Are You Good? – #SoCs

Welcome to the #Free48, as Cheryl would say. We gave Cheryl the weekend off, but I’m wishing her, the Editor, Linda G. Hill (our host) and all of the moms in the audience a Happy Mother’s Day, as we strain against the pressure of another Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. Oops, it looks like I let the kitty out of the bag a bit early:

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘strain.’ Use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!”


If we were having a beer, we’d be off to a bad start.

“Can I get you a Corona?”

“Oh, hi Brad. Yes, a Corona would be nice. No Cheryl today?”

“Nope. Probably why your buddy isn’t here.”

“No, he’s just running late. Actually, I think I might be early.”

“No problem.”

“Are you so bored without me that you resort to filling out surveys on your phone?”

“David, hi. You weren’t here, Brad speaks in two-word informal clichés, so I had nothing better to do.”

“Brad? You mean Skippy? Where’s Cheryl?”

“I don’t know. Please restrain yourself, he’s the only bartender we have.”

“Here’s your Corona, it’s Dan, right?”

“Yes, Brad, and whatever my friend would like goes on my tab.”

“Sure, no problem. What can I get you?”

“Let’s keep it simple, I’ll have a glass of Meiomi, and a glass of water.”

“Sure.”

“OK, I’ll ignore him. What survey are you filling out, Dan?”

“It’s from the Burlington Marriott. I was there Monday through Wednesday.”

“Did you give them high marks?”

“I did, they do a nice job.”

“How hard it that?”

“What do you mean?”

“Here’s your wine and two glasses of water. I put those in snifters, just in case.”

“Thanks Ski…Brad.”

“No problem.”

“Auuugh.”

“Let it be, David. What were you saying about it not being hard?”

“Sigh…Ok. You booked your room on-line. You probably used an electronic key. About the only service you had was when the maid cleaned your room.”

“I didn’t have it cleaned.”

“What? Why not?”

“I was only there for two nights, and I work in the room when I’m not downstairs in the lounge in a meeting.”

“Still, don’t you want fresh towels and the bed made?”

“They give me more than enough towels for two nights and I have to work to unmake the bed.”

“Oh, you’re one of those. What’s it called, ‘burrito style’ sleeping?”

“Absolutely. No hospital corners for this boy,”

“So, the hotel saves money. They don’t lower your cost, but you give them high marks.”

“They give me some bonus points.”

“Like the ones Linda G Hill gives?”

“Ha! No, I can use these in their hotel.”

“Are you good here?”

“Skippy, I’m always good… in fact most of the time I am excellent.”

“That’s nice, David. I meant, do you want another round?”

“Well then, why didn’t say that?”

“Easy guys. Brad, please bring us another round.”

“I don’t know why you’re so tolerant of him.”

“David, what’s the point?”

“It’s annoying, he interrupts our conversation with these inane attempts at communication.”

“Let – it – be! It’s not worth it.”

“Neither is your skipping maid service or filling out that stupid survey, but you do it.”

“I’ve actually had follow-up calls from that hotel. They read the surveys and respond if necessary.”

“Did you take that Facebook survey?”

“You need to be more specific, there are a gazillion surveys on Facebook. I don’t usually bother, since they’re just using them to gather information on me.”

“No, the one from Facebook about security and privacy.”

“Oh, yes. I filled that out. I told them I don’t trust them.”

“Even with all the changes they made?”

“You mean the changes they said they made. They kept doing all that stuff they said they stopped.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really. They just admitted to that. They’re as bad as Amazon.”

“OK, one Corona, one glass of wine.”

“Uh, Skippy?”

“Yes, David.”

“My wine is full of bits of cork.”

“Here, I’ll strain those out for you.”

“Um, Skippy…”

“OK, I’ll pour you another glass, that was the end of that bottle anyway.”

“Thanks.”

“And, Brad? While you’re at it, can I have a lime?”

“Sure, Dan. No problem.”

“I’m going to slap him!”

“David, it’s not worth getting worked up over.”

“I guess. But back to you, why are you lumping Amazon in with Facebook? What did they do?”

“Remember when they said they’d let you erase your recordings with Alexa?”

“Yes.”

“Well, they only erased the recordings. They kept the speech-to-text transcripts.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Nope, and they only even erased the voice recordings on actual Amazon smart-speakers. If you have an Alexa-powered device by any other company, nothing got deleted.”

“Wow. I’m beginning not to trust these guys.”

“Join the club.”

“What? You? Your club?

“No, it’s bigger than me. Facebook is number-one on the list of companies Americans hate.”

“Number one? Who else is on that list?”

“Cable companies, airlines, phone companies…the usual suspects.”

“Here you go, a fresh glass of wine. Donny said this one is on the house.”

“Thanks Skippy.”

“No problem.”


Cheryl couldn’t be with us today, but you can catch the latest in the list of beautiful things she has shared, over here. Then, if you haven’t already checked out Chapter 3, you can find that at Teagan’s page.

92 thoughts on “Are You Good? – #SoCs

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    1. Thanks Roberta. Unfortunately, honesty seems to be something they don’t understand. If memory serves me, htis is the second time they’ve agreed to do something – said they did it – and later it was discovered that, in fact, they had not done it. I don’t think it’s an oversight. They agree to do something, they tell you “what settings to change” and then they ignore it. I sahre as little personal information as possible on Facebook.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ah, dogwoods and lilacs. Sadly we’re not there yet.
    As for Alexa, I have to laugh. People buy an electronic device that sits on their coffee table listening to their every word… they pay to be linked into the database of a giant corporation…. and then complain about their lack of privacy. Should the companies be recording? Of course not. But don’t invite them into your living room and they won’t!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s been my approach, nothing (that I’m aware of) is listening to me, including the dog.

      We do gradually give these companies more and more latitude and more information. I’m surprised that the reaction isn’t worse. A lot of people that were aware of the articles I took this news from basically just shrugged and moved on with their day.

      Like

  2. Good story and pictures too! I agree about there being enough towels for 2 days, so why not take the rewards! About facebook… don’t get me started! I never joined because I didn’t trust them and nowadays, they are proving me to be correct.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You had good insight, GP, not to join. I had to, in order to set up a company page. We didn’t want one, but someone started a fake page in our name. It took six months to prove that guy wasn’t us. It’s crazy.

      I used to just hang the Do-Not-Disturb sign, rather than be forced to leave the room for the maid, while I was trying to work. I really like this program for these short stays when I’m alone.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hotel towels and sheets – I want clean ones every day. But, then again, that’s probably because I’m the one changing and washing them at home. :-) Electronic privacy or lack of, now there’s a topic. I’m going to say ‘ditto’ to the comment above. I never understood why anyone wanted a recording device in their home linked to a major company, but I know they sold millions to folks who love them. Never wanted one, won’t buy one. :-) Lovely shots, and hope Maddie gets some cot time in between the forecasted rain for this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. I understand the desire for that clean fresh room. I just don’t need it on a two-night stay when I’m basically using the hotel as my office. Too many times, I sighed when after a meeting, I returned to find the room being serviced and had to head back to the lobby.

      I have not invited any “smart” devices into my home. I don’t see that changing in the future. The really scary thing is what can happen wen these databases get hacked (and I chose ‘when’ over ‘if’ because…).

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m with the majority today: no Alexa-type devices for us! The online invasion of privacy is bad enough and I never believe it when they say they’re giving back what they’ve already taken.

    I’m with you on the towels, although the maid is welcome to make the bed. My husband can unmake it fast enough and often a made bed at a hotel/motel doesn’t include much tucking in anyway.

    As for the photos, as I’m sitting in bed responding and haven’t eaten, you can guess which one got my attention. No disinterest to Maddie or the cat. 😉

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry about the breakfast shot, Janet. It’s making me hungry, too. I took Maddie for a walk and I’m looking forward to an English Muffin – it doesn’t cut it.

      I only keep harping on this subject, when new news comes out. Both of these story lines were revealed this week. These companies keep lying to us. If not outright lies (Facebook), then half-truths, technical-truths and lies of omission (Amazon). I can’t imagine that there isn’t one person in those meetings who says “hey guys, this isn’t right.”

      I don’t like a tucked bed. I always ask for an extra blanket. When I get maid service, they tuck in the sheets and fold the blanket. I’m capable of rearranging the bed after I get up. If I’m there more than a couple nights, I do get the room serviced.

      Thanks for stopping by. Maddie and the cats are not offended. I hope you have a nice weekend.

      Like

      1. One interesting aspect is that the tech people, much like drug dealers, keep their children away from social media and their own products as much as possible. You should read “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now”, by Jaron Lanier. Here’s his page (not FB/Twitter/etc accounts for him): http://www.jaronlanier.com/tenarguments.html. Here’s an article about the book, showing his ten points: https://tinyurl.com/y6fl4bhv Yes, I know this means my comment needs approval, but I think this is important. :-)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It is important, Janet. People need to understand how many things about this are just flat out wrong. The latest trading segment we had at work had a woman on the street with a megaphone rattling off facts and personal information. It’s just that bad in some of these sites.

          Thanks for the links.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. I have a domain with GoDaddy and their email service. Unlimited storage for up to five email addresses. We pay about $250 every two years. They have an OK web interface, but you can use Outlook or Thunderbird. I have mail, my wife has mail and we have a common one we use for most shopping so all the spam goes there.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. If you invite a nosy electronic device into your home to listen to you, then you must expect that it’ll listen to you, no? Critical thinking seems to confuse so many people. I take a bit of comfort in the fact that FB is now the most hated company. FINALLY people are catching onto what I’ve been saying for years. Nothing good comes from FB, all it does is take from you under the guise of helping you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ally. “Critical thinking” you say??? I don’t see much evidence of that in today’s world. You would think that one of these revelations would cause a big-enough uproar to make people consider turning those devices off.

      Even worse (I ran out of room) is Alexa for children. It records, transcribes and retains the stuff your kids ask for and parents can’t ask them to delete it. It’s offered as a “learning” service, but it’s really Amazon learning about your child.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t know about the children’s part of Alexa. That’s creepy and intrusive and makes me wonder how these kids will ever be allowed to grow into who they need to be. Yep, not onboard with this at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Facebook is like a train wreck – you can’t look away and although you want to leave the scene, it still has a hold on you. Have you heard the latest interview with former co-founder Chris Hughes? He’s not a fan of what Zuckerberg has done with FB, making money from gathering information and making money off of the “clicks.” I’d love for there to be an alternative way of connecting with friends that doesn’t have his name on it…

    Oh, wait…there’s the cell phone and full face contact. Duh.

    I hope you get Cheryl back next week so David doesn’t have to restrain himself. And I hope Marriott gives you bonus points for your nice feedback. Have an awesome weekend, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. Cheryl will be back. This subject was suggested by one of my real-life buddies, and I just can’t make Cheryl look like a jerk behind the bar.

      I did read the article about the other Facebook founder. I’m not sure breaking them up would help, unless there were strict rules about not sharing data – who am I kidding, they would just break those rules. The time to stop them was before they acquired these other platforms.

      I’ve limited my use of FB to the few people I trust and I don’t share much that is personal. I know they still glean information from what I say, but I can’t ignore some people, and this is the only way I have for regular contact.

      I hope you have sunshine for the weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Still laughing at the bar conversation. I’m surprised Skippy….ummmm Brad, still fills in for Cheryl. He and David will never hit it off!!

    And seriously Dan, do you think any of us believes that Maddie needs a toy to lure you to the couch with her? 🙄 I agree with Maddie, the cot has to be much more comfortable than the step. Hope MuMu got her brushing and MiMi got in adequate nap time.

    The lilacs are so beautiful. I really love the plane in the contrails photo…..it looks like a ghost plane.

    Happy Mother’s Day to the Editor and to all the moms who follow you.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Ginger. Maddie brings me the toy when I’m not coming to the couch fast enough. Like when I’m trying to get dressed first.

      I have to put Skippy behind the bar when my buddy (one of the real ones) wants to complain about the bartender. He recently railed against the expression “Are you good?” from a waiter. I told him “sounds like fodder for Skippy” and he agreed.

      Maddie manipulated me into getting the cot. She nudged and whined and smiled and…that dog has me wrapped around her paw.

      Everybody here has enjoyed all that they want. We’ve walked, brushed, petted, fed and left alone all those who were eager for those things.

      I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      Like

  8. Your photos are wonderful. I’m so happy Spring finally settled in to stay with you guys. I’m fearful of saying this, but I agree with David today. Just one quick smack to reset Zip..I mean Brad’s learning curve. Maybe it speaks to my every day work life. Way too much one and two syllable communication. Oh! The other day someone actually said “OMG, TMI.” 😳 I’m having to strain to find the strength not to flee screaming. Hey, any bonus points for me there? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll give you bonus points for that, Cheryl. You can see why I had to give you the day off. One day, I’ll have to have you work a shift with Skippy, but you have to promise not to beat him to a pulp.

      I remember my parents harping on us to get correct responses to “thank you” “how are you” “would you like…” – I guess that doens’t happen anymore, or children are being taught to say “no problem” “I’m good” and “OMG”

      Enjoy Mother’s Day and the rest of this #Free48 !

      Like

  9. LOL – I’m with you on Facebook. And phones are listening to us even if they are off or not being used. I don’t have and Alexa and would never get one either. But I didn’t realize my phone when not in use was capturing conversations too. Scary and Grr…irritating!! PS – great dewdrop photo, did you crawl on the ground to get it? ;-) I’m off to read Teagan’s story to see what house she picked!! Happy Saturday Dan!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Shelley. I thought of you, but no, I didn’t crawl on the ground. I bent over, which is almost as difficult ;-)

      I have all the voice stuff on my phone turned off. I’m not sure that’s enough, but I try.

      I hope you have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL – I bend down and place the camera on ground level. It’s fun to see what photos I capture inbetween all the really bad ones. Thank goodness for digital photos. I need to turn the voice stuff off… I hope you have a great weekend too. Your photos for Teagan’s story today were wonderful. I guessed the wrong house, but that one was my second choice!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Sigh… just when I thought Skippy was improving. ;o)
    I didn’t know about the Alexa recordings, Dan. I wish I could be surprised. I wonder what Russia and China will do with all that voice information.
    I’ve never gotten one, partly because my voice is at that particular pitch that many voice systems can’t “hear.” Talk about frustrating…When a company has a voice auto menu, and they don’t give you any options to use the keypad… I’ve had meltdowns.
    That’s a great shot of the plane. Thanks for the beautiful dogwood photo. I grew up with them everywhere, but I haven’t seen one in a long, long time.
    Thanks for the shout-out! Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s no hope for Skippy, Teagan. I have to put someone behind the bar on days like this. We have a voice auto-attendant, and we are about to lose the ability to even offer keypad options. Fortunately, it will happen after I retire. I actually have to spell my name wrong in order for it to recognize people who pronounce my name correctly. I can only imaging the “strain” you would put on that system (no offense intended).

      I hope you have a great weekend. You did a terrific job on Episode-3 !!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “Well, they only erased the recordings. They kept the speech-to-text transcripts.”

    Remember when Google’s motto was “Don’t be evil.” They had to change that.

    But don’t worry, if Alexa’s speech to text is anything like what’s on the android phone, they won’t know what you are talking about. Check that, maybe you should worry.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I thought I was the only one who requests no service on a short stay. Working in the room is the primary reason. I used to hate that “housekeeping.” knock and trill. Usually, I was on the phone with the pants over a chair so they won’t wrinkle between meetings. “Sure go ahead and do the room. Pay no attention to the guy in the shirt and tie and boxers on the phone.” Love the dogwood and lilacs. Don’t blame Maddie for demanding a cot. MuMu needs a brushie. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re not alone, John. The addition of reward points makes it even easier. Maddie went for a walk, Maddie sat in the sun on “her” patio. MuMu was brushed and MiMi sat in the window and watched me trim bushes. Pet perfection.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha. I may steal that for Skippy in the future. He can only be so bad on his own. The one I hate is a bartender in a hotel in Boston who constantly asks “you want close this out?” I’m in a hotel! All I have to do is make it back to my room. I’ll have another beer!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We had a waitress at a hotel restaurant who was CONSTANTLY coming by and asking, “You okay? Are you two okay? Are you still okay?” Mom said, “She sounds worried. Should we be worried? Wonder what she’d do if I clutched my throat and fell off the chair.” I double-dog dared her, but she wouldn’t do it, and she forbade me to do it, so we’ll never know.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I am admittedly in the dark about some of this stuff. Sometimes I wonder who cares what they record from me? Who cares what data they collect to sell more stuff. I just don’t understand enough to know if I should be worried or not. I am after all an optimist. LOL don’t laugh I really am though I have many pessimistic tendencies. Yet with FB my dislike comes from the blocking my blog. And if they’re number 1, why do so many people stay?
    #Free48
    off to visit Teagan

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dan, awesome spring photos. Can’t believe it’s cold and rainy in SoCal and the heat still on. Well, we don’t actually have winter snow, so I’m not complaining. Not trusting FB, cable companies, etc! I’m with you! Look at FB for family & friend news, but do not have a page, so no WordPress postings. Thanks for the Happy Mother’s Day wishes! Right back to the Editor! Happy Weekend overall. 📚 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  15. No problem–a woman I worked with cringed at the expression, which meant that we all used it constantly whenever we spoke with her. She quit. I wonder if it was something we said…..? MiMi looks so pretty with that flowered background. I hope you get back to your beauty sleep, sweet girl. Maddie on the stairs—oh, my! I have never heard of Russian lilacs–they are so pretty. Happy weekend, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Today I started setting up a new Windows 10 machine and up came the prompt asking me to let Cortana solve all of my problems. What kind of person agrees to ‘share’ his every keystroke and voice command with Microsoft and its subsidiaries? To me a PC is a personal journal, and my private life is not something I’m willing to give away for a consumer item as unnecessary as Cortana. Your story worked, it sure fired up my neurons. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. That dogwood shot is beautiful!
    Have I mentioned I don’t FB much anymore? Rarely post anything. Shared that story about the epileptic girl on the train. That was my last post there, whenever that was. Do my Scrabble a couple times a week, stalk my favorites now and again….
    Our tvs have the Amazon, and they’re always like “Talk to us” but we don’t. This morning it was all, “Just ask, Alexa, what’s the weather in London?” and I was all, “I’m guessing the weather in London is just like ours,” so I didn’t ask. Does she think I’m going to London today? What part of coffee and television at 11am says I’m about to travel abroad? Why would I care? I guess I’ll just be glad Alexa isn’t sighted as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe Alexa wants to go to London. I am a member of a couple of private groups on FB, and I follow a few people who prefer that platform for communicating. Also, people I’ve met through work connect personally there and professionally on LinkedIn, so they only share personal stuff on FB. I follow, occasionally comment, rarely post.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Trust is in very short supply these days. Even in institutions that used to be high on the trust list like banks and churches. I think we’re living in a very disillusioned age. (We have a federal election next weekend and for once it’s about policy and not the party leaders because neither of the leaders are very inspiring. Weird positive.)
    I love that aeroplane shot and the dogwood is very pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Heather. You’re so right about trust being in short supply. The breaches are so egregious that I think we’ve become numb. Maybe that’s what they want. I’m trying to remember the last time we had an elected official who was inspiring…I’ll get back to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m with you. I don’t trust them either and won’t have an Alexa or whatever listening at home. I was edgy about the T.V. remote mic at our home in CA. At our new house, the new service doesn’t have a voice option. He-Man thought I’d be disappointed about that, but I’m rather happy about it!

    I had a funny feeling Xfinity was listening in all the time!

    Your comment about having to work to mess up the bed resonated. I’m like that. I hardly move. Girl-friends that have roomed with me or shared a hotel room who really mess up the bed after one-nights sleep always make comments about how my bed looks like no one slept in it.

    I love the lilacs, dogwoods, foggy morning, and Maddie smiling in the sun.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you liked this Deborah. We can upgrade to a voice remote, but I don’t want one. I can’t imagine talking to everything in our house. How hard is it to press a button. How hard is it to decide what to watch. I don’t need AI running behind everything. I’m happy to still have my intelligence.

      We’ve got rain today but the lilacs and dogwood are still pretty. Maddie is hoping the rain will stop long enough for her walk.

      I hope you’re settling into you new space. Happy Mother’s Day!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Ski… uh, Brad and his two-word comments was perfect for the prompt. You did that very well, Dan. And of course including Amazon and FB added fuel, or strain, to the fire. This was a great read!

    Like

    1. Thanks Jennie. Seeing what’s happening to communication and how everyone wants us to have smart things all around us, makes me enjoy and appreciate teachers like you. You talk. You read. You DO things with children! Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. The thing that messed me up last week was that we don’t have Alexa — or thought we didn’t. But we do use Amazing for movies and the like, and so have a firestick. AND THAT DAMN THING HAS ALEXA ON IT!!!! And the Alexa button is so so damn sensitive that it can be popped on if it touches a pillow in the bed. Mitchell checked and we had recordings, though they didn’t go far because we probably hit it sleeping. So I thin another conversation at the bar has to happen where someone tells all about a wild sex night where Alexa recorded it! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  22. That foggy Hartford image reminds me of Mumbai during the monsoons. I’m just waiting for the rains to arrive and soak us completely. Too hot right now.

    Like

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