Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Under Frikkin’ Petty Siege…

| 3 Comments

Ever feel like you’re under siege from all directions? In a petty way, I mean.

There is, of course, under siege, Main Edition:

  • Your car deliberately drives itself into a utility pole.
  • Your cat croaks over.
  • Your roof leaks and melts the ceiling drywall.
  • Your house burns down, flood from the leaky roof notwithstanding.

Petty siege is not that kind of assault from the Fates.

Petty siege is the one-little-annoyance-after-another variant. An act of petty siege does not entail major catastrophe or heart-rending tragedy or budget-busting surprise expense. No. Petty siege is when every stupid little thing that can go wrong or that can make you crazy occurs, one after another.

9:00 p.m. For the second time, the MacBook barfs up an error message claiming I can’t get into iCloud and must enter a password. It won’t accept any of the several word/number combos I hope to be the password. I spend an hour or more on the phone with an Apple customer service tech, who is uncharacteristically stupid. We go around and around and around and around in circles and get nowhere. Finally iCloud starts working again — at random, not by virtue of anything we’ve done — and we conclude it must be a problem with Cox’s connectivity. This, not before I’ve fucked up my passwords, leaving me pretty much in the dark as to what combination of letters and numbers applies where. I give up, frustrated and angry.

10:00 p.m.: In comes an email from Amazon demanding that I pay $8 for the OxiClean that was never delivered.

3 a.m.: Wake up and can’t get back to sleep.

5 a.m.: Give up trying to sleep; decide to pass time on the Internet. Get the “you can’t get into iCloud message” again. This time before calling Apple, I send myself an email. It goes through, eventually. I go to iCloud and open a document. The MacBook forthwith delivers the document. I decide to forego another hour of frustration on the phone. Wander off, the mystery unresolved.

6 a.m.: Rain dripping off the roof is hitting a plastic drain cover, making a weird drumming sound. Dog is alarmed.

6:10 a.m.: Try to get the dog to go outside to do her business, which she declined to do in the rain late last night. Not a chance, Human! quoth she. She doesn’t want to get wet. Have to go outside into the middle of the yard, bare-footed in the rain, and call her to follow me. Then wait until she decides she can manage to do the job in spite of water falling on her head.

6:30 a.m.: Wipe the mud off the kitchen floor. Lay down one of the late Cassie’s pee pads in front of the back door. These things make efficient mud-catchers, BTW.

7:00 a.m.: Get an Amazon CSR on the phone (mirabilis!!!). She says the bill was sent in error and claims it is hereby canceled. Yeah, Right. We’ll see about that.

8 a.m.: Pool guy shows up, just as the heavens split open. He’s at the front door, in a downpour. I invite him in, of course. He treks through the house to the back door, Ruby excitedly dancing along. So much for Luz’s shiny clean floors, rendered that way less than 48 hours ago…

9 a.m.: The nuisance phone calls start up again. Despite the CPR 5000 Call Blocker, which has been a marvel, more and more nuisance callers have been getting through, most of them by spoofing local numbers. By 10 or 10:30, I’d been interrupted four times by these pests.

10 a.m.: My beloved, rustic, eccentric-old-lady electric heater — an old-fashioned “heat dish” — throws a hissy fit. Its alarm goes off in a buzzy blast, the kind of noise it makes if someone picks it up or moves it or tips it over while it’s on. It’s on, all right, at Day-Glo blast because it’s cold and damp in here. But it hasn’t been touched or jiggled in any way…unless we had an earthquake that I failed to notice. Unplug that.

10:40 a.m.: Stumble across my second, back-up eccentric-old-lady electric heater, stashed upside down in the back of a closet where a more organized search failed to unearth it earlier. Plug it in: seems to be working. Decide against driving through the rain to buy a new space heater. Ugh.

11:00 a.m.: More and more e-mail spam comes in through a blog contact page. Earlier this morning I disabled the Contact Page at The Copyeditor’s Desk by way of circumventing the bastards. So they go over to Funny about Money and send their BS through its contact page. Now I have to get into that site and delete that Contact form.

11:30 a.m.: Another goddamn nuisance phone call. Traipse back to the office, intent on calling CPR 5000’s customer service to ask after workarounds. First, though, I go so far as to read the instructions. (Isn’t THAT quaint!) Discover that I can enter codes to block “Name Unavailable” callers, VoIP Rogue callers, and “Withheld/Private” callers. Jump through the hoops to accomplish that.

12:08 p.m. Another nuisance phone call, this one from area code 213. Can I block all incoming from (213)? Yeah, I can…but that could be problematic. Though I have no friends who would call me from that area code, I could occasionally do business with clients in Southern California. This is, I think, the sixth nuisance call and we’re not even halfway through the day’s waking hours…

The problem with blocking each number as it comes in — well, there are several problems. In the first place, to block a number you have to pick up the receiver and then punch in a code. When someone picks up the receiver, of course, that alerts the robocaller that someone is on the other end of the line, which triggers an avalanche of further calls. And in the second place: virtually all of the numbers you see on Caller ID are spoofed. And the robocaller is programmed to generate literally an infinite number of phone number spoofs, something made possible by the fact that telephone numbers contain 10 numbers now.

12:32 p.m. A mighty deluge of water is pouring out of the sky. The back patio floods. So far it hasn’t reached the back door’s threshold, thanks to Gerardo’s guys having removed the plastic covering over the shade structure, which prevents a back-up by allowing water flowing off the roof to disperse evenly. That’s something. I guess.

12:41 p.m.: Another nuisance call from my area code. And of course, blocking one’s own area code is contraindicated. So is blocking most of the exchanges within your area code: who knows when someone will call from such an exchange?

12:47 p.m.: Discover, deep in the complicated instructions the Call Blocker, that to block a call with the “#2” code from a cordless extension, that extension has to be plugged into the call blocker! Holeee shit! But no.., not so! Here online, the how-to-block instructions say “answer the call from a DECT 6.0 wireless handset then press the # key then the 2 key…” Yes, my handsets are DECT 6.0. Okay, guess that’s been working, anyway. For all the good it’s doing me…

12:53 p.m. I’m hungry. I want a beer. And I want a nap. The roof is rattling to the approaching thunder squall.

‘Bye!

Author: funny

This post may be a paid guest contribution.

3 Comments

  1. Isn’t the phone number private information and protected from the robot-callers?

  2. Nope.

    Robocallers generate and dial millions of numbers at random. In addition, to get you to pick up the phone, they spoof Caller ID numbers, so that it appears a call is coming from your exchange, when in fact you’re being called by a crook in, say, Tanzania or Pennsylvania. I’ve actually received numbers that caller ID said were coming from my own number!

    So the robocall machine may be in, let’s say, Dallas. On Tuesday morning, it starts calling numbers in area code 213. It goes 1-213-442-1224, and it “tells” the person at that number that it’s calling from 1-213-442-5432. The person on the receiving end sees the Caller ID for 1-213-442-5432 and thinks it’s his neighbor Joe. When he picks up the phone, he hears a recording or the iive voice of a scammer. This goes on all day, the robocaller dialling 1-213-442-1225, 1-213-442-1226, 1-213-442-1227…and so on, to infiniity. A 10-digit phone number can be jumbled to create millions of numbers, so the robocaller calls every number in an area code and then some, regardless of whether the number is listed or unlisted.

    For this to be profitable, only a very tiny number of respondents need respond. And alas, there are enough people with phones who are unsuspecting, stoned, or plain stupid. They like to target the elderly, figuring we are naive, stupid, or don’t have all our marbles. And they have ways of generating lists of numbers belonging to specific demographic groups, among them the aged, for example. In this country, you get automatically signed up for a group called AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) the minute you turn 50 — willy nilly, whether or not you ask. AARP sells lists of its members’ names and phone numbers. This is regarded as ripe pickings by the phone scammers. The instant I turned 50, I started getting BLITZED by phone solicitations, and it has not stopped.

    Apparently some laws have been passed to restrict some aspects of this problem, or else most of the nuisance callers have figured out that they catch more flies with molasses… For example, I used to get these calls at night as well as all day long. Now the robocallers coordinate their blitzes by time zone. The calls start at about 8:30 or 9 a.m. here and continue until around 7 p.m. Without a call blocker, I routinely get upwards of a dozen a day.

    With the call blocker on, the number had drop to three or four, but lately it’s climbed right back up to 10 or 12. I’m hoping that blocking calls from “Name Unavailable” and from numbers claiming to be from my own exchange will cut the nuisance calls back to an almost tolerable number. This will mean I can’t receive calls from any of my neighbors…I’ll just have to tell them they’ll need to email me to get in touch.

  3. That is super strange.

    I always thought US being religiously protective about the private property and intellectual rights (names, addresses and phone numbers befalling into the same category).
    It seems in this case the right to do robot calling business trumps your right to have peace :)))

    We do have some ‘not-approved’ calls but rarely, more from the few individuals bent on potentially criminal activity. Do I understand it correctly? They do try to lure money from people? It’s difficult to understand the point of these calls. Is it selling stuff by phone?

    I have to look up the law but here (EU), business might call only if approved by the phone number owner (there might be exceptions). Phone number being ‘sensitive’ (not sure of the word) information.

    Hmm, I have to read your reply, I might have missed the point of these calls.

    Thank you for the reply! It really is a strange thing. US being the land of wonders…

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