Monthly Archives: March 2006

“I’m Your Worst Nightmare.”

From Yahoo! News: Crazy Cat Terrorizes Conneticut Town

An interesting IM conversation I had with my manager about the article:

Clark says:

Clark says:
question: can a cat have “cat-like stealth”
Stu says:
bwah hahaha!!! that is the awesomest thing ever
Clark says:
wouldn’t it just be cat stealth?
Clark says:
I mean it’s a friggin’ cat.
Clark says:
Of course it’s stealth is “cat-like”
Stu says:
hmmm… yeah, that’s quite true. Being that he’s a cat, he’d have to purposely fumble his cat stealth. Then it would be “cat-like” rather than true cat stealth
Clark says:
Yeah, some writers are dumb.

I’m Out of Poverty!

I was having a discussion with some of my fellow “old timers” here at work (as a relatively new company, being here for two years makes you an old timer), what few are left, about how little we were paid back in the early days of the company.

One coworker commented about how I was probably below the poverty level in 2004. That got me wondering…

As I checked Poverty Thresholds according to the U.S. Census Bureau, I realized that, assuming I don’t get fired or some other very drastic event occurs, I will for the very first time in my life as a married man no longer be considered in poverty!

I may have been out of poverty in 2005 (the Census Bureau has not yet publicly released poverty threshold numbers for last year), but based on 2004 numbers, if I was out of poverty it was by the skin of my teeth (note: there is no skin on teeth)

Anyway, this is a very joyous occassion for me! For only the second time in my life (the first time having lasted 3 months through the end of 2001) I’m able to afford health insurance for my family. And I work for the awesomest company in the world to boot!

Uniting With My Fellow Depressed Bloggers

I was browsing around some of the other blogs here in my home town of Orem. I was quite astonished at what I found!

Apparently most bloggers are a rather depressed people, using their blogs to talk about why they’re depressed and explain how the whole world hates them. Despite the lack of logic or common sense in their rantings, I was starting to feel left out.

I mean, I’m a blogger and I’m in Orem, so why aren’t I so depressed about life? It could be that I’m nigh 32 years old and have just learned that life sucks and to deal with it. Maybe I just don’t remember the depressing teenage years when we were all depressed for absolutely no reason. I mean if teenagers had any idea how much more difficult life was going to get for them, then they’d all probably just kill themselves on the spot.

But I digress, on with why the world hates me and I have every right to be depressed…

This guy I work with thinks that I, along with my wife, my parents, my two brothers, nearly all my in-laws, about half the people I’ve ever worked with in my life, President Bush (and probably every U.S. president before him), about 90% of all college students, 59 of the 60 members in my USMC basic training platoon, and Hugh Hefner should all be thrown in jail. Why? Because we all fornicated. Now I know fornication is bad, but jail, where I’m likely to wind some bad man’s girlfriend?

But that’s okay. I just referred to him as a flippin’ fetcher and called it even.

Let’s see, what else?

I get cutoff several times a day while I’m driving. They must all hate me.

My neighbor and landlord waved at me and, with a smile on his face, told me, “Good morning!” He’s a hypocrite because I’m sure he hates me.

The checker down at the Burger King wasn’t smiling when she asked me for my order. She must hate me… *sigh*

My parents raised me, put a roof over my head, kept me clothed, and kept me fed. But my dad left me every day to go to work. He must’ve really hated me… *really deep sigh*

It was raining this morning. Mother Nature hates me.

Maybe I’ll just move to Canada. Everybody there loves everybody else I hear… BWAH HAHAHA!!! Okay, I can’t keep a straight face when I talk about Canada. Sorry to all the Canooks out there eh!

What was I talking about again?

The Green “Holiday”

What’s up with St. Patrick’s day? And what makes this one saint so special that he gets his very own day?

Patrick was actually British, and a wealthy Brit at that… or, at least, he was born into a wealthy family. During his youth, he appeared to be far from religious even though his father was a deacon.

As a teenager he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland. During his six years in captivity, he began to have dreams of converting the Irish to Christianity. He escaped captivity when he thought he heard God’s voice instructing him to leave Ireland.

Later, he was visited by an angel instructing him to return to Ireland to serve as a missionary. Patrick then spent 15 years studying his faith he was ordained a priest and sent off to Ireland.

As is often the case with Catholicism, Patrick integrated the native pagan beliefs and rituals into Catholic teachings. At this time in Ireland, the Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth, which probably are to blame for the highly exaggerated stories of St. Patrick’s life.

So why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s day? There are a lot of Irish in America, whose ancestors migrated here from their native land. Those first Irishmen brought with them their crazy tales and near-worship of St. Patrick.

The reality is St. Patrick is another Catholic saint who’s life we celebrate without even knowing why. But at least we can say we haven’t supplanted the celebration of a Catholic saint in place of celebrating the birth of our Savior (as is the case with St. Nicholas).

Yes, I’m a grouch about St. Patrick’s day. Not only because I disagree with the celebration of his life (where the hell is Joseph Smith’s day?), but also because I don’t even get a paid day off because of it!


Totally Awesome Computers Closes Its Doors

The talk of the town around here is the announcement by “Super” Dell Schanze regarding the closing of his Totally Awesome Computers stores.

The reaction by a good number of the people around me has been quite surprising. Believe it or not, people are joyous of this sad occassion. I hear comments like,

“He’s an idiot.”
“He’s annoying and I don’t care.”
“I hate him anyway.”

I used to know Dell personally. I worked out with him back in his pre-Totally-Awesome-Computers days. I’ve met his family. I admit that the last time I talked to him was in 1999, and it’s quite possible that he’s changed since then.

But the Dell Schanze I know is a good guy and I have absolutely nothing bad to say about him. To be surrounded by people who only know him from his TV commercials trash his good name… well frankly, it pisses the hell out of me.

Sure, there may have been some bad decisions made, but what one of us wouldn’t have been equally upset if you were treated by the media in the same manner?

My every experience with Dell has been a positive one. When I talked to him in 1999, he didn’t remember me. Nonetheless, he treated me with the utmost respect and professionalism. If I treated him disrespectfully, I’m sure that would have changed. After all, I can understand. I’ve been fired from customer support positions twice in the past because of my tendency to “fight back” when a person gets in my face or insults or offends me.

And who doesn’t want to stand up for themselves when the world around you (most of whom don’t even know you) is saying bad things about you?

Dell Schanze has my complete support. And I’ve already been insulted by people that never met the man because of it. Nations have gone to war because of false judgements. In a town that is nearly 90% Mormon (and 100% of us a hypocrite to some degree), when are we going to learn to reserve judgement and be kind to our fellow man?

I spent some time reading several media articles regarding this story. Nearly every person interviewed that knows Dell personally had only good things to say about him, albeit they were also apologetic of his antics. Now why would the people that know him best have only good things to say about him even while the rest of Utah is trashing him?

You Just Caught Yourself One Bad Phish

So you’ve heard of phishing, right? It’s essentially blasting out as many emails as you can pretending to be some company (eBay, PayPal, and national banks are some of the favorites that phishers use). You say there’s been some sort of security issue with their account and ask them to sign in.

You, as the phisher, link them to a site that looks like the company site, and when the phish enters their username and password, it redirects to you.

Well the latest trend is to, instead of pretending that there is a security issue, pretend that some strange transaction involving a lot of money has occured. For example, a PayPal phishing email I received recently appeared to be a PayPal verification email informing me that my PayPal account had been charged several hundred dollars to purchase some kind of watch. The first thought is to freak out and think, “Omigosh! Somebody has gotten a hold of my PayPal information and is making large purchases! How do I stop this?”

Conveniently, there is a link right there in the email that very boldly states, “To dispute this charge, click here.”

A savvy person such as myself can see right through that. But people who are newer to PayPal or the internet might click on the link without even stopping to think about it.

Just today, I received another email from a phisher pretending to be a communication through eBay. Take a look:

As you can see, this phisher takes advantage of the well known tendency of eBayers to be easily provoked. The communication is from a supposedly angry buyer. Your typical eBay member doesn’t like to be accused of anything (even if it’s true) and so your typical eBayer would click the respond link to fire off a nasty retort.

Which is exactly what I did…

“But Stuart, if you know it’s a phishing scam, why’d you click on the link?”

Patience my student. Sit back and learn.

So when I clicked on the link, I was taken to a site that was obviously NOT an eBay hosted site (as can be told by looking at the URL). But the look of the page itself appeared to be an eBay site:

This is where I have my fun. Notice my username. The password I used was equally vulgar, containing the word “MothaF***a”. But I hardly stopped there. I viewed the source code of the page and discovered that this phisher was a serious amateur. They were simply having the information from the sign-in form directed straight to an email address, specifically:

So I went ahead and, using this email address, subscribed to about three dozen different internet newsletters. In the instances where a name was asked for, I used “Numb Nuts”.

Aaahhhh… gotta love it when the phish gets the better of the phisherman. Consider me the phish that removes the bait from the hook, then places an old boot on the line and gives it a good tug.