Monthly Archives: May 2008

1. What is your occupation?
I’m a Quality Assurance Analyst testing the software on what is primarily a hardware product.

2. What color are your socks right now?
White. Always white.

3. What are you listening to right now?
A mix collection of MP3s. Stone Temple Pilot’s Big Empty is play right now. I’ll check back in when I complete this and report that song, too. At the end of this quiz, the Eels’s “Dirty Girl” is playing.

4. What was the last thing that you ate?
Half a spicy hamburger.

5. Can you drive a stick shift?

6. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
My friend with whom I have a standing weekly appointment to watch Battlestar Galactica on Sunday nights. I was calling to let him know I was good to go this weekend.

7. Do you like the person who tagged you?
I wasn’t tagged

8. How old are you today?
Will Truman is officially 32 years old, though he’s only had eight birthdays.

9. What is your favorite sport to watch?
College Football.

10. What is your favorite drink?
Mountain Dew

11. Have you ever dyed your hair?
I dyed it gray for a costume once. I also dyed it darker brown once to match my beard, which I also dyed in order to see if it would make my beard look a little more full to avoid having to shave it for a job interview. Didn’t work.

12. Last time you hugged your child?

13. Favorite food?

14. What was the last movie you watched?
Iron Man

15. Favorite day of the year?
New Year’s Day

16. How do you vent anger?
Writing helps with that.

17. What was your favorite toy as a child?
Can’t remember. Would a TV count?

18. What is your favorite season?
Winter, unless I’m living up north.

19. Ocean or pool?

20. Cherries or Blueberries?
Those are two of my least favorite berries. No preference.

21. Do you want your family & friends to participate?
No one in my family knows I do this. Few realtime friends do, either. Blogfriends can if they’d like to.

22. Who is the most likely to respond?
Barry and Logtar seem to like memes.

24. Living arrangements?
Live with my wife, though she’s currently spending most of her time in another state.

25. When was the last time you cried?
When I found out that my father-in-law likely had pancreatic cancer.

26. What is on the floor of your closet?
Miscellany that I don’t have room for elsewhere. Lots of shoes and boots.

27. Who is the family or friend you have known the longest that you are tagging?
No taggie anybody. Barry is the oldest reader I have that still reads regularly, I think.

28. What did you do last night?
Watched Lost with crappy reception on my TV cause I didn’t buy the theater tickets early enough.

29. Hawaii or Florida?
Florida. At least then I can drive somewhere cooler if I want to.

30. What inspires you?
I’m not easily inspired.

31. What are you most afraid of?
Waking up someday and finding out that I’ve been living someone else’s life.

32. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers?
Spicy with cheese.

33. Favorite dog breed?
Mutts. I don’t like purebreeds. Smaller dogs, generally. With hair. If Clancy and I live in the country, though, larger dogs may make more sense.

34. Favorite day of the week?
Saturday. Is there any other answer?

35 How many states have you lived in?
Four Trumanverse states, soon to be five. Six if you count the state I was born in, though as soon as I left the hospital we went back to the state where my family was living at the time.

36 Do you like these questionnaires?

37. What kind of car did your very first date drive?
I can’t for the life of me recall. I want to say a silver Toyota, but that’s what my wife drives, which means I’m probably transposing.

38. What is the last book you read?
The last book I completed was Stephen White’s Dead Time. I’m currently wading through Homicide by David Simon and Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano.

39. What are your hobbies?
Computer stuff. Writing. Collecting things.

40. Can you still make the Hula Hoop stay around your waist?
Never could, really.

Category: Server Room

A number of posts both here and at Bobvis seem to hit on topics of the behavior of men towards women, and whether it’s cultural or not. As with any case study, there are a number of “exceptions that prove the rule”, but by and large I’ve found that men from middle-eastern or (perhaps more to the point) islam-influenced cultures have a pretty paleolithic attitude towards women. Many times, this is dressed up as insisting that the barbaric, humiliating and isolating behavior towards women constitutes some bizarre form of “freedom” for them. In reality, however, the prevailing attitude seems to be that women are (a) unable to take care of themselves, (b) unworthy of being allowed to, (c) inferior to men, and (d) largely to be neither seen nor heard (“barefoot and pregnant” at home).

This seems to have some startling parallels in the FLDS, given more by the latest round of news in which zombie-like women obviously parroting rote-memorized lines (with a very “yes. we. love. our. mother. russia” scared-of-something vibe) trot around and the FLDS, obviously wiser to the PR game, trots out dog-and-pony-show “visits” with their youngest men (who only have one wife… so far) to show how “normal” their insular society is. In reality, of course, FLDS women have no choice of husbands, no control in their own lives, and have even been referred to as “breeding stock” by the FLDS’s “prophet” Warren Jeffs.

On the Islamic side, the source seems pretty obvious – Muslims are expected to revere the “example” of the “prophet” Mohammed. The problem is, Muslim men try to follow Mohammed’s example with women. Mohammed’s track record shows up with some pretty raw abuses, including a couple of rapes he retroactively called “marriages”, plenty of sex-slave concubines, and draconian laws on divorce, proving rape, and sanctioning violence towards women that would probably even make the FLDS think twice.

Unfortunately, the FLDS parallels this pretty well. In the Islamic world, women are “theoretically” allowed veto power on whether to enter into marriage (though the reality in almost all Muslim nations is otherwise). In the FLDS, you either marry who the FLDS “prophet” says, or you’re kicked out of the group – with wives being reassigned at a whim of the “prophet” should a man happen to fall out of favor. Both groups seem to see women as primarily baby factories; both have standards of “modesty” designed around preventing a significant amount of self-expression in women as well as making it hard for them to differentiate their appearances. Salman Rushdie has famously said that “Muslim society is afraid of women’s sexuality; numerous other scholars concur, noting the incredibly pornographic verses and male-oriented idealization of “heaven” (72 beautiful ‘virgins’ that magically re-virginize and a never-softening erection to match). The FLDS ideas towards women seem similar; multiple wives in heaven with few males, women who must be “submissive” towards men at all times, etc.

In Mohammed’s time, he got plenty of men killed fighting his wars, as did most of the other tribes in the region, and so there was a pretty good abundance of “extra” women; a polygamous society necessitates behavior designed to (a) keep women “in their place” and (b) ensure that enough young men die to keep the desired (at least by the rulers) female/male ratio. Today, many young Muslim males are “encouraged” to “fight jihad against the kafir” by the older males of Muslim society, conveniently getting them out of the way for the older Muslim males to take multiple wives – even in countries where it’s against the law (the FLDS seems to have the same idea). The FLDS answer to the “young men problem” has been by simply kicking a lot of young men out into the world, not caring what happens to them after that.

In both cases, the term “submission” pops up too commonly. So common, in fact, that much of the discussion seems more like propaganda to create a “stockholm syndrome” situation; women are told that being veiled, submissive, second-class and utterly subservient is “true freedom” or “holy”, and even pitted against each other to tattle (and thus gain favor with the male of the house) if one of them shows a bit too much self-respect. Even for monogamous Muslims, the threat of taking a second wife – and relegating the current to second-class status – is all too common in Muslim society.

At root, I submit that what both groups (at least the males thereof) are really afraid of is, in fact, women being comfortable in their own self and sexuality. Too many women being confident in themselves, or realizing “I don’t have to be treated this way”, might just mean that they would stop putting up with the abusive behavior altogether.

-{Note from trumwill: I have a(nother) post coming up early next week on the FLDS raid in Texas. When that post comes up it will be an opportunity to discuss the legal angle of those raids, so lets save that discussion until then. Oh, and believe it or not, I have a post in mind for the AOC angle of religious communities and the FLDS raid, so let’s hold off on that for now, too}-

Category: Church

I broke the law over the weekend.

You ever notice how similar the cans for Coke Zero and Budweiser Select are? Being a regular drinker of neither, I didn’t. Turns out that they both have black cans with red lettering. It’s easy to think that you picked up one when you actually picked up the other. Very easy. I did so twice over the course of three days. The first time I simply thought that I was wondering when Budweiser came out with a cola flavored beer (come to think of it, why haven’t they?). The second time, I broke the law. I grabbed a can out of the cooler, opened it, and hit the road.

I realized my mistake after first sip, of course, but that left me with an open can of beer in my cupholder as I was cruising down the Interstate at 70 miles per hour. There are laws about having open alcohol containers on the road and I’m not sure a cop pulling me over would have understood my explanation (or would have wondered how drunk one must be not to notice the difference between beer and coke, which would have had the same effect). I thought about pouring the contents out the window, but figured that would attract undue attention. As would pulling over to the shoulder just to dump a drink.

That got me thinking, though… what exactly is the rationale behind having a separate open container law in addition to BAC drunk driving laws? I mean, if I was drunk, couldn’t they determine that with a breathalizer? Having alcohol in one’s system while driving is not in itself illegal (yet). The process of drinking from a beer can is no different (or more distracting) than drinking from a coke can.

Delosa was actually one of the last states to have an Open Container law. Not too long ago it was ridiculously difficult for a police officer to pull someone over for suspicion of drunk driving. Having a beer can in one’s hand was not sufficient. They’d usually pull people over by simply finding an alternate excuse (“changing lanes too quickly” or whatnot). So maybe the reason for Open Container laws is simply to provide justification for a pull-over. On the other hand, most of the time open containers are not visible until the car has already been pulled over.

I must confess that I don’t know a whole lot about criminal law, but would it be possible to be able to say that having an open container (if the cop can see it, of course) is justification for pulling someone over, but not an offense in and of itself? I’d figured that a behavior’s legality does not prohibit said behavior from being justification for further police scrutiny if it is otherwise suspicious, but maybe I’m wrong about that?

Another thought is that Open Container laws could be aimed at other people drinking in the car and distracting the driver. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, either, though, because driving someone that is drunk is not only legally permissible, but actively encouraged (lest they drive themselves).

Category: Courthouse, Road

More than once I’ve run onto someone that has gotten on their high horse about the fact that “American” is an imprecise term. After all, Canadians are Americans, too, because they’re from North America. And isn’t it just indicative of our arrogance that we think that we think we can just hijack the entire word for ourselves and blah, blah, blah.

Not that anything they say is technically untrue. The problem is the absence of an alternative. If the term “American” should be used to refer to someone from any nation in the Americas, what do we use to refer to citizens of the United States of America? And with the absence of an alternative, it’s not so much arrogance that keeps us referring to ourselves as Americans as much as it is inertia. If the rest of the world were to come up with some (non-lame) word to differentiate ourselves from the Americans of Canada and Brazil and whatnot, I wouldn’t be opposed to using it.

Thus far the only nation that I’m aware of that has done so is, not unsurprisingly, France, which has dictated that Americans should be refered to as √Čtatsunien, or as best as I can tell the equivalent of Unitedstatian. Doesn’t quite have a ring to it.

I have a Canadian friend that once made the mistake of referring to me as a “yankee”. He was apparently unaware that “yankee” is a regional designation. One that southerners don’t take too kindly to. He pushed back a little bit saying that Canadians use that term all the time and southerners shouldn’t have a problem with it, but I explained to him that there is a history there that he is unaware of. He relented, though he still didn’t have a term to use.

I honestly don’t think that the terminology comes down to √Čtatsunien arrogance. We’re called “Americans” because we put it at the center of our name. Had we called ourselves Columbia, it wouldn’t be an issue. Had another nation popped up at the same time called itself the Republic of America or something then we likely would have had terms to differentiate between us. Had the South won the Civil War and had there been a United States of America and a Confederate States of America, different terms would likely have popped up (possibly Yankees and Confederates).

So what is there to do? I think that the most logical explanation is the status quo. When it comes to the continental designations, go with North Americans and South Americans. North and South America may share that little strip we call Central America and Mexico may have more in common with South American than Canada and the US, but insofar as we need continental designations, North American and South American are sufficiently different.

Addendum: Apparently Italy has gone with the term Statunitense, which is the equivalent of √Čtatsunien.

Category: Coffeehouse

Will and I have a difference of opinion on the death penalty, but fortunately we’ve never had this argument (and there are even instances where Will admits his anti-Death-Penalty stance wavers, because of people who are “poster children” for the death penalty).

However, a standard attack by anti-Death Penalty advocates uses the “odd” idea that many DP supporters are also anti-Abortion (or, sometimes, the phrase “Pro-Life” is used, since the other size uses “Pro-Choice”).

The attack goes as follows: If you support the death penalty and oppose abortion and still claim to be “pro-life”, you’re a hypocrite. After all, you’re claiming one thing that the “Pro-Choice” people claim isn’t a human yet is worth protecting, but an actual matured human being isn’t.

The alternative is simple, but I’ve never heard it expressed so clearly until a local radio host did. I’ll paraphrase slightly because I can’t remember the wording precisely:

In the first case, you have someone who’s committed a crime so heinous that society needs protecting from that in the most ultimate form we can imagine. In the other, you have an innocent (fetus? baby? child?) that has committed no crime. That’s how I can be pro-Death Penalty and anti-Abortion all at once.

Category: Courthouse

I want to thank y’all for answering my survey about DC Comic characters. For those of you that haven’t, I’d still be appreciative if you did so now. Not a big deal, but I’ve found the results to be interesting. I put in some really easy ones (Batman, Superman) and some more obscure ones (Blue Beetle and the extremely obscure Triumph) as a sort of control, figuring that if you don’t know Batman’s origin you’re atypically disinterested and if you do know Triumph’s you’re as big a DC geek as I am (thus far none of you are). I’m trying to get a gauge for how well people outside of those extremes know their superheroes for a thought experiment on how comic books might be re-launched with a more casual customer in mind.

Anyhow, on the subject of comic books, today I was thinking about the biggest foul-ups that DC comics has made in terms of storylines and whatnot. These are small compared to the much larger mistakes that I believe DC and Marvel have made, but these are things that frustrated me as a fan and contributed to my disengaging from the comic book world a few years ago.

  1. Hawkman – When I make a wrong turn, I absolutely hate the prospect of turning back. I will wander around for hours to avoid a simple U-turn. So I understand why DC so royally screwed up one of their better-known properties to the point that the company couldn’t even use him for years at a time for fear of having to explain what, precisely, the hell happened. Then, each time they did try to revitalize the character, rather than just create a new one from scratch they’ve added new layers to explaining who the character is. I don’t know where it is that comic book creators get the idea that readers want to spend issue after issue simply explaining the character’s identity. Here is a rundown of the character’s ever-evolving origin. It’s 4,557 words. Generally speaking, I like the fact that DC has a flexible attitude towards continuity and doesn’t let continuity get in the way of a good story. I like the fact that they go back and update things and fix things because they often make things a lot more smooth in the process. The thing is that revisions should simplify and add clarity. It should not add headaches and it should never make a character unusable.
  2. Wonder Woman – If they got too entangled in Hawkman’s origin, for Wonder Woman they went in the other direction. They declared that every previous issue of Wonder Woman never happened. They could have done a reboot the same way that they did with Superman wherein a lot of his history was wiped out of continuity but at least there was a history that could be rewritten or refitted with the new origin, but instead they simply declared that there has never been a Wonder Woman before. Oh… then they got entangled, having a time-travel story where Wonder Woman’s mother went back in time and filled the spot of the Wonder Woman that previously never existed but now always did, which wipes out a significant portion of the New Wonder Woman’s history.
  3. Green Lantern Hal Jordan – This one is often cited as one of The Worst Things Ever, but I think everybody else got it completely wrong. A long story short Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, saw his home city destroyed and went crazy and tried so hard to put it all back together (by rearranging time and destroying history for a better present… sound familiar?) he essentially became a villain. Everyone else hates it, but I think it’s great (though I admit that the execution wasn’t super). Jordan was never really a stand-out character and this, in my view, made him relatively unique in the echelon of heroes… the hero who became a villain because he kept trying to make everything right. Because everyone hated it, though, they kept trying to go back and fix things. They gave him a heroic send-off. Then they turned Hal Jordan into a different hero in a role for which he was entirely unsuited. Then at about the time that the new Green Lantern finally came into his own and became popular, they said… ahhh, forget it, we’ll just make him Green Lantern again… making the whole endeavor look as stupid as their critics claimed it to be.
  4. Killing off the Charlton characters – Back when they were inserted into the DC Universe, the Charlton characters were VIPs. A series inspired by them, The Watchmen, became one of the most widely acclaimed comic books in the history of comic books (and assigned reading in some college English classes, though alas none I was ever a part of). Blue Beetle, The Question, Captain Atom, and Thunderbolt all got their own solo serials and Peacemaker got a miniseries. The last couple years, though, they seem to be going to great pains to do away with the few that are left. Captain Atom isn’t Captain Atom anymore, Thunderbolt is no longer owned by DC, and Blue Beetle and The Question are dead. These were some of my favorite characters and now they’re gone. The death of Blue Beetle was actually the news I needed to hear to convince me not to start collecting again.
  5. Unkilling Jason Todd – It’s standard fare to bring superheroes back from the dead, but there were two that were supposed to stay dead: Barry Allen (The Flash) and Jason Todd (the second Robin). Jason Todd (like Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, in my opinion) is worth more dead than alive. Todd stood as Bruce Wayne’s biggest failure. The boy who was never allowed to grow up because Bruce Wayne allowed him to become Robin. Now he’s just another character who will guest star every now and then, probably vacillate between being a good guy and an anti-hero, and blah blah blah. For death to mean anything, a character has to stand a chance of staying dead. Not always, but at least some of the time.

Category: Theater

In the previous comment section, Gannon asked how come we haven’t converted to the metric system. Before I get to that, I’m going to write about the keys to the Internet.

I’d link to it if I could find it, but a few years ago I ran across an astonishingly dumb column in The Guardian that completely misunderstood the United States of America, the Internet, and most importantly human nature. You may recall a few years ago that there was a big push by other countries to try to get the US to hand over the keys to the Internet from the Department of Commerce to the United Nations. The aforementioned article in The Guardian said with a certain amount of glee that with the world united in insisting that the US give up control over the Internet that we would have (and I’ll never forget this wording) “little choice but to comply”.

That left to beg the question… “or what?” As in, we will have to comply “or what?” The UN will set up the infrastructure for its own Internet? A league of countries will go to the trouble of building an alternate Internet so that it can hand it over to the UN? They’ll invade Washington DC? If there is no “or [insert some consequence that the US could not endure]” then there is a choice. As it turned out, there was indeed a choice and the US chose to hold on to control of the Internet for the time being. Haven’t even heard mutterings about the issue since.

A few years ago when I went to a friend’s wedding in Canada, a discussion about the differences between the United States and Canada came up. When these conversations come up with Canadians, it is almost invariably in the form of them asking us “What is wrong with you people?!” about this issue or that. If the subject were to come up today I would probably be quizzed about our warmongering or our president or one of the many problems that they have with the current direction of our country, but given that it was pre-9/11 I was surprised by the two subjects that came up most frequently. I expected that it would be our health care system or gun-loving or something, but instead it was our tort system (a subject I will expound upon at a later time) and… the metric system.

One guy asked why we hadn’t adopted it and a couple more idealistic fellows asked why the conversion process was taking so long and when it was going to happen. My answers were “not sure”, “what conversion process?”, and “it may never happen”.

After I got back to the states, I asked started asking myself why it hadn’t and it didn’t appear that it was going to. I came up with an answer and then forgot the question and moved on to more important things like repercussions of Robin’s flirtations with Spoiler on his relationship with his then-girlfriend Arianna.

When I was in elementary school, I was dutifully informed by my teachers that the metric system was the wave of the future and that the English system they were teaching us would become obsolete. If I needed an excuse not to learn the English system, I had one. The problem is that I had to learn about inches, feet, gallons, and pounds anyway. Reality made me even if the teachers at West Oak Elementary were telling me that it would be useless knowledge.

The teaching of the metric system never entirely went away, though the examples in the math textbooks slowly started moving back to gallons and yards by the time I got to high school. I remember this because I remember thinking that the books must have been out of date, though in retrospect I’m not sure that they were.

In addition to their odd pronunciation of the word “applicable”, their odd-yet-correct pronunciation of the states Nevada and Colorado, their use of the phrase “Oh my heck/hell”, and a million other things, one of the quirks of Deseret (or more likely the corner of it where I worked) the metric system kept coming up along with the question of why we never adopted it.

Remembering the question reminded me of the answer which actually came indirectly from the Canadians which had asked the question to begin with. When they asked, I asked how the conversion in Canada went. They basically said that the government said that they were going to convert everything to the metric system because it was more logical and it was what everyone else was doing and so Canada went metric. They described it about that simplistically, though I kept trying to make it more complicated by asking “why?” like a bored second grader sitting in the back seat on a 600-mile car trip.

The thing is that everyone in the US had decided, once upon a time, that it would happen here, too. It just didn’t. And I think that part of the answer to the “why” is that Americans are extremely reluctant to being told from on high “this is what we’re going to do” even when there might be a logical reason behind it if we don’t feel like we were adequately consulted on the matter. Part of the success of persuasion is to make people think it was their idea or at least that they had a hand in the decision. It’s noteworthy that the many of the most fierce political backlashes come from Supreme Court decisions (Roe v Wade, gay marriage) rather than legislation.

Unfortunately, by its very nature conversion to the metric system is more of a top-down decision.

Beyond that, though, another big reason is the same reason that we held on to the keys to the Internet. No one was in a position to force us to do otherwise. We don’t need to move towards the universal measurement system to do trade with other countries because we don’t have a shortage of countries to trade with (at least not on that particular basis). We’re big enough and powerful enough that we can unilaterally expect other countries to work with us on the matter. In other words, we converted as much as we needed to in order to keep doing global business, but it wasn’t as much as it might have been for other countries. Americans would rather everybody else learn English rather than we learn Esperanto. We don’t know off-hand what’s wrong with them learning pounds and ounces rather than us learning metrics. And so on.

To bring these ideas together, not only do we not like being told by our government how it’s going to be, we particularly hate being told that we need to do it because other countries are doing it. It’s not an uncommon mistake, but generally speaking telling us that everybody else does it differently causes us to dig in our heels (unless, of course, someone can actually apply enough pressure to get us to reconsider).

My favorite example of this is the death penalty. As an opponent of it, I get very, very frustrated with my fellow travelers’ tendency to mention that we are one of only a handful of countries that continues to execute people. That the world does something one way and that we do it another is not, on its face, evidence that we are wrong. If other countries do things a better way, it needs to be explained why that way is better. I think that the metric-advocates placed too much of an emphasis on world community arguments rather than the ease with which one can divide and multiply by ten.

Category: School, Statehouse

I’m a sucker for Mexican food. Always have been. Whether it’s authentic Mexican or the chili-infused American variety, it’s hard to go wrong. The problem is that Mexican food usually comes with rice and beans. Ever since I was little I’ve never liked rice. It’s a texture thing. Mom the Short Order Cook used to make me Mac’n’Cheese or baked potatoes at rice meals. Rice only gave in to stuffing as the worst side dish that wasn’t green or orange.

So alas, my favorite kind of food is stuck with one of my least favorite side dishes. Worse, the side dish in particular is not always easy to keep segregated from everything else. So for years I’ve been ordering two helpings of refried beans rather than rice. The only problem with this substitution is that while I like refried beans I don’t usually want or need two helpings of it. Also, refried beans can be kind of bland and if you dump it in hot sauce like I do it can get soupy. Nonetheless, I’d usually order two helpings of refried beans and eat a little more than half of it.

One of the habits that Mexican restaurants in Estacado have is that on every plate they offer they stick shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes on the corner of the plate. Usually cheap lettuce at that. This lettuce has the tendency to get enmeshed into the plate and can honestly ruin it for me because it just doesn’t seem like it belongs.

Most restaurants are pretty good about making a single substitution, but once you’re asking for two or more it starts getting a little more dicey. Either you forget all the particulars or they do, but the rate at which your plate complies with your preferences falls from about 95% for one substitution to about 70% for two.

I’d tried mixing the rice and the refried beans before, but in the end the rice was just too much. What I didn’t figure but should have was that it wasn’t necessarily that the rice was too much, but that there was too much rice. A 1:1 relationship of helpings between rice and beans simply doesn’t work, but if you only take half the rice and make sure to save some of the cheese from the main entre, the three compliment each other extraordinarily well. The rice adds structure to the beans, making it a little more solid. The texture that I don’t like in rice counters the texturelessness of the beans wonderfully. The cheese and chili/verde sauce from holds it all together. Best yet, these three things together make something solid enough that you can pretty much add however much hot sauce that you want.

Last Saturday night I had so much hot sauce that my stomach was in agony all day Sunday. It came at a price, but it was nonetheless beautiful.

Category: Kitchen

Not wholly unexpected this time with all the previous talk about sex, but my blog is apparently back in NC-17 territory. So the banner up top has been changed back to the NC-17 one to celebrate. If you still see the coffee mug, click Refresh.

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Category: Server Room

Earlier this year Clancy and I took a trip to Deseret for my cousin’s wedding. While we were up there, my check card stopped working. Apparently, my bank noticed that my account had purchased plain tickets to Deseret and then paid a rash of hotel and restaurant expenditures, and came to the not-obvious conclusion that someone had hacked my card and was using it for nefarious purposes rather than the more-obvious conclusion that I… was… on… vacation.

I discovered that my card had been cancelled at the place where one usually discovers it… at a nice restaurant where they have no use for deadbeats the likes of me. Fortunately Clancy had her card and we were okay. I had to call the bank and talk to them for half an hour as they went through all of the out-of-state charges that had caused them such concern.

When I got back I ranted to my mother about the whole thing. I asked “Do I need to tell my bank every time I go on vacation?” Turns out, that’s exactly what Mom does.

Not long afterwards, I tried to use my card at Walmart and lo and behold it had stopped working. I hadn’t been out of town, so I called up my bank to ask what the dealio was. Turns out that someone had used my card to order a substantial set of computer parts from an online retailer that I’d only ordered from six million times before. Oddly, the sale in question went through but everything after that was declined.

To summarize the next portion which could be a post in and of itself, I had to go without any check cards for a while. The one to the joint account got lost and the one to my personal one was inadvertently destroyed. Then about two weeks ago I got two new cards.

Last weekend, I tried to order from the online retailer again and it was declined. Thinking that maybe I typed something incorrectly, I tried sending it through again and it was denied again. I called my bank and they told me that since people had possibly tried to use my card to order from this retailer purchases that I make from them are considered suspect by the system. I explained that I order from these people every couple of months and that the previous time it had been cut off it was due to a mistake. One that I’d had to call and talk to them to clear up. I reiterated that I’d like to order from this company in the future and I’d like them to release the hold. He agreed and I sent the order.

The thing about ordering from some online retailers is that they split orders up sometimes if they’re sometimes working through an intermediary. So this order got split into two orders. The first went through, and then… the card was cut off again so the second one was denied. I called the retailer, who of course referred me to the bank, who informed me that my purchased had raised a flag. Why? Because over the past week, three orders of mine had been declined when trying to order from this company. After talking it through a little longer, his advice was that I should go ahead and place this order, call the bank back and make sure that the check card isn’t canceled, then refrain buying from this company again for a few months since they seem to be a hotbed of trouble.

I was telling this story to some coworkers and they mentioned that they too had been cut off for one reason or another recently. It seems to be getting to the point where having your card denied is no longer something embarassing because it is happening more and more often as the banks try to crack down on fraud. At least two coworkers, like my mother, actually inform the credit card companies when they’re going out of town.

I appreciate that trying to stop credit card fraud is not an easy thing to do and I appreciate the fact that they’re looking out for me, but aren’t check cards supposed to make my life easier?

Category: Market