Friday, October 12, 2001

Russian E-Mail Scam

I have been getting unsolicited e-mails that are supposedly from a Ukranian woman named Mariya Fedoroni. She’s been sending me love letters that I ignored at first, but they kept coming so I wrote an over-the-top response that I thought would end the letters. It didn’t; but it did draw out the scam. She asked me to wire her $950 for a plane ticket and a visa to come to America so she can be with me. Riiight. I called the FBI instead, and asked if they were interested in small-time internet scams. The guy said sure, and told me I could mail the letters to him. I suggested he give me his e-mail address and I could just forward them to him. He answered HE DIDN’T KNOW THE E-MAIL ADDRESS. What an idiot. I told him he wasn’t inspiring my “full faith and credit” in the US government. I think that pissed him off. He referred me to their web site, the same one that’s accepting info about the terrorists. I had to choose a category for the complaint. International scam? Fits. Spam / Unsolicited e-mail? Also fits. Non-delivery of purchased goods? Heh heh. Could fit! I opted for the Spam category and filed a complaint. In the meantime I wrote the minx again and suggested I mail her the plane ticket instead of the money and asked for her measurements so I could have a wedding dress tailored. I checked into wiring her 950 rubles as a joke, but that’s $30 and change so I didn’t want to do that.

Thursday, October 11, 2001

Things not to say on a date

Last week sometime I ran into Linda's friend PCE at a friend's house. Now I had met PCE before at Happy Hours here and there and always thought she was pretty in a classy sort of way, but she was also very reserved and quiet. We started talking and decided to go to the Richmond Arms and talk more. It was a nice time.

Since then we’ve been on two dates. One was a dinner/movie, and one was a night at a bar. I'm starting to see her bad side. When I went to her place to pick her up, I called her and she told me the code to get into the gate. It didn’t work, and I called her again. “Gee, I thought you were smart. And you can’t work the gate code? Nevermind, I’ll come down there and let you in.” Calling me stupid isn't a good way to win me over. When she came to the gate I stopped her from opening it and made her watch me put in the code she had given me. “Oh,” she said with a shrug. “I must have given you the wrong code.” And? An apology would do nicely right about here. Nothing. I shrugged the whole thing off. Maybe I'm being too sensitive.

We talked on the phone tonight for a while and she was asking me about how I got into teaching. She can’t understand how anyone in their right mind would be a teacher since the money is so low. She asked me about the time I changed my major to History and she asked me “Didn’t your dad or anyone counsel you to stay in Engineering?” When I told her about how the other engineering majors teased me when I changed, she said something to the effect that she’d believe it, as if I’d made a poor decision.

Let this be a lesson to you women out there who read this--1) never belittle a guy you like, even in jest, and 2) never try to make him feel like he made the wrong decisions in his career. You certainly won't win his affection or make him look forward to seeing you again.

Monday, October 01, 2001


The terrorist attack against the US has spawned a flurry of activity and sent shockwaves throughout the country. Airlines, threatening to file bankruptcy, have gotten a bailout from the government. Still, few people want to fly. Security has been tightened up; they’re not allowing fingernail clippers on planes (potential weapon!) which I think is ridiculous. A lot of displays of safety inspections are being made but they’re superficial. Armed guards at airports have drivers pop open trunks, they glance inside and wave them through. Still, you can fly round-trip anywhere in the US for less than $200. The economy took a nosedive; companies have been laying off like crazy and everyone’s afraid to spend. There has been talk about the threat of biological weapons, and Houston has been named as one of eight possible targets for smallpox or anthrax. Maybe I should go get vaccinated!

There has been a lot of rhetoric coming from Washington, but still no fireworks show like Desert Storm. Bush the Younger isn’t an effective leader in a time when we really need one. He keeps getting on TV and saying things like, “Make no mistake. We’re going to find ‘em, we’re going to smoke ‘em out, get ‘em runnin’.” Rumors say special forces are already in Afghanistan looking for Osama bin Laden, the primary suspect.

Internet rumors have been circulated. One phony Nostradamus quatrain went around that described the attack and said it would start WW3. It wasn't real. Another was a doctored photo of a guy on the observation deck of the Trade Center with a plane flying at it. Not really a rumor, but everone saw it. A third said there was a secret code embedded in the Wingdings font. Q33NY in Wingdings font shows a plane, two buildings, a skull and crossbones, and the Star of David. It supposedly implies it was an attempt to kill Jews in NY. Q33 was claimed to be a flight number of one of the hijacked planes – it wasn’t. A fourth said there would be similar attacks on the 22nd. There weren’t.

I’ve never seen so much patriotism. Stores sold out of flags in a matter of a few days, and now you see them everywhere – on cars, outside homes, taped to windows. Crime is supposedly down (at least in NY) but we’ll see how long that lasts with the unemployment rate climbing. Now is not a good time to be critical of the prez or his methods; those who are criticizing Bush or his actions so far are called unpatriotic and labeled as troublemakers and dissidents. I don't like where this is headed.