Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Losing a Friend

I lost a dear friend this week, very unexpectedly. I can hardly believe it's true. I keep thinking I'm going to get an email from her, telling me it was a big joke, ha ha. Except it isn't. I'm  not sure how to process it. I met my friend in 2007 in Fort Resolution when I moved there to work. She moved in a month or so after I did, bringing her long-time partner, with her. She was unlike anyone I had ever met before and have ever met since. She was the most memorable character and a real straight shooter. You knew exactly where you stood with her, and I liked that about her most. I hate head games and she wasn't a player. She had a heart of gold, and called them as she saw them. I've seen her at her most tender moment, and at her most volatile, often following a scorned moment. She had a miserable rotten time in Fort Res, and I had a wonderful time, and in spite of this glaring difference, we hit it off from the start. We laughed, we talked for hours, we shared travel stories, past hurts, current challenges, and a shared affinity for tv hospital dramas and George Clooney. She was a nurse practitioner who always had time for her patients, and even in the most stressful moments, was an ocean of calm. She nursed all over the northern communities of the frozen arctic, collecting heaps of artwork along the way from carvings, to paintings, to fabric art, to mukluks, to a huge assortment of jewelry, to birch bark canoes - you name it, she had found it, and made a point of taking a photo with the artisan and the article if possible. To her, the artist was every bit as important as the art produced. She traveled the world with her longtime male companion, exploring what she could and squeezing out of life what was there to be had.

We kept up contact since we both left Fort Res, and although it was nowhere near as frequent, due to our respective busy lives moving on, we could still share a laugh, and were interested in each other's next adventure. She was excited for my new life I'm about to start in Australia, and her last words to me in an email were all so positive about her own life. I visited her when I passed through Kamloops, and we enjoyed each other's company.

I don't know for sure just what happened, other than she entered the hospital for some reason last week and never left. What I do know is that I shall miss my friend. Letting go is hard. Forgetting is impossible. She sent me a parcel of things after my apartment building burned down last year, including several dozen items of jewelry she had amassed over the years, knowing how much I loved interesting pieces. I will remember my friend as I wear these pieces, and think fondly of her as the grief eventually fades. Sometimes life is just not fair. I miss you Indigo.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I HATE Scammers

I have my van listed on Auto-trader and got an email from this guy yesterday morning. He asked to respond to him privately through an email he provided. So I did, just told him it was still for sale. This is what he wrote back, the scammer.

"Thanks,i really appreciate your quick response over my request,i think the price is negotiable as i will like to know the lowest price as you have stated.And I would have come for an inspection..but due to the nature of my job and location...i will not be able to come for inspection,am a very busy type as i work long hours everyday,i have gone through your advertisement and i am satisfied with it.As for the payment..i will be paying you via the fastest and secure way to pay online(PayPal).I have a private courier agent that will come for the pick up after the payment have been made and he take up everything after payment have been make ...so no shipping included.thanks for been kindness and considerate...await your response asap


The first red flag was the request for use of a private email address. The second red flag was his willingness to buy the van sight unseen or inspected, and then the red flags just kept coming - not wanting to meet in person, sending a "courier", offering to pay for it via Paypal, which was not even offered in my ad; and the terrible grammar that regular English speakers would never use. It reeked of scam. So I emailed him back:

"If you want to buy my van, you will have to see the van in person and pay me in person. I am not accepting paypal payments. I expect either a cashier's check from a Canadian bank, or cash. That's it. If you're looking to scam someone, you are barking up the wrong tree."

So his next response was even more desperate:

"Thanks,But I insisted on paypal because i dont have access to my bank account online as i dont have internet banking,but i can pay from my paypal account, as i have my bank a/c attached to it, i would have sent some one to you by cash but i only want to make this as a surprise for my friend and the whole entire family..bcos my dad is celebrating his birthday and i want to make this as a surprise for him.i will need you to give me your paypal email address so i can make the payments asap and pls if you dont have paypal account yet, it is very easyto set up, go to www.paypal.com and get it set up and you can receive payment directly into your account without any delay , after you have set it up i will only need the e-mail address you use for registration with paypal so as to put the money through.I have a pick up agent that will come and pickup after i have made the payments.With the issue of my details,transferring the name of ownership and signing of all paperwork will be done by the pick up agent so you don't have to worry about that."

BULLSHIT. Sure...you can't use your bank account online - but hey dumbass - they do still have tellers in real banks that can do the transaction for you. Won't send "some one to you by cash" because he wants to make it a surprise - first for his friend, then for the whole family, and then for his father. BULLSHIT. Anyway - smells so strongly of bullshit I reported him to Paypal and to Auto trader. This was my response to his desperate attempt:

"I find it very difficult to believe that you are willing to buy my van sight unseen. I'm sorry, but I have to insist on certified proper payment, and transfer of ownership in person - this means me and whoever is going to own this van are both going to ICBC in person to transfer ownership. You haven't said anything about where you live, who your so-called "agent" is, asked where is my van, so I'm sorry if I find your whole approach rather suspicious and I have forwarded your information to Paypal. If you are legit, they will tell me. If you are willing to spend thousands of dollars for a birthday present for your father, then you should have no trouble following proper procedure to make sure the transaction goes smoothly. Sending me an email about payment options that are not even offered in my ad before even asking a single question about it the van just sounds pretty scamworthy. I don't know anyone who would spend that amount of money without wanting to know more about it. "

The grammar continues to be terrible in his emails, so there is no way I am doing business with him. 

And then I hooked another idiot scammer today. They sure like to insult my intelligence. Read on:

My name is Dawid Mark, a car dealership based in the United Kingdom I
would like to know if this car is still available for sale and is price
negotiable? or get back to me with the total cost, please,do get back to me
soon so we can discuss business.

It smelled of scammer but I wanted to see if he would lay it out in the next email so my reply was:

"Yes, this vehicle is still for sale, as it was only listed a few hours ago. The price is negotiable."

And he sure did. What a moron.

Thanks for the quick response i really do appreciate it,am willing to
pay $10,500 for the car and i will be paying via PayPal or Bank
Transfer since i'm not available to pay cash,i will also be including
the sum of $2000 for the shipping duties and immediately you confirm
the payment my shipping company will come and pick the car at your
location.do get back to me with your PayPal account or Bank Details so
i can send the payment and we can complete this transaction asap.

Yeah, dude, I'm sorry, it isn't going to happen for you. So this was my reply - I let him have it:

"Why don't you take your fake money and whack off with it you wanker. Take your scams elsewhere you scumbag. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. I refuse to sell to anyone who can't show up in person to buy it."

I sure wish someone real would inquire about the van...

And then I got these emails from someone else claiming to be interested...I figured her for a scammer when she asked such stupid questions. 

Her first message was: 

Hi am interested in your sale, let me know if you still have it??

She didn't say much, but it was a dumb question. I just posted the ad about 5 minutes prior, which was noted in the ad. I wrote back:

"Yes, considering I just posted this ad about 5 minutes ago."

Her next message was this:

Hello, ok is nice hearing back from you...Can you tell me the price and how many years have you been using this and what is the present condition , i am really interested in this cos my uncle uses the same kind and it has really serve him good, that is why i am buying..Thanks
Soonest reply needed.

There we go, the crappy grammar, the typos, and crappy spelling, and also in a rush. So I replied to her again, just simple:

"Well, the price is in the ad - $8500. I have been using this van for just a year, traveled most of the year with it. It is in excellent running condition as also mentioned in the ad." 

Then came the expected scam - so friggin' obvious:

I am happy with the condition and it is ok for me.....
What address is this vehicle park ?
So that i can confirm with the shipping agent if they can pick up at the residence...
I wait your soonest reply.

Yeah, sure, you can send your shipping agent. Bullshit. She got my very terse reply:

"You can forget it. If you are not coming to pick it up yourself and paying in cash, I'm not at all interested in dealing with yet another scam artist. Fuck off."

Damn scammers. I am insulted more by their terrible grammar than their lack of originality. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Revisiting the Falls

I wrote this post nearly 6 years ago. There have been just a few spectacular falls since then.

  1. I was shopping in Superstore with a friend in Antigonish, and did not notice the empty pallet left on the floor and went SLAM to the ground when I tripped on it, making quite a commotion. I scraped up my knees and hands. I got up off the floor and kept on going...
  2. While visiting our great capitol city of Ottawa one summer, I was staying downtown and walked to see Parliament Hill. I was looking at the buildings as I walked closer and managed to trip over my own feet, sprawling right in front of a tour bus. The bus driver came flying out when he saw me go down, and helped me back up. I limped the rest of the time I was there, and had quite a bruise on my foot.
  3. I was waiting at the walk-in clinic at the Superstore Mall in Dartmouth for a chest cold and had time to kill so went across the hallway to Superstore. They had just installed that black ribbon tape to herd shoppers into the self-checkouts since I had last been there. In doing so, they cut off about 100 feet of access to the store, so not wanting to go all the way to the end of the store to get in, I ducked under the ribbon. They are retractable, and what I failed to realize was that the one I ducked under was already ALL of the way out, so when I ducked under, it brought the pole directly towards me as I went to duck under and smacked me right in the forehead, splitting my head open. I had to go to the hospital after I went to the clinic to get 3 stitches in. Superstore mailed me a letter later telling me it was not their fault (I hadn't said it was).
  4. And I almost forgot the fall I had the night my apartment building blew up and burned down - I was crossing the street to see how things were going and tripped over the fire hose, tore my pyjamas and skinned my knee pretty bad.
It's been about a year since my last fall. I'm about due. My mother used to call me Calamity Jane, but I never knew why. Calamity Jane was never known to be clumsy...

***post script - spoke too soon - managed to fall down the ladder here at my cabin, and skinned my knee, and tore my rotator cuff. Ouch.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Price of Being CyberSocial

Sigh. I truly despise drama and being around those who swarm in it. I usually have my crazy shields up but was caught off guard today. I made a simple request of a friend who had sent out a mass email to her friends of some silly slide show of kittens. I asked her not to forward me stuff like this, and that she should be using the bcc field instead. If you just send things out using cc field or to: everyone you send the email to gets your friend's email addresses. Simple thing. Not too much to expect and I was quite gracious about asking her, and told her I welcomed any personal emails she wished to send about how things were going with her new business, and so on. Venom came back in a barrage of spitey emails. Silly childish things meant only to lash out. Wow, all that effort because I asked you not to send me junk. I replied to her a couple of times asking her to stop contacting me and finally had tell her to dial down the crazy or I was going to report her for harassment. More messages, but I have chosen to ignore them. I'm done. She hurled the final childish insult - I'm going to give your Christmas present to someone else this year! Honestly. Did you really say that at your age? Strange because she had never sent me a gift in all the years I've known her.

I have asked this of dozens of my friends over the years and as far as I know, no one took it this personal. I'm sorry, but I just don't want another email full of headers that others were too lazy to remove, to look at some sickeningly sweet photos of kittens and puppies that have all been sent around the internet for about 10 years or more now. I don't want a slideshow of puppies. I don't want to send an email out to 20 of my friends so I can receive good wishes from some slimy toad or the princess of ponyland. I'm not 12 years old. I have underwear older than that. Give me a break. We're all adults here and this friend is a university graduate from nearly a decade ago, and old enough to know better. Simple email etiquette is to protect your friend's privacy by using the BCC field. This is not new. Unless everyone you are sending the message to already knows ALL of the people you have included in your mass email message, you should never share someone else's email address this way. It is a huge breach of trust, and any professional agency I have ever worked for had it spelled out in their email etiquette portion of orientation.

Her defense was that I seem to be okay with posting every detail of my life on Facebook, so why should I be upset about her sharing my email address. Wrong answer. I do not share my email address or phone number on Facebook. If you really knew me, you would know that. Not to mention I am related to over half o the 300 people on my friend list. Big family. So sue me. But I still don't give them all my email address. I want to know why you need it first.

It is difficult maneuvering through the social network generation. While I enjoy keeping in touch with the friends and family I connect with along my travels, it does come at a price - a loss of privacy and control over your information through social networking. Her price today was I deleted her from my friend list. I can control that. I also blocked her email. I left 8th grade drama in 8th grade. Grow up already. It was a simple request that turned you into a raving lunatic that I had to delete. Sheesh.

Want some cheese with that whine?

Friday, November 26, 2010

And Then...

Warning - offensive language...read on if you like, but don't come crying to me because you don't like me using the f-bomb.

I called Toshiba. I bought a new Toshiba laptop earlier this year and for some weird reason, my keys switch from working to not working. Let me rephrase that - it goes from letting me type some characters to only letting me type other characters. I have a multilingual keyboard (didn't really notice it and no one thought to point that out when I bought it). The keys have 5 or so different characters, and I don't know how to access them. Today it was the question mark and apostrophe. All of a sudden, I couldn't get them to work. All I would get was French letters, or characters I didn't want. So I thought, let's call Toshiba and see who can piss me off there. It didn't take long. All I wanted was to find some document or help page that explained how to use the multi-lingual keyboard. He tried to get me to find the manual on my computer. I told him it wasn't there. I had already been through THAT before. We searched anyhow, using "user manual" as the search terms as directed. It came up with about 1400 files...none of which were user manual. So how did it come up with so many things there were clearly NOT user manual. 497 of them were my photos! WTF? So then he tried to reason that it found a bunch of web pages I had visited that might have those words on the page. Um, no. You fucking idiot. They are photos. My photos. I just told you that. The words are not in the title and certainly not found cryptically within a photo of a tree...we finally determined that it brought those things up because they were in the "user" file. Sounds stupid enough to be right. 

Okay, so then he went to check online for the manual. He found it, I did not. I asked him to point me to it. He ignored this request several times. I wanted to look with him, in case he did really find something about my keyboard in there. Then he tried to explain to me that it was not actually in the manual. Okay, where can I look then? So he starts rambling on about some shit that I have no idea what he means by it, and when I tell him this, he says nothing at first, and then starts in again on the manual, wanting me to download a copy. Why? It won't fix my problem, we have already determined this. I explained to him again, I just want some sort of guide to my physical computer. How is it that I can spend over a thousand bucks on a computer that does not actually have a guide to it's physical use. I don't need help with the software, the battery pack, the charger cord, or how to clean the fucking screen. I WANT TO KNOW HOW TO USE MY KEYBOARD! Finally, I gave up and hung up on him. 

Enter idiot number 4 for the day. I called back to Toshiba, as we still had not resolved the problem. I get another immigrant who can barely speak English. Great. I explain my problem to him and he wants to go immediately to the user manual. I swear, if I was sitting near him, I would shove my computer mouse clear up his damned rectum. I painfully explained my last call and that all I wanted was a guide to my keyboard, and someone to fix the damned issue. He told me to hold down shift and control and it will switch languages. Which one, he couldn't say. I tried this, it worked. But what about all of those other functions on my keys I can't seem to access? Where can I find information about that? Well, his answer was that there is no guide. Really? Well how are people supposed to find these things out? By calling your adept call centre again and again? I fucking hope not. So then he wanted me to remove all of the languages that are not English so I can avoid this problem in the future. Um, no...I don't want to start deleting shit when you don't even have a guide to follow. Then starts a very condescending conversation about Windows. That's when I hung up the phone. Clearly this is not going to be a good "phone" day and I should just go back to bed. Fuck it. 

Friday Letdowns

warning - offensive language. If you don't like it, read someone else's blog, or skip today's posts.

Well, it`s barely 10am on a Friday morning and the day has already been shit. I checked my email and saw that I had one from Shaw, my cable-internet-phone company. My ebill is ready for viewing. So I follow the link to the website only to discover I must sign in. Fine. 7 attempts and they are all wrong. So I click on the button for accessing my password - they want me to sign up again, and ask me to locate some numbers on my phone bill. Um, WHAT????? So then I call the company, go through a zillion automated choices and finally get to talk to a person. I should have hung up and tried again. I was unfortunate enough to get someone who is brand new, and told me she doesn`t know how all the systems work. She proceeded to give me 4 different amounts when I asked what my bill was, and she could not explain why. She told me one of the amounts is past due by more than 30 days. How can that be...I have only received ONE bill so far, I haven`t been here long enough for that and I paid that bill. 

She confirmed that I did pay my bill, and that the account was at zero on the last billing date. Um, what (cannot seem to get the contractions or punctuation to work on this fucking computer today, but that is another story). So how can I be 30 days overdue on a zero amount...and I tell her I am not impressed that I now have a business who thinks I am overdue on my account, and it could show up on my credit report. No, she says, that would not happen. Sure, like you know what you are doing. We went around in circles, and finally she said she did not want to talk about it anymore because we are going around in circles. I told her the issue was quite simple - please tell me what my current fucking balance is, accurately. (no I did not swear on the phone, but I am MAD now) She then said she was going to transfer me...so I hung up. I am not in the fucking mood.

The next call was to the Pharmacy where I had left a prescription on Monday. I had been to see my doc earlier in the day and she prescribed the HP pack (box of 3 drugs) for h.pylori bacteria (what causes ulcers). I told her I had a terrible reaction to one of the drugs in that pack and I would prefer something else. She told me to just take it to the pharmacy and ask them if the HP pack has changed and no longer causes that side effect - metallic taste in the mouth. It made me so nauseous that I had to take Gravol with it, which of course, knocks you out, and still did not cure the taste. She said just get the pharmacist to call her and she would order something else instead. Great, off I go. I dropped the script off at the pharmacy on Monday afternoon and explained my issue with it. He called my doctors office and got her machine - office closed due to snow - what the hell...we had an inch or so...but that is another story for another blog. Pharmacist promises me he will try again tomorrow and will call me either way. That was on Monday. It is now Friday and NO CALL. So I call the pharmacy. Apparently the pharmacist is busy so they put me on hold. Then a pharmacist comes on the line. He is not the right pharmacist and has no idea what I am talking about. He tells me he will find the other pharmacist and have him call me back. Right, sure you will. The other pharmacist calls me back, only to tell me he has not been able to get in touch with my doctor, that he called and never received a message back. Well, you said you were going to call me either way and did not. So then he tells me he can fill the prescription now if I would like. Um, NO. I would NOT like. It is not the right fucking prescription, dumbass. Throw it in the garbage and I will call the doctor myself and take it to another pharmacy. I had gone to this small one two blocks from me for this script only because I did not want to go downtown to my regular London Drugs pharmacy on Monday, thinking this would be quicker. Apparently not.

So then I call my doctor`s office, only to find out that she isn`t in until this afternoon. They have no record of the pharmacist calling. WTF. Great. So the pharmacist is lying and I still have no medication for the rotten infection I have in my stomach. The receptionist offers to leave a note for the doctor when she gets in this afternoon but can make no promises that she will return my call. Great. That`s just fucking great. Then she tells me my doc has walk-in clinic this afternoon and I`m welcome to come to that. Great, fucking great. I have ALREADY been to the doctor and received my diagnosis and script. I don`t need another appointment. I NEED someone to do their fucking job, that`s what I need.

And THEN, as I am at my breaking point, the neighbors start up Rock Band and pound out Boogie Wonderland on the drum kit...sigh...Calgon, take me away...

Locations of visitors to this page