Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Busted at Bashas'...(because I'm Black?)

With events in news headlines somewhat dominated by events in Ferguson (Missouri), and similar incidents...I was very amused at what happened to me.  And hours after...wondering if I should be (a bit) more concerned...

December 2...about 9 a.m.  I was dressed in black jean pants, and what passes for black sport shoes...a button-up shirt with a collar...a long trench coat...and a fedora-style on my long afro-style hair.  I hadn't shaven in about a week.

Outside of the Bashas' Supermarket at 8360 North Thornydale Road (in Tucson, Arizona), I put my large black backpack in a cart, and walked into the store.  I walked towards the Customer Service counter, but stopped before reaching it because I noticed their humidor.  After browsing what was available, I purchased a lottery ticket...and then walked into the main aisles areas to browse.

After reaching the far end of an aisle, a (male) member of their staff asked me if I was looking for something.  I said I was, and he informed me I had walked past where the items are.

He asked if I had taken something.  From what he said, I thought he was asking if I had taken some "scratchers"...a type of lottery ticket.  After understanding he meant backscratchers, sticks used to scratch one's back when they have an itch...I LOUDLY laughed.  I couldn't help it.  I found this situation VERY funny.  And, a little confusing...but I responded I did not take any backscratchers.  He was very polite, but said he wanted me to tell the truth.  I asked if he wanted to search me...he said he did not.  I reminded him he could check the security cameras...he stated he did not want to do that.

I went to where he said the items were in the aisle on the shelves...and he was correct:  I had walked past them.  The guy came to where I was with a backscratcher to show me they had them in stock.  And, again, asked me if I had taken any.  I again said I had not.  He said that they sometimes do not allow customers to bring bags (and backpacks) into the store.  I informed him that I have a lot of electronics in my backpack...and asked him if he wanted to look inside of my backpack.  He said he did not want to.  He just wanted me to tell the truth.  A different member of their staff stated they are missing three backscratchers.

I went to a checkout line...and he was there.  He again asked if I had any backscratchers.  I said I did not.  I stated I didn't know they had any in stock.  He pointed towards the end of the customer service counter...where the cigars are.  I needed over twenty seconds to notice the backscrathers...they were hanging on a freestanding display.  After entering the store, I had walked past them...before I browsed the cigars that were available.  He again stated that he wanted me to tell the truth.  I informed him that I did not have them, and if he/they wanted to pursue this issue with me further I would be going to the business next to their store to get a haircut.

At the beginning of this all, I was amused.  As it progressed...maybe I should have been offended.  I did begin to allow my thoughts to expand on the experience, and what it all might mean.  Michael Brown/Ferguson.  John Crawford/Walmart.  Other situations where there may have been misunderstandings by authorities as to exactly what actually happened.

Multiple times in my life, in various places (in the U.S.A.), I have been "a suspect"...I "looked like somebody"...I just happen to be in the area.  Police have driven past other get to me (and again, I had to hire a lawyer after which I was not compensated for when I won).  With no warning or preface, police have begun contact with me with:  "Where you goin'?"  "What's your name?"  "Come here, boy..."

Three times I was approached about the issue in the store.  I wonder:  Were the security cameras on?  Was a recording of my visit made?  Why was it necessary for us to talk about it three times?

Were they suspicious of the way I dressed?  They way I look (my ethnicity)?  The length of my hair and beard?

"Busted at Bashas'...(because I'm Black?)"  I don't know.  Before I entered the store...I had considered applying for a job there...


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Backpacks for homeless



"...purchase a backpack and put in it the specific items listed below. By limiting the items to the one's listed no homeless person receives more items than another. Any items that are donated that are not listed will be accepted but will be kept separate from the backpack items. They also will be given to homeless people."


winter cap
lotion or sunblock
$5 gift card from fast food or a business of your choosing
Lip balm
water bottle
(Any items that are not on the list will be accepted but will be handed out separately from the backpacks)


Drop Off Points:

BTO Yogurt
9040 E. Valencia Road, Suite 172
phone: (520) 663-3410

8650 E Speedway, Tucson, AZ 85710
(SW Corner of Speedway and Camino Seco)
Phone: (520) 546-5838

Central City Assembly
939 S 10th Avenue

The backpacks will be given to the homeless at Central City Assembly
Saturday December 13th, 2 pm to 5 pm.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Free coworking in Tucson on Wednesdays

Water Cooler Wednesdays
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

"...try out our Work Lab, now open downstairs. Every Wednesday in October, work for free at Connect Coworking, and meet other people in Tucson like yourself.

"Along with wifi and a great place to work, we provide a fridge, coffee, water, and day use lockers. While this is a free opportunity to check out what it would be like to have a hopper membership at Connect, space is limited, please RSVP...

"At noon, bring your lunch out to our patio for Networking at Noon! Converse with other coworkers and make some great connections!"


Marana Regional Landfill – Free Public Access Day

(For residents who live within the City limits of Marana...location of residency will be required through driver’s license and/or utility bill from the residence where waste is generated.)

October 18
7:30 A.M. to 2 P.M.


Not accepted:
Freon Containing Appliances (refrigerators, freezers, air conditioning units)
Electronic Waste (TV’s, Computers, Monitors)
Car Batteries...Tires
Hazardous Waste

Disposal is limited to two tons of acceptable residential waste per household.
Residents will be required to pay standard gate rates for any amount in excess of the two-ton limitation.
Vehicles are limited to two loads per household
Commercial size vehicles are prohibited
All loads must be tarped!

Marana Regional Landfill
14508 W. Avra Valley Road
Marana, AZ 85653


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Video of Al Jazeera America crew in Ferguson, Missouri...police pointed their camera at the ground

If I were the police:

I would want to take the lights down so they won't interfere with my sight...and, so it won't help others see what I am doing...

And I would point the camera at the ground so it would not record what we were doing.

Video from television station KSDK


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tucson's Sun Tran responds to my griping...

I was angry.  Very, very angry.  I posted on Twitter.  I sent an e-mail message to Sun Tran.  And, to the office of the mayor...


[e-mail message]

Problems continue to exist with Sun Tran's SunGO Cards...

After 6 a.m. I caught the route 412 southbound shuttle.  I explained to the driver that last week I was issued a transfer on my SunGO card, which did not register on the next bus I rode.  The driver stated that her system indicated a transfer had been issued...AND she gave me a SunGO Full Fare Transfer Ticket, which she also attached a transfer to.

As I have watched other riders experience, she mentioned problems have been continuing with transfers.

After leaving the 412 route shuttle, I attempted to board bus #2802 for route #16.  And, as last week, the transfer on my SunGO card did not register.  The transfer issued to the SunGO Full Fare Transfer, given to me by the driver of the #412 shuttle, also was not accepted.  Both indicated that they did not have any valid credit on them.  The driver of bus #2802 demanded I again pay the fare to ride...


I also mentioned in the letter I (now) have no faith that the Sun Link Streetcar is in any way beneficial to the city, due to continuing problems with SunGO cards hurting riders.  Before my incidents, I didn't have a strong opinion about the streetcar...but after learning how much it will cost for a ride, and that it now seems to interfere with motorized, and people, traffic more than I expected...I will never pay to ride on it.

The mayor's office did respond:

"...I am forwarding your note to Kate Reilly who directs Sun Tran.  Kate, can you take a look at this and get a response to {him} and I.  Thanks.


[e-mail message I received]

I appreciate Mayor Rothschild forwarding your complaint so that we could address it.  I apologize that you have experienced difficulties with transfer usage between Sun Shuttle and Sun Tran services.

Unfortunately, we have experienced intermittent problems such as you experienced.  As soon as we became aware of this, we worked with the SunGo fare and data collection system manufacturer so that it could be fixed.  The manufacturer identified a problem with the linkage between the equipment used in Sun Shuttle to that used by Sun Tran and Sun Link.  A software upgrade was developed to permanently fix this situation, and that upgrade is being tested at this time.  We anticipate that the software upgrade will be implemented within the next two weeks.

As a token of our sincere apology that you have experienced these difficulties, I am mailing a 30 day pass to you.  I hope that you will use this product to try our services again, and that you will continue to rely upon our services for your transportation needs.

Kate Riley
General Manager

"Driven to go the extra mile."


Riley also sent copies to:
Michelle Clark - Customer Satisfaction Director, Sun Tran/Sun Van...
Kandi Young - Director of Marketing & Communications, Sun Tran Public Transportation...
and Jeremy Papuga - Executive Co-Manager, RTA SunLink Streetcar.

First, thanks to the mayor and Riley for responding.  From past experiences I have learned that sometimes  unless I make A LOT of noise, and it uncomfortable for some, complaints can be ignored...that's why I publicized what happened to me as much as possible.

I also appreciate the 30-Day SunGO Ticket I am to receive.

What brought me to anger is I am sure there are (poor) people who have been stranded because of system malfunctions...and those people don't fight for justice and compensation.  Some don't know how...others may lack tools to...and others don't have time to.  I have lost battles, but caused those I opposed to consider not ignoring that specific issue in the future (because the next person who complains could cause more trouble that I).


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Linux Lite (on an old computer)

When I was young, we didn't have much money.  Because of those experiences...I (probably) keep, and use, things a lot longer than I should.  I still have a Palm LifeDrive.  My Dell Inspiron 9400 notebook computer...which was given to me for free...has Windows Vista installed, and only 2 GB of RAM.  BUT it has a VERY comfortable 17-inch display (I love that).

I try to care for things I own so they can perform as best as they can.  My Toshiba Satellite A105-S4034 notebook computer is in great shape.  I purchased a battery that has allowed me to use the computer from 5 to 7 hours.  The computer has 3 GB RAM, and an Intel T1350 1.86 GHz processor.  I've been seeking a "very light" distribution of Linux for it...

I've installed Linux Lite 2.0 (

I owned an Acer C710 Chromebook.  It was a great "notepad".  When I used it for more than that I was disappointed.  (I expected to be able to stream YouTube videos without any performance issues, and my expectations were too great.)

(Instead of purchasing a Chromebook) I installed the Google Chrome browser on my Toshiba.  I am unable to streaming video (from YouTube) without performance issues...but I'm not surprised:  other operating systems I installed on this computer have also not allowed for smooth streaming of video.

For now, I expect to be able to use this computer as I would a very cheap Chromebook:  hours of use and battery life, no expectations of being able to enjoy (streaming) video services.

(I'm using Dropbox to synchronize and access files.)


Monday, April 7, 2014

"Binge-watching", Game of Thrones, and watching television

"Binge watching", on cable and satellite, is effective.  For the audience, due to current lifestyles, it's a way for them to try a show they haven't been exposed to.  For broadcasters and channels, it might be a way to get people consider a show.  HBO had a marathon showing of Game of Thrones over the weekend.

I never understood why people watched the show.  I never wanted to.  For me, it was like The Sopranos.  Or American Idol.  A television show that seemed to be more in fashion than anything else:  people were watching it because others were.  I assume it has a cult following (this from a self-confessed "Trekkie").  And, Game of Thrones is not in the genre I have been interested in.  I like few productions with medieval themes.  The movie "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" and the television show "When Things Were Rotten", both produced by Mel Brooks.  And the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".

Unless I have a fondness for a television program, I channel-surf.  When I did not see a program I wanted to commit to...out of curiosity, I tuned to Game of Thrones.  I did not focus any attention to it, and was involved in other activities.  I did watch on and off throughout the entire weekend.  But I cannot say I will be watching future episodes.

The characters of Osha and Ygritte reminded me of (the types of) women I had dated, and would...that's a different subject completely.  Tyrion Lannister and Bronn questioning Podrick Payne as to why he didn't pay prostitutes was very entertaining.  The storylines are intricate...I would prefer to follow them by reading books so I can understand how everything relates.

When the channel BBC America had a Doctor Who marathon, I did the same.  I never had any interest in the show...but, it was available, and it was easy for me to become accustomed to it.

Binge-watching appears to have been successful for Netflix with their show "House of Cards".  I have no interest in that particular show, as well as paying to watch any programs.  As it is I have not had free time to follow shows on over-the-air television I favor, which are available for streaming for free via the internet:  The Big Bang Theory, The Blacklist, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Almost Human, and many more.

Crackle, Hulu, and others provide free content for when I have time.  The economy has been rough on many households and people.  It's bound to cause (more) changes in how consumers get their content, including the content they choose to partake of.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Amazon Fire TV, and Bloomberg West's Lee

Edmund Lee was on Bloomberg West discussing the Amazon Fire TV.

The Vice President of Amazon, Peter Larsen, mentioned the Amazon Fire TV device has three-times the processing power of Apple TV and Roku...Lee stated:  "...I don't know how to quantify that..."  And that Larsen's statement was "vague"...

I was stunned.  Was Lee indicating that he didn't understand Larsen's general comparison of performance differences of the units?  I began to wonder to what degree Lee might be "tech-savvy"?  Maybe Larsen didn't mention technical specifications during his presentation.  After the presentation, and before appearing on Bloomberg West, maybe Lee didn't investigate the specifications.

To begin with, the Amazon Fire TV has a quad-core processor.  Competing units have dual-core and single-core processors...


Two phones, one computer (for work)

Some thoughts after reading:

People for Whom One Cellphone Isn't Enough
Many use a second mobile device to keep photos and text messages private


I've always been able to have a "buffer" between work and my personal life...

Sometimes, I never had a home phone (landline)...didn't feel as if I needed one.  When I did have a landline, I had an answering machine.  Then, an answering phone.  Next, a phone.  After, (for emergencies) I had a voice phone.

At one radio station broadcasting company, we had great remote pickup units (RPUs) at the studios and in the vehicles.  I had a portable scanner that monitored the frequencies, and used that as a voice pager.

When a company felt they needed to be able to contact me "at any time", they provided a pager or phone (with service) for me.  One company purchased a vehicle for me to use while I was employed.

Because they wanted to promote their companies as much as possible, others purchased clothing with their logos on it for me to wear.  There was a time when my wardrobe was mostly comprised of shirts and coats from radio stations on them...and it was a very rare occasion when I wasn't wearing them.  I know one guy who, because his company provides his, can always be seen in his uniforms from a public transportation company.  I know a woman I remember regularly seeing in her United States Postal Service uniforms.

I have always had one computer designated for my professional activities.  There are a lot of great reasons to do that.  One is, if you are unable to use your "personal" computer, the odds are in your favor that the one designated for business might not have been exposed to things that may  have compromised the computer you use for personal activities (malware, software and hardware instability, etcetera).

I don't own any phones now...I don't need one:  all of my communications are done via various internet services.