The Tempest Online™

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Archive for July, 2008

Miss Cleo Never Told Me This

Posted by Daniel on July 31, 2008

Well, we’re closing in on the end of our 8th week here in the sunny state of California.

I have to say, we’ve enjoyed so much the weather, people, places and events in just this short time.  We’ve met a great bunch of people who have made it clear that we are the topic of many conversations within the community here.  I guess it’s because we’re new to the area and we associate with such a well-known group of people.  I guess you could say that we kind of stumbled into the right crowd at the right time.

We’re sure going to miss all this.

Yeah, it’s looking more and more like we’ll be forced to move back to Kansas City.  For several reasons, really.

1)  Because though we’ve tried every day to find work, the cards, it seems, are stacked against us.  California employers appear to use a much stricter criteria in their hiring/application process.  They actually use your credit score as a means of gaging how dependable, honest and (yes) smart you are as a potential candidate.  (Shouldn’t we be using that same litmus test for a presidential candidate?  I mean c’mon, was Bush’s credit that good?)  They also use the fact that you’re not bilingual, tall enough, a woman, a minority, etc.  It’s ironic that if you’ve had a criminal conviction MORE than seven years ago, then you’re hire-able because they can’t hold that against you in this state.  That, oddly, tells them that you are dependable, trustworthy, qualified and smart.  But your credit can slap a scarlet letter to your chest.

I’ve written about this in my latest posts on the websites (https://thetempestonline.wordpress.com and http://thetempestonline.com/wordpress) and, though I go day to day hoping someone will judge me on my actual work experience and professional side, I realize more and more that just isn’t going to happen here.

In short, you have to have money to get around (gas is still averaging around $4.29 here) and when you move on a shoestring budget, eventually (and without a potential job) that shoestring breaks.

Did you just hear that?  Yeah, that “snap” was the string breaking.

This brings me to reason #2 for having to move back to KC:

2)  We can no longer afford to get around.  As it is, we’re down to counting change for gas.  Pretty pathetic, huh?  I can hear a certain someone gloating about this little revelation, but I no longer care.  The simple fact is that there was no way (under my previous circumstances in KC) to save anything substantial for this move.  And so many people were doing their best to convince me to “just take the plunge…move now or you’ll regret it later” and “I moved with only a few hundred dollars to my name, and it eventually worked out fine for me”.

I now have an issue with that.  I took everyone’s advice.  I took the plunge.  I took the big step.  And I now feel like I landed in quicksand.

Don’t get me wrong, I honestly have no regrets (hear that, S?), none whatsoever, in picking up and moving.  After a divorce, at least one person is going to come out of it with pretty much nothing.  That includes having to move, mostly for the sake of sanity.  I decided I had to be that someone.  The house belongs to him, he gets most of the friends (especially considering the things he said to them without my having the privilege of being there to defend myself), he got all four pets, including my own cat, and is currently reassessing whether he wants to let me keep my own furniture.  (his last statement when I brought that up was, “What furniture?”)

Note:  This had started off to be an “update” email to some friends in Kansas City and has somehow just morphed into a blog posting.  So bear with me on this as I try to reign in a bit of cohesion…or not.

When I say that I have no regrets, I really do mean it.  I’ve been told by many people that they could never have done what we did.  They’d love to be able to pull up stakes and just move to someplace they think they’d be more happy.  Then, when I ask them what’s holding them back, they tell me they are just too scared to do something so risky and “ballsy”.  Okay, I’ll give them that.  It did take quite a low-hanging pair for us to make this move and the subsequent attempt to better ourselves.  So why would I regret trying?  I’d feel worse if I hadn’t tried.  I don’t want to be one of those people who, down the line and when it’s too late, say to themselves, “I wish I’d have done _____” or “If I could just have one more chance, maybe I’d _____”.  Is that living too much on the edge?  Too flighty or carefree?

BIG  F_____G  DEAL!!

If there is anything I would regret it would be that I wish I hadn’t failed Seth.  Now, he’ll tell you (as he screams it at me constantly…and will again once he reads this) that I didn’t fail him.  Perhaps.  But it was my big idea to move here and my wish to show him some things in life that he might not otherwise get the chance to see or do.  And yes, I was looking forward (as I’ve come to see it) to starting my life with him.  Yes, surprise to those who didn’t already know, we are, in fact, a couple. As a side note, unlike what “S” believes, Seth, in fact, DID NOT END THIS MARRIAGE!!!!! It was over long before he came into the picture. So, if ANYONE made you believe otherwise, they told you a bold faced lie.

There…I’ve said it.  Eight hundred pound gorilla is now out of the room.  What does this have to do with the original post/email update?  Nothing.  I just wanted to make it official so that some people could look beyond that issue.  I wish them luck with that.

Getting back to the update…

So here we sit, another night sequestered in the spare room (no TV and it’s driving me CRAZY!!!) because our outlet for tonight (gay volleyball league at the park…every Thursday at 6:30 pm…unless it’s too hot) just canceled on us.  Figures.  It’s funny, though, Seth had just thirty minutes earlier suggested we skip going tonight just to save gas.  And then we start getting texts telling us that this couple then that couple are blowing off v-ball tonight.  Seth thinks that was some portent.  I think it was just ironic and that it sucks!!

Counting pennies (figuratively…but not far from it) means you can’t even go see a movie, go bowling (which we still haven’t done since we’ve been here!!!  WTF?!?!?!) or anything else because we need what little funds we have just to get to and from possible and far-too-few interviews.

This is where I tend to get a little more peeved than normal.  And this is where I get a little more desperate in both my interviews as well as online.  Seriously, I’ve got kneepads and am not afraid to use them!!  I have gotten to the point of including on my CraigsList ad the following:

Extremely hard worker seeking REAL full time hourly employment. (Fresno, CA)

Experienced in Accounting, A/P, A/R, Payroll, Human Resources, Data Entry, Receptionist. Would like a position in ANY of these fields.  Willing to start at entry level if necessary.

Am a recent transplant to the Fresno area…Moved here because of a job transfer that canceled (after I moved) due to the economic times.

I have been in the accounting field on and off over the past 20 years. I will remain in contact (by phone or email, whichever is best for you) regarding the status of any position.

I can be extraordinarily flexible, yet professional, a great listener and have an excellent eye for detail. I am honest, ethical and highly dependable. I am also drug-free (as in NEVER done them).

Happy to send resume to you if you have an actual position. If you like what you see on my resume and have an actual position you think I can fill, I look forward to hearing from you.

Resume available upon request.

I am looking for legitimate work and am not interested in buying someones software or books to learn how to get work. I don’t want to do “survey” work or be redirected to spam sites. If this describes you, then don’t respond. Those offering survey work, offshore financial, work-from-home, etc. NEED NOT ANSWER this ad. I cannot stress this enough…DO NOT SEND ME YOUR SPAM ADS…I will flag your ad as spam.

You’d think this little attention-getter would do the trick…especially that last paragraph.  Nope.  You should SEE how much spam I get.  Some are pretty crafty.  They advertise a position for Accounting Assistant or Accounts Payable Specialist, then you discover they want you to fill out surveys or broker offshore money for them.  Then there’s the ones, (oooh, and I love these) who answer the above ad, I respond telling them not to spam me, they continue writing ever more personal emails explaining that they are a legitimate business, provide an initial link to a site for a business that is backed by the Better Business Bureau, blah-blah-blah.  Fine, so I bite the bait.  I tell them, “Okay, I’ve checked you out, you’re legit.  Now what?”  Then they send me the real hook…the link that will, (go fucking figure) ask me to send them $39.95 for their G-D list of companies actually hiring.

I have now passed the 900 resume mark…yeah, I’ve applied over 900 times online.  That doesn’t count places I’ve actually just walked into and asked to apply or interviews.  My patience has worn down to a paper-thin needle and the non-hiring idiots are beginning to prick me with it.

And please people, stop telling me, “It’s the economy” or “Yeah, California is pretty strict with it’s criteria”.  I know this shit already.  But it’s not like I haven’t lowered the bar to within an inch of the floor!!  I’ve applied at Taco Bell, for crissakes!!  They turned me down because I don’t speak Spanish!!!  I’ve lowered myself from being an accountant to wanting to strap a towel to my ass to sop up the piss on the bathroom floor at the airport just for quarters!!!  Exactly what more is a person who wants to work supposed to do in this state???

I’ve hit up friends for money (something I’ve never in my life had to do…and it hurts), I’ve begged for work (I can’t even pick grapes out here because I’m not union), and I’ve scoped out underpasses that I may, gawd forbid, wind up living under.

Here’s the irony in all this…my old job in Kansas City wants me to come back.  They just can’t find anyone to fill the accountants’ position that I occupied (mostly because it’s underpaid and the Business Office Manager tends to blame her own mistakes on anyone and everyone else that sits in my old chair).  It’s been over a month and a half since they told me that my replacement there quit (for the above reasons, I’m told…hmmm…pattern??) and they desperately are asking me to hurry back and take that job back.

And, in answer to your question, NO, they are not offering more money or moving expense or any other incentive other than just my old job back.

Now it appears that window of opportunity (if that’s what we have to call it) is also about to close.  Corporate folks are telling them they need to fill that position ASAP…regardless of who they have to hire…and still no raise in pay.

So there you have it…I have a job waiting for me back in Kansas City, but no way to pay for the trip to get there…and I STILL have no job here, am out of money and options, and am turning down even a volleyball game in the park (free, mind you) just to save money on gas.

You might be saying to yourself, “Stop whining about it all, suck it up and deal with it.”  And you’d be right.  Sort of.  (you don’t have to be so rude about it, though.  ha-ha.)  It would be so easy to just stick my chin up, puff out my chest and look at the sunny side of life.  Hey, at least I’m not dying, right?  But it’s become hard to bear sometimes.  It makes me feel, at times, like I’ve failed, or I wasn’t smart or good or qualified enough to make it outside of the Midwest.  I know differently, but sometimes the melancholy is unavoidable.

It isn’t as though I have anything at all against Missouri or the Midwest at large.  I really don’t.  But after twelve years there and the previous fourteen years in Texas, I feel that I’m ready for a change.  And I want that change to be here in California.  While I miss my friends in Missouri and Kansas, as well as those I made in West Virginia, I’ve also made many friends here and want a chance to learn from them as well.  Plus it’d be really cool for us to have a place here in Cali for our friends/family back East and Midwest to come for visits.  What’s so wrong with that?

As I said earlier, I don’t regret this move nor even the subsequent rejections (again, well over 900 and counting).  And I don’t look at it all as a defeat.  California has won this battle, but I won’t let it win the war.  I love this state and want to be a part of it.  But if it’s truly not meant to be, then I guess I’ll be okay with that.

Still…I will miss Millerton lake…and all the memories we created there.  Unless I’m able to stay…

…does anyone know how to install a hot tub under an overpass?

Posted in Family, Friends, Our Writings, Today's Rant | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Seven Deadly Sins

Posted by Seth on July 25, 2008

Sin: a: an offense against religious or moral law b: an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible <it’s a sin to waste food> c: an often serious shortcoming

Using the term sin indicates a no no against ones religion. Whether or not you’re religious, a sin is a sin and can be described in many ways. One in which is not religious, as seen above. No one is perfect, that’s obvious. For the most part, people are good. Yes, we all have our weaknesses. One or two of our weaknesses usually fall under what many, including myself, call The Seven Deadly Sins.

Like I said before, no one is perfect. We all know someone who does something we don’t agree with, but what if we know someone who breaks all those seven rules. Can you imagine?

I am in no way casting judgement. I am simply just forming a person in my head who breaks all S.D.S. Lets see what I come up with and how interesting they are.

Lust

Lust

Lust can be defined as an intense longing, personal inclination, intense or unbridled sexual desire.

Let’s focus on an sexual desire. This person has lots of porn. Gay porn. Porn that consists of men with ripped abs, chizzled chests, tight butts, and a big ole cock! This person would have pictures on their walls, their desktop, screen saver, DVD’s, and magazines. Of course we’ve all looked at porn and most of us like it. This person is, by moral standards, lusting after something he can’t have, and probably never will.

Averice

Averice

Avarice, or pride, is defined as excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain. This is where it starts to get sticky. Avarice and Greed are two very similar things. We’ll get to that later. Anyway, the Avarice part of this person is OVERWHELMING! This person goes around proudly saying “I love money!” “Money, Money, Money!!!” I never understood why people like this were alive. Whether or not you’re religious, you have to agree with the old proverb Money is the root of all evil. Example, look at the past 8 years of this country! This person wants as much money as possible to surround himself with beautiful things, a huge bank account, and a big house. He will loan you money, but you better believe you’re going to eat crow pie or have your face rubbed in the dirt as a reminder that he lent you something. I have something to tell you. You can’t take your riches to the grave with you!

Sloth

Sloth

Sloth: A disinclination to action or labor. This person is lazy. He likes his lazy chair, his drinks, and a clear view of the TV! God forbid you have to leave the room to talk to someone or make the effort to approach another human being! This person likes to be fanned and fed grapes while dictating from his thrown on high. I got news for ya sister! Suck it up Princess and get your own fucking coffee!

Envy

Envy

Envy: painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage. This person’s type of envy is a little different. This person does envy others that have the big pretty things, but also wants others to envy him. He likes to pretend he has all the wealth in the world. This is derived by his selfish need to be overbearing and haughty.

Wrath

Wrath

Wrath is a strong vengeful anger or indignation. This is the least of this persons worries. He does not want to cause harm to anyone, physically. That is until they have vengeful thoughts such as a dream. A dream where he stabs someone or beats them to death while they’re asleep because he didn’t get his way. Poor baby! Does this constitue as wrath? Greed is a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed. Like I mentioned before, Greed is very similar to Avarice, Pride. In this case, money, it is extremely similar! This person, as stated above, wants more than necessary. For example, lets say this person feels that the world owes him something. He feels that he needs some sort of cushion to protect himself. Well, you’re not going to get it. You have to cut your losses and move on. The world doesn’t owe you dick!

Vanity

Vanity

Vanity is inflated pride in oneself or one’s appearance. He does not age well! He’s terrified of his own age and how he looks. Granted, this person does everything in the world to keep looking younger, but it’s only paint. It won’t last forever. This person is always checking his hair, make-up, lip stick, and clothes trying so desperately to convince himself, “I’m the prettiest of them all!” I have news for you sister, the make-up isn’t always going to cover those crows feet.

Gluttony

Gluttony

Last but not least, there is Gluttony. Excess in eating or drinking. It is the most common and well known of all the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s something that pretty much everyone has been guilty of at one point or another. This person that I’m thinking of, likes food. He will bake or buy something, that he doesn’t need, for no reason at all. Just because. He will set it out, eat a little and go away. A little later come back for more, and more, and more. Until before you know it, it’s nearly gone! WHODUNIT?!?!?! Where did it all go? And then turns around and stakes no claims to what happened and wonders why they can’t lose weight.

Yes, I know we’re all guilty of all these sins from one degree to another. I am guilty as well. And again, I am not casting judgement. I just call it how I see it.

Posted in Common Sense, Just For Fun, Our Writings, Today's Rant | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Hello (again) world!

Posted by Daniel on July 24, 2008

Welcome to the latest incarnation of The Tempest Online. We’re back on the WordPress server, so many of the errors that were being generated by the FORMER server (GoDaddy) have now been corrected.

Please excuse the mess while we try to get all the widgets, bells and whistles back in some sort of order.  We’re still trying to get our counters, BlogLoggers and Links back online as we speak.

We hope to have it all whipped into shape very soon.

Many thanks,

Daniel & Seth

Oh, and if you’d like us to add you to our blogroll, just send us a link request.

Posted in Techno-Babble | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Let Them Eat California Cheese Cake!!!

Posted by Daniel on July 23, 2008

Okay, so you’ve all read my latest ramblings and rants about how sucky it is looking for a job these day, right? Well, I think I’ve figured out a few things and I now know who to blame for my woes…

Gov. Arnold Schwartznegger, His wife Maria Schriver and, of course, the current President Bush.

Hear me out now…

Before we moved here to Fresno, CA from Missouri, we’d been seeing all the ads on TV showing all these celebrities touting all the reasons you should live or visit here.

See the video here.

Yeah, that’s all nice and good, but they forgot to mention one very important thing…the fine print. Even this ad appears to be as misleading as all the online job ads on CraigsList or Monster.com, etc.

The fine print that should be at the end of that commercial – plastered over both their grinning faces – should read:

On Approved Credit!!

It’s been pointed out to us over and over by many friends, relatives and interviewers that here in California, most employers are now using your credit score as a major criteria in determining whether to hire a person or not. Their reason is that a person’s credit score shows the integrity, honesty and reliability of the applicant.

Can you believe that shit??

That’s like telling someone who was laid off from their former job because of the economy, thereby causing them to fall behind on certain payments, going deeper into debt, “I’m sorry, but I can’t hire you because you don’t appear to be a smart person and I have to also question your honesty.” It’s a slap in the face to millions of hard working people who are just trying to keep their heads above financial waters. Income is going down an average of $1500 annually for the middle class over the past several years while the cost of living has skyrocketed. And that’s the fault of the middle class??

How are the common people who are struggling to get their credit back on the upside supposed to do that if they are now being turned down for work because of that credit??

What’s next? Are they going to start asking for your credit report/creditscore on your resume??

I don’t know about you, but I know very few people these days who aren’t relying on credit cards just to make ends meet. Thereby depleting what little credit they still have. Unless you’re rich and don’t have to worry about trivial everyday things like mortgages, insurance, food, gas, childcare, etc…aren’t we all pretty much in the same boat?

When I was turned down for a job because the interviewer said that I had “less than perfect” credit, I told him, “Excuse me, but have you read a newspaper or watched the news lately? Most people these days have “less than perfect” credit. Tell you what, instead of turning me down for a job that you have told me I’m MORE than otherwise qualified for, just because of my credit, you should have turned Bush down for HIS job (second term) as President!! Seeing as how he’s the reason so many people HAVE “less than perfect” credit!!”

As you can imagine, I was asked to leave. But not before she told me (off the record, of course), “I like you’re way of looking at things.”

Great, but that still wasn’t enough to land me the job. Me and my smart mouth.

Honestly, I have never been so frank with an interviewer, nor would I do it again. I guess the whole job-denial-based-on-credit-score thing just set me aback at the time and I momentarily lost what cool normally prevails between me and an interviewer. Lesson learned.

I can’t help but be reminded of a situation that occurred back in 1789. There appeared to be a class of citizens who had all the wealth who worked hard over the years to create and maintain a class of poor people. This worked out for the wealthy pretty good for a while, until (and please excuse me for over-simplifying history…call it artistic license) that is, the poor class realized they outnumbered the wealthy by 4-to-1 and all they had to eat was disease-infested crap. They were sick of being called ‘revolting’ and decided to do something about it.

They revolted.

Lord Help You, George!!!

Okay, so that might be a bit of a stretch – so to speak – but you know, people are kinda funny when it comes to having to eat shit while the wealthy shout, “I don’t know what they’re all bitching about, the economy is doing just fine.” When you’re losing your home through no fault of your own while watching CEO’s receiving billion dollar golden parachutes just for taking a crap on time in the executive washroom, you tend to get a little riled up. Over time, more people are wedged out of the American Dream and begin to question how this came to pass. Eventually there could very well be so many newly poor people who will want their dreams back. Try and tell me this could never happen here.

Not in America.

Not again.

American Revolution - Part Deux

Oh really?

Posted in Bad Advice Meant Well, Common Sense, Our Writings, Today's Rant | Leave a Comment »

Another Week…Still Not Another Dollar

Posted by Daniel on July 19, 2008

Another work week has come and gone…

Wait…

It’s another week that I didn’t get to work!! Yeah, that’s it.

But what with all the hours (7 to 8 each day) spent on the PC answering ads online and interviews and applications…I feel like I’ve worked overtime this week.

By the way, CraigsList SUCKS!!! It’s full of nothing but false/misleading ads for so-called jobs that turn out to be spam or worse. In fact, here’s a little excerpt from our most recent bout with those nice folks:

fresno craigslist > free stuff

 

please flag with care:

 

miscategorized
prohibited
spam/overpost
best of craigslist

 

Avoid scams and fraud by dealing locally! Beware any deal involving Western Union, Moneygram, wire transfer, cashier check, money order, shipping, escrow, or any promise of transaction protection/certification/guarantee. More info

 

Half Full Cup of Shattered Dreams (Armpit of California)


Reply to: sale-760864235@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-07-18, 8:45PM PDT

 

My other half and I just moved to Fresno almost 2 months ago. We were
in hopes of getting SOME sort of job, establishing ourselves,
creating a new network of friends and all around starting what should have been a new life.

We are now stuck here in Fresno, with no jobs, no money AT ALL, and we’re still friendless.

So, we offer to whomever can take it, our half-full cup of shattered
dreams. They served us as best they could, perhaps they’ll be kinder to you. Do with it what you will. Just take it away! It’s now useless to us.

As an added bonus, we’re also throwing in a sack full of the shavings and slivers of our humility, dignity, and self worth.

Free to whomever wants to come get it!! Thanks!

Reply to: tempestkc@yahoo.com

   
   

The picture we used for the ad.

  • Location: Armpit of California

  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 760864235

This was posted by Seth in the “Free” category of the “For Sale” section.

Here’s what they sent back:

Your posting has been flagged for removal.

Approximately 98% of postings removed are in violation of craigslist posting guidelines.

Please make sure you are abiding by all posted site rules, including our terms of use:

http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use.html

If you need help figuring out why your posting was flagged, try asking in our flag help forum: http://forums.craigslist.org/?forumID=3. Include posting title, body, category, city, how often posted, any images, HTML markup, etc.

If your posting was wrongly flagged down (2% of flagged ads are) please accept our apologies and feel free to repost.

Sorry for the hassle, and thanks for your understanding.

Mind you, it was only meant as a funny (haha) little thing, of which we’ve seen many similar ads posted and left there. For some reason, Seth’s seemed to attract some fat pimply-assed geek who probably never leaves his PC to change his streaked underwear and has no life so he spends it sitting there eating chips and flagging shit day and night because he’s too afraid that if he unwedges his fat ass from that way-too-small desk chair long enough, his mom will make his 30 year old ass get a job or something and have to leave the house. And he doesn’t want to do that because the last time he left the house was when he was 20 and people just threw rocks at him.

But I digress…

So after several attempts to repost the ad, just for laughs, and that same rock-fearing lardo flagging and removing said ad, Seth had enough and decided to post one more for the little fucktard:

Avoid scams and fraud by dealing locally! Beware any deal involving Western Union, Moneygram, wire transfer, cashier check, money order, shipping, escrow, or any promise of transaction protection/certification/guarantee. More info

Free Half-Full Cup of Shattered Dreams (Armpit of California)

Reply to: sale-760925892@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-07-18, 10:06PM PDT

Dear Whoever Keeps Flagging My Post,

GET A SENSE OF HUMOR YOU USELESS SACK OF CRAP!

I HOPE YOU GET BURIED IN ALL OF THE FREE SHIT YOU SEEM TO BE AFTER, YOU CHEAP BASTARD!

 

 

Seth’s Message To CraigsList Flaggers

  1. Location: Armpit of California

  2. it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 760925892

Okay, I’ll admit, that one was probably a teensie bit into violating their terms and conditions, but shit, have you SEEN some of their ads in other categories???  They show pee-pee’s and vag-ies and who-ha’s and use VERY graphic language.  But since they are in different categories, that seems to be okay with CraigsList.

Fuck ’em.  I’ll just go back to Monster.com.

 

 

 

Posted in Bad Advice Meant Well, Common Sense, Just For Fun, Op-Ed, Our Writings, Technical Issues, Today's Rant | Leave a Comment »

Ninety Years Later, It’s Still Not Cause For Celebration.

Posted by Daniel on July 18, 2008

July 16, 1918.

This date either means nothing to you, or (if you’re a history nerd like me) you remember it as the night that a family, three servants, a doctor, and (little known by most) a dog were all murdered.

One of the last portraits ever taken of the royal family.

The list of executed reads as follows:

  • Nicholas II – the Tsar
  • Alexandra Fyodorovna – the Tsaritsa and Nicholas’ wife
  • Olga Nikolaevna – the oldest daughter of Nicholas; she was 22
  • Tatiana Nikoalevna – the next oldest daughter at 21
  • Maria Nikolaevna – age 18
  • Anastasia Nikolaevna – the youngest daughter at 17
  • Alexei – the Tsarevich, 13 years of age at his death
  • Botkin – the family doctor
  • Trupp – Nicholas II’s valet
  • Demidova – a maid
  • Kharitonov – the cook
  • Family dog – name unknown

Romanov Coat of Arms

Yesterday, final DNA evidence was performed on the remains of two young people believed to be those of Maria and Alexei.  The remains were found some 200 – 300 feet from the Ipatiev house, and close to where the remains of the rest of the Romanov party was located.

This puts to rest the theory that both Alexei and/or Anastasia may have escaped from the bloody aftermath wounded, but alive.

Yakov Yurovsky, the man in charge of the murder of the Romanovs, sent Dr. Botkin to wake the Romanov family and their servants, citing unrest in Ekaterinburg. The family was to be moved to a room in the basement, where they would supposedly be more secure.

The Romanovs did not seem to know that they were to be shot that night. Tsaritsa Alexandra asked for chairs for herself and Alexei, who could not walk, let alone stand. The family was told to line up so that a photo could be taken that would ascertain to a suspicious public that they were, indeed, still in the hands of the Bolsheviks. Instead, this midnight “photo shoot” put them in convenient positions for the executioners, who were then summoned from another room. It was then that Yurovsky announced the Ural Executive Committee’s decision to execute the Romanovs.

Each executioner (eleven in all) had his target. However, the murder of the Romanovs did not go as smoothly as planned. While Nicholas and Alexandra died almost immediately, the Romanov children and at least one servant took more than a single bullet. The Grand Duchesses were somewhat protected by the jewels sewn into their clothing. Many of the executioners fired several shots into their victims, took bayonets to them, or kicked and stomped on the fallen bodies.

The bodies were then loaded onto a truck, so that they could be disposed of in the nearby woods.

The burial of the Romanov bodies after the execution in July 1918 was conducted by Yurovsky. The remains of the Romanovs were buried in a pit for decades.

The burial of the bodies was almost as horrific as their execution. Poorly planned, carried out by revenge-hungry Bolsheviks, and all but botched, the burial of the Romanovs was horrifying and inhumane.

Yurovsky, the leader of the execution squad, had the bodies of the Romanovs and their servants piled into the back of a truck, which immediately set out for the planned place of burial. Disposal of the bodies was initially meant to take place in the area of some abandoned coal mine shafts near Ekaterinburg. The guards placed at the location had been promised live prisoners to shoot for their own pleasure; finding that all of the Romanovs were dead, they proceeded to steal valuables off of all the Romanov remains and fondle the bodies of the females.

The Romanovs’ bodies were badly mangled. Faces had been crushed by rifle butts and bullets. The bodies were stripped of their clothing, and Yurovsky supervised the collection of jewelry and other valuables that had been hidden within the seams of the Tsaritsa’s and Grand Duchesses’ dresses. Then the bodies were tossed down a mine shaft, followed by grenades.

Yurovsky did not find that the initial burial site for the Romanovs was secure and secret enough from the Whites, loyalists to the Tsar. He decided the bodies had to be moved. The remains were recovered from the first mine shaft and moved to a more secret location.

It was at this point that the bodies of Maria and Alexei were burned and buried separately, supposedly to keep the Whites from associating the bodies with the Romanovs. Acid and gasoline was used to destroy the rest of the bodies. The final place of burial was determined by the transport truck, which got stuck in the mud on its way from the mine shaft.

1970 marked the year of discovery for investigators trying to ascertain the location of the the Romanov’s burial. However, two bodies were missing. Much speculation had circulated that one of the Romanov children had escaped execution, and the missing bodies confirmed, in some people’s minds, that this was true. Individuals claiming to be Alexei and Anastasia attempted to prove their cases, even in court. It was not until recently that the missing bodies were discovered and proved to be those of Grand Duchess Maria and the Tsarevich.

Because the bodies of the Romanovs were so badly ruined, piecing together the skeletons and identifying remains with certainty has been difficult, at times, for scientists. However, with improvements in technology, identification has become easier, and speculation about what remains belonged to which Romanov needs no more discussion – especially now that all bodies have been accounted for.

Note:  While I have no ties to this family, nor it’s survivors, there has always been something about this piece of history that has shocked and affected me as though they WERE family.  This is why I write this post.

Posted in News, Op-Ed, Our Writings | 1 Comment »

One More Reason To be BillBored With Politics

Posted by Daniel on July 17, 2008

Tell Me YOU Don’t Drink This Kool-Aid!!!A controversial billboard bearing a photo of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and a warning not to vote for Democrats has sparked outrage in Orlando, Fla.

Next to a photo of the Twin Towers burning, the billboard reads “Please Don’t Vote for a Democrat.” Beneath the message is the name of a website that markets $5 CDs of a song, “Please Don’t Vote for a Democrat,” by Mike Meehan of St. Cloud.

“It should be taken down,” William Carter, who lives near one of the three billboards, said. He said he believes that although it is entirely within Meehan’s rights to express such an opinion, recalling a devastating time in our nation’s history for personal gain “is just wrong.”

But Meehan said he is only selling the CDs to cover the cost of getting his message out.

“I’m holding the entire Democratic Party responsible for the attacks on 9/11,” said Meehan, who wrote, sang, produced and recorded the song. He said people should not vote for Democrats because they are too focused on solving the problems in the economy when they should be focused on the war on terrorism.

The billboards went up Monday, and though he originally declined any interviews because he said he wanted to wait until the billboard buzz was “hot in the pan after a few more weeks of exposure,” he ultimately agreed.

“Democrats are relaxed on fighting the war on terrorism,” he said. “But it’s just as important as the economy. The economy and terrorism go together.”

“Terrorists had warned they would destroy the American economy financially, and we can see their success in the high prices of oil,” Meehan said.

The song’s lyrics echo these claims as he attempts to persuade voters that “No we can’t afford to have another attack/and that’s why we can’t vote for a Democrat.”

Although Meehan does not endorse any particular candidates, he said he hopes that his song will be played at Republican Party conventions and rallies in future “local, state and national elections.”

That is unlikely, however, because both parties have criticized the billboards.

The Orange County Republican Executive Committee was not immediately able to comment to any news agancies, although the party told one local station the billboards were “inappropriate.”

Bill Robinson, chairman of the Democratic Party of Orange County, Fla., called the billboards “despicable, ignorant and juvenile.” He said Meehan “is not a patriot, he is a profiteer” trying to exploit the national tragedy for personal gain.

Meehan said he knows people will find his ads offensive, but he said, “It’s more offensive that our nation is forgetting about the attacks.”

“Media only mentions the devastation in Iraq without really letting people know exactly what’s going on,” he was quoted as saying.

But according to Meehan, the photograph and his song accomplish this task by “reminding people that terrorists are behind a lot of destruction.”

He said the three billboards around Orlando have gotten a positive response because “people are happy that we are remembering these people that died.”

He hopes to recoup some of the money spent on the billboards and recording through sales of the CD, but he said he also intends to send some proceeds to the families of victims of 9/11.

His billboards are, in the opinions of those of us here at The Tempest Online, just the jazzed-up version of some other signs we’ve seen recently…

Um, yeah…right…

Posted in Campaign 2008, Common Sense, Media Matters, News, Politics, Religion, Today's Rant | Leave a Comment »

Wall of Confusion

Posted by Daniel on July 16, 2008

I know exactly what some will say after they read the following, and to them I say, “At least I had the balls to try.”

I’m referring, of course, to this grand experiment we called ‘moving to California’.  So much has gone bad in just 6 weeks that I hardly know where to begin…

But before I go headlong into this tirade about the shit California has handed us up to now, I do want to point out that there have been some fantastic memories as well.

Things like:

  • Going to the lake with Terry & Theresa on their boat.
  • Spoiling the cat (Pepper) that Terry and Theresa love to ignore (they’re dog-lovers).
  • Getting to see Scott here in CA along with Bill & Shawn.
  • Seeing the San Diego zoo again, this time seeing it through Seth’s eyes.  Made it fun again.
  • Learning that I do, in fact, actually love hot tubs…so long as it’s attached to a heated salt-water pool.
  • Watching Seth learn how to ski.
  • Seeing my family…well, most of them.
  • The fantastic tans we got since we’ve been here.
  • And so much more…

Yeah, there have been lots of laughs, but one thing I noticed and so did Seth…I was painting on a lot more smiles than I wanted to admit.  Because I’ve been so worried and stressed out.

Don’t get me wrong, I moved here with no delusion that it was all going to be poppy’s and golden hills and surfboards.  We knew understood that it could very well take a bit of time before we landed jobs.  We both knew that we were making this move on the VERY limited funds I was able to scrape together.  (by the way, the fact that we were able to stretch those funds as far as we have is also something I’m very proud of)

Hell, we even joked several times about finding the perfect overpass with a white picket fence and room for several cardboard boxes…you know…for guest rooms.

But the reality of this move appears to have become larger than life.  A wall I just couldn’t scale no matter how stubborn or determined I thought I was.

First off, thanks to the economic times, jobs are disappearing faster than brownies at a Whitney Houston bake sale.  We each literally apply online for about 100 jobs every morning (that’s 100 EACH), then go to whatever interview(s), then patiently fill out more online apps while waiting for the phone to ring.  The only people seriously advertising for jobs are the spammers who want you to pay THEM to teach you how to get a phony job like theirs.

We are getting turned down for reasons (honestly, these are some of their actual reasons) such as:

  • “We really need people who can speak Spanish.”
  • “We’d just feel more comfortable with a woman in that position.” (receptionist/data entry)
  • “The General Manager was unimpressed with your credit score.”  (the job having nothing to do WITH credit or money)
  • “You’re overqualified for this position.”
  • “You’re under-qualified.”  (for the same position elsewhere)
  • “If you were only taller.”  (I’d never heard that one before)
  • “We’ve already filled that position.”  (the ad just hit that morning)

But you know, I could be patient with that even with the obvious underhanded insults and razor-close breeches with reverse discrimination.

Then there’s medication.  See I have to get on California’s version of medical aid – at least until I can get a job that can pay for it – and so far that has proven to be a nightmare and an experiment in futility.

Last Friday, Seth and I spent over seven hours downtown just seeing a doctor (who looked and sounded like Kris Kattan from SNL) who, after an embarrassing FULL exam, sent me downstairs to get the prescriptions he’d made out.  Downstairs is the pharmacy for that particular office…and Seth and I waited over 4 hours for them to fill that Rx.  Guess what…I got 5 pills.  Four + hours for 5 pills!!  And they wanted me to keep coming down every 5 days for 7 hours to do the same thing.

With no choice, Seth and I went down there again today and this time it only took 6 hrs 15 min.  So we’re getting there.  At this rate, though, my health will start to go downhill very fast.  It seems due to California’s vast number of people in need of prescription help and physician care, you really do have to hurry up and shut up and wait for hours (mostly all day) before you see any results.  Even then there are no promises you’ll get what you need until the next day.  Oh, I got the rest of this months’ pills today, sure, but it took ALL day to do it and several appointments.  And all of this is taking place in what can only be described as the most horrible of County facilities that are so unclean and full of people, neither Seth not I DARED even sit in a chair…mostly because three of them had pools (yes, POOLS) of urine in them!!!

I’m not trying to sound all uppity or better than others.  Not in the least.  But I refuse to sit in urine (yes, POOLS!!) in some GAWD-awful waiting room.  I’d rather stop taking medications altogether and waste away to nothing.  I’m not pretentious, but I do have standards.

Here’s a good one for you…here they actually use your credit score as a litmus test for hiring.  No matter what kind of job it is, if you have less-than-perfect credit, you are shit outta luck on getting a job here.  They say that your credit tells employers what kind of person you are and seriously you look at life.

I say (and you can feel free to disagree with me) that’s bullshit!!  These days good people across this country are getting screwed ten ways to Sunday and their credit is taking the brunt of the hits.  With the economy in it’s current shape, the only people NOT looking at “less-than-perfect” credit are those turning others down for employment who also happen to make over six figures annually.

So yeah, it’s been hard as hell trying to get a life of any kind started here.  Though we are determined to succeed, each day that passes leads us closer to a possible trip back to Kansas City.  And it’s one that I am loathe to make.

Should this prove to be the case, however, we will arrive back in KC with heads held high, rather than tails between our legs.  Because we did something very few people either can do or dare to do…we took a leap for a better life.  It may not have been meant to happen at this time or in this place.  But we got to make the effort.  We dared to dream, even if the dream turned out to be a short-term nightmare.

Better planning.

Better financing.

Better credit (assholes!!).

Better timing.

Better economy.

Better get some more ibuprophen…it’s already giving me a headache. 

Posted in Common Sense, Family, Friends, GLBT, Our Writings, Today's Rant | Leave a Comment »

Getting Nowhere Fast

Posted by Daniel on July 8, 2008

Beware!!

Well, we’re well into week five of the great job hunt here in Central California, and about the only prospect that looks hot right now appears to be the weather for the rest of the week.

It’s been over 100 degrees since Sunday, and tomorrow will be topping 112. I’ve mentioned to friends before, the fact that it tends to get extraordinarily hot here during summer. And I always follow that up with the, “…but it’s a dry heat…” comment. No such luck lately. Due to the fires raging north of here and the subsequent smoke, most of the heat is building up and humidity is oddly an annoying presence.

Hell, I thought one of the reasons I moved from the midwest to here was to get away from the sticky summers!!

Anyway, back to the job search…

Yeah, I feel this…Everyday, we spend literally 7 – 8 hours answering every ad online that even remotely looks like something we qualify for. CraigsList, Monster.com, CareerNetwork…every online source. Plus the newspapers. Oh, there are plenty of folks advertising, but all I have gotten back in the way of responses are those spam ads where you have to jump through every hoop and fill out their tedious online application and take their stupid tests, only to discover they want you to pay them a fee for either further info, materials, or to forward your resume on to so-called prospective employers.

Then there are the ones you spend an hour applying for online that automatically send an auto response to your email.

Neither of which pan anyting tangible out.

I haven’t received one – not ONE!! – phone call or email asking me to come for an interview.

Yeah, it’s that tedious AND hot!!!I know…I know…nothing comes easy and I need to be patient, but I moved out here on the barest of shoestring budgets and that shoestring is about to snap. This only ads to the worry and anxiety. Then all the “What If’s” start to eat at me.

So sue me, I’m a natural worrier…and I’ve never been in this situation before.

Seth has fared a little better. He has been in for an interview at a local TV station and then went to have the “pee test” done. He’s still waiting to hear back on that and is wondering what the hold-up is, as he has nothing on his record and his pee test was clean.

He does, however, have a possible interview or two next week. So I’m happy that he, at least, has a ray of sunshine in this boiling hot town.

I will admit, we are both already looking and applying both in Los Angeles and San Francisco as alternatives. Just in case.

We’ll keep you all posted on the progress…if any.

Stay cool.

Posted in Our Writings, Today's Rant | 1 Comment »

A Forth Of Firsts

Posted by Daniel on July 5, 2008

They always say, “There’s a first time for everything.” And you know what?

They’re right.

Yesterday we (Terry, Theresa, Seth & I) all went up to Millerton lake for some holiday skiing, sunning and schmoozing with friends. We we got there and noticed the lake was at least 25 feet lower than their previous visit…Millerton is one of many lakes that is siphoned from by Los Angeles.

We launched from a lower area and proceeded to speed off to a really cool cove waaaaay in the back where boats just sort of anchor off, tie up and folks just relax and socialize.

Not too long after we got there, we were met up by two other couples (close friends) on their boats and we all tied up together. Some call it a white trash yacht club…I call it cool as hell.

Anyways, before we knew it, three other boats had attached and we had this large flotilla going, one vessel of which was passing out Jello shots.

Theresa is always so funny, especially when her girlfriends are around. They are constantly trying to figure out who the gay men are. And when they can’t get a consensus going, they ask both Seth and I to whip out our “gaydar” and point out the “mo’s”. One guy, I forgot his name the second he mentioned it, seemed to have everyone convinced he was either gay or curious. Even Seth said he probably was “curious” at the least. I am not so easily swayed by a word or gesture. And my gaydar is never wrong. I told them all that not only was he not gay, and his veiled attempt to hit on my sister in-law pretty much sealed the deal. Besides, no self-respecting gay would let his pee-pee swing around in non-netted knee-length swim trunks. Honestly, a girl likes to have some mystery, n’ est pas?

Well, getting to the nitty gritty, the first of our firsts is when I let Seth talk me into removing my swim trunks to reveal the square cut speedo’s I was wearing underneath. They don’t leave much (if anything) to the imagination, I’ll admit,and my uber-butch brother and his testosterone team of buddy’s were, to say the least, agog. They actually thought I was swimming in my underwear!!! Men…they can be so stupid sometimes.

So, to save them any further embarrassment (yeah, mine is bigger than theirs), I dawned my trunks and all was then well again.

The second first was when, several hours later, Seth and Sherry decided to race/swim from our flotilla to the shore. It turns out that it was farther than they’d originally thought. Seth won the race – surprisingly – and they both laid back on the beach trying not to throw up. Meanwhile, I was still on the boat and decided it was time to jump in so’s to wee-wee.

Here is where things went to shit.

First of all, I can’t swim. I can dive in, paddle about a bit and keep the boat within reach. But that is the extent of my water prowess. It is not like me to pull an Esther Williams.

Yesterday proved otherwise.

I dove off the boat, but rather than jumping up then arching straight down, I somehow managed to dive far forward. When I came back up I realized I was being pulled away somewhat by a current. Then I couldn’t see the boat, nor hear their voices, because a nearby boat was blaring their fucking rap bullshit too loud. SO I thought I’d try to float on my back towards where I thought the boat was. Instead, I was heading further away and towards the shore, which was at least another 150 feet. Then my arms and legs seemed to lock up and I could no longer hold myself above water. I was actually going under.

This is where Sherry became my hero. Neither she nor Seth understood what I was doing, as they both know I can’t swim. But at first they thought I was just playing around. So Sherry decided to swim back towards the boat. Seth was still resting on the beach. As Sherry approached me, she still thought my flailing was play, until she heard me trying to scream for help and saw me going under. She grabbed my arm and held me up.

Fortunately for both of us, I still had enough in my brain to remember that in a situation like that, you NEVER grab a hold of the person trying to save you. That could put BOTH lives in jeopardy.

At this time, as I was later told, my brother and his friend shot out from the boat and swam their asses off to get to us. They knew this was serious. They each grabbed a side of me and swam like hell back to the boat. They got me back aboard and it took over an hour for my legs and arms to relax.

Here’s an irony for you…you can get dehydrated very quickly even when immersed in water. This is what causes your body to stiffen up and makes your body sink.

Honestly, had it not been for Sherry, Terry and Tom, I’d be dead as I write this. When Seth made it back to the boat, he fucking lost it and it took him hours to stop worrying. I told him the only thing hurt was my pride.

What a fucking trip!!! And a hell of a lesson learned…NEVER go into the water un-escorted. EVER.

That embarrassing little ‘mishap’ behind us, we all settled back into our usual relaxing and laughing session.

A few hours later, we all decided that 8 hours out there was enough for one day, so we all cast off and headed back to the docks. On our way back, Terry wanted to do a little skiing and water boarding. Then we docked, hauled the boat out of the water and headed out of the lake exit.

Here comes another first.

On our way out, Theresa noticed several cop cars and K-9 units at the exit. Obviously doing DUI checks. So she told Terry that she needed to drive because he’s had a few on the lake. When we reached the gates, Terry noticed Sherry and her big-ass dog, Reno, standing next to one of the cop cars. We stopped to see what had happened. Her husband had been randomly selected for a pull-over, BARELY failed a breathalizer test, and was being hauled off to jail. Keep in mind, this is the nicest man who has never even so much has had a parking ticket. This means he’ll pay $5000 fine, have a DUI on his record for 10 years and 1 year of community service.

Sure, I suppose you could say “them’s the breaks”, but it still really sucks.

We decided to try to help Sherry with hauling their boat back to their house, but she’d already beaten us there. So we stopped in, Terry backed the boat into their garage for her (he IS a true gentleman) and she then proceeded to invite us in, gave us a tour of their gorgeous house, offered food and drinks and then invited us to go swimming in her pool.

That’s how funny Sherry is. Even in a time of crisis, she wanted to be a gracious hostess. And she’s from New York. Go figya!! She pronounces her name, “Sha-ry”…you do the New Yawk math.

Her gentle giant of a husband was even taking everything in stride. He called from a holding cell downtown, heard that we were there for support for Sherry, and told her to tell us to enjoy the little impromptu party. Yeah, he’s that cool.

They finally released him at 3 this morning, and he’s looking forward to our next trip to the lake. I believe he and Terry will be drinking water and tea today.

Now there’s a first!!!

Posted in Bad Advice Meant Well, Common Sense, Family, Friends, GLBT, Holiday Fun, Just For Fun, Our Writings | 1 Comment »