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Art Quiz

I know these kinds of quizzes mean well, but they just get on my nerves so bad.

What is different about your art?
What is compelling about your art?
Why can’t they do without your art?
What is the experience your art provides?
What is the style, genre or fashion or your work?
What emotions does your art invoke?
What problems does your art solve?
Does your art give your customer a feeling of being special or exclusivity?
Is there and investment potential in your work?
Does your art allow your customer to express their feelings, beliefs or life?



I don't know why, but they just do. And these are the kinds of answers I always come up with:

What is different about your art?
I drew it.

What is compelling about your art?
It's not eye-blinding colorful.

Why can’t they do without your art?
They'd have one less thing to dust on the wall.

What is the experience your art provides?
Something to look at while they dust.

What is the style, genre or fashion or your work?
Pencil. If you can't tell that by looking at it, you need help.

What emotions does your art invoke?
Not disgust.

What problems does your art solve?
Less bare space on the wall.

Does your art give your customer a feeling of being special or exclusivity?
No.

Is there and investment potential in your work?
No. Unless you count the fact I'll be doing this until I'm either dead or too old to hold a pencil straight.

Does your art allow your customer to express their feelings, beliefs, or life?
Yes, they can express how they don't want bare spaces on the wall.


Not exactly pizzazz and egotistic like I'm supposed to answer. How can I be egotistic? "I am the most awesomest artist ever and your life will be void and empty if I'm not in it"? What the heck? My art statement is pretty plain and simple. "I like to draw and you're welcome to my art or services if you like, if not, may you find an artist you do like." No drama, no insecurity, no bragging.

Project Gutenberg

I have gone on another downloading spree at Project Gutenberg. My kid is old enough now to start showing some interest in books and stories. And like any proper kid, I'm introducing him to the good stuff. Heh, people tell me that I'm deprived for not watching some random movies. I say they're deprived if they didn't grow up on Beatrix Potter, Kate Greenaway, or Dr. Seuss!

I think if I ever attempt to be an illustrator for children's books, I'm going to do it in the style of Beatrix Potter, Kate Greenaway, and other old styles like that. Some say that kids hate having detailed drawings. I fully disagree, I loved detailed drawings when I was a kid. There was more to look at!
What the hell is wrong with customer service these days?

I have an automated newsletter sign-up on my site. Despite filtering out most, I still get bogus bots. Therefore, I get rejection emails of "failed to deliver to sender because they don't exist". Fine, I understand. Then Microsoft sends me an email telling me I need to learn how to write an email. What? So I ask Microsoft. The dude gets fixated on the first email. I get one email per week asking me the details of the standard "failed to deliver". I give him the details and patiently keep asking about the second one. After two months of this, I lose patience. Despite spelling it out as plainly for this guy as possible, he never explains the second one. He just prattles on about how you get "failed to deliver" emails when the recipient doesn't exist. Never once does he address the "learn how to write an email" message I got.

I finally break down and buy contacts to replace the old ones I wore for a long time. I paid for it, I get my stuff, it's fine. Then they charge me a dollar three days later and keep it for a week. Um, excuse me? What the hell? "It's a pre-authorisation charge to make sure your card was valid!" What part of "pre" don't you understand? That was a "post" authorization charge. For a week. And I've been arguing with them since then to find out why I was charged after my payment had processed, cleared, and gone. Ya think that maybe that was a clue the card was valid?
I order some more art supplies. Vendor is paid. Two weeks later. After I've had my supplies for over a week and been using it. What the hell, Paypal? They blame the vendor for not "capturing" the right amount. Um, contacted the vendor, they said it's cleared and gone. So why did it take two weeks of multiple memo/ghost posting before it finalized on my end, each one with a Paypal tag and not the vendor's tag? Ghost posting ends after three days, not two weeks! So for two weeks, I've had Paypal going on about random stuff that doesn't matter and is completely irrelevant. I ask a simple question "are you having trouble with your system" and they've rambled on about FAQs and databases and everything they can do to avoid answering me. So, that's a yes. I can read between the lines, you're having system trouble, and like every other corporation you won't admit it.

I order some books from Barnes and Noble. I authorized one lump sum. And again, for two weeks, my bank is a wreck. What was once one amount has now separated into three amounts (for thirteen books, two box sets, and three loose), and not even the correct amount. I still owe sales tax, and the three amounts keep changing. Paypal is claiming innocence again, going on about "capturing vendors", and Barnes and Noble starts in with the same run-around garbage! "Oh, you bought this on this date for this much, and were charged three times, question answered!" Uh, no it's not! Why am I being charged three times and not for the correct conglomerated amount? "Question answered, now tell us how awesome we are in a feedback survey!" Alright, will do. But ye ain't gonna like what I have to say. Can't either of you idiots just charge me once and for the correct amount and without dragging it out for two weeks? Is that really so much to ask?

I find myself quoting Scar from Lion King all the time. "I am surrounded by idiots". That has become my catchphrase. I gotta stop using digital money. Digital money is screwy and never works right. Oh well, been using Paypal for four years, I was bound to find some of their infamous bloopers eventually. Now if I can just get people to be straightforward about it!

Bluebird by American Express

While poking around with Walmart's Savings Catcher feature, I decided to take a chance and redeem my pennies to Bluebird instead of a Walmart gift card. Being the skeptic I am, being told the only fee is using an out-of-network ATM sounds too good to be true. So I have gone hunting on the internet for some bad features that American Express isn't admitting to.

And ya know, I haven't really found any.

The biggest gripe is "won't build your credit". Well, DUH! It's a prepaid DEBIT card. What debit card builds credit? I've never heard of one that does. Credit cards are basically loans on plastic. Loans come with risk to your credit score, and usually a higher total purchase cost due to interest on the loan. Prepaid cards generally don't have a chance at hurting your credit score or much risk beyond the standard possibilities with theft. Well, there is that "not insured by FDIC", so if American Express goes up in smoke or something happens to your money while they're in the process of depositing your deposit into one of their FDIC-insured banks, yes, there goes your dough.

There were a few gripes at how you don't earn interest on the money you have in what is practically a bank account. Well, that's the cost of not having monthly fees. Most banks charges fees for this, that, and the other to cover the interest paid out to accounts, and also to cover the expenses of bad accounts that are severely over-drawn and will never be repaid, and also loans that go bad and also are never repaid. Which is one reason why I love the little local bank I bank at, the only fees I'm eligible for are the standard overdraft/bounce fees, and a charge for paper statements that is negated easily by receiving eStatements. So I pretty much have a free checking account! Although it makes me wonder how American Express is making money off of these cards when the only apparent fee is using an out-of-network ATM... Or is it just any non-MoneyPass ATM? One thing they don't tell you until they send the "thanks for activating the card" email is that if you don't have direct deposit set up to your Bluebird card, you get hit with a $2 fee from AMEX when you use the ATM and a $2 Amex fee plus any ATM fees the operator charges when using the out-of-network ATMs. But I intend to use "online banking" and not an ATM, so I'm not concerned.

I'll keep my eyes open. If you know me, you know I'm quick to complain when losing money for no good reason. =)

While I was browsing Bluebird's sight for any hidden fees and issues, I stumbled across a rather nice little feature. It's has a built-in Paypal! And by that, I mean you can send money from one Bluebird card to another using an email address, and also withdraw funds to an external bank account that you have "linked" to your Bluebird account. And for free! Paypal could have competition if prepaid card companies start catching on to that. And for that reason, I'm testing out adding Bluebird as an option for taking payment with my commissions. It should be interesting.

Anywho, if it catches your eye, here is their FAQ.

EQ Test

http://www.arealme.com/eq/en/

Q1: You're on an airplane which suddenly hits extremely bad turbulence and begins rocking from side to side. What do you do?
A: Continue to read your book or magazine, and become wary of the situation while reading the emergency instructions card.

Q2: You've taken a group of 4-year-olds to the park, and one of them starts crying because the others won't play with her. What do you do?
A: Stay out of it, let the kids deal with it on their own.

Q3: Assume you had hoped to get an A in one of your courses, but you have just found out you got a C– on the midterm. What do you do?
A: Tell yourself that course doesn't matter and concentrate on other courses where you have higher grades.

Q4: Imagine you are an insurance salesman calling prospective clients. Fifteen people in a row have hung up on you, and you are getting discouraged. What do you do?
A: Try something new on the next call, and keep plugging away.

Q5: You are a manager in an organization that is trying to encourage respect for racial and ethnic diversity. You overhear someone telling a racist joke. What do you do?
A: Speak up on the spot, saying that such jokes are inappropriate and will not be tolerated in your organization.

Q6: You are trying to calm down a friend who has worked himself up into a fury at a driver in another car who has cut dangerously close in front of him. What do you do?
A: Tell them the other person is very likely on the way to the hospital with an emergency and not a bad driver at all.

Q7: You and your boyfriend/girlfriend have gotten into an argument that has escalated into a shouting match. In the heat of the moment, you are both making personal attacks that you don't really mean. What's the best thing to do?
A: Take a 20-minute break, then resume.

Q8: You have been assigned to lead a work group that is trying to come up with a creative solution to a nagging problem at work. What is the first thing you do?
A: Draw up an agenda and tell people they only have a few minutes to say their spill before the next person gets time to talk.

Q9: Imagine that you have a 5-year-old son who is extremely timid, and has been hypersensitive about—and a bit fearful of—new people and places since he was born. What do you do?
A: Shelter him and never let him in any situations he doesn't like.

Q10: For some time now, you have wanted to return to playing the musical instrument you learned to play when you were younger. You have finally gotten around to practicing again, and want to make the best use of your time. What do you do?
A: Chose pieces that stretch your abilities a bit.


Score: 140


Bullshit!

1. Yes, do not panic. Be prepared, but don't panic.
2. "Stay out of it" huh? What if the other kids choked her, or she doesn't understand that punching them is why they hate her? Some things need dealt with, you can't just "stay out of it" and bury your head in the sand!
3. No, you should assess what you're doing wrong and do better, don't brush it off as nothing and unimportant. That may work with one of those junk classes like Microsoft Office, but a core class in your major like say "where are the organs located" for those training to be a doctor, you'd better damn well re-do it!
4. No. I'd get another job. I'm not cut out to be a salesman because I do not enjoy annoying the snot out of everybody. That aside, I'd experiment with my tactics.
5. No, I will not nag and throw a hissy fit. It's just a joke, lighten up! People are too damn touchy these days.
6. Oh, yes, let's guilt trip and nag them so they get even angrier. No, that crazy driver is NOT on the way to the hospital. Come drive in my territory for a few days and see just how many of them blow right past the hospital to their favorite fast food joint or shopping mall.
7. Yes, the proper thing to do is take a break and try again when you've both calmed down.
8. No, don't freak out the participants by telling them they've only got three seconds to come up with an idea and then they're shot down permanently. Open the floor, let people suggest what comes to mind, pick the most plausible ones, build on it, put it to vote which would be the best way to resolve things, and go from there.
9. Oh, yeah, shelter the kid so when he's 18 and gets a job he suddenly has to learn everything at once and then go on pills for the rest of his life to control his nervous break downs. No, what you SHOULD do is help him understand what the problem is and how to handle it, whether that means knowing when to step outside for a few minutes to calm down, how to approach it differently, or what.
10. That's a half-answer. You should stick to a strict practice time instead of a here, there, yonder approach, AND gradually increase your challenges.

Come back to ITT Tech!

I got a phone call today from ITT Tech asking if I wanted to go back and finish my degree.

Ohhhhh, let me tell you why I will not go back!


First and foremost, it is ridiculously overpriced! $15,000 for one year.

The classes are not accredited. So if you ever want to go to any college but ITT Tech, you have to start all over. Math, composition, EVERYTHING. There's one or two universities out there that will take ITT Tech's credits, but they're not convenient to me.

There are three campuses in my state and the nearest two are both two hours away through bad traffic.

Despite poor locations, there is almost no concept of a feasible online option.

The representatives refuse to let you go into your preferred field and sign you up for a field you aren't compatible with because you're "too social" for what you're actually good at, lie to you about how grand that field is with world travel being commonplace, and then leave it to the teachers to inform you that field will never advance above a call center.

There is no discipline in the classrooms. Students blasting music and movies from their workstations during labs, talking at the top of their lungs to people on the other side of the room at any given time, it is utter chaos.

Half the teachers I had spent more time socializing than teaching.

Financial Aid shreds your tax return when you come to let them make a copy of your 1040 tax return when you have no access to a copier machine yourself to do it for them.

Financial Aid pulls you out of class just to chit chat about your sister instead of waiting during break or after class for a social call. Then calls you get called out of class again because the first person didn't tell the next person you already told them your sibling was fine.

The computers are not correctly geared for the work. Windows Server needs a minimum of 8GB of RAM just for itself to work correctly. They had us using little rinky dink computers with 3GB of RAM, AND we had to create a virtual system in VMWare Player for Windows Server, so it didn't have that 3GB of RAM to itself! It was lucky to get so much as 2GB of RAM! Only by luck did any of us get over half our assignments to work, we were constantly having to reinstall those things and there were errors EVERYWHERE.

The final projects rarely cover material that was studied during the quarter.

You tell the ASSISTANT DEAN when your rep is nowhere to be found that you will be taking a quarter off, and despite promising they'll handle it, you get hit with a debt collector one month later for $1500 because the assistant dean DIDN'T keep their promise.

What happened to Myspace??

Out of curiosity, I reset my password and logged back into Myspace for the first time in... five years?

Didn't recognize it. At all. Not a bit. Nope. None.

My friendslist is in tact. I think. Some of them were still showing any way.

Once the shock wore off, I got down to business. I am trying to find one particular classmate I had several years ago, just out of sheer curiosity what happened to him. He's the only classmate I had that moved off to goodness-knows-where, and thus the only one that I have no clue what he looked like when he grew up. Either that kid died or he's off the grid. Or changed his name? All's I know is that I have yet to find him. And in the process of scrolling through Myspace search pictures, I saw two dicks. Interesting. I didn't know Myspace was now lax about that kind of thing. I don't think I'll be logging back in anytime soon...

College Essay

I got an email from some contest saying I could win $5000 if I write a good essay about the college I went to and told how they encouraged me to complete my degree. I wrote them an essay alright, but I wasn't bragging on them! And I honestly don't care if the rules are "you must be currently enrolled". If they don't want an unenrolled person giving them an opinion, then they should have taken my email off of their junk list.


It's Not Worth It

(The college) helped reinforce the fact that college is no place for me. I was a young mother with an infant. I could not afford a babysitter or daycare, the college had no child care facilities, I had no relatives to keep an eye on my child while I was at school, and my husband couldn't afford to take off work every time I needed to go to campus.

I was assured that the online courses were the best option for me and that they have people in my situation all the time. It seemed a great solution. I struggle in classrooms because the students are so noisy and chaotic and I don't process verbal communication well. I do very poorly in lectures. I have to read, see, and do something to understand it. I was all on board for online work so I could finish my degree in a way that seemed perfect for me. It seemed college finally understood that some of us just can't learn in the same way as they expect everybody else to.

What they failed to tell me is that I would not be allowed to pass any of my courses if I could not be physically present at the campus to take an ONLINE test. I had left ITT Tech with a 4.0 seeking an easier education while my son was too young for his own time in school and what I got was a GPA less than 2 for my efforts thanks to the college not understanding the definition of "online class" or "distance learner" and being so discriminatory against poor people with children. A hard learned lesson I won't soon forget.

They also failed to say I would still have to meet with some of the teachers, that video-taping myself would be required in some classes, and there would have to be phone calls to some of them. In addition to struggling with talking to someone in person, I am completely lost on a phone. I have no idea what was said during those phone conversations, but I do know I was given bad marks for it. So much for finding an understanding college! And did I mention that the teacher wanting the video asked for a copy of my drivers license? I can see the registrar wanting a copy, but a teacher should never ask for your license!

So now I thank (the college) for helping finish open my eyes that college is a thorough waste of time and is no place for a parent or an "abnormal" student. Perhaps a place for normal children and young adults whose parents pay their bills for them, but not for an adult with responsibilities and problems. I now homeschool myself, and I daresay I'm getting a better education because I also don't have Blackboard to garble it beforehand, videos, phones, or long drives to get in the way.


And I honestly don't care how "good" of an essay it is. One of the teachers that had to do phone calls was the composition teacher. I remember he was complaining about my writing, but I have no clue what about. I told him he should have sent an email if he wanted me to understand, but heaven forbid anybody listen to me! Living over twenty years with myself obviously does not qualify me to understand what I cannot do.

Mystery Varmints of Alabama

Gopher rat. A large rodent known for tearing things up. Some sites suggest it is a gopher, but I have not heard of a gopher in Alabama commonly being over a foot long tail and all. Perhaps it is a gopher.

A black, fuzzy, stinging caterpillar I've heard called a pack saddle and asp, although the Internet presents two entirely different looking bugs. This little demon looks like this here creepy crawly. Plenty of places suggest it is the harmless larva of the Giant Leopard Moth. This thing is NOT harmless. When stepped on it leaves a series of painful, swollen stings that itch like there's no tomorrow, and they also have bright yellow guts. So either nobody knows what happens when you step on giant leopard moth larvae, or it's not the larvae of a giant leopard moth.

Baby Shower

One of my old friends had a baby shower today so I went, and dragged the poor husband along. I'd need a hand keeping an eye on the kid since there was a request he appear.

Hubby hit it off great with the dad of the girl tossing the shower, and they disappeared for hours to chat about guns, knives, and other cool stuff that I wish I could be discussing too.

It was fun up front though. We played the standard "say the word 'baby' and lose a clothespin" game, and three other games. One was to correctly guess 15 nursery rhymes, which I won because I listen to Wee Sing pretty regularly with my kid and I have a fascination for folk lore and stuff. Another was to walk with a tennis ball between your knees and drop it into a jar to represent how you spend all your time in the bathroom when you're expecting. And the other game was to cut a string and see if correctly guess how big around the girl of honor was, which I lost by about 12 inches. Eh heh... She's right, her shirt was very misleading. ^^;

Then we all sat and chatted about babies, caught up with each other, snacked and yummies, and generally had a good visit.

Not a bad day. =)

Tonight I make my first pecan pies, as per request by the husband's side of the family since we will beginning the Thanksgiving marathon soon. First a trip to his side, then my dad's side, and then we'll end the marathon with my mom's side of the family. Whee! Plenty of yummies though!

Return of the Chicken Squirrel!

I was working at my computer with my two-year-old, a stuffed coyote, and two blankets in my lap, when I heard a great noise outside. My grandfather, who lives next door, was out and about with one of his toys and playing with it as guys tend to do. The kid adores his "gagangy" (granddaddy) and naturally was attracted to the leaf blower. So me, the hubby, and the kid cover ourselves head-to-toe for the forty-degree-Fahrenheit weather and out we go!

We had a lot of fun. My grandfather would blow a path through the leaves with the kid dancing in front and pouncing on the leaves, my husband behind him grabbing any pecans previously buried under inches of leaves, and I was off to the side doing my old pets proud scratching and burrowing through my own pile of leaves in search of pecans and looking something like a giant cross between a chicken and a squirrel. Before long my grandfather started following me around with the leaf blower and tossing leaves on me, because he's devious like that, and soon I fell in behind him to take an easier way of finding pecans.

Now I'm back inside, with a shopping bag bulging with tree nuts, while my husband and grandfather rakes the leaves up into a tractor bucket to be dumped on various gardens for mulch in preparation of next year's garden.

The Strangest Things...

Many moons ago I learned I was a tidbit different than other people. People are often shy, timid little things easily frightened, who also seem to think the only purpose of feet is to walk on them. No problem, I've toned down on the zaniness around them and when left to my own devices I am one happy, quite weird, little critter. And I have FUN! Well, I was out in the yard today (barefoot, of course) enjoying the chilly air, warm sun, dying grass, and dodging dropped pecans from the nearby tree as I hung out my laundry. I picked one of the little nuts up, admiring it's black streaks and tan body, noting the faint line around it longways that must be how the nut parts after it's in the ground and starts to grow a tree, and thinking back to how barely a month ago I had been maniacally gathering every one I could find on some strange notion I'd actually lack the procrastination enough to get them shelled and put into cookies. (Which are cracked, shelled, and chopped, I just have to actually bake cookies now.) Before I knew it I had put the little bugger between my teeth bit it in two! WHAT THE HECK!? Was my inner squirrel informing me of a vitamin deficiency or was my not-so-inner redneck informing me I had too many teeth? I don't even like pecans, they're chalky and bitter, and if you think they taste bad as is try halving the shell in your mouth! Bleh! I shrugged, finished shelling it, and ate it anyway. And then ate three more the same way. They're high in protein and the fat is good for those of us who are a bag-of-bones anyway. ^,^

I would say that the next strangest thing I've ever put in my mouth was a little cookie sandwich consisting of two Nilla wafers and a sliced dill pickle. That's a flavor I haven't forgotten or yet found a match to.

Business Cards Websites

I have lost my little piece of paper where I made a list of all the places I was considering to replace VistaPrint with, so I shall make it here so I'll have an easier-to-find digital copy. Had a falling out with VistaPrint after they passed on some false advertising by Google. Incidentally, developed my first real hatred of Google at the same time. False advertising is illegal, but big corporations like Google are above the law. The only thing I was allowed to do was delete any and all accounts I could with them.

Anywho. Full color, 14pt option, custom image upload, relaxed turnaround, nothing weird like 400lb paper or raised print or rounded edges or folded or 3D, annnd go!


GotPrint.com
• Single Sided, Matte: 100 for $7.10, 500 for $8.50
• Single Sided, Gloss: 100 for $7.10, 500 for $8.50

• Double Sided, Matte: 100 for $9.90, 500 for $13.20
• Double Sided, Gloss: 100 for $9.90, 500 for $13.20


Business Cards, Flyers, Banners
• Single Sided, Matte: 500 for $19
• Single Sided, Gloss: 500 for $19

• Double Sided, Matte: 500 for $20
• Double Sided, Gloss: 500 for $20

This site was very painful to look at... Minimum order of 500. But not a bad deal for 500 cards and a current statement of free UPS shipping! Got my attention, and not just from the blinding site colors.


Print Place
• Single Sided, Matte: 500 for $17.50
• Single Sided, Gloss: 500 for $17.50

• Double Sided, Matte: 500 for $23.00
• Double Sided, Gloss: 500 for $23.00


Next Day Flyer
• Single Sided?, Matte: 100 for $12.95, 500 for $17.95
• Single Sided?, Gloss: 100 for $12.95, 500 for $17.95 (glossy front)


Vistaprint
• Single Sided, Matte: 100 for $16, 500 for $20
• Single Sided, Gloss: 100 for $16, 500 for $20 (glossy front)

• Double Sided, Matte: 100 for $24, 500 for $36
• Double Sided, Gloss: 100 for $24, 500 for $36 (glossy front)


U Printing
• Single Sided, Matte: 100 for $15.07, 500 for $25.97
• Single Sided, Gloss: 100 for $13.55, 500 for $21.04

• Double Sided, Matte: 100 for $18.04, 500 for $34.47
• Double Sided, Gloss: 100 for $15.78, 500 for $28.44


123Print.com

• Single Sided, Matte: 100 for $11, 500 for $29
• Single Sided, Gloss: 100 for $15, 500 for $40

• Double Sided, Matte: 100 for $20, 500 for $44
• Double Sided, Gloss: 100 for $24, 500 for $55


PrintRunner
• Single Sided, Matte: 100 for $17.34, 500 for $32.13
• Single Sided, Gloss: 100 for $13.73, 500 for $21.80

• Double Sided, Matte: 100 for $23.94, 500 for $46.13
• Double Sided, Gloss: 100 for $18.95, 500 for $31.30


Overnight Prints
• Single Sided, Matte: 100 for $19.95, 500 for $34.95
• Single Sided, Gloss: 100 for $19.95, 500 for $34.95

• Double Sided, Matte: 100 for $24.95, 500 for $39.35
• Double Sided, Gloss: 100 for $24.95, 500 for $39.35


Zazzle
• Double Sided, Matte?: 100 for $20.95, 500 for $73.30



I ended up ordering from Business Cards, Flyers, Banners. They had a special deal for 250 cards, which should be a small enough number I won't regret it halfway through using them. This time I'm not using my real name to cut down on possible confusion, and I definitely won't have my phone number on it. I'm getting worse with understanding phone conversations the older I get, it's best if I just stick to email. And I actually remembered to put my website on it this time! Yay!
Anywho, it cost $18.50. +$2 to add full color to the back and I opted for +$4 to have it printed the next business day. Put me in a bit of a moral dilemma about spending an unnecessary $4. As much of a tightwad I can be, I can't help but wonder how I'd stack up to those who lived in the Great Depression. Probably still fall short. XP

Maybe I'll start including a card in with each commission I mail off? I am (slowly) remembering to include a PDF invoice since the kid somehow managed to break the printer so I can't include a paper one anymore.

Work from home?

This is my situation: I was recently offered a job by an online European auction to work from home proofreading and correcting letters sent out to US customers. Roughly about $30-$50 a day for an hour or so of editing, five days a week, so roughly $150-$250 a week. I can definitely see a need for somebody fluent in English if your company and their employees are not yet you are starting to develop a US base.

Now, scams are one of my obsessions. I look for them, I analyze them, every so often I will add my findings to my website. Depending on my mood I may play along with an email until I get bored with it, I may ignore it, or use it as a stress reliever. (May my son never hear me use such language.) But while the "work from home" and "European" (but not UK this time) sets off a red flag, nothing else does.

- A normal woman with legible English is sending the letters to edit, she is appropriately responsive to all my questions, and isn't just copy/pasting the same boring message over and over.
- The letters read like a pretty normal company that doesn't yet have an auto-filled template prepared for their customers.
- The pay is in a really normal range instead of the usual "make $100k annually doing nothing!"
- Not once have I been asked to pay anything.
- Future payments will be twice a month through Paypal. Not through Western Union or by giving up my bank information or receiving a check.

I am currently on a one-month probation and then I supposedly will be officially hired to keep doing this, not to mention get paid for what I'm currently doing. At the end of probation is when the proper paperwork will be done for "taxes, expenses, fees, interests and everything else necessary to have a healthy partnership with you".
Taxes are pretty obvious (and if this is for real I really dread tax season since foreign income has all sorts of wacky rules). "Expenses" is a big flag. Fees likely refer to Paypal fees, but is another cautionary flag.

I have done a search on the company names provided and they come up as real and not as a scam. There is no online record of being a text editor for this company, either as job postings or as something to avoid. I'm currently waiting on a reply back from one company this is supposedly from to see if they are aware of this and if it's legit, but I rarely get replies back from those kind of emails so I'm not holding my breath. I do have a resume out on a few sites like Monster.com and sometimes I do get real job offers that follow the same formatting as the first email I got about this "work from home" one. (Including from a business up the road wanting me to be a salesman. I really wish those recruiters would read my resume instead of lying that they did! I am NOT a salesman! Tangent for another day.) My bank statement alerts also have no logos, headers, and very poor formatting that it DOES look like a scam email when it comes in my inbox, so I know from experience some businesses do have rather plain and outright suspicious emails by default.

The main two voices in my internal war is "you've played with scams so much you don't know a real deal when you see it" and "you're getting so desperate for income you're turning a blind eye to danger".

Either this is for real or scammers have finally upped their game! It'll be an interesting learning experience in the long run. I just hope it doesn't end in legal trouble and sleeping with a shotgun.



*EDIT*
Checked in with some of my buddies in the UK and this is a scam common over there and not so common in the USA just yet. What they do is promote you to being a representative so you collect money on their behalf to later send to them. Then the people they scam send their money to you, and you're the one going to jail for undelivered goods and denied refunds instead of the losers orchestrating the whole thing.

I was going to play with "Petra", but I'm too tired and disgusted to bother right now. Screw you "Petra", with a cactus, and all your little friends too.

Snapfish or Walmart?

Between Snapfish or Walmart, I'll take Walmart. While Snapfish is currently teasing me with a 30 free photo promotion to be active on their site again (never bought before), Snapfish and Walmart both charge 9¢ for a 4x6. (Well, according to Walmart's current price sheet, 19¢ in store or shipped to store, 15¢ for 100+ in store or shipped to store, and 9¢ if ordered online and shipped to my house.)

Sounds pretty good. I go with Snapfish. And then regret it at checkout. $11+ shipping!? Helloooo, Walmart! That $5 shipping option still there?

Both of them do have cumulative shipping that greatens with each picture you order. But I'll still take Walmart. Same quality, better shipping.

Redneck Justice

Folks who claim to be legitimately off to try to get out of trouble had just better be very glad a lot of rednecks I know aren't major players in the judicial system. "Well now, if yer victim had shot yer brother and you were jus' gettin' even, we mighta gone easy on ya. But thankie fer verifyin' yer just too dangerous to let loose and probably gonna do it again. Kind of like how a junk yard dog only bites intruders and a rabid dog bites everybody. We'll have you put down in the mornin' so you don' kill any other innocent people."

Windows Automatic Updates

So last night I made the mistake of installing some of Windows Live Essentials programs onto my computer and forgot to check what damage I caused in the process. It turned on Automatic Updates without my permission over the night. Since I had some files left open I needed quickly in the morning, I left my computer running over night. Bad idea! 36 updates had trashed my computer, closed and nearly corrupted my files from being improperly closed, and my computer took several minutes to load the desktop when usually it's very quick. The whole system was severely bogged down and sluggish. It took me over two hours to uninstall all that garbage! I have the Updates turned off and disabled as much as I possibly can, and now I'm hoping uninstalling all this will fix the problem because I really don't want to spend the next few days wiping and reinstalling the entire system like I constantly had to back in the days I was being a "good little user" and letting Microsoft do whatever they wanted to my computer.

OC Meme - Shanku

The Rules::..

~1~ Choose one of your own characters (OC).
~2~ Make them answer the following questions.
~3~ Then tag three people.
~4~ Feel free to add some questions of your own.

Character?
Shanku Ravenwing

What gender are you?
Female

What is your age?
17

Do you want a hug?
No.

What is your job, if you have one?
I roam around and do odd jobs. Mostly hunting and gathering.

What is your favorite food?
_Anything_

Have you killed anyone?
...I don't want to talk about it.

Do you hate anyone?
Yes.

Do you have any secrets?
Not really.

What is your favorite season?
Autumn! They have the best festivals then.

Who is your best friend(s)?
Katari!

What are your hobbies?
...Hunting?

What is your favorite drink?
I like fruit juices.

When is your birthday?
02/28

Are you nice or mean?
I like to think I'm nice.

What do you think of your parents?
I miss them.

What's your weakness?
FOOD!

Do you love someone? How about romantically?
Love? Yes. Romantically? Ew, NO!

When was the last time you wet yourself?
...Huh? Well, I did get a little messy the last time I used a cup, I think I have a hole in my mouth.

NO!!! I DIDN'T MEAN IT!!! I SWEAR!!!
Good. But I still have to punish you.

What's your favorite band?
Eh? Band of what?

Ever worn a dress?
Yes.

Willingly?
NO.

I know you have...
It was never willing.

What do you consider fun during the day?
Eating, flying, running, rolling in the grass, watching the clouds.

At night?
Eating, flying, sleeping, rolling in the grass, watching the stars.

...Of the same gender?
About the same. Eat together, fly together, watch the clouds and stars.

Does anyone love you?
I guess so.

What's your favorite color(s)?
Blue and black.

Do you have a pet?
Well there's this little fairy dragon that won't leave me alone...

Are you crazy?
I don't think so.

What's your nickname?
Shank.

Do you consider yourself a happy or a down person?
Happy.

If you were a superhero, you'd be...?
Hawkgirl?

Favorite movie?
Eh?

What is your current occupation?
How is an occupation different from a job?

Who do you know that bugs you?
You.

Ever think about getting married?
NO.

Minecraft, Blood and Bones

Any avid Minecraft fan out there has likely experimented with mods. Free things you integrate into your Minecraft files to enhance the game a bit, like more animals, magic, armour, ores, or other things. The really bold Minecraft fan may even download the Feed the Beast launcher that supplies you with tried and tested packs involving many mods put together.

Personally, I'm a fan of DireWolf20's stuff. Maybe because he made the first modpack my husband introduced me to, maybe because I'm an explorer and like to adventure around the virtual world to see what I can see instead of staying stuck in a hole playing with machines. But anyway, there's a rather difficult pack making it around the community called Blood and Bones.

The first thing you are likely to notice is that you are now going to starve to death very quickly. Then after you get used to hearing the constant crunching it takes for you to stay alive, the next thing you'll notice is that you can't eat the same foods more than 4-5 times per 30 things you've eaten. Because then you're wasting food and it's not helping your hunger bar. You can thank Hunger Overhaul for this massive irritation. The only good thing that comes from Hunger Overhaul is that you can right-click on crops to gather them instead of breaking the whole plant and then having to plant it again. Oh, and you don't heal from having a full hunger bar anymore. You have to eat cooked meat and other heartier meals than berries. Now, in the grand old days, smacking a cow on the butt means you get to chase that cow all over creation. In Blood and Bones, every cow in a 30 block radius is going to stampede you to death. The other nearby creatures may join in if they feel like it. The squid don't seem intent on joining this game, so go kill squid instead. They drop calamari now! Which you can also use to make sushi later on. Oh, and swimming and attack both drain your hunger even faster than should be reasonable. I can't tell you how many times one zombie has killed me just from me whacking it with a stick.

Ah, that's the OTHER thing you'll notice when you stop panicking about starvation. The insane amount of mobs. Along with the normal assortment, your mobs now come in fire, lightning, ender (creeper), poison/plague, thief (skeleton), brutal (very strong), baby (hyper little runts), splitting (creeper), fishing (zombie, can yank you to him), and I think I blocked the rest from memory. Enderman are a whole different ballgame, and I can tell you that you'll prefer lightning creepers to lightning Enderman. Lightning creepers die upon KABOOM. Lightning Enderman strike, flee, strike, flee, strike, flee, and will continue to do so even after its killed you. Learn to be a mole. You will want to dig your way to many of your items. If you have food with you, that is. The high creeper levels also mean there is easily 7-10 creepers waiting for you to leave your hole for the day. I have learned to dig a pit 20 blocks deep, hide 1 block below the surface and 2 blocks back with a 1 block hole to watch them plummet into my trap so I may leave more safely. Half the creepers don't fall for it, so I leave my nightly hidey-hole like a bat outta hell.

You can't see jack at night now either. It's hardcoded to be -30 dark. You can't change it. You can, however, wear a torch on your head through the armour GUI to see where you're going. I prefer jack-o-lanterns myself.

Modified vanilla mobs aren't the only thing to look out for. The Lycanite mob pack is also installed, and there are some wicked monsters roaming the lands. Big dinosaurs, gliding feather raptors, kobolds (Honestly, it's a rat, and it picks up items off the ground. Highly convenient to have when you die, if you can find it later.), ettins, trolls, lobbers (they spawn in lava and hit like a truck), jabberwocks (elk with scythe hands), manticores (flying bat with scorpion tail), concapede spider things, some really annoying thing called a remorbra that spits magic at you from the air, lizard men, all sorts of things in the desert, and a few Lovecraft water horrors if you decide to wait in a boat all night.

Did I mention you can't use wood or stone tools? You start with flint. By getting gravel and converting it to flint. Flint doesn't just come from breaking gravel anymore. One thing Blood and Bones has over the Magic Farm 2 pack is that your gravel CAN be made into flint. Magic Farm 2 gives you gravel bricks instead. Shame on you Magic Farm. SHAME ON YOU.
The Tinkers Construct tools did get a fun rework, and they're kinda the only tools you can use. They now level as you use them, and when you have access to a better material, you can just replace parts. You don't have to have several picks of various materials and experience levels lying around.

Now say you've managed to survive and not rage quit long enough to get yourself a good base, some decent armour, a farm, and a mine. Time to get blown up some more. Meet the Glenn's Gases mod. You've probably already encountered the highly explosive coal dust while trying to make some torches and then mistakenly left one lit nearby while mining coal. It gets worse. Down deep in the ground are two red gases. One is harmless and annoying. The other ignites with an explosion akin to a malfunctioning chemical plant. Have water nearby or a wall with a tall ladder. If the initial blast doesn't kill you, hitting the ground probably will.

So now you've got a base, farm, armour, weapons, and mine. You're stable, you're dying only once every few Minecraft days, and you're getting ready for better armour and HOPEFULLY to meet the End Dragon. HA. Think again. You've got to start over. Before you advance further, you've got to play with the Witchery mod and go to the dream world. And make a new base, farm, tools, and everything in the dream world. The only good thing about the dream world is that eventually you have "good dreams" instead of "nightmares" and there are only the animals mobs in the dream world. Then you find out you need bones to progress in the dream world. Now you get to figure out how to transport your items back and forth between the two worlds so you can progress on both sides.

And that's when I quit. The game is just too depressing. The ridiculous level of overpowered mobs and the constant eating (a ROYAL PAIN when your mouse is dying and the right-click is only working half the time) and the fact that there is no Twilight Forest or Thaumcraft was stressful but manageable, but then when I found out you HAVE to start all over in the dream world, I quit.

There's a lot more to the different mods installed. Some of you may love it. For people who want to have fun and explore, you'll probably hate it. I haven't been able to leave the base in weeks. My sprite has cabin fever. I'm keeping kobolds for pets until they despawn or bite me in the butt. Literally. Sneaky little devils. @_@

You are my sunshine, Clementine

We're back on a Star Trek kick and this go around my husband has Voyager on. And we recently watched one gorgeous singing scene. I decided to finally look up the lyrics to some songs I'd heard the chorus of growing up. Good golly, are those songs depressing... Why is it most lullabies and children's rhymes are!?

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms
But when I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head and I cried.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

I'll always love you and make you happy,
If you will only say the same.
But if you leave me and love another,
You'll regret it all some day:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

You told me once, dear, you really loved me
And no one else could come between.
But not you've left me and love another;
You have shattered all of my dreams:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

In all my dreams, dear, you seem to leave me
When I awake my poor heart pains.
So when you come back and make me happy
I'll forgive you dear, I'll take all the blame.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/


MY DARLING CLEMENTINE

In a cavern, in a canyon,
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner forty niner,
And his daughter Clementine

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Light she was and like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine,
Herring boxes, without topses,
Sandals were for Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Drove she ducklings to the water
Ev'ry morning just at nine,
Hit her foot against a splinter,
Fell into the foaming brine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Ruby lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,
But, alas, I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

How I missed her! How I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine,
But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/



If you'd like to listen to some of them, Listen and Read Along has some lovely renditions. They're not Doctor and Seven of Nine, but still very lovely.

Whois

Despite keeping my raven-wing.net email hidden and out of public eye, it has still landed on a spam list. Yay. I'm never buying Oakley sunglasses. The three most recent spam sites are vannaafyn.biz, dumrrsuub.org, and esretsgfz.net, all of which claim to be registered by people from sina.com. And I don't think those are the people I go to complain to because my domain shows to be registered to the people I registered with. Or a few more bumps up the registration ladder. Kind of reminds me of when I was in those college networking courses and reading how IP addresses were subnet masked a few times over, because in all honesty, the IPv4 addresses would have all run out years and years ago.

These annoying junk emails all use the same images in their email, each links to a different site, and then that site redirects to another site, so right now there are six different addresses all going to the same looking site.

I really hate advertisements. Underhanded, dishonest, and one more reason I have no faith whatsoever in our law officials.

Interview!

Had an interview today. Showed up early, made them laugh, told them my good employee traits of punctuality and computer adeptness. They said I can call back in a week if I don't hear from them. I hope I do!

It's not a huge, life-changing kind of job. Just workin' at a hardware store. But I like that. I do have my office job from January to April, and I love playing with paperwork, but it's still an office job. I'm not ready to settle down to a desk yet. I need to be on my feet, moving, and working my muscles at least a little bit. There are the commissions, but those are few and far between after Christmas.

I was honest that I wouldn't be able to work during tax season and that I was looking for a stable job to come back to during the off season. From 9 AM to sometime in the evening and 40-60 hour work weeks, nah, not available those three and a half months. I hope that doesn't discourage them too much, but I understand if it does. Maybe the "keep coming back" part will encourage them.

Fingers crossed!

Surveys

Still goofing off with the online paid surveys. I call it my "get rich eventually" scheme. Eh, doesn't pay the bills but it's paid for my site hosting for the past two years. Can't complain about that.


InboxDollars.com
My favorite. Paid to read emails, take surveys, and accept offers of either joining other sites or trying products.
$30 minimum payout by check or debit card.

InboxPays.com
Mostly a cash offer site. Got some weird database issues. I login, click on surveys, am asked to login again, and it can't find me. It's not a cookie issue, I have cookies enabled.
$50 minimum payout to Paypal. Only $25 allowed per payout from clicking on emails.
The biggest downside is that they require your phone number, otherwise you won't be paid. And I don't share my phone number with anybody after one of these sites signed me up with Credit Card Services.

PandaResearch.com
Just started this one. Not too impressed. Promises to pay higher for surveys, which means you're rarely going to qualify to take a survey. And most of the surveys in question are promotions. After getting disqualified from 15-18 normal surveys, I finally qualify for a tasty-looking food survey, and it craps out on me with a "service unavailable" message.
$50 minimum payout to Paypal. Only $25 allowed per payout from clicking on emails.

MindsPay.com
Basically the same as PandaResearch without the pandas. The "studies" are very misleading. Every "study" I clicked on was a sweepsteak to win a $X gift card after completing four promotional offers. Took some work, but I finally found where they were hiding the surveys. I don't really recommend this site unless you make $50,000+ each year. Because you will get disqualified A LOT.
$50 minimum payout to Paypal. Only $25 allowed per payout from clicking on emails.

Surveys4Moms
Obviously has some spelling issues, but looks promising. And has an option to delete your account when you want to quit! Seems to be nothing but surveys. I like it already. =)
$20 minimum payout to Paypal.


They're all basically the same. Get a $3-$5 signup bonus. Click a link in the emails sent to you, complete offers, take surveys, refer people. Well, if you're lucky, you'll get emails.

One downside is that you'll start getting harassed by sites you've never heard of and know your name. Puzz.com being one of them. Some go through lofty speeches how they'll never share your data, but remember that Facebook did the same thing once.

Being the cheap glutton I am, most of the offers I complete is giving my email address to recipe sites. I don't do credit cards, I don't take coupons because it's always for name brand items and the discount price is still higher than the off-brands I buy, and nearly all the offers require you to spend more money than you would make being paid to do it. I'm trying to supplement my income, not lose what little I've got!
I do commissions!
Portraits of people, pets, houses, and custom work.

Just Another Day
Weekly webcomic.

My deviantART
Plenty of things to look at.

Multi-Artist eXchange
A monthly art exchange program.

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