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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Scams and crashes

Here's a strange co-incidence for you... I made my last payment on my Dell laptop this week (yes, I was very stupid by paying for it over three years... I've learned many lessons in finance since then) and then suddenly the day before yesterday, I received one of those blue screens with a kernal error or whatever... I've seen the screen before a few times at work, but never on my laptop. I had one hell of a time re-starting after that. That night I forgot to shut it down because I wasn't feeling well and pretty much left everything on as it was. Then yesterday, the fan went into crazy overdrive and scared the hell out of Julie who was home during the day. She did not know that she could just hold the power button down until it turned off so she propped my laptop up on coasters to get more air flow under it. I came home to it sounding like it was going to lift off the desk and fly away. I had a hell of a time shutting it off - it had some sort of Microsoft error and I ended up having to hold the power button down to get it to shut down. I didn't touch it for the rest of the night.

This morning I turned on my laptop to check if I had been paid today. It took a million years to boot up and then was sooooo sluggish once I tried doing anything. I managed to finally open a web browser and check my bank account - what do I find? My credit card has three charges on it from the past week that I never made. I also had a charge from a company once a month since August that I somehow never picked up on. Needless to say, I was late for work this morning. Julie called the number of the company that was charging my credit card and they immediately apologized and said they would stop charging - they asked no questions about why or anything. The other charges, we looked up and saw they were scams. I called the credit card company from work and put in a fraud claim. They've put a hold on my card and will be issuing me a new one. Apparently the investigation takes about six weeks at which time I should see the money back on my account on the next statement.

I also logged onto my online banking at work and changed my password and security questions for good measure.

So... my computer is still a little sluggish but Norton 360 can't seem to find anything wrong. I'm not sure if my computer has just decided to show it's age on the week I've finally paid it off (the fan is on again, not as loud though), or if I've been hacked or have a virus or worm or something.

Happy freakin' New Year's Eve to me...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Blimey, pip pip, slice of cake, hello me ole teabag, 'ow ya doin'

Jenn has asked me to write on the blog.  I believe this may be because I am staring into space and just thinking random me, alone, by-meself thoughts.  Funny how when someone asks what one was thinking, it can't really be answered.  I had actually been thinking how relaxing I find the TV listings channel.  And ironing...and then why I find those things relaxing...

This then lead to wondering why I can't actually dive into any one of the three books I'm reading (one re. the history of cleaning, a book about fast food/obesity and a novel, Queen Camilla by Sue Townsend...which is terribly funny and wrong on many levels).  So after staring into real space I logged on to stare at cyber-space, surfed a bit, hummed an Earth (RIP) Kitt song . . . checked to see if I am missing something huge and important.  

Nothing huge and important about Samantha Ronson being the 2008 worst dressed, or Ricki Martin as the 2008 worst closet case ever to have sashayed the lavender trail . . . nothing huge and revealing about Hollywood romantics make up and break ups of 2008.  Not a fan of the lists....I want the now, the new, the current.  I want tomorrow and I want it today. 2008....lovely, let's move on people, let's move on.

New Year was never really my thing...too much pressure of old and new when  really it is all such a terribly over rated social construct that it can never live up to whatever it is supposed to.  I'm not cynical I assure...when things truly change or there is a renewal and resurgence of hope and dreams, I am right up there with Oprah bayyybeeee...but the notion of it being collective and almost enforced...I understand it from a socio-psycho viewpoint (we would be in chaos without societal routines and so called shared traditions)...but it does get a little tiresome.  And besides, no one wants to see their step-Uncle crying in his beer and trying to kiss ya Mam at the New Year party cos he has suddenly remembered who he forgot during the singing of Auld Lang wotsit...

Regarding New Year, I was given a week off which I do not even need...I know it is lovely that employers do this but I would rather the option.  Thankfully I took some work home...all my good friends went away for Christmas because they are twenty somethings in university with these things called families. I've a few left here so I will do the rounds Tuesday me thinks.  Drop in on people who are working, take them a coffee, chat, sigh a lot and think about the TV listings channel.  In other news, I have also spent much time considering the fire place channel that is, until I realised it was not live (THAT is how much time I spent watching it see).  I felt cheated after that, clearly highlighting some narcissistic tendencies in that I thought they were setting the tele alight just for me year after year.

Jenn is playing some sort of poker on the Wii.  I think I shall go and read about the collapse of America under too much food.  It's very good so far.  Maybe I will cook me a pizza, some pasta and round it off with several scoops of ice cream.  Aha.  I've bought over twenty books in the last couple of weeks so I should be reading rather than writing me thinks.  

Carry on.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Finally, the busy season at work is over. I'm now off for five days in a row... I can't believe it. It feels strange to have actual time to relax - hopefully I remember how. Obviously it hasn't hit me yet because I've spent the evening doing laundry and cleaning around the apartment. Hopefully getting it out of the way now will allow total relaxation tomorrow (well, for most of the day anyway...)

Tomorrow I'll be picking Jules up at work and heading out to my parents' place. We're going to go to the Christmas Eve service at the church my sister goes to and then we'll spend the night at my parents' place so we don't have to drive there Christmas morning.

Well, before I drain all of my energy for the day, I think I'm going to make a trip to Wal-mart tonight. How bad can it be, right? ;-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Craziness and shopping... possibly the same thing

I haven't posted in a while because I've been feeling kind of blah again. Well, "blah" isn't really the best descriptive for it, something like "all over the houses" or however that expression Julie sometimes uses goes. I've been sad, then angry, then out-right depressed, then cranky and basically hard to live with. Change of weather? Missed a couple doses of happy pills? Cabin fever? Stress at work? Lack of days off? Poor diet? Probably a measure of all of them. Thankfully, there are four more days left in my 'busy season' at work at which time I feel the need for that gavel they have on Wall Street - I'd like the bang the hell out of some counter or desk and declare 2008 dunzo.

On the weekend, I got up early on my one day off (that being Saturday) and drove to West Edmonton Mall. You can clearly tell at this point that I am out of my freakin' mind. Going to the, what is it now, second largest mall in the world? Third? How many have the Oil Tycoons in India and/or Japan built now, I've lost track. Anyway, going there on a Saturday in December. The second last Saturday before Christmas. AND, I went to the busiest store in the whole freaking mall - Bath & Bodyworks. Holy hell, now this location is the only one in Alberta, mind you, so it's packed at 9 am on a Tuesday no matter what time of year, but on a Saturday at 10 am, it's absolutely sick. Three lines to the cashiers started at the front of the store. Like, the FRONT of the store where those blue bags are hung for poor saps to pick up and hurl random lotions and soaps in while they wistfully look around hoping there'll miraculously be one Cucumber Melon body wash left but seeing they're at the mid to back of the store realizing they need to suddenly draw up a plan with their friend/partner/husband/child like a high school football coach would in the fourth quarter of a state high school championship game.

I'm not making this up... I actually heard this...

"Okay, you stand in line, I'm going to try to reach the hand soaps."
"Alright, but I wouldn't go that way... maybe cut through line two, go down past those candles and then zip back through line one over by that woman over there."
"Hm... yeah, that seems like that'll work. Okay, I promise I'll be back by the time you reach the front of the line. If I'm not, just grab what you can as you pass it and we'll make do."

I end up grabbing some body wash (the cucumber melon shelf was bare, dammit...), one hand soap, a lotion my sister really likes (Julie and I picked her name for Christmas presents this year) and a little tube of a really nice hand 'treatment' for a friend of mine. I wanted to pick up some of the candles like the one Jen and Wendi bought me for Christmas last year but they didn't have any. I was very disappointed because I LOVED that candle. :(

After escaping Bath & Bodyworks, I stopped at HMV to pick up my sister's other present, the first season of Flight Of The Conchords or something... all I know is it was freakin' expensive because they had it packaged up with a cd as well. I looked wistfully at season five of Law & Order SVU which I want sooooooooooo bad but seeing how the cheapest I've seen it is $60, that just isn't going to happen for the next five or six months while I work on fully recovering from our two month financial crisis. Unfortunately, re-building a savings account for emergency funds and re-paying off my credit card is more important than my crush on Casey Novak and Olivia Benson... darn it.

Later that day, Julie and I went to London Drugs (hm... the Canadian equivalent to Sav-On in the States, I guess) and picked up my parents and sisters and the gay boys downstairs a little gift. We were initially not buying anyone but my sister a gift, not even each other, but to cheer me up, Julie suggested we buy for my family & the boys. She called it my gift from her, to which I'm thrilled with and very grateful. They've all helped us out quite a bit this year and it's nice to be able to give them a small token of thanks. Of course Julie's parents have helped us out too and it would be nice to send them a little something, but I have to ask Julie about that to see what she'd like to do. Now that it's already the middle of December, there's no chance anything will even get there before January, but it's still worth asking.

Anyway, this post is getting too rambly for my liking... sheesh. Last night, Julie and I went to see the movie, 'Valkyrie' on a free pass she picked up at a bookstore the other day. It's that movie about Hitler's Germany and an almost but obviously not quite successful attempt to kill Hitler and take over Berlin by some of Hitler's Generals, etc. It was better than I expected and it actually builds suspense to where you get to thinking they might actually pull it off until you suddenly bring yourself back to reality to remember that, no, obviously this doesn't work. I think it was well done, though I'm not sure why they feel Christmas Day is a good opening day for such a movie.
On Thursday, we're going to see some Adam Sandler movie that's also opening on Christmas Day. Yay free movie passes! :)

Well, I should get off the computer and get ready to head to work. It's technically my day off but I've had to work at least half the day for probably two months now so that didn't really work out in the end. Oh well, last week! I'm dropping my car off at the dealership this morning as well - the engine light is on for no reason at all. When I called about it yesterday they told me it's happening a lot due to the cold weather - the cars have so many sensors nowadays and one of them probably got frost bite (that's my terminology, not the experts). This weekend we sat at -27 C for three days so I guess that'll do it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Would the parents of the sons commanding Oh Canada please teach them a bit of discipline??

I voted for the first time this year.  

So blame me.  What political rucus there be - blame me.  What a load of fuss and nonsense it all is.  

I had a very brief thought of terror concerning there being a Canadian civil war.  I know this to be unfounded by the way people have since reacted when I've mentioned, "A Canadian civil war". People (Canadians) give me this half shaky head and frown combination and put their hands out as if to say, "It's not Bosnia ya loopy Limey".  That, or just state emphatically as if one sentence of conviction will do it, "This is Canada".  Or, my favourite, the sarcastically seasoned...."Er...this is Canada?".  It's quite comforting to know that when the CBC say sweeping overstatements such as, "The nation is DIVIDED"...it's completely untrue.  It would be better to say (again with the same conviction), "Parliament is crumbling.  And the nation don't care.  Now, over Claire with the weather . . .".

I don't think I personally set the nonsense in motion with parliament but what a year to get ones voting rights.  You realise in the States this would be made "historic" (already) by the likes of CNN et al.  It would be a national disaster in the U.S. (much like their current one) . . . it would be a, "Where were YOU when McCain and Obama became King and Queen of America"...in Canada, the only time this sort of news matters is when they interupt one of the many fabulous formulaic crime-drama shows the fabulously panic'd States feed us nightly, to bring the so called 'news' to us.  Who cares???? I was just learning about how the fibre-optic molecule of a dense shagpile carpet fibre from 1984 might just save this man from the death sentence....neeeeext....

In other news (real, important news), I now have a fantastic job working with a wonderful mental health organization - back in non-profit and working long, long days because I have a huge office with my name already on the door, a great big desk and a view of the city to die for.   Think non-profit Melanie Griffith in Working Girl if you will.  For I DO see hope in the morning light people.

My former work is declaring bankruptcy...this is no wonder...they would expense lap dances,sex trade workers, snort coke at their desks, buy me very expensive underwear....this is the filthy rich you see....they are utterly filthy.  I am on a lot less money but working twice as hard and loving it 100% more.   I've no disgusting men to deal with or women who are so gender divided it belies belief - now it's just the loveliest of men and women who have beliefs, hope and an agenda that is not based soley around themselves...

Well, that's all for now.....over to Claire for the weather.