Sunday, April 05, 2015

The Amtrak Smack

This is a copy of the email that I sent to Amtrak this afternoon:

Before I began this journey, from Grand Junction, Colorado to Albany, Oregon...I had a conversation with Amtrak Customer Service. The individual listened to my concerns and took notes. She promised to cover my needs and I believe that she meant it. She did a good job. The ticket agent at the depot in Grand Junction, Colorado did an exceptional job, too. The problem started when I was handed off to a woman who, I believe, should not work for your company.
I was recently released from the hospital after suffering complications related to a chronic heart condition. That means that I get winded easily. Furthermore, I am sometimes unsteady on steps.
Customer service understood this and told me that I would get assistance. I was also promised and I paid for a lower level seat.
At the start of the journey, the woman that I am referring to was fully aware of my situation. Both the Grand Junction ticket agent and I made her aware of what my needs are.
So she has no excuse.
As the train rolled on into the evening, everything was fine. And then we stopped at a station point and an elderly couple boarded the train.
I was sitting in a seat at the back of the lower level car and suddenly the Amtrak woman walked in and told me that I had to move.
I blinked and scrambled to get my belongings together and moved up to the next seat as she had directed me to do. The elderly couple went down to where my seat had been and sat down. The woman sitting next to me, while older, didn't appear to have any of the disabilities that I have. And to make matters worse, she didn't like the fact that I had "invaded her space" and told me so. Suddenly I was put in a very uncomfortable position. And I thought to myself, "This is what I paid for?"
After awhile, I went out of the car and spoke to the Amtrak woman and she offered me the option of MOVING TO A SEAT ON THE UPPER LEVEL.
I struggled and finally got upstairs and the Amtrak woman was right behind me and saw firsthand just exactly how much trouble I was having going up those stairs.
But she waited until I got into a seat and left me there.
Awhile later she came back and I quietly told her what I thought about her decision to make me move. I had been texting a friend of mine who advised me to get myself back down to the lower level, somehow. She was upset about what happened and so was I.
The Amtrak woman tried to say that I had the decision to move out of my original seat voluntarily. Oh no!!
She told me to move up. She never told the woman sitting in front of me to move upstairs. In fact, the woman in front of me was left out of the equation, altogether.
I am the one with the disabilities and that woman was never asked to do a thing. I was.
Whatever was going on with the couple was not my concern or responsibility. I should NOT have been asked to move anywhere beyond the lower level cars. And when the woman in front of me started to squawk when I did what I was told and moved into the seat next to her, well then I think that it was she who should have been told that she would have to either chill out or move herself up to the upper level. NOT ME!!
Hours later, in the middle of the night, after talking the situation over with the conductor, I finally WAS ALLOWED BACK DOWNSTAIRS.
I was tired and so I just sank into the seat that finally became available. It was a train ride ruined, by that time, as far as I am concerned, for me.
And let me tell you, when I stared back down that set of stairs, I could tell that had I decided to go to the restroom...and I had been on those steps...and the train had made a sudden lurch or turn...I would have gone flying down those steps and most likely would have been injured.
I am disgusted with the "pick-and-choose" attitude that the woman worker on the California Zephyr has toward the customers. I understand that the couple wanted to sit together...but that in no way should have involved me and cancelled out equal consideration for my limitations. And when it became obvious that the woman in front of me didn't want me to sit next to her, the Amtrak woman should have offered that person a choice: Either be courteous to me or move to another part of the train. A disabled person is a disabled person and should be left seated properly for the duration of the trip. The musical seat game that the Amtrak woman subjected me to last night was played to a very bad tune.
Now I am facing yet another ride on an Amtrak train...I am going to board the Coastal Starlight at midnight tonight from here in Sacramento, California and am taking it all the way up to Albany, Oregon. And I am wondering how things will transpire when I am on THAT train tonight. A copy of this email is going to published in my blog, on Facebook and will be sent to several other entities that look out for the needs of those with disabilities.
I will appreciate a written response to this letter.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Ruthie On The Road, Update--Part One

Sometimes home on the road is like this:

                                               All Photos/Edits By Ruth Rader

And sometimes this is where I stay for the night:

And sometimes in my grand meanderings across the United States, I have recorded little message
"videos" like the ones listed here:



MARCH 8, 2015--MOXEE, WA

MARCH 8, 2015--MOXEE, WA



This video shows the condition that I was in on MARCH 27, 2015--HEBER CITY, UTAH
I was bloated from fluid retention (edema), short of breath and suffering lung congestion
as a result of my chronic heart condition.

Before this last video was recorded...several important things happened.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Jason Perlow Reveals Kaspersky To Me

We all use antivirus software on our computers. I even have a kind installed on my cell phone. But it is not...nor will it ever be...Kaspersky. And you should know why...

I bought Kaspersky (to the tune of $80+) last November and installed it on my laptop. The software worked fine until today, when the company told me to download the free upgrade.

I then watched the new version crash and burn on my machine (my computer is fine). So I contacted Twisty Tie...I mean Technical Support and they told me that they would charge me $50 to look into the problem. I told them that I know how to make both of my middle fingers stand straight up.

Then I went to and found a guru there named Jason Perlow. He writes for the website and ZDnet is a top of the line internet publication.

Jason and I exchanged emails and he stated (he later told me that his comments are serious and 100% true) that: "You should not run any software made by Kaspersky. It is a Russian-owned company whose owner has close ties to Vladimir Putin and cannot be trusted with your personal data." He even wrote an article about it.

 I obviously contacted the right guy. Whatever you add to your device,  do NOT use Kaspersky!!!

Monday, March 02, 2015

Cleveland Dressed In Its Finest Disgrace

The Tamir Rice MURDER case continues to sink to a new low ...which is exemplified by the behavior of the officials and attorneys with the City of Cleveland.

On the heels of the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri ...comes the pathetic travesty of justice that surrounds the shooting of 12 year-young Tamir Rice. And if you check out the video only further nails down my point: The Cleveland Police Department (yeah, those Ugly
American Child Killers) really need to get a grip on more than their guns.

I've never liked Ohio cops. I've found them, on the whole, to be arrogant, asinine, phony and
condescending. And whenever one has ever pulled up by me, I've assumed a stationary position with my hands where they can be readily seen. They never recognize the blue line running through my
lineage and they don't need to. All they see in front of them is a homeless hitchhiker. And that is
just fine by me...let them.

So, what is it going to take for the City of Cleveland to finally admit that they hired an
emotionally unstable individual, put a badge on him, gave him a gun and turned him loose on
the street like an armed madman?

Dress it up any way that you want to,'s still filthy rags in the eyes of true justice.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Solar Impulse: Beyond The Blue Horizon

For The Boys...Good Luck!


Evil: From Corvallis Or Somewhere Far Away?


Kimberly Hakes. Just another name. Just another homeless person. Just another dead body with its head bashed to bits in a public park. Just another article in the news. Pick it it...put it back down...go out the door...and life goes on.

I never saw any "makeshift shrine" set-up in her memory. No votive candles, no teddy bears, or
colorful balloons swaying in a mournful breeze. No, I never saw any media photographs of signs saying, "Gee, Kimbo...I'm sorry that you were so cruelly murdered by a psycho

No, I never saw a public outpouring of grief for Ms. Hakes. And even if it did happen and I missed
it...would it have made any difference in the long-range scheme of things?


But the recent article written by Rob Goffins in The Corvallis Advocate sure caught my attention.
Yes, it did.

Sitting where I am today, perched at a lofty height in a Newport, Oregon motel room...I am at
peace. My day has been filled with good Chinese food...sweet music in my ears from my
laptop...and an awesome view of silver rolled waves crashing against a long, rugged beach.

But one night several months ago, I sat on my backpack, in the outskirts of Corvallis, in the pouring
rain and tried all night long to get a ride out. I didn't get a ride until the following morning...when
a very kind man drove me to a church in Lebanon.

I spent some time at the women's winter shelter in Corvallis after it opened last Fall. But I never
felt comfortable there. By that I mean that I was constantly reminded by many people in the
local provider-system that I came from "somewhere else." And was generally understood
that eventually I would move on to "somewhere else" again.

No, I am not a native "Corvallisite." And most likely I never will be. Since I have been traveling
around North America for years, I don't think my residency status really matters. The old
saying: "No Matter Where You Travel...There You Are" most certainly applies to me.

But Kim Hakes never had to worry about me. I never threatened to kill her or anybody else at
the shelter or the drop-in center. I didn't like every homeless person that I rubbed elbows with
in Corvallis but I never considered killing any of them.

But I overheard conversations and some of them would never be printed on a greeting card. There
is a lot of anger simmering below the surface in the Corvallis homeless community. And that
malice is not limited to homeless people from "out of town." In fact, local emotions across the
homeless population board have really nothing to do with anybody's "place of origin."

I believe that Kimberly Hakes' death has everything to do with someone else's loss of
respect for human life. That may read like an over-simplified sentence but it's the truth. And
whether Kim's killer was a local resident or someone from another location doesn't matter.
What does matter is the fact that the lady is dead...a victim of a brutally violent crime...and her killer is still free.

Was her death the result of a drug deal gone bad? Did she piss off a gang member or a drunk?
Or did an "upstanding" member of the community, a local Corvallisite...hit her like she was

Don't pass her death off on another homeless person...that may or may not be the case.

I spent two weeks at the transit center before the women's shelter opened last Fall. Some of you
may have seen me there at night. Every evening, for two weeks, I unrolled my sleeping bag on
one of the concrete slabs (when it rained I sat inside a bus shelter) and pillowed my head on
my big backpack.

Did I sleep?

Yes...but "with one eye open."

The cops, whom I nicknamed (not to their face) "The Midnight Copboys" knew I was there. I
didn't hide myself...on the contrary...I made my presence known.

Would the decision to sleep in a more high-profile area...have saved Kimberly Hakes' life?

We will never know for sure. But I am blessed that God never allowed anyone to hate me as
much as someone must have hated her.  Someone evil...from the local area or "somewhere else."