Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Building a website

I am looking to build a website, ok that is a joke. I am looking to hire a website developer for a small job. There are lots of you on cvilleblogs I am interested in supporting, so please drop an email to jlm2z@hotmail.com for further information. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

AMA seminar

I went to the American Marketing Association (Central Virginia Chapter) monthly seminar, the topic was "Marketing on a Shoestring". A smart audience member sang the praises of blogs- I think Jim and others would agree, blogs are great tools for marketing services and products. For instance, I found out about the seminar from the AMA's blog.

The panelists were exceptional (I thought). I know virtually nothing about marketing so I learned something every time someone said something. From the blog here are the panelists:
Representing Radio Olivia Branch (WMRA-NPR)
Pam Fitzgerald (The Ivy Group): Advertising, Design and Website issues.
Rusty Giles (Mid Atlantic Printers): Printing
Geoff Kilmer (Photoworks Creative Group): Trade Show Exhibits
Denny King (Paladin Pictures): Audio & Video Production
Jim McCabe (WCAV CBS19/WVAW ABC15/ WAHU Fox27 Television): Television
Ann McKenzie (The Daily Progress): Newspaper

The group generally focused on the best way to advertise with a limited budget. Needless to say, I will be using them in the coming years. I like the idea of sponsorship and all the great advertising that comes from it and sticking to your design (even if you are bored with it). Imprint the brain, apparently that is the ticket to succeeding in selling.
A few names thrown out at the seminar
"Everybody rides"
Plan 9
Harlan McGuire- um why are they going out of business? Where will I get my diamond cleaned for free again?
Whimsies, Beverlys, Shenanigans
I definitely recommend checking out future AMA Central Virginia offerings. They seem to have a good thing going.

Renter's Insurance

Chris worked a structure fire this weekend. The unit and its contents were completely destroyed by the smoke and fire. The Department did not have to put any water on it since the fire eventually ran out of oxygen. Apparently the fire started when a candle (lit because of the power outage) went out of control.

The family was left homeless and without most of their belongings. The Christmas tree was burned and all the child's gifts were destroyed. Thankfully the family was not injured. The family had no renter's insurance. See also Daily Progress article on South 1st St fire a day after the fire Chris worked.

In Virginia renter's insurance is not required although a landlord covered by the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act may require it. Landlords who require it have to follow the very specific requirements of the law.
Key components of the law
1) Only covers Act landlords (which has specific requirements including number of units owned by the landlord)
2) Tenants can acquire their own insurance and must be notified in writing of that right.
3) If the landlord acquires the insurance, he/she must put the tenant as a co-insured so that the tenant can have privity of contract with the insurance company (since the tenant is paying premiums on the insurance)
4) The sum of security deposit plus renter's insurance (or damage insurance) can not be more than 2 month's rent.

I say all of this as information NOT advice (sorry for all the caveats) if you are a tenant, renter's insurance is a great and affordable investment. If you are an Act landlord, consider requiring this insurance to protect your investment. Consult an attorney to determine whether you are an Act landlord and for the best way of writing this language into your lease. Consult an insurance agent for costs and coverage of such insurance.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Pregnancy discrimination at GH

Kari Wuhrer was fired by General Hospital, her last airdate was in November (that long?). She played Reese on the soap, she was involved with Sonny (the mobster, she was a rehabilitated FBI'er). Frankly I despised her character and apparently knew way before she did that her character was not long for this world (as is the case with most of Sonny's women)
She is now suing alleging pregnancy discrimination.

Washington Post reports that more and more women are fighting back against pregnancy discrimination. Before I wrote a paper on the matter in law school, I did not realize this form of discrimination was prohibited. Virginia does not incorporate pregnancy into its discrimination statute therefore plaintiffs have to go to Federal Court. Federal court is more expensive for clients, although a complaint can be lodged to the EEOC which has to act on the complaint within 120 days or something really quick (j/k). Below I have some legal information regarding the PDA (only information not advice please contact me directly if you need legal advice).

FOR YOUR INFORMATION- employers should not ask about marriage or children in an interview or attempt to glean that information in the application process unless it is based on a bona fide occupational qualification
29 CFR 1604.7 PRE-EMPLOYMENT INQUIRIES pre-employment inquiry may ask ``Male........., Female.........''; or ``Mr. Mrs. Miss,'' provided that the inquiry is made in good faith for a nondiscriminatory purpose. Any pre-employment inquiry in connection with prospective employment which expresses directly or indirectly any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to sex shall be unlawful unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification.

This website has interesting information on Title VII, Civil Rights Act, from a business perspective.
Finally- this from Baylor's business school- a good summary of the act.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 1. Prohibits termination or refusal to hire or promotion of women solely because they are pregnant. 2. Bars fixed pregnancy leave conditions. 3. Protects reinstatement rights of women on pregnancy leave.

4. Treats pregnancy as any other disability under fringe benefit plans (very relevant to most pregnant women since some are told 'disability is different than maternity leave therefore do not qualify for disability benefits supplied by the company').
29 CFR 1604.10 Employment policies relating to pregnancy and childbirth.
(a) A written or unwritten employment policy or practice which
excludes from employment applicants or employees because of pregnancy,
childbirth or related medical conditions is in prima facie violation of
title VII.
(b) Disabilities caused or contributed to by pregnancy, childbirth,
or related medical conditions, for all job-related purposes, shall be
treated the same as disabilities
caused or contributed to by other
medical conditions, under any health or disability insurance or sick
leave plan available in connection with employment
. Written or unwritten
employment policies and practices involving matters such as the
commencement and duration of leave, the availability of extensions, the
accrual of seniority and other benefits and privileges, reinstatement,
and payment under any health or disability insurance or sick leave plan,
formal or informal, shall be applied to disability due to pregnancy,
childbirth or related medical conditions on the same terms and conditions as they are applied to other disabilities
.
(c) Where the termination of an employee who is temporarily disabled
is caused by an employment policy under which insufficient or no leave
is available, such a termination violates the Act if it has a disparate
impact on employees of one sex
and is not justified by business
necessity.

PDA violations can be very subtle but incredibly damaging to a woman's career. It is common for women to feel as though they should just deal with it (because in general they are too busy balancing all other aspects of their lives). However, some of what these women are tolerating is unlawful and should contact an attorney if they have any questions.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Updates

Two entries this week involved stories with interesting conclusions. My favorite is the SF, CA Starbucks 'bomb' found in a bathroom. Well turns out the flashlight bomb, was only a flashlight. What the...? I will no longer disparage the WP for its coverage of this story. My favorite understatement in this article from teh FBI "absence of explosive material" My guess is that authorities in SF knew this therefore the coverage was muted. With that I move onto the next update...

Pat Robertson has apologized for his comment that God was smiting Ariel Sharon. Robertson's business interests trump his religious conviction in this insistence. According to the article Israeli officials canceled the contract he had to build a Christian tourist center on the Sea of Galilee, no one knows whether this apology will make the plans move forward.

Audience

I am looking forward to my audience returning from his vacation so I will feel inspired to blog again! Thankfully this week has been relatively quiet except the VA General Assembly new session opening. Honestly lots of people are blogging about that (including Waldo's RSS feed and Sorensen's blog).
Andy Block at the Legal Aid Justice Center has been selected to be in the Sorensen PLI this year. AS I am sure all the folks selected, Andy is a particularly wise selection. Good luck to him and the all the fellows.
Back to raising children... BTW they are doing great grandpa and miss you very much.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

CvilleBlogs

Thanks to Jagermeta for the logo (and ability to use) for cvilleblogs.com. Both are on sidebar, so visit them often.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

City Parks

Trying to find an article in the archives of the Daily Progress I ran into this gem. The City Parks are 'tired.' Of course Waldo at cvillenews.com blogged about this a month ago (where was I on that day?).

Charlottesville services are generally very good. However, we use the parks frequently, I am particularly outraged at the pool situation. The kids will play on any playground equipment (tired or not) but the hours of the big pools (Washington and Meade) are so limited as to be irrelevant for working families.

I spent five years of my impressionable years in Glen Ellyn, IL (before moving here in the 80's). Sunset Park was my family's refuge for those long, hot summer days. At the time there were three pools and a playground, the pool was open till 9:00 on those summer nights (although there were occassional swim meets, we would walk all the way down there after dinner to be told we couldnt swim, those times were few and far between)/

With that as background, I return to Charlottesville with two toddlers and the pools close at 6 or 7 depending on the day (and at 5 possibly at the baby pools). We would rush to the pools after dinner to get in a few minutes of activity for the boys and their daddy, only to have to leave soon afterwards. I would appreciate at least one big pool staying open till 9:00. The Parks can remain tired but make it so that they are relevant to the families who are using them.

Starbucks bathroom bomb

Last night, Chris told me a bomb was found in a bathroom at a Starbucks in San Francisco, CA. A few things went through my mind (a) how come I didnt know this first? (I like it when I know stuff first in our relationship) (b) a bomb in Starbucks that seems like a big deal.

Apparently I was mistaken. The Post did not even have an article about it in this morning's paper. I admit I probably get an early edition of the paper but the incident happened around 4:00 EST yesterday, plenty of time to cut and paste an AP story into the paper. After searching the website, I finally found the story (off the wire section of the Nation).

As I have stated previously, I have a freak out mentality when it comes to bombs, snipers and other forms of terrorism, I tend to worry especially since I spent the past seven years in the Metro DC area (more importantly the last 4 years). As a country are we more immune to such finds thus making the fact only marginal news?

Cville Market

Finally I had an opportunity to go to the Cville Market. I had not been since I came back to Charlottesville. It had changed, not too much though. I was surprised at the nice local and upscale products they had. If they sold unique frozen food and cereal, they could be Trader Joes. I do like the local flavor- Albemarle Baking Co, meat from a farm in Crozet and more (!).
The store's neighbors are equally interesting- an Asian Market, bread place and Christian fellowship hall, and really a lot more. Overall it is a great little slice of Charlottesville.

Monday, January 09, 2006

TV!

Now that the holidays are over, networks are finally putting on new shows again. I watched a new West Wing last night. (Sidenote- the episode was made even more poignant by John Spencer on 12/16, it focused on his character preparing for a debate).

Last week I watched new Office, Earl and Scrubs. I promise I am not that big of an NBC person, I suppose they were just first off the block. I do not appreciate ABC's recap episodes in place of new programming (Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives (which I do not watch), Lost and I am sure others). This week Lost & Grey's Anatomy are new. Santa brought me some new RW DVDs since the old ones appear to be worn so I am ready for new programming and February sweeps.
One would think with the dearth of new programming I would be watching General Hospital (taped of course) alas I have completely lost interest. I still pay attention to the GHH website for spoilers/rumors. I am sure the loss of interest is temporary.

The Frontline series Country Boys starts tonight. I may have to record it, although it conflicts with other recording on Tuesday and Wednesday. I heard the producer (director I dont know) talking about it on Day to Day (thank you Radio IQ) and the commercials for it are compelling. Clearly it is on my 'to do' list, reading the website, apparently I can watch the whole thing online- we may have to record it that way- COOL. Browsing the Frontline website reveals even more interesting programming including a Soldiers Heart.

Well this is more about TV than I have written about in ages, frankly I am a bit embarrassed - I will get over it in time to watch!

Overcoming

I regularly visit the unoffical Ivan Basso fan blog which gives me information on my favorite professional cyclist in English (since Basso's site is in Italian). I really enjoy the fan's comments and all the information e.g Basso was hit by a car the day after Christmas, he is ok, AND his wife is having another baby- he is quite the family man.
The blogger suggested the movie Overcoming. This is a movie about Team CSC and the 2004 Tour de France. The 2004 Tour was thrilling until the final time trial up Alpe d'Huez when Armstrong blew Ivan Basso out of the water. SO having this backstage view of it is so cool.
I havent seen all the extras (the winter training season is long so I am sure I will).

Cycle Sport had Basso on the cover last month with an in depth article (and lots of rather awesome photos).

It was the first time I read that magazine (or any cycling magazine not online), it was full of good gossip and interesting cycling news. I would definitely get it again. For example, did you know that a cycling team manager heard that Sony Erickson was sponsoring a team. That manager then went out a recruited several cyclists for this team, per contact at the company. Well...guess what? Sony was NEVER considering sponsoring a team (too bad- they really should) and all those cyclists and the manager are SOL. The cyclists have been scrambling to get contracts with other teams but many had said no to previous offers which were rescinded, so they are just left hanging. The sport is not good to its participants.

Anyway, the movie is great, it is a welcome break from winter mindset and makes me look forward to the racing season (both Chris' and the professionals).

Thursday, January 05, 2006

This man has an explanation for Everything

Pat Robertson believes God is smiting Sharon for his "dividing" God's land.

Armed Robberies in Charlottesville

Generally I do not watch the news here in Charlottesville. I was addicted to the news in northern virginia and here I dont feel the constant threat of terrorist attacks like I did there so I watch the news less.

So I am driving home this AM from my walk with mom (thanks!) and I hear the short news break on the radio.
One story involved a suspicious package at Fashion Square mall that left parts of the mall closed for several hours.
The other story involved a string of armed robberies (2) over the course of a day (three suspects at large).

These armed robberies come on the heels of additional robberies lately an armed robber attempted to rob a woman walking on the 2100 block of JPA on New Year's Day (she sprayed them with pepper spray) and before Christmas there were at least two attempted robberies in parking lots (Barracks Road and KMart Shopping Center).
Anyone with information call Crimestoppers at (434) 977-4000

I hope the police catch these guys soon. The thing about northern virginia news is generally I never had any clue about where these crimes were happening, in Charlottesville I always know where it is.

TV Show "Book of Daniel" News

Does it ever work to generate controversy about a show to get it cancelled or preempted? Well apparently yes-The show has been preempted by some NBC affiliates (CNN reports). I would have predicted this show to be a nonstarter given NBC's abysmal ability to attract viewers, but now I think people may actually watch the shows. Americans really hate to be told they shouldnt watch something then for the show to be actually censored...well who knows the show may be a hit with all this great publicity.

The Book of Daniel refers to Old Testament scripture. This article explains some controversy over the interpretation of the Book of Daniel. The article demonstrates the choas that reigned during Daniel's era. I suppose the show on NBC (to give them a bit of undeserved understanding) attempts to use the choas of the character's life and gain valuable insight from his faith. Not really sure since I havent seen the show.

Alas American Family folks (not to be confused with friendly people) havent seen the show and are condemning it, forcing some affiliates to dump the show.
This post on the DailyKos amuses and delights regarding Book of Daniel.

Attempting to Google the actual show is pretty difficult given all the media and hate propoganda filling the internet about the show. My favorite quote is from Aiden Quinn the star who says it is a "wholesome" show.

I probably wont watch it because I am pretty busy and have a hard time getting into new shows (Grey's Anatomy excluded). BUT I am contemplate an act of religious disobedience and WATCH (cue surprise music).

Texas Won?

When I went to bed, USC was up by a lot and it was the 4th quarter. Darnit! The comeback must have been amazing (as reported by ESPN). I did get to see Bush get a touchdown by flying through the air (pretty cool).

Foreboding

On the cusp of peace, ok still really a long way from peace in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, still somewhat closer than they have been in a long time a leader is struck down, perhaps not permanently (hopefully not). This is the second leader whose health (or life as in Rabin's case) has or may derail(ed) his contributions to the long term peace prospects in the Middle East. WP writes about Sharon's condition. CNN still has articles on Rabin's death ten years ago.
Domestic concerns on both sides also dominate since elections are upcoming (or continually postponed in Palestinian areas). Naively I know, I continue to pray for peace so people can live their lives and raise their children without war as a backdrop.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Year- New Books

Finally back at the computer with a moment of time to spare. What did I think when I started this blog? I thought I would have time to update on all the interesting goings on regularly. The holiday season has killed that illusion.
After buying for everyone this season, now I get to buy for myself (thanks!). First gift card to go, Barnes and Noble. Three books (a new low) I still have 8 dollars on it, but you can hardly find anything for that price there.

1) Intelligent Investor- Frank D recommended it to learn how to um.. invest wisely. He seems to know how to make his money work for him, I want my money to work for me- the book is large and small print (ugh). The book was written a long time ago but there were many copies available at the store so it must be good. I will start it soon after I read these other books.

2) What's the Matter with Kansas? I know I am behind the times but everyone I like loves this book so much, I thought I should read it.

3) Everyone Worth Knowing- this was my trashy novel pick, it is by the author who wrote the Devil Wears Prada. I stayed up until 3 AM reading it. It is a great trashy novel. I loved it. I am in denial about liking novels, I always buy this great non fiction books, some of which hold my attention and are interesting, but others ugh I am just bored by. I bought Sydney Blumenthal's book last year- I read about 1/3 of it. I enjoyed the parts I read, but it did not hold my attention like "The Nanny Dairies" or other fun fiction. My attention span has really diminished since having kids.

Being a homeowner now, I received a gift card to Lowe's; decisions, decisions. Do I get something practical (carpet for the kids room) OR fun like outdoor furniture (perhaps a fireplace)? What great problems to have. Also I get to shop at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports- that should be fun- I think I will not buy a kayak (David would love it though- but he has plenty of toys to play with after two big Christmas').
Now to restock our house with food. Amazing how a week away can make the fridge appear so sparse.