My Big Fat Greek Vacation

Here are the pictures from my trip to Greece. I had a wonderful time.  More later:


We met some wonderful people in Greece.  They were nothing like you’d see on our news channels. They welcomed immigrants. They helped as much as they could. They welcomed Brian and me and treated us fantastically.  I was surprised because they were more worried about my existence in America with the police brutality than anything. We had great conversations. 

Translation was a bit rough to begin, but we memorized tram stop signage. We were able to get back and forth from our hotel to Kalamaki Beach or down to the “tourist” district. The Tourist District was all shopping.  We only went for trinkets to take home. We spent more time at the beach.  I will say that the Sunset Cruise we took, was way more worth it!  We’d sail, swim, eat, swim, sail and watch the sunset. It was so worth the trip. 

High Note: I lost major weight eating and walking here.  My back didn’t hurt as much. I was able to do things. Low Note: We had to go home to go back to work.

Comm 620: Visual Storytelling I — Assignment Three

This assignment is an audio interview project. I decided to focus on one of my residents from where I work because I see this man every Wednesday, alone, painting miniatures for gaming. No one really talks to him. No one says much to him. However, I noticed him. Nearly a year ago, I said, “Hi.” This is only audio. I do plan on reposting after I have completed this semester to add visual content with the audio.

Mr. Wayne Hansen

The Person Your Parents Aren’t Talking to Online

Tech-novice grandparents are taking over social media to communicate with friends and family. However, when it comes to talking with their doctors, their signal falls silent.
Seniors are missing out on online conversations with their doctors

Seniors are a steady growing demographic for technology usage, especially for the internet and social media. While many seniors are not as tech-savvy as younger generations, they are finding their way around a computer and online. According to a Pew Research Center report in June, usage of the internet by adults 65+ has increased by 44 percent from 2000 to 2015. Social networks will see a surge in their base of 65 and older uses by 2020. There’s an estimation of 55 million seniors to be online by 2020. Currently, seniors are showing a faster adoption rate for the internet, although young adults are still most likely to actually use the internet.

An April 2014 report from the Pew Research Center contends that even with the increase in adoption, seniors remain isolated from digital life. There are many benefits for seniors to be online. Majority of these benefits include communications, either with loved ones or friends. Some seniors are utilizing social media to connect with colleagues and friends. They are video chatting with family, cyber-visiting their loved ones. Some have even enrolled in online studies from a variety of Universities. The chief person being left out of online conversations with seniors are physicians.

Assisted Living Communities Teaching Technology Usage, Not Communication

Wishpond created an infographic based on information from various sources.
Wishpond created an infographic based on information from various sources.

Assisted living communities for seniors are including technology usage classes for desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones. While many seniors are not so quick to select a smart phone over a cellphone, they are getting the most usage of the internet via portable devices like laptops and tablets. Merrill Gardens, a Washington-based assisted living company, said, “Our community uses social media, not to just connect with our residents. We connect with the children of our residents through social media.” Merrill Gardens says that social media is a great way to keep the residents involved with activities in the community and to let children see the progression and interact. “Our Pinterest account allows seniors to express and share their creative works,” said a community representative. There was no comment on the communications between physicians and residents, out of concern of a possible Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) violation.

“The benefit of assisted living is that we are located on the campus…. It is easy for residents to come directly to us”

Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living community, says that they have added technology classes for iPad usage. While they have more advanced technical programs, such as videography and video editing, many residents shy away from computer-based training out of fear of “breaking the internet.” However, when it comes to communicating with their residents, the medical center relies mostly on telephone and face-to-face communications.”

“The benefit of assisted living is that we are located on the campus and are in walking/shuttle proximity of the residents. It is easy for residents to come directly to us,” said an Ashby Ponds Medical Center representative.

Immigrant Debate Takes To Literature With New Book

Tanya Marie Golash-Boza
Tanya Marie Golash-Boza, Author Listen: Golash-Boza – Eric’s Story

The nation in a heated debate over immigration policies and the relocations of thousands of Syrian refugees. In the lively bookstore, Politics & Prose, the debate continues amid demonstrations at the White House gates. Today, author Tanya Golash-Boza introduced her new book “Deported: Policiing Immigrants, Disposable Labors and Global Capitalism.”

Following Golash-Boza’s previous book, “Immigration Nation”, which covers the policies involved in immigration, “Deported” develops a human rights perspective from interviews with 147 deportees. From these interviews many factors are thrown into the debate: commercial restructuring of communities, neoliberal reforms, and the unequal criminalization of people of color.

So over the past few decades, trade agreements have facilitated the movement of capital across borders. And these trade agreements have not facilitated the movement of workers across borders. –Tanya Golash-Boza

“Eric’s story allows us to consider the connections between individual migration stories and larger economic trends, such as outsourcing, economic restructuring, cutbacks in social services, the enhancement of police and the privatization of public services,” says Golash-Boza. Eric’s story began with his mother migrating to America for better wages in order to provide a better life for Eric. The story details many disadvantages of migrant workers, including lack of benefits, longer hours, lower wages than American citizens. Golash-Boza says, “As an undocumented worker, Eric’s mother was less likely to challenge her low pay and lack of benefits.”

“Deported” delves into the capitalization of deportations and the U.S. prison system. Golash-Boza says, “Once arrested, Eric was placed in a private prison, and privatization of public services is another key economic trend, as is the profitability of prisons. So over the past few decades, trade agreements have facilitated the movement of capital across borders. And these trade agreements have not facilitated the movement of workers across borders.”

Eric was able to gain work in Guatemala, where he was deported to from the United States. However, his wage is not enough to bring his wife and children to Guatemala. The American corporation that operates the call center in Guatemala where Eric works is able to keep a steady supply of low wage workers deported from privatized prisons. The company is able to obtain low-wage bilingual workers, familiar with American geography, products and lifestyles. This gives Eric priority at hiring, but the American company will close U.S. operations, paying $400 a month to a deported immigrant to secure larger profits.

“The heavy policing of poor neighborhoods predominated by people of color made it much more likely that Eric would be arrested, even though he had in fact not committed a crime,” says Golash-Boza. These stories explore the bias and racism of mass deportations in the United States. The Secure Communities Act from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was repeated throughout the presentation as a condemning policy that allows racial profiling of people of color.

We have this vast apparatus of laws and regulations and policies that most people know nothing about. –Linda Rabben

According to the ICE website, the Secure Communities Act, replaced by the Priority Enforcement Program in July, states that “Secure Communities was designed to reduce the potential for racial profiling. Under Secure Communities, the fingerprints of every single individual arrested and booked into custody, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, are checked against immigration records – reducing the risk of discrimination or racial profiling.”

There are American citizens who believe more immigration reform is necessary. The process for accepting immigrants, especially refugees is strenuous. Several Americans are worried that terrorists will slip through cracks in the refugee resettlement program and that there are no controls in place.  Associate Professor at University of Maryland, Linda Rabben, says, “Immigration is already controlled in the United States. We have this vast apparatus of laws and regulations and policies that most people know nothing about.”

Numerous Americans are responding to televised media coverage of recent terror attacks, crime and policies and opinions, from opinionated pundits to candidates running for president. Rabben says, “And if you rely on what the media tells you, then you’re going to get a very distorted picture of how the system works.”

Additional Media

Click And Follow: Advertisers Are Getting In Your Head

Online advertisers are watching what you’re doing online to see how you feel about advertising.

Advertisers are tracking your movements online in an attempt to add a value to your social media activity. These metrics are databased and studied for a number of factors. The method of getting the information isn’t really new, but the information and method of response is.

Current Advertising Is Wrong

Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, a data analytics company, published an article last year on, describing how content creators and marketers were wrong about the behaviors of online users. The click started as the original method of measuring web traffic for online advertisers. Clicking also began a two-decade misunderstanding of online usage, simply applying one action to online content. Haile attributes this click action to creating Internet giants like Google, but also spam and adware.

Haile writes that Chartbeat has looked at user behavior and found that 55 percent of users spend less than 15 seconds on a page.  Also, one in every three visitors barely reads articles they have clicked on. The myths about online usage from Haile and Chartbeat includes scrolling habits and readability for web sites.

Facebook Banking On Your Emotions

One company benefiting from online data research is Facebook. The social media company has increased its 2015 second quarter advertising revenue by 43 percent, a total of over $3.8 billion. The golden key for Facebook is the “Like” button, which in 2010 began with just data-logging. In 2014, Facebook started using the data from likes to target advertisements to users.  While Facebook and advertisers have benefitted from this data, it also took a negative turn.

Facebook currently only has the Like feature available to users. There are no other emotional data for Facebook posts. The only data tracked for advertising is “Like”, seen as favorable content. The user may receive sidebar or newsfeed “sponsored” ads related to the liked content. However, if someone likes a negative post, advertisements related to content of that post may appear. Facebook does not see the negativity of a post’s content. This means ads for relatable content would be displayed as well.

In Sept. 2015, Facebook’s Global Deputy Chief Privacy Officer, Stephen Deadman released in his statement, “We sometimes hear from people that the ads they see aren’t as useful or relevant to them as they could be.” A user could choose to opt-out of Facebook’s advertising within the settings.

Facebook is currently testing more emotional reactions to posts to make available to users. This new data will contour data to be more specific. Deadman continued in his statement, “We are continuing to roll out online interest-based advertising and will now begin including information from pages that use Facebook’s Like button and similar social features, as we announced last year. We hope that the ads people see will continue to become more useful and relevant and that this new control will make it easier for people to have the ads experience they want.”

Web Users Fighting Back

The true test of Facebook and online advertisers is ad-blocking software, such as Blockr, created by Arno Appenzeller. The option to hide Facebook widgets, a limited web-executed app, is the general function of ad blockers.

“The specific point of the like button is that most people know it tracks you even outside of and tailors Facebook ads for you that can be very creepy,” said Appenzeller, in an interview with the Wall Street journal.

Despite the intentions of ad blockers to protect users from annoying ads, smart phones negate their efforts. Ad blockers protect users from web-based ads. Smart phones are another world, using applications for social media, not necessarily web-based.

Facebook’s Early and Current Advertising

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