I was robbed.
My truck was broken into last night. More accurately someone opened the door and felt free to rifle through my belongings.
To be fair, I normally don't lock my truck. I rarely carry anything of value in it other than mail, so it's not a priority. And if someone wants to steal my identity, they can have it, provided they don't mind having their credit slashed in half.
It happened between 1-6am. I've been working late so I didn't even get home until 12:45.
So this morning I overslept, and knew something was awry when I slid in the seat. The receipts I keep for work in the dash were strewn about. Opening the center console, it was apparent that the contents have been rummaged through, and on closer examination so has everything else, except oddly the glove compartment. As many people that travel a lot for work I have a lot of papers/mail/oddities strewn about.
Yes, I feel violated.
But the weird part were the items that were taken.
I quickly did a search for the items that did have a residual value, and they were all there.
Insurance papers? ... check
Approximately $1.47 in change, and a small pile of miscellaneous foreign coinage? ... check
Even my old wedding ring which I had there for the last 3 years was still there.
So what was taken you ask?
So far I've noticed the following missing:
-A case of bottled water
-A half-used bottle of cologne (Lagerfeld Classic, if anyone feels like replacing that for me)
-One of my Netflix movies (Casablanca)
-A bunny Pez dispenser
And the icing on the cake,
-A book of 18th century Irish poetry.
It's like a list of things from a scavenger hunt.
So if you see a shifty-looking character walking around North Austin carrying a random assortment of things and drinking a bottled water, ask him for my pez dispenser.
Stumblers: If anything strikes your fancy, cover up your fancy and click the "I like it!" button on your taskbar.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I was robbed.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
A friend shot me a link to the "Are you addicted to bacon" online quiz over at RecipeStar.
It made me chuckle, so I ran through it. Everything was going fine until I hit this question:
Next thing I knew I was curled up in a fetal position, whimpering softly.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Open letter from us, the single people of the world to our married friends and family:
We know you love us, and wish we had your blissful life of daily fights, arguments about such weighty subjects as who last took out the recycling, and obligations with the in-laws. But remember the rules are different when dealing with us.
It's probably been a while since you dealt with the single life, so here's a quick rundown...
(thanks to all my single friends who helped me out on this one)
- ♦ Don't pity us. For the most part we're quite happy coming home to a drama-free existence and our life is not ruined because we're alone.
- ♦ Don't treat us as if marriage is an eventuality. Some of us working as hard to avoid marriage as you are to endure yours.
- ♦ Friends, don't try to set us up unless asked. Family, just don't.
- ♦ When talking about kids, don't remind us of our age and our biological clock. We know how old we are.
- ♦ Your pet names for each other might be cute, but if they're not around, there is absolutely no reason to use those. Ever. And even when they ARE around, they should only be used when addressing one another.
- ♦ In that aspect, when together NEVER refer to the other (or you two together) in the third person. We'll smack you.
- ♦ We should be automatically exempt from showers, weddings and the like unless there's an open bar and a good population of single members of the opposite sex. The gift is kinda like a cover charge. (exception: bachelor parties)
- ♦ Speaking of gifts, it's insulting to us when we receive a gift "From the Smiths." Can we give a gift "To the Smiths" without looking like a tightass? Of course not.
- ♦ Don't take it personally when we don't attend some gathering. The onslaught of the talking about married life, little Jimmy's soccer games and Susan's orthodontic work is more annoying than you can imagine.
- ♦ If you come out with us minus the spouse, there is no reason to check in before you do anything. We're not going to pick up some hookers and knock over a liquor store. If you have to check in when you're heading to the bathroom, stay at home.
- ♦ Have your own email. You're not one entity.
- ♦ On that same note, "WE" should not be used when talking about opinion. "WE love the sushi at Yuan's," "WE don't like her hairstyle," "WE think the government should..." etc make no sense.
- ♦ Yes, most of us wouldn't mind sitting for you. But don't call at the last minute assuming we have no plans because we're not seeing somebody.
- ♦ Regardless of what you say, it's more expensive to be single. Period.
- ♦ Another reason we don't spend time traveling to visit is the couch. We hate sleeping on it. Couples seem to automatically get VIP status and the king-size.
- ♦ Yes, we get bitter around the holidays. You would too when every piece of mail you get is a sappy card with cutesy family photos. Any wonder why we vanish for long stretches?
- ♦ Don't live vicariously through us. It's sad.
- ♦ Yes we are happy for you. We're not going to remind you every five minutes.
- ♦ DO talk to us about music, movies, politics, sports, whatever. Our interests are pretty global.
- ♦ Don't exclude us from your life just because we'd make it odd-numbered.
- ♦ Our singularity is not a failure.
Friday, April 3, 2009
I was doing some research on a post that will never probably see the light of day, namely infomercial scams. You've seen em, particularly if you're an insomniac like me. The "MAKE SO MUCH MONEY ON THE INTRAWEBZ YOU'LL BE PISSING GREY GOOSE" stuff. And mysteriously you'll see the exact same commercial at different times but with different email addresses, such as cash19.com, success54.com, omgimbleedingfrommyanus67.com, etc etc etc.
But I couldn't figure out the angle for Education Connection. You know the commercial, the one that looks like it was made for a school project by students at the ECC Broadcasting School and Mini-Storage; coupled with a jingle that cannot be removed from your brain without proficient use of a power drill.
Not to say I haven't tried.
Exactly the same as the one I saw, except it was listed as SchoolASAP.com. So I did a little digging. SchoolASAP was indeed a separate site, although all of the links directed to http://www.educationconnection.com/...blahblahblah...=1&cid=******* (that last part appears to be most likely a cookie id).
Thumbing around the ToC of the site I ran across a couple of interesting things...
"You may link to the home page of the Site as long as the link does not cast us in a false or misleading light. Please let us know if you link to the Site by contacting us at: "
"Please read this User Agreement carefully, because by visiting or using this Site, you agree to be legally bound by and comply with its terms. If you do not agree to comply with this User Agreement, you are not authorized to use the Site. "
That disclaimer always cracked me up. It always reminded me of the EULA "by reading this you submit your car, house, dog & soul to us and there's not a damn thing you can do about it."
"Personal Data. When you fill out a "Student Matching Profile", our Self-Assessment, and at other times, we ask for some information about you, such as your name, age, email address, postal address, and phone number, level of education, desired level of educational program, areas of interest, current occupation, military status (if any), governmental loan status. We do not knowingly collect information from children under the age of 13."
"Anonymous Data. We automatically collect IP addresses and Web site usage information from you when you visit the Site. This information helps us evaluate how our visitors use and navigate the Site on an aggregate basis, including the number and frequency of visitors to each Web page, and the length of their visits."
And in the "How we use your information" part, I saw
"We may combine the information that we collect from you on the Site with information that we collect from third parties. "
And then, Eureka!
"We also share your information with the service providers who help us to run this Site or to fulfill your requests."
In all fairness, there is an opt-out clause...
"You can let us know that you do not wish us to share your information with third parties for marketing purposes or to notify you about our own products and services and special offers by [opting out at the time that you submit your Student Matching Profile..." etc etc.
So I proxied my IP and set off to have them match me up. Of course I randomly clicked options to get me to the page where they ask for my personal info...
(My apologies to the NSA Commercial Solutions Center for using their address and phone #)
So, do you see anywhere on there to opt-out?
The results came back and didn't give me the three schools as promised. Nooooo, Just one.
Anyway, I pulled up the IP for EducationConnection and found the site is owned by... Hmm, how interesting.
Yes, the same Kaplan.
Here's also some from the list of the over 4900 domains they own. all of which have the same page, with the same links.
(where ** is a 2 digit number. Too many to list)
You get the picture.
So, in a nutshell, the trick for this site is that they get people to sign up, refer those people to their own school, and then also sell your data to whomever.
Interesting coming from the owner of ECS, AND Kaplan. None other than the Washington Post (the guys that own Newsweek). So this Newsweek article and the rest of the series are shameless self-promotion.
Anyone that is still genuinely interested in pursuing this should read this and this. Or maybe this. Or even this.
And now my work is done. Nothing to do but wait for the libel suit to come rolling in.
P.S. Note to Washington Post: It's not libel if it's true.