NICKELED AND DIMED BY CITY OF BOISE

March 16, 2009

So I got a parking ticket in downtown Boise last week.  And yup, it was my fault.  I left my car parked in a metered spot in front of my work building for a little too long.  I wasn’t thrilled, but I can’t really blame anyone else, can I?

Well, checking out the back of the ticket for info on how to pay the dang thing, I noticed that one can now pay off tickets by visiting www.cityofboise.org.  So I went there and sure enough, there’s a new function called “e-payment.”

“Woot!  I don’t have to write a check or call the dang place anymore,” I thought to myself.  (Not that I get tons of tickets, but I think I’ve gotten one once before forever ago.)  I filled out the information I needed to and clicked submit.  Then, whaddya know?  There’s a $2 service charge for paying online.  A two-freaking-dollar service charge on a $12 ticket!  Do you believe that?!  And what’s worse, they didn’t even mention it until the end.

Dear El,

Oops!  It appears, now that your transaction is nearly complete, you owe us 17% more money than you thought you did!  Sorrr-rrry.

Sincerely,
City of Boise

At least I could’ve gotten the above mocking email to go with it.  Then I would’ve felt properly ripped off.

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IS YOUTH WASTED?

February 25, 2009

Nobel Prize-winning playwright George Bernard Shaw famously said, “Youth is wasted on the young.”

I bring this up today because of something I randomly thought about while vacuuming. On Sunday, Sean Penn won his second Academy Award for his role as Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay elected official, in the film Milk.

However, 27 years ago, in the Cameron Crowe-directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Penn played a dimwitted, surfer-stoner by the name of Jeff Spicoli. During a dream sequence, Spicoli was being asked by a reporter about two fellow surfers, and his response was, “Those guys are fags.”

With the film history lesson now over, this all jogged a thought inside my fucked up little brain. We all have done things in our past that we will be remembered for and that we wish we could just forget.

I don’t know the man, but from what I have seen from him in the last decade or so of his life in the spotlight, I am guessing that quote was one that he would never say in person, and I am sure regrets saying.

For me personally, I know the mistaken things I’ve said, and the comments I have made are not the kindest or most thought-provoking, but that is who I was–and part of who I became and who I will be.

Youth is a part of the practice of attempting to perfect this thing we call life.

We are allowed the opportunity as youths to have a sense of innocence and ignorance to do things that later on we realize were boneheaded, but if you don’t experience these moments, you will never live life.

So as much as Penn probably shakes his head at that role way back in ’82, I am sure he has laughed at it knowing he feels like his youth was never wasted.


MICRON JOB LOSSES

February 24, 2009

This is bigger than just Micron, and everyone in the Valley should take notice of what’s about to happen. Housing will plummet again. The restaurants, florist, grocery stores, etc. around Micron and all over Boise will be affected by the shutting down of the wafer departments.

And think about Boise State’s enrollment and work with Micron. Will there be a decline there, too?

It’s going to get bad.


THE BEST SPEECH FROM LAST NIGHT’S OSCARS

February 23, 2009

I nearly missed the Academy Awards last night as I zoned out fiddling around with the new ELTRAV.COM header logo while NBA basketball on ESPN served as background noise.  In fact, if the idiot announcers hadn’t kept debating whether or not LeBron James deserved an Oscar, it probably wouldn’t have even registered in my brain that the show had started over on ABC.

I’m already way off topic.

I know my blog hasn’t even officially re-launched at this point and I hadn’t intended to post anything for a while still, but the acceptance speech by Dustin Lance Black last night, after he won for Best Original Screenplay, knocked my socks off.  Of course, when Sean Penn won later on for Best Actor, he took off in much the same tone, but I felt Black’s oration last night was fantastic.  And I thought it appropriate to post here in case anyone missed it, and so I can refer people here to read it later:

Oh my God. This was, um, this was not an easy film to make. First off, I have to thank Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg and all the real-life people who shared their stories with me. And, um, Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco and our entire cast, my producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, everyone at Groundswell and Focus for taking on the challenge of telling this life-saving story. When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life. It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and then maybe even I could even fall in love and one day get married.

I wanna thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you, God, for giving us Harvey Milk.

Well put, sir.

It’s a damn ridiculous shame that LGBTers are still considered second-class citizens in this day and age.  Wake up, people!  They’re here, they’re queer, and I swear to whatever God you believe in, they truly are not going to go anywhere.  So get over your outdated biases and let’s move forward.  What say?

Sorry, I was going to stop there, but I thought I should include a few words exchanged today in email between myself and a friend of mine:

HER:

When will these decisions be wrenched from the clutches of committees and commissions? How dare they be allowed to make to send down edicts from on high. Marriage isn’t about the damn community; it’s about a couple. Stop telling gays they don’t have the same rights to love, triumph, struggle or even divorce as any hillbilly or racist or addicted or violent member of a hetero couple. Enough already.

Sorry. I’m a little disdainful myself at the moment.

——————–

ME:

I love you for that rant!  And I love screenwriter Dustin Lance Black for his acceptance speech at the Oscars last night!

CHRIST, I AM SO FREAKING TIRED OF INTOLERANCE!!!

——————–

HER:

Me, too, brother. Me, too. And I too love Black and Sean Penn. Not only did they make a fine film, they believed in its message.

The haters are holding on to this one because they won’t have anyone left to hate once gays are treated as the equal—hell, sometimes better—members of society that they are. They hated women; now we vote. They hated blacks; can you say President Obama? They hated the disabled; now those people have their whole own goddamn Olympics. Maybe, if like toddlers, we can divert their attention to something else that could use a good hating on like killer bees, we can soon look forward to a black lesbian leader.

I swear that’s it. 🙂

I wish I could drop a nifty closing statement like “The End” here, but honestly, it doesn’t ever seem to end…