Coffee heat rising

Bold little scammers, aren’t they?

Well, in the course of the last threat to remove Funny about Money from the air for alleged non-payment of hosting fees, we learned that the autopayments to the host and the Web guru are indeed going through, and the threat was a scam.

Interestingly, they came back. Yesterday was largely absorbed by another threat to kick my site off its host. After literally hours of farting around, we ascertained that yes, the payments are being received.

So we seem to be looking at a persistent scam.

However, I have to allow that I’m not very techie, and there’s a whole lot about online website hosting that I do not understand and do not especially want to understand. And if this campaign is over something real, then Funny is gone. Ohhh well. We’ll all have to find something else to pass the time.

Like you (no doubt), I already have plenty of tasks to fill that purpose. But if FaM goes off the air, keep an eye on Amazon. I’ve downloaded all its content and, if the site is closed down, will put it together in a book and peddle it on Amazon — probably in both e-book and hard copy format. So, for old times sake, do buy the thing. 😀

 

Got this email message? DON’T ANSWER IT

So in came an email, allegedly from Ting (mobile phone by-the-minute provider) thanking me for paying my monthly bill.

Say what? I canceled that account.

This morning I was up at the credit union wrestling with an issue having to do w/ my account, and I mentioned that I couldn’t get in to check this supposed  payment.

He said a message thanking you for paying your [XXX] account is a scam. And apparently the scammers are blasting them out by the berjillion. He flipped open his own phone and showed me an identically worded message thanking him for paying his AT&T account!

So if you get a “thank you for paying” message, do not reply to it! Yes, it is a scam.

Another Lovely Day in Lovely Arizona…

Now we know why “balmy” has that double meaning…

It’s a lovely morning and any time now, my head could stop hurting… Wow! WHAT a day!!!!!

And it’s only half-done. Here I am, down at the church office for the weekly sit-around-doing-nothin’-for-four-hours volunteer gig.

Shortly after dawn cracks, word comes in on the cormputer that someone has hacked into my Amazon Sellers account, my websites, my email, and possibly from there they got into my credit union accounts. I believe this attempt was headed off at the pass, but cannot prove it….and am especially alarmed because the CU won’t let me into my business account. The hacker’s strategy was surprisingly credible….so much so that Grayson (FaM’s Web guru) remarked on how well done it was.

Oh, my GAWD, what a series of run-arounds, hassles, and hair-yankers ensued!!!

Of course, you can NOT reach a human at Amazon, not for love nor money.

Getting one on the phone at the credit union: not much better. After I said my next call was going to be to the FBI, one of the CU nabobs finally connected me with their fraud department. This woman managed to get my password changed and get me into my bidness checking account. Far as I could tell, nothing had been siphoned out of it…yet.

So…godlmighty was i ever furious! As you can imagine, that made for a just DUCKY morning — several hours of it!  Once the dust settled, I decided that by dayum! I am closing that seller’s account. The thing has sold exactly zero (count’em: 0) books. It really hadn’t occurred to me that the damn thing represents a security risk to my own bank accounts, forgodsake. But of course it does: a good hacker could easily get access to your account information.

For awhile it looked like I was going to have to cancel this afternoon’s Boredom Shift at the church office, go to one of the CU’s offices, and sit there refusing to leave until someone in charge got off their duff to help untangle the mess. But apparently the simple statement, “…and my next call will be to the FBI” is the banker’s equivalent of “Open Sesame!”

I think that in addition to closing the Amazon seller’s account, I should also close my bidness account at the credit union. There’s a decent amount of money in there, but the truth is, about 97% of it was earned quite some time ago. I haven’t had a decently paying client in many a moon. And the other truth to tell, that’s probably because I can barely contemplate the thought of reading another line of gawdawful Chinglish academicese. Really: I’d make better money cleaning house, and the work would be a whole lot less brain-banging.

Seriously: I need to find something else to fill the empty hours. Before the Plague, I’d thought about volunteering at the wildlife rescue. Now, of course, one would like not to expose oneself to the Disease (to say nothing of rabies, ticks, and fleas). Drawing and painting is a possibility… Heh! The other day, I came across a drawing I’d made of my son while he was in San Francisco and thought…jeez! That thang ain’t half-bad! Maybe I can revive that talent.

Otherwise, while the weather is almost coolish, sorta: maybe a whole lot of hiking? Or else just walking on the flat through the city. Last time SDXB got the bright idea that we should go up the back trail into the Px Mountain Preserve, everybody else and his little brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, and dog had the same idea. It was just MOBBED up there. Dunno about you, but I do not go hiking in the desert so as to rub elbows with every hoi and polloi in the city. Blee-agh!

The canal is too dangerous — too many bums and pree-verts. But one could just start walking south out of the’Hood or easterly into the fancier realms of North Central. It’s really a lovely area…why not use the whole district as a giant hiking park? If I drove us down here to the Cult HQ, we could leave the car in the parking lot, go down the Central Avenue walking trail south to one of the fancier neighborhoods, and roam back and forth amongst the Mansions of the Richerati. That would be reasonably safe, and if you like over-reaching architecture,  pleasant enough.

OMG! Gary — office manager — toddled in, dropped his lunch dishes in the dishwasher, and then turned on the damn machine. The kitchen/junk room is right adjacent to the reception cubbyhole, and that damn washer is spectacularly un-soundproofed. It whines, a nice steady wooooooooooooooooo. And it thumps: ker-thum-THUMP-thum-thump in perfect harmony with the throbbing of one’s headache. Ohhh gawd, I wanna blow the thing up!

Two more hours to go.

One thing about sitting here twiddling your thumbs all afternoon. You learn some exotic things and meet some exotic folks.

Guy comes sashaying past the windows up to the front door. He’s tall, dark. slender, ever-so-slightly surly-looking, longish hair tightly wrapped to the back/top of his head with an elastic band, and not someone you’d wanna meet at the end of a dark alley.

“‘I’m with Sun Devil Hoods,” says he. “Here to clean the kitchen stove hoods.”

“You prob’ly want the school kitchen.” He looks blank. “Straight across the parking lot.”

The hood guy… LOL! Has ever a man been in a more appropriate job? 😀

One hour and 15 minutes left to go.

UPS Dude: Hallelujah, he knows to put the boxes on the table in the next room. I don’t even have to carry them in there.

One hour and 5 minutes left to go.

A little stack of the past four issues of the Smithsonian, sitting here. My…its former glory has faded. At least, so I think. Was it always 8 1/2 x 11? Was the content always ever so slightly condescending, dumbed down for the ill-educated products of American public schooling? Did it always look like a wan knock-off of National Geographic? Funny…i don’t remember it that way.

Yipes! Phone rings…lifts me out of my chair, here in the silence.

“All Saints Episcopal Church this is Vicky how may i help you?”

“Hello my name is Audrey and i’m with mumble disability yadda blah blah”… A tape recording.

Hang up.

I hate that phone.

59 minutes left to go.

Is this headache and nagging dizzy spell a clue to ambient smog?

Wunderground won’t let me see the weather report without turning off my ad-blocker. FAT chance, Wunderground!

Over to Accuweather: “Air Quality: Excellent.”

Say what?  Sooo…the headache is an incipient covid symptom, right?  Eeeeek!

Are there really people who LISTEN to a tape-recorded telephone sales pitch? Why? Why on earth would a person do that? How stupid would such a person have to be? And why would you want to sell something to someone whose IQ is presumably so limited that it is illegal to enter into a contract with them?

Hungry. Yea verily, one might even say “spectacularly hungry.”

Go by AJs on the way home and pick up some prepared chow for dinner?

Naaahhhh….can’t stand the prospect. Got salmon. Got steak. Got asparagus. Got roasted taters. Got a barbecue. Go straight home.

44 minutes left to go.

Accountant slips out early. She worries that the (UNholy!!!) traffic from the school may not have thinned out yet.

38 minutes left to go.

Gary, having finished off a late lunch, sneaks in and snabs a piece of candy. He’s only slightly heartbreakingly cute…what a doll! Unfortunately, rather too young (by about 35 years).

31 minutes left to go.

Phone jangles.

“All saints episcopal church this is vicky how may i help you?”

{silence)

Third hang-up of the day.

Fourth, if you count the robocall that I hung up on.

Gary inspects the conference table, seeking more candy. Putters around. Chats. leaves.

27 minutes to go.

Fr Dan out the door. Headed to meet his physical trainer. Right age. But also gay.

What IS it with all the gay staff in this place? 😀  Not to say <3 …

17 minutes left to go.

It’s clabbering up. Please, Gawd, don’t let it rain before I can get home and toss some chow on the grill.

hmmmmmmm…. Yeah, it’s definitely gonna rain. But maybe not very soon.

15 minutes to go.

One ringy dingy two ringy dingies… A woman. Wants Nanette. Nanette has flown the coop. She wants to confirm they arranged for altar flowers for some upcoming rite of passage.

Am I right that Nanette has left? I think so. I’m not getting up to ask, though. Ugh.

Yes I am.

No, I’m wrong: she has not left. She and Gary are trying to get her computer to do some damnfool thing: they’re totally absorbed. I leave the message for her: she’ll probably be just as glad not to have been interrupted.

7 minutes to go.

It’s getting darker out there, damn fast. I yam soooooo hungry! Ruby Doobie must need to go out. If it rains, she’ll miss her doggy-walk and then will be a pissed pooch.

Hmmmm…..  If one were to wrap this up and send it off, then get up and turn off the lights and lock the front door, it would be exactly time for me to leave.

4 minutes to go.

Outta here!!!

 

Can’t Live With’em, Can’t Live Without’em…

New-glassesLOL! I am totally spoiled to having a cleaning lady descend on this place twice a month. But sometimes…

Sometimes the term is “ruined,” I s’ppose. 😀

Having a beloved cleaning-lady around is the same as having a beloved anyone-else around: They dork up your carefully ordered life!

This is because cleaning ladies, like other specimens of humanity, have their own idea of how and where things should go and will brook no interference from the likes of you.

Luz is given to removing all the clutter…uhhhh, collectibles…from the mantel, setting them down on the hearth or the nearby desk, dusting the mantel, and then putting the junk back where she thinks it looks nice.

This is not where I think it looks nice.

So this morning I set my butt down at the dining room table for breakfast, gaze across the family room, and see…all my tschotchkes arrayed across the mantel, higgledy-pigglety! Arrrhhhhhggghh!

Finish breakfast, traipse across the family room, and attempt to rearrange the junk the way I want it.

No big deal, one would think. EXCEPT…I can’t remember how I had them. I know that the way they’re now rearranged is NOT that way, but exactly how and why not…i dunno.

Godlmighty. Fiddle around and fiddle around and fiddle around trying to get those things back the way I imagine I like them.

So now we have a new array. Fine. Good. Go away…

Down the hallway in the office, what do we discover but…but…but…

W?
T?
F?
???

Somehow, for reasons unimaginable, she’s gotten into my Vision System: the collection of accursed spectacles I need to navigate the world.

Back there, on my desk, I have three pairs of glasses:

  • Distance only
  • Close-up only (for reading)
  • Progressives (distance melting into close-up)

Keeping these things straight is a real nuisance. To facilitate that, I’ve got thee glasses cases, one labeled “distance,” one labeled “close-up,” and one labeled “progressives.” But…

Yes: but… Since I tend to be pretty slap-happy, I often don’t bother to put x or y pair of glasses away. So they end up strewn across the desk in my usual slap-happy way.

Well. Luz is the exact opposite of slap-happy. She can’t stand it. So she puts the glasses into the cases…having NO clue what those little labels on the cases mean. This means that now the glasses are all mixed up. And since I don’t wear the individual close/distance/bifocal/progressive pairs often (I use an old pair of progressives for navigating the house and have a pair of driving glasses in the car), I can barely remember which one is which, myself.

It must have taken a good half-hour this morning to untangle THAT mess. And now we’re talkin’ “no small order.”

With the distance glasses, I can see the side of North Mountain (two or three miles off) in exquisite detail.

With the reading glasses, anything beyond the end of my arm is a blur.

With the progressives, I can sorta see the desert on the side of North Mountain, and I can also see to read print on a piece of paper…or the speedometer in the car.

So I have to take three pairs of glasses outside, along with a piece of paper containing 12-point type, and stand there experimenting with them.

Sounds simple, no?  Peer through a pair of spectacles: if you can see the shrubbery on the side of the mountain, those must be the distance glasses or the progressives. Look at your hand: if you can see your fingerprints, then they have to be the progressives; if you can’t, they have to be the distance glasses.

Well.
No.

How well this strategy works depends on the lighting conditions. And today the sky is overcast. I might be able to see my fingerprints through the progressives, sure…but the creosotebush on the mountain, not so much.

This leads to a certain degree of ambiguity. Not to say “rage.”

ohhhhh well….

Loafifying…

How was your Thanksgiving? I hope a pleasant holiday was had by one and all! Mijito and I went over to his friends’ house…they not being middle-aged bachelors are happily married with half-grown kids and large extended families. Had a great time!

Today, I’m hanging out at the Funny Farm doing…nothing. Exactly nothing.

This loafing stuff has gotta stop! I’ve become addicted to it. I’ve learned to loaf with élan thanks to the Covid terror…I don’t even go to grocery stores anymore: just send a delivery person or order on Amazon. Walk the dog twice a day. And that’s it, in the mobility department.

The plague thing, it appears, is never gonna go away.  This is ducky: Looks like we’re going to have to run out and get a new set of shots every time the damn virus mutates into some new strain.

Dunno about you, but I’m getting mighty tired of the lock-up in solitary confinement. I see no one. I go nowhere. I do nothing. And I’m mighty tired of it! {whine}

That’s only a slight exaggeration. Driving around in parts of town where I haven’t gone since the lockdown began is vaguely disorienting. The city continues to evolve as we sit hunkered down in our caves. Normally, I’d be driving through those areas even if I wasn’t going TO a destination there, just to get from Point A to Point B. But since I don’t go to Point B anymore — send the Instacart runner if I must, or else order stuff on Amazon — there actually are parts of the city where I haven’t gone in a year or more, since this whole flap arose. And without the church and choir, I have exactly zero social life. Thanksgiving at the kids’ (now middle-age parents’…) house was the first large social event I’ve been to since the horrible flap blew up.

And it looks like the solitary confinement is not gonna go away soon:  Pfizer says, sounding optimistic, that it can whip up a new vaccine for the Omicron variant in a mere 100 days — forgodsake, that’s three and a half months! Before it even starts to get to market…

Meanwhile… Have you been watching the price of real estate? Migawd…we’re putting Southern California to shame. Lookit this: two bedrooms, one bath. Over by the coliseum, where the neighborhood streets (and people’s front yards) disappear under a tide of parked cars every time any event takes place. Four and a quarter! Over four times my father’s entire retirement savings, which he figured would support him from the age of about 50 until he fell face-forward into the grave. Then we have this astonishing slum property, right around the corner from Chuck’s Auto (car dude extraordinaire), around the corner from Xavier & Brophy (fancy private high schools), and within walking distance of the place where DXH and I lived when we were first married: https://my.flexmls.com/DeanTompkims/search/contacts/20211024182402853739000000/newsfeeds/listings/20211124193010032749000000  Terrifying!!

Seriously terrifying: if a fire started on that stove while you were upstairs in the bathroom, you’d have to jump out a window to escape. Assuming you could get a window open…

The Funny Farm is supposedly worth (sez Zillow) over five times what I paid for an identical model two blocks closer to Conduit of Blight Blvd., back in the day; and well over twice what I paid for the present FF. How the hell do young people get by in these circumstances?

Meanwhile, in other overpriced climes: couldn’t make it to Costco on gasoline fumes yesterday, so filled up at the QT over in east Sunnyslope: THREE DOLLARS AND EIGHTY-NINE CENTS A GALLON!

Hoooolleeeee mackerel. Went ahead and filled up there, though, figuring a couple extra bucks was worth avoiding a twenty-minute wait in line at Costco’s gas pumps. Plus I wasn’t entirely sure the tank had enough gas to make it all the way out to Paradise Valley.

It bein’ Black Friday, Costco was JUST JAMMED.

Only needed a couple things, though, so that was not such a BFD.

Quite.

Well. Yes, it was.

One of the things I needed there was to order up a new pair of  glasses, since this morning I was soooooo delighted to discover I’d lost my regular pair of progressives. Supposedly a prescription is good for one year. By law.

Answer: Nooooo they will not. My computer says it’s still November. Right? I renewed these effing glasses last December. THEREFORE we should have another couple weeks to go before I have to do another government-mandated hoop-jump.

Well. No. They flat refused to sell me a new pair of glasses.

Next time I get a new spectacularly expensive prescription, I am going to buy TWO pairs of regular (not shades) progressives, so that I don’t get screwed like this again. One Rx fits me for a good two to three years, and if I lose or break a pair, I do NOT need Big Brother ordering me to throw my money down the drain like that.

And speaking of spectacularly expensive: Inside the Costco, I picked up a chunk of my favorite white cheddar cheese and then turned to the adjacent wine aisles, where I planned to restock the stash of Spectacularly Cheap Red.

Uh…

No.

INCREDIBLY, their prices for Cheap Plonk were in the Baron Rothschild range!!! Seriously: You could do better on a mid-range to cheapo bottle at freakin’ AJ’s (!!!!!!). And certainly much, MUCH better at Sprouts.

So I was just furious. Drove way to Hell and Gone out to Paradise Valley and bought nothing except for a chunk of cheddar cheese, the like of which also I could’ve gotten at AJ’s or Sprouts, in smaller quantity. And after this: those fine venues are gonna be where I shop

{sigh} After I got home, I stumbled upon the “lost” glasses, so once again can see my feet as well as the side of North Mountain. I’d put them away. As in their proper glasses case, in the cabinet where they belong…bizarre behavior! No wonder I couldn’t find them…

What a g.d. wasted afternoon.

Not exactly loafing, quite. (A typical Costco covers about an acre, so a stroll around it is at least a little bit of a walk.) But somehow wasting time and effort seems even more unhealthy than loafing.

Loafing’s not all that great for your morale, though. Yesterday while wasting time on the computer, I chanced to learn that my former bestie’s brother-in-law died several years ago, in Prescott. Of melanoma, the very entity Wonder-Dermatologist sliced off my face a few weeks ago.

That is just hair-raising…you couldn’t hope to meet a more vigorous, smart, and healthy man.

Ex-bestie: retired from Scottsdale Community College, living in Washington State with her new hubby, in what looks like a very nice home and neighborhood. Ex-bestie’s ex-husband: remarried and living happily ever after in a small town in Oregon. Third of the three brothers: still in Arizona and practicing law, having retired from the Superior Court bench.

How could we possibly all be old enough to have retired???????

Slow-Motion Suicide?

Every now and again, I think about my mother. And I wonder.

Did she kill herself on purpose?

Like today’s political conservatives who disbelieve and reject what the CDC says about covid-19, she and her cohort disregarded what a government agency said about tobacco smoking. Stupidity, ignorance, cant…whatever you want to call it…the effect was the same. Science meant nothing to her. Facts meant nothing to her. The obvious meant nothing to her. She would do as she pleased and would hear not a word to the contrary from Big Brother.

***

My father, who went to sea until a few years before she developed the cancer that would kill her, apparently wasn’t paying attention. Evidently it never registered: the only conscious moments she spent without a cigarette in her hand were when she was in the shower and when she was stuffing food into her face.

Otherwise…first thing in the morning she lit up a cigarette, before she lifted her head from the pillow, and the last thing she did before she turned off the nightstand light was to smash out the cigarette she was smoking to see off the day. She puffed away until food was on the table, and the instant she put her fork down after a meal, she lit up another cigarette. Once she was at my house for 40 minutes…by the time she left, the seven-inch-wide ashtray on the coffee table was full to overflowing with butts smoked all the way down to the filter.

Even though he smoked, too, how could he not have noticed how extreme her habit was?

But he didn’t. Oddly enough.

🙁

You only just now noticed? How could you have missed it? Did you, seriously, never pay any attention to her? Maybe that’s why she spent most of her adult life committing slow-motion suicide?