Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Annual Student Art Show

March 31, 2015

Heidi Mayo and her students of the Top of the World Studio Gallery invite you to their 7th Annual Art Exhibit at a new venue this year - Bramhall’s Country Store in Plymouth.  This year’s show represents more than twenty gifted young artists from Plymouth, Kingston, and Duxbury.
Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, May 15, 5-7:00 P.M.
Admission is free; all are welcome.
WHERE: Bramhall’s Country Store, 2 Sandwich Road, Plymouth, MA 02360
WHEN: Opening reception, May 15, 5-7:00 PM.  Exhibit runs through June 14, noon – 6:00 daily during Bramhall’s regular store hours.
Everyone's invited
At the May 15 opening reception, a silent auction of horseshoe crab art generously donated by students will benefit Ecological Research and Development Group (ERDG) whose mission is to help stabilize the world’s horseshoe crab populations, and promote awareness about the value of this “living fossil” to humanity.  To learn more about why horseshoe crabs are so important to us, visit ERDG’s www.horseshoecrab.org.
My auction item: "Stop Over"
Heidi Mayo is an award-winning pastel and mixed media artist and PSA (Pastel Society of America) member who teaches all aspects of fine art to students at her Top of the World Studio Gallery in North Plymouth. She is also the author and illustrator of the middle grade novel, Nelson Telson – The Story of a True Blue Blood. You can see students’ work at the Top of the World Studio Gallery Facebook page, and Heidi’s at www.heidimayo.com and the Russell Gallery at the Plymouth Center for the Arts.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Running Rant - The Glory of Karma

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an activist when it comes to certain environmental issues including waste, both nuclear and household. Litter is not only unsightly and unhealthy, it's a crime against all that is good in the hood.
The barrel near Hedge Pond on Standish Avenue
When I first moved to North Plymouth over 25 years ago the litter was rampant, so I started cleaning it up. When my son entered the Hedge School 20 years ago, I started the Hedge Hood Clean Up Club, organized annual clean up days, and created public awareness with a vengeance.  I even went so far as to raise the funds for these trash receptacles.  These babies cost more than $500 apiece!  I worked with the parks department to have them put on Standish Avenue along the Hedge School walking route.  They really helped to reduce the amount of litter on the street.

Today when I was running, I came across this scene where someone had dumped their household trash, some in the barrel and since it was full they just left another bag near it. The bag was open and trash had spilled out, so I picked it up.  Lo and behold, I found an address.  The perp lives at 77A Forest Avenue Extension.  So, instead of running to the beach, I ran to that address. The people who live there were absent, but the lady next door who happened to be standing outside when I arrived told me that this was a second home and the people had just left for NJ for the weekend.  She used the pronoun "she" when she spoke of the owner.

When I got home, I looked up the address at Plymouth's Patriot Properties site.  Glory be, it's Glory (ha!) and Edward Mirabello who also live in Rochelle Park, NJ.  I did some googling, and come to find out,  Glory just happens to be the director of the Metaphysical Center of New Jersey.  
I don't know about you, but this has irony written all over it.  You don't need to be psychic to locate a dirtbag and know the owner uses Half & Half by the half-gallon. 

The Metaphysical Center of New Jersey has a web site and Facebook page.  Glory actually teaches classes in Metaphysics and Parapsychology which include Reincarnation and Karma.  Note to Glory: Public dumping is bad karma. You might remind her of that if you see her around town.  Here's Glory in all of her glory.
Metaphysical Center of NJ's  "mission is to educate, enlighten, and encourage spiritual evolution. Through classes, lectures, and various events, our aim is to spread light and to help people understand the purpose of life, their relationship to the Universe, cosmic laws, and the application of those laws to daily life. We believe in presenting people with many points of view so they can choose what seems right for them."

Instead of "spreading light" here in Plymouth, Glory has been illegally dumping her household waste.  Doesn't she know that public dumping and littering go against not only "cosmic laws" but the laws of nature and the Town of Plymouth?

This isn't the first time I've seen public dumping especially in and around local litter receptacles.  It's all over the place, Nelson Park, the bike path, and at the bottom of my street, too.
I've never tattled on these people.  I outed one guy (who happened to have been in law enforcement) on facebook, and then, using the address, found the landlord of another dumper.  But now I've decided to start getting more vigilant.  

Don't these people know that all they need to do is buy some of the orange PAYT bags, and they can find room in almost any blue barrel on trash day?  It's obvious to me that these people can afford to buy the bags, but don't feel like paying for the service. So, there's a cheap workaround.

One scary thing is, I worry if I report the dumpers, they'll start dumping not near trash barrels but in secluded spots - which many already do.

I can't decide whether to pop Glory an email of shame, out her on the Metaphysical facebook page, or just report her to the Plymouth authorities.  What would you do?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Home on the Range - The Stove Saga

While I await the STEAMY Women's replies, I'll let off some of my own STEAM.

When I needed a new 30" gas range to replace my old broken one, I had only one criterion on which I based my purchasing decision.  After the extended power outage a few years ago, I vowed my next stove's oven would be operational without electric power.  I mean, come on, it's a gas stove. It shouldn't need any more than a match to light the oven if the power is out.  What's with that?  Who invents these things, the electric company?
   I think it's every gas-hooked-up human's right to be able to bake even when there's no power.  It's an outrage that the average consumer can't bake in an outage despite the fact that they have a gas oven!  Don't get me started.
   When I embarked upon my search for the range of my dreams (within my price range, around a grand) I knew what I was up against.  I am no stranger to searching for "off grid" appliances, as I replaced the old pilot-lit gas stove in the cottage last year with a Premier gas range with "battery spark" ignition.  And I can light that oven even if the sparker stops working as all it does is light a pilot.

Premier Pro Series P30S310BP with 1.5" vent rail cap
Just look at these reviews! After conducting a thorough search, I found what I thought was the almost perfect stove (would have loved a fifth burner, but was willing to forego for the match light oven feature). It wasn't too bad-looking either.  Opted for the solid door. And with a 3-year warranty it was $1,231.19.  I shopped around and chose ajmadison.com as the price was good and I wouldn't have to pay MA sales tax.  Smart, right?  Think again.
   It finally arrived a month after I ordered it.  The delivery guys couldn't drop it fast enough.  They cut it out of the box outside in a sleet storm, dollied it up the front steps and into the kitchen, plopped it in the middle of the floor, and skedaddled as fast as they could - before I could get a chance to assess the stove's condition.
This is a saga - because it goes on and on.  The stove had a few obvious things wrong with it from the get go.  The top was damaged, and had to be replaced.  They sent no hardware with the vent rail, so I had to go to Charlie's Hardware and buy it myself; a bracket was not attached, so I got some sheet metal screws... When the new top arrived a week later, I replaced it and fixed all of those other things.

And then the plumber came to install it.  It was only then that I started to realize that NOT ONLY HAD I GOTTEN A LEMON - IT WAS THE WRONG LEMON!
Note the feature that says "Electronic ignition - Top burners and oven can be lit with a match during power failure." 

   The plumber noted that 2 of the adjustable legs were stripped so the stove couldn't be leveled, and the broiler door was askew.  We leveled it with the burner tops from the old discarded stove. Sheesh. Then, once he'd hooked it up to the gas, we referred to the manual, and tested for the "oven can be lit with a match during power failure" feature.  
   Guess what?  That sucker has a glow bar. The reviews I based my purchase on said "No glow bar. Can be lit in power outage." Won't bore you with the substantiating pix, but you can bet your bottom dollar I saved every web page (which is good, because AJ Madison changed that feature to say Electronic ignition only). It is not functional in a power outage, cannot be match lit, and depends on electrical power to operate. Gimme a break.  That is not the stove I bought.

   So, after the plumber left, I called my credit card company and filed a dispute. Over the course of this AJ Madison has tried to get me to keep the stove offering 10% and then 20% discount with less of a warranty than I'd already bought.  
   All I want is the stove I ordered: the one that can operate without electricity - undamaged. 
   BUT it does not end there.  I now have the wrong stove and, because "it has been modified" ie: installed, the credit card company put the charge back on my card. 

The first time I baked with it I set the dial to 425 to cook a Bongi's turkey pie.  The glass part of the lightbulb popped out of the socket and shot into the oven.  Guess I'll have to pull the stove out and unplug it to retrieve the part that's still screwed in. Needless to say, the turkey pie was totally overcooked - burned.  Then a couple of other things got burnt.  So, I went back to Charlie's and got an oven thermometer.   Since then I have been trying to figure out how to calibrate the temps.

I made a mark with Wite-Out for 325 degrees. It's 125? So I guess the thing is 200 over. But wait! I've been keeping records.  350 can go near 600!
300 = 450-525
250 = 375-400
125 = 325 sometimes higher.
There's very little consistency, so baking is a challenge.
And what about this broiler door?  It's askew and won't straighten out. It's 13.25 inches high on the right and 12.5 on the left.  Note the shims where the right adjustable foot is supposed to be.

This morning after I realized the charge is back on my credit card, I first called my CC company to no avail, and then emailed AJ Madison's customer service (mind you, I have a file of nearly 20 emails of the ongoing history since I first noticed the crappy stove top back on Jan 30.)  I also gave them the review they deserve. There wasn't enough room in the text field to list all of the reasons they suck.
My email to AJ Madison today: 3-15-15
Order # 64065165
I never received warranty card.  I also bought new leaf 3 year warranty, and it was charged to my credit card.
I dispute the entire transaction, and then am told because the stove was installed I'm stuck with it.  There was no way I could have known the damage without the stove being installed.

What good is this warranty?  I want the stove replaced.

I have contacted my lawyer.  Before I file with BBB and Attorney General, I am giving you the opportunity to replace the stove with an undamaged one of the design I thought I was ordering based on your features list and customer reviews.  

Damage includes:
#1 - it does not have match lit oven feature as stated on product page and reviews
#2 - Stove top had to be replaced, and hardware had to be purchased and installed by me
#3 - The adjustable legs are stripped and the stove needs shims to level
#4 - The broiler door is askew and can't be straightened
#5 - The thermostat is not calibrated, 350 setting = 500+ temp.  Burned the first few things I baked until I got an oven thermometer. In order to cook at 325 I need to have the knob turned below temperature marks - below 150 mark.

I paid $89 for 3 year New Leaf Warranty, and still have no satisfaction.  I want the stove replaced with an undamaged, match lit or battery spark oven with functional adjustable legs and a properly calibrated thermostat.
It's obvious I got a lemon - and it was the WRONG LEMON. 
MA law has 3X damages on this type of consumer complaint.

So, that's where it stands today.  Glad my son is a lawyer.

My next washer will be analog, too. We need to start a revolution.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lucky Friday 13th

Today's your lucky day! While I await input from the STEAMY Women, I'll share my book with you. You can download Nelson Telson - The Story of a True Blue Blood for FREE today, tomorrow and Sunday.  Enjoy the book!  Amazon reviews are very welcome. :-)

I've been working on special coloring pages and activities for the companion curriculum for Nelson Telson. I will take the curriculum info to International Literacy Association's  Annual Conference in St. Louis in July.  I am very excited to be able to offer this to educators.  Lars Helgeson, PhD and his Life Science for Elementary Teachers class at the University of North Dakota have found over 20 teachable themes in the book, and are working on development while I create activity pages.  Very exciting!
Navigating uncharted waters...
Taking the book to St. Louis is a huge leap of faith for me.  And, as John Burrows said, 
Leap, and the net will appear.
So, I'm leaping!
Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature. (Michael Faraday)