A Double Dose of Detroit

If you have HBO service, you may have already viewed the movie 'You Don't Know Jack'.  I have been too busy, but will probably catch it on On Demand.  Since I know a few of those portrayed in the movie, I am curious to see HBO's version of events.  I am also looking forward to seeing if I can recognize Detroit area locations.

The reason I have been too busy to watch TV, is because I have been thoroughly wrapped up in reading 'Annie's Ghosts' by Steve Luxenberg.  This book also takes place in Detroit. 

Imagine that your mother dies and you find out that she had a sister you never knew about.  How could you suspect, when your mother told everyone she was an only child.  That is what happens to the Luxenberg family in 1999.  Once he finds out about Annie, Steve, who now lives in Baltimore, comes back to the Detroit area to find out the story of events.

For a non-fiction book, it reads like a good detective novel.  I guess it helps that the author is a journalist and the winner of two Pulitzer prizes. 

If you are looking for a good read, one where you might even say, 'Hey, I remember that', then this is your book.  They have it at the West Bloomfield Library (I'll return my copy tomorrow).

The Public Sector

Seems like a week does not go by without a letter to the editor or a story about how teachers, firefighters, police and all government employees should lose wages and benefits because someone in the private sector has lost theirs.  The contention is that these people are all over-paid and some suggest they have 'cushy' jobs.  Which makes me wonder why the letter writers did not opt for the public sector.

We all make career choices.  We all make choices about furthering our education.  Teachers and professional employees do not enter the work force at eighteen years of age fresh out of high school (as did many people I knew in the neighborhood I grew up in).  Many leave college with mountains of debt and four or five years of lost wages, to boot.

A report last year from Charles Ballard at Michigan State University was dissed by many people when it came out.  Now, a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes to the same conclusion as Professor Ballard:

BLS Reports on Employer Costs for Employee Compensation

On March 10, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its report: Employer Costs for Employee Compensation – December 2009. According to the BLS, at the end of 2009, employers in private industry paid employees total compensation averaging $27.42 per hour worked, consisting of $19.41 in wages and salaries (71% of the total) and $8.00 in benefits (29% of the total). By comparison, the total compensation costs for state and local government employees averaged $39.60 per hour, consisting of $26.11 in wages and salaries (66%) and $13.49 in benefits (34%).

However, the report warns that the compensation costs of state and local governments should not be directly compared with the costs in private industry due to differences in the occupational structures between the sectors.  The report notes that professional and administrative support occupations account for two-thirds of the state and local government workforce, compared with one-half of the workforce in private industry. 

Moreover, if average compensation costs for the “management, professional, and related” occupational group (which includes teachers) are compared, total compensation is similar for private industry and state and local governments, as shown in the following table:

                                           Employer Costs per Hour Worked
                      Management, Professional & Related Occupational Group
                                                             December 2009

      Private Industry                State & Local Governments 
 Avg. $/hour        % Total                Avg. $/hour         % Total
Wages & salary              $34.12                  71%                   $32.96                    68%
Benefits                             $14.07                  29%                   $15.19                    32%
Total Compensation      $48.19                100%                   $48.15                   100%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employer Costs for Employee Compensation – December 2009. Data compiled by Gabriel Roeder Smith from Tables 4 and 9.

The BLS report is available at: http://op.bna.com/dlrcases.nsf/r?Open=lswr-83elqz

Just a Friendly Reminder

This morning I noticed that the Oakland Press mentioned this blog on their front page (you must look closely to see it).  When the paper said they were looking for bloggers, I sent them an email dirtecting them to this site. I met with Editors Glenn Gilbert and Stephen Frye and agreed to have this added to their site.

Back when I started this in January, I said that it was for my own pleasure.  If my friends and family read and enjoy, that's great.  One of the options I have with this blog is 'comment moderation'.  That means that if someone leaves a comment, I get to decide if it gets posted on the site.

I don't know about you, but I get irritated when I read someone's blog and then another reader basically tells them they are an idiot and why did they write this.  Hey buddy, it's the writer's blog, it's free to you, and if you don't like it, move on.

I have dealt with enough negativity in my careers, both at the City of Detroit and in West Bloomfield.  I do NOT need to deal with it in retirement.  So, say nice things if you want to see them in print. 

That being said, the deer and rabbits eating everything in my yard (where is Elmer Fudd?) are still fair game and a good outlet for mine and your hostilities.

You Can't Believe Everything You Read

I have learned from experience that you can't believe everything you read in the newspapers, magazines, or see on TV.  I have always believed that if I read a non-fiction book, I should be able to trust the information.

Since I had mentioned 'The Last Train from Hiroshima' in one of the blogs, I decided to try to find a link for readers.  Boy, did I get a surprise when I did. 

Seems like all publication of the book is being dropped.  The publisher has some unanswered questions about one of the sources who provided information, among other issues.

 Henry Holt said it will not pull the book off shelves but is ending its relationship with the author and it will not print or ship any more copies. "The author of any work of non-fiction must stand behind its content," the publisher said in a statement.

There certainly seemed like more than enough information was available to him for the book.  I can't understand why he felt the need to embelish the story.  Another online article I read said that he interviewed someone who said they were on the Enola Gay, but in fact was not.  Seems like that is definitely something someone could verify before putting it in print.

I guess it is just 'reader beware'.

Garden Path

I think the front landscaping project is finished.  At least for now.  The project I was not planning on doing this year.

I will probably add some plants as the season goes on.  We'll see.  Anyway, all the grass that was there is now history.  Or at least what was left of the grass after the winter mole damage.

The photo above shows the old path which stayed in place.  The grass on the left is gone and now we have this:

The same sitting group has travelled from the side yard, to the back, to the front side, to where it now sits.  Smack dab in the middle.  It will be a nice place in the late afternoon and early morning. 

I have yet to fill the birdbath with water.  The deer came through the day after I planted the hostas and mowed them down.  While we were standing out front at three in the afternoon, we watched a doe gobble up all of the neighbor's tulips.

Well, I have a surprise for Miss/Ms/Mrs. Doe.  Her backyard nursery area is being turned into a dry river bed.  In a few weeks this area will look totally different.  Minus the deer and the grass.

My Apologies

OK.  I apologize.  One time only.  This is for all past and future misspelled words and extra or missing words in a posting.  Why they do not have spell check for this blog I do not know.  I cannot tell you how many times I proofread a post and then find an error, sometimes days later.  So, I am sorry. 

Aoccdrnig to a rschearcher at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

Here is a handy list, for reference, of common misspelled words.

Teaching Johnny to Read - or Not

Education seems to be all over the news this week.  The Detroit School Board won a decision in court to prevent the Emergency Financial Manager from doing pretty much anything.  Here is a man who has uncovered millions of dollars wasted in the system and the school board wants to put a stop to any changes for the betterment of education. 

Earlier this week, students at Warren Lincoln High School (my alma mater) protested the firing of their Principal.  Apparently, while the students and parents support him, the school board wanted him gone.  And the school board and administration will not discuss the matter.  Shouldn't this be public information?  I also heard through sources that the Warren Police threatened to arrest students who did not leave the high school property.  Gee.  I thought that was public property.  If the students were respectful, what was the problem? 

Though I have known many school officials over the years, I do not personally know any of the members of either of these school boards.  They may all be experts in the field of education.  My experience with elected officials also tells me that they may all know 'zip' when it comes to education.  One always hopes that the school administrators are qualified individuals and are more interested in the students' welfare than their own personal motives, certainly the case with Mr. Bobb in Detroit, but sometimes they are at odds with the wishes of the community they serve.

Moving from the local to the state level, we have pending legislation to encourage teachers to retire by changing benefits.  While I have personally known teachers who should have retired long before I (or even my children) ended up in their classroom, some of these old-timers are the best. 

I thank my lucky stars every day for Gertrude Bassett, my fifth and sixth grade teacher, who told me I could be anything I wanted if I worked as hard as I could.  She, along with other fine teachers I had, made a huge difference in my life, leading to that fully-paid four-year scholarship to college.  By the time I got to her classroom, she was a grandmother.  Good thing they weren't booting out the experienced educators in favor of new, cheaper models when I was in school.

Same Old, Same Old

I ran into someone I know today who said to me. 'Well, you got out (retired) at the right time.' 

A couple weeks ago someone asked me why, if all the local politicos in West Bloomfield are in the same party, are they still arguing.

Here is the deal as I see it: It has never been about partisan politics for those in office.  It is much more about ego and power.  And the abuse of both.

You cannot run for office without self-confidence and some ego.  You have to run thinking you are going to win.  But once there, you need to put your personal desires and ego in the closet.

Disagreeing on issues is to be expected.  Creating issues on which to disagree or embarass another person should be punishable by the public, i.e. removal at the next election.

I believe the reason the raucous behavior continues is because a large segment of the public likes 'Jerry Springer' politics.  And politicians know it.  Televise a local meeting and let it rip.

Unfortunately, some local decision making has become mindless entertainment for the masses.  And we wonder why we are in the state we are in.  Go figure.

Quick update

Was over at Clothes Bucket and found a drool worthy skirt. Reminiscent to the ones selling at Cotton On with its unique flouncyness and floral prints.

Both these designs are sold at RM40 only! I think the pictures I posted don't do justice to how colourful, bright and happy those floral prints are. Head on over there to have a closer look!

ThePopLook also never disappoints with their array of new clothings this time round. Love how their designs are always so unique and trendy. Something that caught my eye was this adorable skirt! I dun think this is from their new collection but even then, its darling!

Perfectly ruched with petal details at the waist line with the endearing slightly bubble silhouette. Going for RM62. Slightly pricey for me :(

This pleated shift dress is has the vintage feel and pairing it with the weaved belt gives it even more appeal. RM66!

This is called the buck dress. One of my favorites in their new collection. The dress is fully functional front buttons throughout and the gathering at the waist ensures it hugs your figure perfectly. Available for RM59.

Polka dots!! This time a subtle one. The design at the collar really stands out within the simple cutting of the dress. Also RM59 :)

For those of you who don't know, any purchases made with ThePopLook allows you to enjoy free poslaju/express within WM and only an additional flat rate of RM5 for people in EM, like me!!! I think that's a pretty great deal. So tempted to make a purchase from here soon!

Another newly updated blogshop is DailyBoutique. Spotted some alluring items there and as always at a very affordable price with even additional 5% discounts (*for selected items) if you add them as a fan in FB.

This chiffon dress in cream is to me slightly Grecian inspired. Classy without being over the top. Only RM40!

Another chiffon dress which comes in lavendar and green. Look closely and you can see subtle prints on the chiffon. The satin like material as the lining is just gorgeous. And only RM36!!

A conclusion to our toilet post

So for those of you who participated in our little social experiment, a very big thank you! So in the end based on our poll, egs readers are more or less split evenly between facing the wall and facing the door. with the votes being split 50-50. But as we said, there is indeed a correct way. What is this correct way you ask? Well, the correct way is *drumrolls*

Facing the DOOR!

How do we know this? Well i’ll directly quote from Wikipedia:

In contrast to alafranga (alla franca) flush toilets where the user puts his feet on foot rests; the user faces the entrance to the cubicle (Wikipedia, 2010)

But you know what, knowing the correct way most likely won’t change the way we use the squat toilet at all right? I mean I knew the correct way was to face the door since a couple years ago (when my family laughed at me when i for some reason happened to mention that i face the wall). But yet i still choose to face the wall. It just makes more sense for me that way. I mean isn’t it so much more convenient? If you face the door, you have to turn around to squat, then when you’re done you have to turn again to flush and finally turn one more time to exit. But if you face the wall on the other hand, you walk straight in, squat then stand and flush. Only when you leave you need to turn. I think that they should rethink the squat toilet design. But you know what, in japan the squat toilets are slightly different and you actually face the wall! I knew the Japanese were smart! Hehe.

So that’s it. Hope you all find that helpful. Haha. It just goes to show that we can never take something for granted. I mean something as basic as using a toilet can also be rather confusing right?

Tuesday's News

Came back from uni and was wondering what's new in the blogosphere today. And as always, the blogshops never disappoints, providing us with brand new updates everyday. From:

A simple dress with rocker style acid wash design. Even comes with a studded belt! One of my fav's from their new collection. Selling for only RM39.

Gorgeous rose printed skirt on a black base which makes the design even more prominent. You know my weaknesses for skirts so I have nothing but praises for this piece. And the even more irresistible part of this is its only going for RM29!! Cheapest floral high waist skirt so far.

This dress, what can i say? Its summery, flowy, flowery.  A laid back cut with a gathered waist. Imagine pairing it with a pair of wedges and accessories! RM38 only.

The basic cardigan which everyone needs, looks realllly comfy too. They're having a deal for this piece, buy 1 for RM36 and 2 for RM70!

Found a similar cardi selling at Do Not Bleach for almost the same price, RM38. I think cardigans are a staple of all wardrobes. Especially for me, I am utterly afraid of the cold and cardigans help keep me super snug and warm. Sometimes, a pashmina is good too! :P

Luscious Lips have also recently updated with some major goodies! I especially like the shimmer long top that comes with the chain. Annnd, I'm sure all of you noticed the jeggings trend, no? Well, they have 1 design in acid wash in store and at this moment it is still available! So for those who are on the hunt for one pair, hurry and click on the link ;)



Has anyone heard of south korean girl group, After School? Well if you haven't already, shame on you. Nah I'm just kidding. :P Anyways, their most recent single, 'BANG!' takes on the military concept and I think they pulled it off quite well. And mind you, those drums are not just for show; they've been training for months for this single. And I must say, they are so BLOODY good on their drums (Don't just take my word for it, youtube them). And I thought dancing and singing at the same time was tough enough.

They have really looooooooong legs!! *jealous*

Pink military!! *loves*

Anyways, let me get to the point. Me thinks military outfit is hawt. And if you haven't gotten any military yet, fret not, because forever fashionate is having a special promotion: Buy 2 pieces from the 'Military Inspired Collection' and you get free postage via poslaju! What a bargain!

Love, v

Hurry up to wakeupandgetdressed!

It's a Monday again. *sighs* I need to wake up early in the morning and get dressed for classes. But, hey there's actually this blogshop which is definitely worth your time to browse around. I think there's a lot of neat stuff to choose from. Here's a few great pics from this site.
Ain't this piece cute or is it just me? Pairing it with a grey leggings with the black top and a black tights with the grey top would make a set of clothes for twins or BFFs!

I would wear this to class. It's simple and casual, yet a subtle hint of being sweet and cute.

Not sure why it's called a Lipstick print dress, when you can still mismatch them with your other pieces from the wardrobe. But, another simple and casual look. I'd say suitable for going out with friends and yet still look very good =P

Hahaha.. yesh, I'm a fan of True Blood. Thus, vampires just came to my head when I saw this "Cute Smiley sweater"?

They also sell "Necklaces with Personality". Heck, I think I'd wear them according to thy mood of the day.
I'd wear this for Monday-Friday classes. *points at eye-bags*

I'd wear this when I feel great and love-ly. It is cute, okay?

And, I'd wear this for my mid-sem tests on Wednesday cause I'll be having two tests on that very day and I haven't really studied much..so yeah, wish me luck (T_T)

Anyways, the reason why I mentioned hurry up in the title of this post is because wakeupandgetdressed has this Grand opening sales which allows you to get 50% off the 3rd item you buy in the same purchase and it's ending on the 22nd of April, which is like this Thursday! Go to their site for more info and browse through it while you're at it. Or get some friends together and shop together, it's really fun. =)

The extremely tired, S

What better way to curb the monday blues than shopping?

Yes, our titles are more or less similar but hey i guess that's why we're such close friends right? hehe. ok, enough about that, on to some pretties to rid us of the monday blues!

Can't believe we've missed this, but I absolutely adore the bubblegum bags from Oh, popsicles! I must confess to having a slight obsession with bags and my favs are structured bags. But my gripe with structured bags are that they usually just come in brown and black. But not these:

Bubblegum bags from Oh, popsicles!
RM 55

And remember our steal the look: hyori post? Well, i found another plaid blazer from style influx. It's a bit pricey, RM 70 but judging from the photos alone the quality looks to be top notch.

Plaid blazer from style influx
RM 70

Another item that i love from style influx is their herve leger inspired panel dress. I just love the colour and the cut!

Herve leger inspired panel dress from style influx
RM 69
And that's it for now. Will update again soon with more goodies.
e.g.s girl H

Monday is near, we need some cheer!

Corny title eh? That's because I am approaching a Monday blues mode, and what better way to cure that than with a little dose of pretty things to look at ;)

Doublewoot has returned with yet another impeccable collection. I have myself personally purchased from Doublewoot twice already. In my experience, they have been efficient and the clothings are of good quality. Here's their recently updated runway inspired pieces!

These are the five pieces which I picked from their large collection that really caught my eye *especially the maxi!*. Needless to say, the pictures speaks for themselves!

Another blogshop which have updated with an overhaul of new items, this time accessories is Peep. The accessories are really eye-candy. In different hues of rich purple, pink and etc. Here's a sneak peek to some of them. To see more, just click on the link!

Found something nice over at Heaven4Angels. They've updated with lace kimonos and cheongsams! Utterly gorgeous.

This one blogshop I never had a personal experience dealing with, but for those of you who have, feel free to let us know your experience!

Always a pleasure updating for you girls ~M~

Me and the Prez

One of the books I was reading recently was 'The Last Train from Hiroshima'.  It is an excellent book, but very difficult to read.  The author is quite graphic about injuries.  I would read a chapter and then set it aside.  I had the same feeling about the horrors described when I read 'One Man's Castle' by Phyllis Vine, which also took me awhile to finish. 

I did not finish 'Last Train' and will take it out of the library in the future to do so.  I returned it to the library after the due date and had to pay a fine, a whopping ninety cents.  I handed the person one dollar and told her to 'keep the change.'  (generous, of me, I know)

While reading the newspaper this morning, I read that a former President of the United States owes a hefty fine to the New York City Library.  (Memories of the Seinfeld episode regarding the library cop, Mr. Bookman, and Jerry's overdue book ran through my mind.)  Turns out that ole George Washington borrowed two books that were due November 2, 1789 and have yet to be returned.  That's a fine of easily over $4,000. 

Question:  Did they just discover this?  I got an email that I owed the fine within a week, which I already knew.  Story says they found it in a ledger.  I'll bet most young people know as much about ledgers as they do about 'Funk and Wagnalls'.  And who has the time to browse old ledgers?  The article didn't say.

So, if you are going to be a library deadbeat, be in good company, but return the book.

Weekend is over..boohoo

But shopping continues as always :)

Dainty little blogshop just updated today and here are some stuff I like:

I love this piece! I can't seem to describe why though..I love it because the white part is just....so white...and the zig-zag stripes part is just so...I don't know!! The dress is simply love! [Gah I'm crazy]

From the selections I choose for reviewing, I noticed that I like black and white striped tops paired with black bottom wear, and this piece is 2-in-1. Perfect! I actually really like how they paired this piece with the necklace. I think it's an awesome combination.

This piece sure has a vintage feel to it. Although I'm not a big fan of vintage, I do like this one, and I think pairing it with a belt is genius!

On to bags from glossy addiction:

I've mentioned before that I'm addicted to glossy stuff (no pun intended, really) and this bag sure is glossy! The chains and studded side sure adds the grunge to the hobo!

Here's a similar hobo that can be doubled as a sling. It's bigger too, perfect for uni aight?

The slighty crazy e.g.s girl, v.

Hot, lazy day

*Sorry about the lack of updates. Our blogger was having problems with picture uploads.*

Came across a few harajuku lovers tees at thepoplook.com that I simply love! Problem is they're a bit pricey (RM89-109) for a poor student like me :( Regardless, I'm still sharing it for the sake of those who can afford them. I'm nice that way. Lol at self.

Here are some nice dresses from my vintage garden that I'm really tempted to purchase. Each of these at RM49.

I'm sure most of you have seen these knitted cardigans around right? They look awfully comfy; I can imagine myself attending the most boring lecture ever in an air-conditioned room...wearing this might be a good alternative to bringing my blankey to class =/ *cough*
Well, The Dazzle Razzle has got 'em selling for only RM44!

And lasty, this piece (the brown one) is on sale - RM25 at the october!

Too many temptations!! Brought to you by v.

Speaking of 'Googling'

Those of you of my generation will well remember the catch-phrase 'Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls'

In January, 1968, the year I would graduate from college, NBC debuted the comedy show "Laugh-in" and this would be an often repeated saying in groups along with the infamous 'Sock it to Me'.  While this is not a post about the show, it is a post about how our lives have changed in the 40+ years since the first show. 

No longer do we need to go to a library or buy our own e-n-c-y-c-l-o-p-e-d-i-a (as every Jiminy Cricket fan will remember) to look something up.  We google it.  (I first remember using 'Ask Jeeves.com')

Where was this search engine when I was working on my MBA and visiting every business library I could find?  Now, everytime I wonder about something, I head for the computer, google what I want to know and presto:  instant knowledge. I have yet to be disappointed that I could not find out what I wanted to know.

It would seem that the younger generation should be able to sock away a whole lot more trivia than I ever did, most of it only helpful now in doing crosswords.  Do they even know what an encyclopedia is?  I am sure they know what Wikipedia is.  And I am sure glad it is available.

And how big a fan of 'Laugh-in' was I, you ask?  For Halloween in 1969, I dressed up as Goldie Hawn with a wild purple dress and my (then) platinum blonde hair.  Hopefully, all photo evidence has been destroyed.

What would I do without Google? - Follow up

Last week I was driving down Orchard Lake Road and saw a sign that said:  West Bloomfield Art Fair  May 1

I thought it was odd that an art fair would only be one day.  I called and left a voice mail with a friend who I thought might know the reasoning of a one-day show.  She called and said that the fair was both Saturday and Sunday.  Another friend said it was a fair that moved from Orchard Lake to West Bloomfield.

Turns out they are both wrong.  I decide to google 'West Bloomfield Art Fair'.  As it happens there is a one day show in West Acres (is that what the sign said as I passed by at 45 miles per hour?) on May 1.  Although, many people driving down Orchard Lake Road would not even know where that is.

The art fair on Orchard Lake Road is:  July 30, 31 & August 1
8th Annual Orchard Lake Fine Art Show
West Bloomfield - new location!
Powers & Daly Roads, between 14 & 15 Mile

So, the Orchard Lake Art Show is in West Bloomfield, but not really on Orchard Lake Road. 
I learned all this on the internet.  I would have called Town Hall and asked someone, but while going to their website for another reason, I discovered that their offices were closed.  Unfortunately, I would only know that their offices were closed if I actually walked up to the door or went to the website.
Good thing I have a computer and internet access.  Thank you Google.

Follow-Up:  I have been told the sign just says 'Art Fair May 1'.  Huh?

Stress Relief

I have to echo with my blogmate about the temptation to shop and of course blog about shopping when stress from horrifying exams strikes. So in order for me to release some of that stress, I'm gonna talk about some fabulous finds which I came across today.

This particular dress has a story. I was just telling V that I really like this dress from Tic Tac Toe, however its sold out and I am also unwilling to pay RM 55 for a dress, *I'm stingy like that :P*. Lo and behold, a few seconds later received an update email from Dress2Dazzle. So I thought, what the heck, lets go check it out. What I saw made me write this post. They were offering the exact same dress for RM 45!!!! But unfortunately there's only black left. *psst...D2D, any chance of a restock?*. I've talked so much and haven't shown you girls the dress. Ta daahhhh,

Don't you think this dress is just dreeeeaaammmyy? Oh wells, may favorite colour is the pink/peachy one, but sold out in both blogshops.

Browsing through Tic Tac Toe revealed a few items which caught my eye. This little piece is demure and sweet. Sheer top and fitting bodice. Going for RM58 and I think all 3 colours (white, pink and black) are still available. So hurry up girls!

This lace number is also superb. The lace to me is not gaudy and exudes a sense of class and I love how she paired it with the black tights and pumps!

Thepoplook has also recently updated their collection. I have always loved what they have to offer but haven't had a chance to own one of their pieces yet. A few which caught my eye were,

Pretty pastels, nauticals, rompers and lots more instore. Some of items are already out of stock! Head on over for some stress relief, that's what I'm doing now :P ~M~

make the t shirts from here

T-shirt transfer-this is the only method that I ever try if you have a shirt I own. You buy a t-shirt transfer sheets, print design, and ir...