5.20.2009

You know how I said yesterday was the nadir? Maybe it wasn't.

Maybe today is the nadir.

But, maybe it will be like all the stories of addiction and recovery that populate Oprah's book club; maybe I have to hit rock bottom before I can actually rise like a phoenix. I have to hit job-hunt rock bottom, then pull myself up my bootstraps, find a higher cause, and then I'll be employed at some awesome, progressive, smart, lucrative business that utilizes my particular traits and skills in the most harmonious, pleasing, and awesomely excellent ways. Maybe that is up next for me, because here is what I woke up to.

A check for $2,850.00

Now, I know we all think that this would be a good thing, but unless I want my full time job to be repairing my credit, dealing with identity theft, or explaining myself in court, this check is probably not a good thing. (As an aside - if you steal my identity, the joke's on you. Seriously.)

Here's the background:
Got this email after responding to a post (Craigslist? San Diego Works? Monster? Definitely not UCSD or Scripps). The red high-lighting is mine.

Detailed Job Description – Account Receivable Manager Our Company Name is Dawissa,We are a swiss based trade association that deal in the sales and distribution of wrist watches. The primary goal of the Administrative Officer is to provide local customer assistant to our clients within North America. You will be assisting our clients within North America, the assistance to be provided will include: payment collections and customer service. Your duties will include: - Collecting Local Payments When a buyer in United States decides to purchase an item through an online auction from our sellers he has the following payment options: pay pal, international wire transfer, international check, or local wire transfer. The quickest option of these is local wire transferring. Local wire transfers are the option that the sales support representative will provide to the clients. - Managing Data Along with the payments received from buyers you will be receiving details for these sales. These details will include items sold, price, and buyer's information. You are to file and maintain these purchasing records and transactions. - Forwarding of the Payments Once you receive each payment you will be keeping 10% as commission and forwarding the rest to the seller or representative, whose information will be provided prior each transaction. It is crucial to complete forwarding of the payments in a time efficient manner. Here is an example of a brief report: Date: August 8, '06 Buyer: Laura N. Smith Item: Movado Watch Price: $ 1,921.27 10% Commission : $ 192 Fees: $ 85 Total Forwarded: $1644.27 Forwarded to: Margo Narenzo, Barcelona, Spain Reference Numbers: 2349783981 - Fees, and Transferring Procedures All fees are covered by the company. The fees for transferring are simply deducted from the payments received. No client will contact you during initial stage of the trial period. After three weeks of the trial period you will begin to have contact with the buyers via email in regards to collection of the payments. For the first three weeks you will simply receive all of the transferring details, and payments, along with step by step guidance from your supervisor. You will be forwarding the received payments by wire transfer. Additional Information Salary During the trial period, you will be paid 2,000USD per month while working on average 3-4hours per day, plus 10% commission from every payment received and forwarded. The salary will be sent in the form of wire transfer directly to your account. After the trial period your base pay salary will go up to 2,200USD per month, plus 10% commission. Taxes You will receive a monthly invoice stating your total income. All applicable taxes are covered by the company. Your First Primary task (Collection of Payments): 1. Receive payment from our Customers or Clients. 2. Cash Payment at your Bank or any cashing facilities near you. 3. Deduct 10 % which will be your percentage/pay on Payment processed 4. Forward balance after deduction of percentage/pay to any of the offices you will be contacted to send payment to, you'll have a lot of free time doing another job, because this job schedule is flexible, you'll get good income .But this job is very challenging and you should understand it. Please kindly fill your details below, so that you can get started. Personal Information Full Name: Address: City: State/Province: Postal Code: Residential Phone Number: Mobile: Regards

Dodgy, yes? Totally. Especially since their email makes no sense. Especially since Dawissa is not a company I could find ANYWHERE on the internet. Especially since they are talking some serious crazy talk about the "local wire transfer". Especially since I sent them a resume, so the had my name, address, etc etc etc.

So, just to see what was up, I sent them an email asking for their company's website, to which I get this response (Posted yesterday as an example of the crap email's I have been getting).
Dear Applicant This is to inform you that you have been formally appointed by our organization.This is based on the achievement of all requirements needed to work for our Company. I want to seize this opportunity to congratulate you and welcome you to the organization.This is a part time job work from home.I have verified all the information's you provided and they are valid. Please we will like to know how honest you are and how can we trust you with our funds. Once again,I say congratulations and Welcome to the company. I also want to seize this opportunity to inform you that your information's have been forward to our customer / Client, I have instructed one of our clients in the USA who is ready to make payment to issue out a check to you on our behalf. I will later update you with the full details about the payment you will receive from our client. You must follow the instructions below:

1. Receive payment from our Customers or Clients.
2. Cash Payment at your Bank or any cashing facilities near you.
3. Deduct 10 % which will be your percentage/pay on Payment processed
4. Forward balance after deduction of percentage/pay to any of the offices you will be contacted to send payment. Regards.

More dodgy crap.

I forwarded both the emails on to spam@uce.gov, felt like a good citizen, and forgot about it.

Today, we wake up to a UPS Next Day Air Envelope, addressed to me, with a nothing in the envelope save a $2850.00 check.

Here are the things that are totally ridiculous:
  • The check is made out to me.
  • I've never talked to these people.
  • The UPS was sent from Mercer Island, WA, but the check is from Cincinnati, OH.
  • The address for for the company on the check does not match the address for the company shown on their website. Tres sloppy.
  • The font on the check is Comic Sans, which is just lame.
  • The best thing of all, the company name on the check is Pro Scope Systems. Wow. They sell used endoscopes.
Basically, that last little detail is the lovely tidbit of this whole story. I could make all sorts of tasteless analogies to "one taking it in the *ss", but I'll refrain.

As for the "what comes next" part of the story, we passed this little gem of a story on to our dear friend who worked for many years as a Forensic Accountant in law enforcement. I am waiting until I hear back from him before I shred the check and move on to my next awesome job opportunity.









































UPDATE:

We heard back from our favourite cop and forensic accountant! His reply:

One word: COUNTERFEIT! This is one of the newer scams going all over the place.

My brother almost got sucked into this too. His wife was looking for a gig and ended up receiving one of these UPS/FEDEX packages with a check for $1,500 the day after her inquiry. You will find if you go onto the UPS website and track the shipping label number you will find where the package was actually picked up from (or dropped off).

Tomorrow you will receive the e-mail telling you to cash the check through your bank account, to keep a portion, and then send the rest of it by a Western Union money gram to some non-descript location - possibly foreign location.

The MICR info on the bottom of the check will be a legit routing number and the account number may even be real. But more than likely the account number belongs to a completely different company. The person cashing the check is left holding the bag once the check is returned as a forgery.

A visit with the PD will be a good idea. The problem with this is that it will get a low priority rating because of the shear volume if these type of cases.

You should send a photo of you handing the check you received to the nice policeman and a copy of the offense report to whatever address they send you.






5.19.2009

Job Hunt, SoCal Style

Ian's job at the Salk Institute is fantastic. He is learning a ton, is rubbing elbows with famous science dudes, getting to work with gazillion dollar microscopes, and gets free bagels from vendors.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have my employment situation. Despite the fact that I am well educated, skilled, have great judgment, commitment, focus, and proven good work habits, I am still unemployed.

Turns out that the SD area is particularly hard-hit in these current economic times. Check out this really great NY Times article has a fantastic interactive map (FYI - The map shows our area at 8.6% unemployment, but as of May, we are looking at 9.5%. It is the highest it has been since 1970. It is the highest it has ever been IN MY LIFE, and my life is such a meaningful and pertinent measure of things.)

The current state economics translates into many businesses being wary of hiring out of fear of what the next quarter will bring, and a huge amount of government, tech, and education jobs have been laid-off in this region. I have not had huge luck in finding a permanent job gig.

Here is one of job emails I have received (it is long, feel free to scroll down past it) (please do keep reading, the last one is a real kicker):


Dear Applicant
This is to inform you that you have been formally appointed by our organization. This is based on the achievement of all requirements needed to work for our Company. I want to seize this opportunity to congratulate you and welcome you to the organization. This is a part time job work from home. I have verified all the information's you provided and they are valid. Please we will like to know how honest you are and how can we trust you with our funds.
Once again, I say congratulations and welcome to the company.
I also want to seize this opportunity to inform you that your information's have been forward to our customer / Client, I have instructed one of our clients in the USA who is ready to make payment to issue out a check to you on our behalf. I will later update you with the full details about the payment you will receive from our client.
You must follow the instructions below:

1. Receive payment from our Customers or Clients.
2. Cash Payment at your Bank or any cashing facilities near you.
3. Deduct 10 % which will be your percentage/pay on Payment processed
4. Forward balance after deduction of percentage/pay to any of the offices you will be contacted to send payment.
Regards.

Excellent job opportunity, no?

The job hunt has gotten just absolutely ridiculous. After being told I am perfect for a job, but they found an intern to manage their clients for free (call me when you need your databases fixed!), or that I am a great candidate but they found somebody who will do all their State Ed Board compliance for $9.00/hour, or that they are waiting to fill that particular position until next quarter, I have started casting a larger net for smaller fry.

Today, we have hit the nadir of my job searches.

Today's job fair really takes the cake. I responded to a posting (which has since been removed, oddly enough) looking for a capable office manager/admin. Here is what I still had saved in my files:


Immediate opening for office manager / administrative assistant / receptionist. Applicants should be enthusiastic, personable, dependable, professional, well dressed, and a team player. Must have good communication skills, be organized, detail-oriented and be able to multi-task. Computer skills not required. Experience a plus but will train.
Please email the following information:

1) Best phone number to contact you.
2) Your current resume.
3) Your ideal start pay. (based on your experience )

Job fair to fill position Tues May 19, 11:00 address omitted so I don’t get sued on the impossible chance that somebody at the job fair actually reads this

What would you think that job was for? My guess would be for an office manager/ admin.

Thinking I can ALWAYS get an office monkey job, I show up early, decked out in my business lady threads - full on cream colored Talbot’s skirt suit get-up, with the nice looking heels that match the nice leather handbag, with the conservative jewelry, with the extra copies of my well constructed resume showing what a bad-ass I am, to the maze of tall office buildings and parking garages, to the specific suite where said Job Fair was to happen.

The front office was fairly empty, save for about 25 folding metal rental chairs, and a garage-sale looking front desk that had no computer, no office plants, no paperwork, and no in-box.

There was no company literature on the end table, because there was no end table. There is probably no company literature.

The room was populated with about a dozen other folks with their job hunting garb on, carrying their little resume folios, and a few younger just-out-of college types who are busy texting while we waited, and about 4 few really buff and fake-tanned dudes who all sat together clustered at the far end of the front office/reception area whispering and flexing their muscles for each other.

We were greeted by a very doughy, sweaty guy in a pair of ill-fitting Dockers and a golf shirt who thanked us for coming and told us there was a coke machine down the hall if we wanted a coke. Gee, thanks, guy. This is really feeling like an awesome job opportunity.

Turns out they don't need an office manager at all. They need someone to PLAY an office manager in their porn.

Feel free to read that sentence again.

They wanted someone to LOOK like an office manager/admin person in the porn they were shooting. I guess their business is all about getting the amateur/non-porn star corner of the market. The crappy office and clump of tan muscley dudes finally clicked.

Upon re-reading the job posting, I still found nothing in it to tip me off that I was walking into a porn casting call. Knowing now that it WAS a porn casting call, it did make me wonder what they mean by team player and multi tasking.

I asked the woman sitting next to me if she new it was an amateur porn business opportunity. She was as surprised as I was, and had the best response to the situation ever:

"I really don't think this job is a good fit."

5.18.2009

Saturday Climbing Outing - Mt Woodson














It is springtime, we are still in SoCal, life has thrown no curve balls at us. Things are good. Saturday provided us with a good adventure opportunity- scenic drive, ostrich gawking, a short uphill hike, and short but fun crack climbs on big boulders.

On the drive out, we saw loads of veggie and orange plantations, except they are not called plantations here. Since the underpaid workers are Mexicans, it isn't called a plantation, FYI. It is a farm or an orchard.

We also saw a hand-written sign advertising Ostrich Eggs For Sale. I was stoked to make a really big omelet, but we realized the only cash we had in the car was a whole slew of pesos in the cup holder. As close as we are to the border, nobody here traffics in pesos. What's up with that? There was more peso commerce in Austin than there is here. Interesting, no? We drove by, leaving my dream of an omelet of epic proportions for another day.

Mt Woodson is really just a big hill with big boulders strewn about. There is paved fire-road all the way to the top, so the approach to the climbs is a total cake-walk. Ian and I talked to his bro and sister-in-law on the cellular telephone on our way up. It was not really a back-country experience.

Once you stroll a few feet from the paved fire road, there are lots of fun, short, steep, knuckle grater cracks to climb. We set a few of them up with top ropes, and made a day of it.

If you look closely at the pictures, Ian has resurrected the Manor Elementary shirt that was his uniform in Panama. Apparently this shirt has seen to much to simply be retired. I am, as per usual, sporting a sun hat. Y'all can keep emailing me about how I look like a dork, but when I don't die of skin cancer we'll see who looks the dorkiest. (That was one of the worst sentences ever written; it makes no sense, but I am leaving it. All 2 of our readers can chastise me later.)

After negotiating my way up a fairly vertical crack, we saw the most amazing caterpillar making its way up the rock with much less sweat and issue than my performance required. The little guy looked quite feathery, had snappy red and grey colouration with white accents, and had two plume-like tufts coming off its head. I took it as a good omen. -For what exactly, I don't know. Seeing a plume headed-caterpillar has to be a good sign for something. . . hopefully not for fertility, but maybe for prosperity or employability.

Check out our award winning short films below. One is of an ostrich walking. The plot is pretty easy to follow and there is no surprise ending. Our other short film is of Ian looking at the guide book. That one is quite artistic, if I do say so myself.



video video

5.12.2009

Do we know her?

Found on Craigslist - If you have virgin ears or eyes or don't like ranting profanity, skip this post.

There. You've been warned.


Punk rock Martha Stewart baker will tear your kitchen apart

Reply to:
Date: 2009-02-17, 3:01PM

…figuratively, of course.
Ok I have the fancypants resume. I have the cover letter. I pimp that shit out and make it all special and fancy for each and every job I apply too. I have the little outfit which I iron on the floor of my hovel on top of a cutting board and towel. Not that it matters, because I DON’T GET ANY CALLBACKS FROM YOU PEOPLE.
WHAT THE FUCK.
Listen, I KNOW times are tough but! You post the jobs, I send the resume, and I KNOW I’m hirable. I got hired at four, that’s right, 1234 baking jobs before the economy tanked, and I turned them all down. Cocky? Perhaps. I didn’t know the stupid economy would take a dump right when I was feeling confident about waiting for a job that was juuuuust right. So, now I’m paying the price. Fine. I accept that it was a dick move. And now I’m applying left and right for baking jobs, any baking jobs, shit, food prep jobs, whatever, piece of crap industrial sweatshop baking jobs, and I get nothing. WTF do you people want from me? Here, here’s my fucking resume. Here’s the real shit, not the kiss-ass garbage I spend hours laboring over on my 2nd hand laptop at the free wifi cafĂ©.
OBJECTIVE
To bake the living shit out of shit.
QUALIFICATIONS:
Take all the bile and outrage in this resume. The food I make is as sweet as these words are bitter. The cupcakes I make are cuter than a puppy’s ass. A whole tray of puppy’s asses. I was genetically engineered by the US government in a covert project called BakerBot4000-R. I don’t know what the 4000-R stands for but it’s as impressive as is sounds. I crank out bread like that crazy ass Mormon family on TLC cranks out babies. One time my boss walked in on me at work and I was sleeping but guess what? He couldn’t say SHIT cause I was baking at the SAME TIME. Anyway I wasn’t really sleeping, I was meditating on the next AWESOME savory scone that could make you forget how to speak your first language. One time I took a tray of scones out of the oven that were so golden and perfect it was like staring at the face of God, and maybe God was involved because the oven wasn’t even PLUGGED IN. Are you one of those bosses who needs to sit on a stool in the kitchen and tell me about your love life til 3 am? I will solve that shit like Dear Abby and Dr. Drew and make you feel good about being such a dumbass. Are you tired of stupid ass stoner bakers who can’t bake without being “baked?” I eat those fools for breakfast. Are you yourself a pothead? Hey, I don’t judge. Would you rather not even know I exist, and just want the baked goods to magically appear without having to deal with anyone’s needy, personal bullshit? Wow, that would sure be refreshing. Don’t question my methods. Just stick a muffin in your mouth and shut up. Also I sweat 100% pure vanilla extract and I poop marzipan which really cuts back on costs.
JOB HISTORY
Come-&-Get-It soup kitchen: At this job I baked bread so fucking perfect that the local hobos would eat it and instantly transform into one of the following: super hot firemen, solutions to global warming, or just piles of diamonds.
I had a dream about crossaints and this somehow resulted in a fold in space-time, resulting in their invention sometime in the middle ages.
Government contract as BakerBot4000-R: I can’t tell you much about this job or I would have to kill you (and I totally could.) I had to leave this job because, I was told, my rate of productivity was making the president “look bad” in comparison. However, it was the Bush administration so I refuse to take responsibility for this. A Pet Rock could make that guy look bad.
REFERENCES
God taught me the whole manna thing, but I’ve promised not to abuse my power.
I invented Martha Stewart and when I refused to give up my secret recipe for a cake that causes the consumer to attain a state of perfect bliss, sometimes referred to as nirvana, she went temporarily insane and ended up in jail.
Inspired by Steve Madonna. Luckily for you all, I am married and Steve and I shall never meet. Otherwise we would spawn monster beast children that would tear you all apart and render the employment system (aka “capitalism”) even more obsolete than it already is.


  • Location: seattle
  • it's ok to contact this poster if you are a potential employer or other principal
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job seeker.
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Original URL:http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sea/1039001084.html

Who doe we love? JUDD!





Where do we love him? Texas, New York, and now California! Go, Judd, Go!

Pie n Burger









There's a great joint in Pasadena called Pie N Burger. I went there. It was AMAZING.

Most of our gentle readers already know I have a serious pie fetish. I can't go somewhere without trying the pie. Even if I know the crust will disappoint, I cannot pass up pie. I love me some pie; berry pie, savory pie, meringue pie, meat pie, onion pie, whatever. I love it. I make pies for people I love, and will gladly make pies for people I don't know if you pay me or just ask real nice.

A love of pie and pie making has been a sweet and wonderful bridge in several fledgling friendships. Back in our ATX days, we would have lovely Pie and Wine parties every few months where I would make a few pies, other folks would make a few pies, we'd all eat pie and drink some wine. It was fantastic.

In last week's stint as a South Pasadena Dog Walker (picture me wearing a designer sun hat, big sunglasses, talking on my blackberry, walking 2 purebred cairn terriers) I learned about my new favourite place for pie. OK- my second favourite place, since my first is my own kitchen. OK, actually, it is my 3rd favourite place, since my second favourite place is my mom's kitchen. Her lemon meringue pie is the best, hands down. Everyone who has tasted it agrees, even Ian, who is on contract to adore my culinary creations until death do us part. Even Ian agrees that my mother's lemon meringue pie rocks the house more than seems humanly possible.

Pie n Burger is now my 3rd favourite place for pie. That's saying something.

The whole setting also spoke to something deep inside me. It might be because my grandfather had a dairy and, as high school aged kids, my mother (the Pie Maven) and her siblings all helped run the family ice-cream shop/soda shop/burgers n pie diner counter. The Reese Dairy is has such a presence in family lore, it almost feels like another cousin.

This place is how I imagine the old family dairy counter soda shop to have felt. Pie n Burger is a great old-school diner kind of a place. Not only were there real honest-to-goodness regulars, but the waitress literally knew the regulars' names and asked after their families. I almost felt like I was intruding on a family dinner.

They have about 9 kinds of pie daily. I asked which is the freshest, and the waitress looked at me and said, "They're all fresh. You think we actually have some left at the end of the day??!?!?"

The crust was a part crisco (I know it is deadly and all, but it makes for a flaky crust) and part butter, and the berry filling was not too sweet. I appreciate it when cooks and bakers let the ingredients speak for themselves. Too much sugar in a pie kills it.

It was a generous slice, served at room temperature. You could get it heated up and a la mode if you wish, but I am a room temp girl when it comes to pie. I like the filling to stay put and not ooze.

The burger was really good, too.

Go check it out next time you are in Pasadena. It was mighty fine.

Here's a pic of one of the dogs I was watching in Pasadena. He is hell on tennis balls.

5.04.2009

We know good art - Huge Sloth

Ian rides the sloth, I cuddle and make the same face as the sloth. We bond.




Tar Party - La Brea Tar Pits
















What could be more heart wrenching than a mommy mammoth being slowly sucked down into a deep, sticky, smelly, bubbly pit of deadly tar while her husband mammoth and baby mammoth watch from the shore of the pit? Well, lots of things, but that isn't what we are talking about today. Today, we are filling you in on the magic and the agony of La Brea Tar Pits.

In the heart of LA, right on the Miracle Mile known for its hot 'n' happening retail scene, tar bubbles up right out of the ground. Right there. In the middle of a park. Right there, adjacent to the renowned Los Angeles County Museum of Art, right next to a cute sandwich cafe, there are burbling pits of tar.

In Pleistocene times (about 1.5 million years ago, give or take 5,000 years), mammoths would wade in maybe thinking it was a regular pond (can they not smell the methane and tar stench?) and get stuck. Wolves and saber-toothed cats and bears would try to get a nice mammoth meal, and would also get stuck. All would sink into the tar, slowly drowning in the black, sticky petroleum.

In the 1700's, the tar was widely used to seal up sea-faring ships. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, some of the oil, tar, and gas were pumped out and used in industry. It wasn't until 1910 that the pits became interesting to scientists as excavation sites where one could find well preserved saber-toothed cats.

The ancient swamp-now-petroleum-pond continues to burp and bubble, regardless of how built up the city has become. In 1985, a Ross Dress for Less on the Miracle Mile blew up due to the the accidental ignition of methane gas that had built up under the Ross' sub-basement.

As anyone who went to camp as a kid and learned how to light their farts will tell you, methane is highly flammable and as dangerous as it is stinky. Methane vented from a deep subterranean fissure into the Ross department store, where it ran into some old wiring or maybe a furnace, and the explosion blew out windows and collapsed part of the roof. Gas continued to spout off and burn for a day or two. Several people were hurt, but luckily, nobody was killed.

In 1989, on the other side of the street, similar geological digestive rumblings blew out a crater several feet deep. In the years since then, several release valves have been drilled to allow gas release sans explosions.

Now, the gas issue tamed, and the pits safely fenced off, pitch is not harvested for sealing boats or roofs, but the tar ponds are explored for fossils. To see more about what is found there, check out The Page Museum.

In the visitors kiosk of one of the active exploration pits, they show the clothes of a pit worker. Tide will make no dent; that Tshirt is toast.

The park is lovely and quite scenic, if not a bit malodorous. The tar bubbles up just right there in the middle of the greenery. Geology is not happening somewhere else, it is alive and well, right here, in the middle of downtown LA.

Check out our pics - Ian and I are really showing off our pointing skills. The pics of the ground are just a spot on the sidewalk where the tar is just seeping up. RIGHT THERE ON THE SIDEWALK!!










As an aside, this locale piqued one of my peeves. Turns out that La Brea is Spanish for tar, or pitch, so the name of this area falls under the same linguistic translation redundancy category as Chai Tea (chai means tea).


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