Thank You Starbucks

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2365380736_3bd420ce3fI have been wanting to post this for a while now but when you are working full-time, going to school full-time, marriage, and dealing with a serious illness in the family – well, it is hard to do the small things.

I wanted to give a big shout out and a huge thank you to the Starbucks staff on the corner of Fulton Avenue and Cottage Way in Sacramento.  The reason why?  My Mom.  My Mom is currently battling stage 3 Melanoma cancer where there are not any good treatments for her i.e., no Interferon and offered her to be in a ‘case study’ where she may or may not get a placebo.  So it is a 50/50 wait and see game at this point.  Scary? The answer is yes.

While our Mom was in the hospital, we discovered that she had kept some of the Starbucks clear cups (they were cleaned of course) with kind words written on them to my Mom.  We asked our Mom after her surgery what the deal was with these cups?  I want to let you all know my Mom is a kind woman who can make friends with ANYONE.  She has the gift of gab.  Well – apparently this is a really nice crew that works at this location and apparently Mom had developed a friendships with several of the staff.

Once we got Mom home, and she was cleared for coffee drinks (no sugar at first) – either I or my two sisters would go get her drinks.  My experience was ordering the drink and the gal behind the counter said “Is this for Suzanne?”  They knew I was getting Mom’s drink but were confused about why there was no sugar being ordered.  It was at that point during several Starbucks visits that either I or the sisters would advise the Starbucks crew of Mom’s status. We would bring Mom’s drinks home, let Mom know they missed her etc.  You would think that I would have looked at the cups post surgery….but I have been so out of my mind on Cancerwatch, so there is that.

Well, I finally did and I have to say – the staff wrote some of the most kind, uplifting and positive words to my Mom on those cups.  The staff at Starbucks took the time of their busy workday to communicate to my Mom since she could drive until literally this weekend.  They didn’t have to do it, but they did.  It meant the world to Mom and I really think it helped her knowing they were rooting for her.

Again a big thank you to the Fulton Avenue/Cottage Way crew.  It really meant a lot to Mom and to myself and sisters as well.  Big props to the Sacramento Starbucks crew.

K.G.

**Don’t forget to wear sunscreen daily people**

Best Writing Assignment Ever…..A Guy Named Guy Kawasaki.

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Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki

This is pretty exciting and I wanted to share this with those who take a peek at my work. I am now enrolled in a journalism class (eye roll from journalism community) and the assignment was to conduct an interview with a prominent figure. It could be a public official political or otherwise, a lawyer, pastor etc. Well, I do not know a church leader nor do I know a politician. So I decided to approach someone who I admire and WISH was my mentor!!! I approached Guy Kawasaki, Apple Fellow, Steve Job’s mentor, Chief Evangelist for Canva, participating Board Member for Wikimedia and overall cool cat. I have reviewed his book APE: How to Write a Book – Author Publisher Entrepreneur on Amazon.com and promoted his book on my blog so….why not? So off went the e-mail with my questions. I was nervous because..well it’s Guy Kawasaki. To my delighted surprise, he responded to my email and answered all of my questions. I was beyond thrilled! So without further ado….the interview with Guy Kawasaki.

An individual who played a part of the Apple Macintosh computer craze is a gentleman named Guy Kawasaki. Apple Fellow, Steve Jobs mentor and is known to spin several projects, jobs in the air at the same time: Guy Kawasaki is the machine of evangelism and entrepreneurship. Guy Kawasaki was born in Hawaii in 1954. His family lived in a “tough part of Honolulu” (Kawasaki) but never felt that he had nothing as his parents made sure he did not have a want. Kawasaki states that his father was a “fireman, real estate broker, state senator and government official” (Kawasaki) during his long career. Definitely a role model for Guy.

Since he was born on the island, he graduated from high school in 1972. Guy did not want to continue his education on the island. He became a student at Stanford University. A question posed to Kawasaki during our interview was “since you were born in Hawaii, what made you decide to attend school at Stanford? Was that a difficult decision and did you have any issues adjusting from Hawaii to the mainland” (Kawasaki)? Guy Kawasaki replied that “going to college on the mainland was a dream for me. My father and mother made great sacrifices for this to happen. It was a pivotal point in my life” (Kawasaki).

Kawasaki shares an interesting story about his very first job: working at a jewelry store. Kawasaki has stated in earlier interviews with others that he found that to be a very difficult job i.e., selling period. Another question posed to him about this story (for more details) was: “Your first job was working at a jewelry store and it is known that you made the quote that it was difficult, but it taught you how to sell. Was it difficult to learn consultative selling or was it more finding the inner self to yourself out there” (Kawasaki)? Anyone in sales will appreciate Guy’s answer: “Consultative selling is a New Age term. The jewelry business was hardcore, pure selling. It was a great experience to learn how to truly sell before all the BS sales theories became vogue. Every sales was a battle.” Duly noted.

He was a Chief Evangelist during Apple’s rise in the 1980’s. His job was to convince software companies and coding geeks to write applications for the Macintosh during the research and development period. Guy states that he is one of the rare people who has worked for Steve Jobs and survived, not once but twice. Kawasaki worked at Apple from 1983 to 1987 and again in 1995 to 1997. He gave a key address at the Silicon Valley Bank’s CEO Summit the day after Jobs passed in 2011. It was called the “12 Lessons Steve Jobs Taught Guy Kawasaki” and is a must listen video for those new entrepreneurs looking for a jump-start or to understand what made Jobs tick (Bariso).
So with an individual with such accomplishments as creating software firms, a Venture Capital firm, working at Apple, Motorola and now becoming a Chief Evangelist for a new website called “Canva” the question that would come to mind is “what was the most challenging to you whether it was financially or emotionally” (Kawasaki)? Guy states that “the most challenging aspect of my career was the necessity to keep going when things looked bad. You often read about “instant successes.” My experience is that that’s an oxymoron. All successes take brutal hard work” (Kawasaki). Quite true considering most entrepreneurs will tell you failure is all part of the process in becoming successful.

A follow-up question about all things challenging, rewarding, or awful in relation to entrepreneurship in general is “which job, company etc., gave you the most joy or felt was the most rewarding” (Kawasaki)? Of course “evangelizing Apple has been the most rewarding, but I predict Canva will beat or tie Apple” (Kawasaki) Guy joined Canva as a Chief Evangelist in April of 2014. Canva helps people who want to use creative designs for either a Kindle book covers, Facebook ads, menus, Twitter profiles, cards, but basically anything under the sun. Recently the website launched the Canva Design School which is a new platform, workshop series and teacher resource hub to increase the world’s visual literacy (Canva).

Not only is Guy Kawasaki a Chief Evangelist but he recently wrote two books (Art of the Start 2.0 and The Art of Social Media), but he recently became a participating member of the Board of Directors for Wikipedia. Clearly, Kawasaki is a busy man who poses the question “what made you want to join Wikipedia and will you ever start to retire” (Kawasaki)? One can appreciate his passion for his dedication to projects when he answers that he “joined Wikimedia because documenting the knowledge of the human race is one of the most important projects of all time” (Kawasaki). But will Kawasaki ever retire? Guy states that he “would love to retire” but he has “four school tuitions to pay for a while” (Kawasaki). Spoken like a true parent.

The Social Media Assignment that turned into the Edward Snowden Rant.

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Preface: The assignment in my Social Media and Society class was the question on how I felt about the 4th Amendment and how it pertains to social media. Should social media accounts be private or public forums? Most of my peers focused a lot of the 4th Amendment in our discussion. I guess that would be okay, but this is a collegiate setting and I am almost positive that our Professor does not need a history education. I became increasingly agitated with my peers with not discussing the elephant in the room which no one wanted to discuss: The U.S. government, the NSA and monitoring of Americans. Not even an Edward Snowden mention. Who are these people?

In their defense, the only person(s) that can have decent conversations about this subject these days are my Husband (computer geek and old school IRC champ) and sometimes Mom. Yes I know, my Mom. When I try to have these conversations with my peers or whomever I believe has something between the ears, I get silence. Or “oh yeah that is scary huh?” My favorite is “well it doesn’t bother me.” Huh? What? Say that again please? When the suggestion is made to see Citizenfour (the Edward Snowden documentary) to people, I get the blank stare. Am I missing something? Why do people not care? It is frustrating for me and you will see it in the piece of work I submitted to the Professor and the class. So without further ado, my paper below.

When looking at the question of how the 4th Amendment rights come into question about social media use, one would need to read what a well-known activist has said on the subject (in a roundabout way). “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this ability, the majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards” Edward Snowden. Just take that comment in for a moment. When one reads the 4th Amendment which states “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,” the NSA (US government) has basically used the Amendment as toilet paper and flushed it down the toilet. We, the American public have allowed that to happen. How and why?

It was not until 9/11 that everything changed. Fear and terror became headlines to this day and our elected officials began to write a bill to combat terrorism. The United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 was placed into law on October 26, 2001. Most individuals in Congress did not read it when this act was placed into law (Appalachian State University, n.d.). The Patriot Act was rushed into law and not signing the bill would have seemed unpatriotic. The Patriot Act gave the government, military, and police departments’ unprecedented access to our lives. We the American people voted these individuals to office. Still do.

We became obsessed with our cell phones. We tuned out and stopped true communication with our family and friends. We collectively read our cell phones on work breaks, lounging in the sun or on the couch, at the dinner table, during family time – the list goes on. We tend to wake up to Twitter or Facebook, read our quick news segments on our news apps and go on with our day. We post our “look at my kids, food, shoes, me, me and oh, me” and buy stuff with our phones. Distracted driving is at an all-time high and why? Our cell phones! Our overall attention span to anything that affects us is minuet.

Since we are not paying attention to what is happening around us and trust our own government immensely, a few events happened along the way. The U.S. and UK spies hacked into the largest producer of SIM cards in the entire world. Big deal? Think again. These spies were a “joint unit of operatives from the NSA and British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ” (Scahill, 2015). The company name is Gemalto, and the chips were made for “mobile phones serviced by AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and for next generation credit cards” (Scahill, 2015). Gemalto creates 2 billion SIMS a year. It is unknown how much this joint operation took. The reason this was done? Both governments needed encryption keys for 3G, 4G and LTE. Your SIM is now your Social Security Number (Scahill, 2015). Remember when Snowden talked about credit cards? Read the Scahill piece further about the link with the payment from your cell phones. I would not use Apply Pay or Google Wallet anytime soon. Feeling a bit violated yet? It gets better.

Recently, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) filed a lawsuit against the Sacramento County Sheriff’s department for their unwillingness to produce documents under the California Public Records Act for the Sheriff’s use of the product “Stingray” (Lang, 2015). The ACLU is asking what the Sheriff department plans to do with the information obtained by the Stingray technology. What can this Stingray technology do? It is a type of IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) tracker, or a device that can mimic a cell tower. It can track anyone in real time as well as “the unique ID and phone numbers” (Bott & Thom, 2014) dialed by a phone. This includes outgoing calls and texts. The Sacramento Sheriff department is citing the Homeland Security Act for not cooperating and has a “confidentiality agreement with the federal government, which provided the technology” (Lang, 2015). Huh? Why does the Sacramento County Sheriff need to know what is said on Facebook or maybe a text to a friend?

Our children are being monitored. In an article from Politico.com, by Stephanie Simon states that ”School districts and colleges across the nation are hiring private companies to monitor students’ online activity, down to individual keystrokes, to scan their emails for objectionable content and to scrutinize their public posts on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram and other popular sites. The surveillance services will send principals text-message alerts if a student types a suspicious phrase or surfs to a web site that raises red flags” (Simon, 2015). In fact, a security test company working for the publishing giant Pearson is looking for kids’ posts online about Common Core’s tests (Simon, 2015). It has come down to sleuthing the children.

If you are a person who uses the Internet, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media application and have an expectation of privacy, well then you have to be an idiot. Privacy does not exist. It is ridiculous to think otherwise. Facebook has ways to market to the individual in their own feed by what they say or do (Constine, 2014). Twitter is starting to give their users “promoted posts” much to their users’ dismay. These websites can monitor topics, posts or individuals that could be considered offensive or inappropriate for some users and block the material. Somewhere along the way, we the American public are okay with monitoring. When did that happen?

We are all monitored now without a warrant or cause. It is our own fault and this should bother every single American. The NSA via the Patriot Act has basically shredded the 4th Amendment with the unchecked monitoring of the citizens of the United States. Although individuals say “I do not do anything wrong so it is okay.” Is it okay for the government to know your conversations with family? What if you hired an attorney? Is it no longer “confidential?” Is it okay for the US government to know how much money you spend and where? Is it okay for the government to monitor what you view on the Internet? What if you have an opinion? Is it okay to have to keep it yourself for fear it will have ramifications with your own government at a later date? Have we as Americans become too lazy, too apathetic to what is going on or are we all too scared to speak up and say anything? What is going to take to say this is not okay and it needs to stop? If dissention and protest conflicts with Pilates on Wednesday, well there are priorities right? The lack of outrage is disheartening, embarrassing and disgusting.

Citizenfour is a documentary directed by Laura Poitras, about Edward Snowden speaking to Glenn Greenwald in Hong Kong before the first leak about the NSA. Regardless if the people believe he is a traitor or not, he believed he had to expose the US government in their monitoring tactics. It is undeniable based on information presented that there is no such thing as privacy, although people think it still exists. There is a reason why governments want the focus on privacy and ponder on the following. In Citizenfour, Edward Snowden makes a statement that is a poignant and true: “What we used to call liberty and freedom we now call Privacy” (Poitras, 2014). Liberty and freedom is the core of the Constitution and we the American people have allowed our own government to shit on it. Nice.

Works Cited
Appalachian State University. (n.d.). The USA Patriot Act. Retrieved from Department of Government and Justice Studies: http://gjs.appstate.edu/media-coverage-crime-and-criminal-justice/usa-patriot-act

Bott, M., & Thom, J. (2014, June 23). Is sheriff’s department using tracking and data-collecting device without search warrants? Retrieved from News 10 Sacramento: http://www.news10.net/story/news/investigations/2014/06/23/is-sacramento-county-sheriff-dept-using-stingray-to-track-collect-data/11296461/

Constine, J. (2014, April 3). Why is Facebook Page Reach Decreasing? More competition and Limited Attention. Retrieved from Techcrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/03/the-filtered-feed-problem/

Lang, M. (2015, March 10). Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department sued over ‘Stingray’ surveillance technology. Retrieved from The Sacramento Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article13281356.html

Poitras, L. (Director). (2014). Citizenfour [Motion Picture].

Scahill, J. B. (2015, February 19). The Great SIM Heist . Retrieved March 21, 2015 https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/19/great-sim-heist/

Simon, S. (2015, March 21). Common Core’s cyber spies. Retrieved from Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/cyber-snoops-track-students-116276.html

The Power of Social Media

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IMAG0447 Social Media is amazing and here is why…….

I checked my mailbox this afternoon and received a letter from someone who shares the same first name as me. She was super appreciative of what I have shared as of late and the fact that I have been ill has had an impact.

However it was my post about my childhood and my affinity to Charles Schultz that had made an impact with her. I appreciate that because sometimes I feel like I do not matter or I am not important in the bigger picture of life. That’s my shit to deal with, and do not feel sorry for me. I have decided that 2015 is a time of honesty. I do best in odd years. Why? Because I am odd….and I love that about me.
So….with that being said. This person sent me Charlie Brown and Snoopy Valentines. I opened up my mailbox and got this envelope…when I opened it up, I read the letter and got these sweet I heart you remembrances.

Here is the thing folks…..she’s never met me…but I feel we have this kindred spirit that speaks of who we are as a part of a bigger humanity more than ourselves. Know what? I love that about social media….it reaches people you would never think or have the opportunity to reach and for that….it is awesome.

Hugs D!

Welp…..

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The New Year

It has been six months since I have written anything. Well, I take that back because that is not necessarily true. I have written so many things as of late due to school that it has zapped my strength in writing about anything else remotely interesting. I have made a promise to myself to write at least one interesting thing that DOES NOT have anything to do with English once a month. No excuses though. I have seriously screwed the pooch in not writing anything else but school work. I need to allow myself the time to enjoy writing and not feel that it is a “task” which what school has felt like. I liken to believe that I let that bleed into my personal writing attitude. Or maybe I was just too stressed out? Lazy? Bad Attitude? Who knows. What I can promise from now on is more stories from yours truly with maybe a school essay here and there. Listen folks, I am just glad 2014 is gone. I do better on odd number years. Here is to the new year and more stories soon. Cheers!

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