can do so with the handy little button below, and it can be anonymous if you want, I believe.

Now, I might even be able to offer services for this. If people want to ask as a condition of their donations that I write and post a story, or some poetry, I will happily do so (remember I am a damned good author and poet, and am previously published and paid in both endeavors). Or if you have something else in mind - keep in mind that I'm in Claremont, so, for most of you any services rendered would have to be able to be completed remotely.

The great thing about this, is none of you has to contribute a lot. If 20 of my friends each contribute $50, that comes to $1000, which would be enough to pay my late rent and buy food for myself and my kitties.

I'm sorry for inflicting this on you guys, and for the solicitation, but I really have no other options right now.

Current Mood: melancholymelancholy
Current Music: Linkin Park: Lying from You
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