In defense of ugly jackets

(Or, if I were Hillary Clinton’s speechwriter.)

Do you see this jacket? It’s an Armani jacket. [beat]

I got this at the Goodwill for $12.50.What do you think it retails for? $5,000? $7,000? That’s what Donald Trump pays for his designer suits. [beat] [audience boos]

$10,000? No. It retails for $12,495.00. [beat] [audience boos]

But I paid $12.50 for it. Why? Because it’s ugly. I went to Goodwill and I had so much to choose from, an abundance of jackets, but I chose this one. Why? Because it was the most attractive one there. [beat] [audience laughs]

Would you wear this jacket outside the house? No. Nobody with good taste would. It’s warm, I’ll give you that. And roomy. Look how roomy it is. It’s well made. It is an Armani, after all. But it’s ugly. Not only wouldn’t you wear this outside the house, you wouldn’t wear it to a job interview.

Yet that’s what most of you, our working women today, have to choose from: ugly, uglier, and ugliest. [beat] [audience laughs]

You work hard to feed your families, to keep a roof over your heads. You sacrifice your needs for your children the best you can. You might go without eating because you gave the last of it to your children, without sleeping because you’re working two jobs to make what a man would make with one job, without love because you’re too tired to invest yourself in a relationship with a person who loves you. But no matter what you sacrifice, it’s never enough, is it? [beat] [audience shouts NO]

The light bill has to be paid. You’re living paycheck-to-paycheck because you aren’t being paid the same as the men and you look for a future where you fight to be paid what you deserve. You’re more qualified. You’re being overlooked and overworked. You decide—because you are a powerful woman who can set her own path [beat] [audience cheers]

—to find a new job. A better job. A job you deserve where you will be valued and paid what a man would be paid for the same job. You have an interview and now you have a dilemma: You don’t have appropriate interview clothes. You spent the last you had to feed your children and your next paycheck isn’t until next Friday.

So you borrow a few dollars and head to the thrift store to find an interview outfit. You look and look and look and you realize that your best option is … this.

This well-made designer jacket that retails for $12,500 but was given to Goodwill because it’s ugly and does not project the image of the powerful women you really are. It doesn’t say, “I deserve this job because I’m the best qualified.” It says, “I’m a schlub.” It doesn’t say, “I deserve this job because I’m calm, cool, and collected and can manage crises extraordinarily well.” It says, “I’m useless.”

You know the value of a dollar. You have to because you aren’t making as much as men do for the same job, and minimum wage just isn’t enough to feed your family anymore. I have dedicated my life to ensuring that all hardworking Americans have the chance to succeed, no matter their circumstances.

I have led the charge for equal pay for equal work. [beat]

I have expanded access to early childhood education and healthcare. [beat]

I have worked tirelessly to raise the minimum wage and advocate for out-of-work Americans because I believe that every American should have the right to achieve economic security and income opportunity. [beat]

You’ve been in this ugly jacket for too long. You deserve better than this jacket. You deserve to be paid what men are paid for the same job and you deserve better than minimum wage!

The value of knowledge

Knowledge is power. Time is money.
Knowledge is power. Time is money.

And this is where slogging through Number One’s crazymaking was worth this gem: “You paid for your training in sweat, money, tears, and sometimes blood. Why are you giving it away?”

As some folks know, my day job is formatting ebooks and designing print books, and otherwise helping authors get where they want to go in the world of self-publishing. I consult with nonprofits, corporations, and churches to manage their in-house publishing divisions.

Occasionally, someone will come along who wants my help, and they start picking my brain about general things because they don’t know where to start and the plethora of information on the internet is almost as bad as no information at all. No problem. I like helping people, answering their questions. After all, there are people who handed little nuggets of wisdom down to me when I didn’t even know what questions to ask. The companies who hire me pay for all this advice.


There comes a point where the potential client is not picking my brain so much as trying to learn how to do my job. I can always tell when they get to that point because they’re asking specific formatting questions, but they’re not asking the right questions.

This is where I stop responding to their emails.

This summer was difficult for me work-wise. So when a potential client continued to email me to mine my brain after I’d already invested several hours in him, I stopped responding because I simply didn’t have any more time to spare for him.

And then I got a nasty note berating me for not helping him. He did offer to pay for my “exclusive time,” but not until after he’d had his say.

This is where my viewpoint differs from Number One’s. I don’t feel like I’m giving my knowledge away for free, I feel like someone is trying is trying to steal from me. They don’t value my knowledge, my time, or my skill, therefore, it’s fair game.

Coincidentally, today I went googling for a user’s manual for a 40-year-old tool. It was online, free, a scan of the original user’s manual. I don’t know who did that, but I will be forever grateful.

Knowledge comes with a price. In my case, it was time. I don’t mind donating a little of it, but time (like money) is a finite resource. My family has to eat. And sometimes, an hour makes a big difference.


I have assimilated. Sorta.

I have/had a Dell laptop I’ve had for 5 years. That thing has been a workhorse, but it had been having a couple of problems I either found a workaround for or put up with. It was on and cooking 12-18 hours a day every day. It had been reformatted twice, hauled around on vacation and to the library to work on it.

I go through keyboards like crazy because eventually the letters wear off and the fingernail grooves get too deep. That’s not why I get rid of them. I wear them out until they stop working. But I have an external monitor and wireless keyboard and mice. The most vulnerable parts of the machine were protected.

So my laptop’s been well taken care of, the keys are still relatively pristine, as is the screen. I was running XP Pro with Office 2000 (you can see my reasons why here).

But 5 years is a long time and beyond its expected lifespan. Dude was getting worried it would die in the middle of a huge deadline. We decided to get a new laptop. Now, I trust Dude with these decisions and he’s an ASUS fanboy, so I now have a shiny new ASUS.

Intel Core i5-2430M CPU @ 2.4GHz
6.00G RAM
Win7 Professional

We’ve had it since April, actually. Dude’s been using it. I customize a computer to beyond an inch of its life and I really didn’t relish the fact that I would have:

1. a completely new operating system
2. incompatibility of my preferred work tools
3. unfamiliar new work tools
4. moving data
5. customizing those new work tools

I also had a Western Digital external hard drive we bought in 2004-2005 that held all my archives. Since it WAS the backup, I hadn’t felt the need to HAVE backup on it. Oh woe was me. Little did I know that it was on its last legs and this move killed it. I may or may not have unplugged it from the computer before it was supposed to have been.

Dude spent three days with a very kind Samaritan retrieving the data. There are other issues with the data now, but it’s there. I have it. This guy is a peach for helping us and here is his information: James Litten Watch the video. Seriously, people, give this guy business. He deserves it. I cannot stress this enough.

So I’m almost totally moved in. I cannot stand the fact that this OS’s changes seem to encompass how it looks. As far as I can see, the only reason it exists is to make the roundy corners on dialog boxes transparent and wavy. Whatever else it does, I don’t know. Please feel free to enlighten me below.

The first thing I do when I move into a computer is change the theme to resemble, as closely as possible, Win95. The new start menu was completely unintelligible and/or takes more clicks than it needs to. I started pinning things to my task bar immediately.  But I still couldn’t deal with the interface. So I found this tool: Classic Shell XP (because XP was good about letting you have the 95 look). I still have the little wavy in the toolbar, but okay.

HOWEVER, my hatred for moving was borne out by the fact that while Office 2000 and Acrobat 7.0 Standard WILL run on Win7, their functionality is rendered nearly useless for my purposes. Every time I closed Word 2000, it said it had crashed. Acrobat 7.0 can’t be installed as a printer driver at all. This is purposeful on Adobe’s part and I’m coming to despise Adobe almost as much as I despise Apple.

Then I found XP Mode/XP Virtual Machine, which…crashed when I tried to install Acrobat 7.0 as the printer driver. I was despondent, thinking I’d have to buy an upgrade. Why? Why is this necessary, Adobe? What functionality have you added that I actually need? None.

I went on eBay, where I always get my software a couple of versions back and for CHEEP! I found this listing. Then I Googled what this is selling for everywhere, so clearly this listing was the JACKPOT! Now, I’ve been on eBay since dirt and have had about two bad buying experiences and it’s because I know how to read the listings. What’s wrong with that one? Rant in the comments below. (Now I see there are new listings.)

So I’m back to the sinking feeling I’d have to buy Acrobat X. I had some difficult (for me—shut up, this is traumatic!) decisions to make.

In the meantime, I needed two antispyware and antimalware utilities, which CNET conveniently had. Both gave me viruses and/or adware and/or spyware. CNET, you are worse than useless. You are perpetuating computer disease and whatever trust you have built up over the years is gone. I want everyone to know you are destroying computer health with these bullshit downloads.

Dude had a copy of Office 2010 he got from his work for a minimal charge, so I sucked it up and installed it after I read that it had a function to “save as PDF.” Another reason was because I had to do a quote PDQ and needed a PDF that wasn’t created with some cheap-ass generic PDF maker. Getting my into this fucker was a nightmare. I still don’t know where the normal.dotm is stored, but I was FINALLY able to find where to point it to my preferred folder for templates.

That’s another thing. I’m very specific about where I want what stored. I have C: for the OS and program files. I have D: solely for data. Something I consider data is my Word and Excel templates. So I put those in D: and boy did Word 2010 make me work to find the way to set that. It imported all my macros and styles, but it still didn’t import my toolbars from, but that’s because Microsoft has totally borked the purpose of toolbars. Don’t these people actually use the products they design? So now I’m faced with the task of rebuilding my toolbars and preferences and getting used to it. Cry for me, Argentina.

Well, I found out that Word 2010 really DOES “save as” PDF. HALLELUJAH. I may have done a victory jig. (Pix or it didn’t happen.) Until…I tried to print to a different page size. It seems that 8.5×11 is the default with no way to edit the page size to 6×9, for example. And I still don’t know if those PDFs are acceptable for Lightning Source. I also don’t know what effect using Word 2010 will have on the Smashwords documents I create. I guess I’ll find out next week when I upload the next installment of Dunham.

My next problem was Flash. Isn’t it always. The Shockwave Flash plugin for Firefox was crashing like crazy. I had to disable the damned thing and trust me, after having been denied access to Flash on my iPad, I was not willing to do so on my PC. Apparently this is a common problem, as evidenced by posts and no solutions. How the fuck do you not have a solution after two years?

Really, it seems many of my problems are caused by the change to a 64-bit system from a 32-bit system.

This has been going on since last Tuesday. What used to take me around 8 hours has taken me almost a week of dedicated effort. (No, I don’t use a moving wizard because I like to customize as I go.)

What I still have to do is:

1. transfer the data from my dead hard drive (currently on Dude’s computer)
2. customize Word and Excel 2010, and…
3. wait for and install Adobe Acrobat X that I ended up buying.

UPDATE 7:14PM CDT: It appears that Firefox and Google want to protect me from myself, but because I hadn’t updated Firefox in FOREVER, I was unaware of this bullshit, and now that I’m running the latest version of Firefox, I’ve got brand new annoyances to deal with.