Another Scammer Messed With

If you recall my post Messing with a Scammer, you’ll know that I take great delight in acting stupid and gullible in order to waste the time of a con artist. I look at it as a civic duty. The more time they spend with me, the less time they’ll spend bilking little old ladies out of their life savings.

It seems I’m not alone in this pastime, because a loved one of mine recently shared this exchange that he had with your basic scumbag. He was doing an honest day’s work when his phone beeped, and he came across a text from a coworker. But red flags went up because the text was coming from a strange number, and his language and syntax seemed a little off. I’m sure it wasn’t hard for the scammer to find out that they were coworkers on line, and then search for his phone number. Then they were off to the races, as the saying goes.

Scam1

Knowing his coworker would never make such a request, he decided to play along.

Scam2

Yeah, right. Like that’s gonna happen, buddy. So now he started acting like he wasn’t very clever about these complicated tech thingies.

Scam3

Scam4

Ooh, the genious scammer sent a photo! Just trying to be helpful. Which made my friend look on line for some photos of his own to send back.

Scam5

Now the scammer is convinced he is dealing with a fool. But he’s the fool. He sent his e-mail. Wanna mess with him too? Please, please do! Sign him up for as much spam e-mail as you can possibly think of.

Scam6.jpg

Scam7

Hee hee.

Scam8

Now Mr. Scammer starts getting testy.

Scam9

Scam10

I’d include more screen shots, but it’s just another 50 or so idiot-related images that my friend sent to tie up scammer’s phone. But hey, if the phone number or the e-mail are still active, I strongly encourage you to mess with this dimwit. It’s a dirty job, but in the end, it’s quite satisfying, and a lot more fun than waiting for karma to bite him in the butt.

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Mojibake

Have you ever had a conversation with someone, only to discover at the end that you were talking about two entirely different things? It’s very disconcerting. It’s like opening an important document, only to discover it’s full of incomprehensible symbols like this: �.

According to Wikipedia, when you get that garbled text, it’s a result of it being decoded using an unintended character encoding. It’s called Mojibake (which means “character transformation” in Japanese). I’d go into more detail, but it would quickly get over my head. Read the Wikipedia article if you’re into that kind of stuff.

But what intrigues me about Mojibake (aside from the fact that it’s a really cool sounding word) is that you can look right at it and know instantly that something is amiss. But you can’t always do so with the verbal equivalent.

Miscommunication can be dangerous. Wars can start on a misunderstanding. And as I experienced quite recently, friendships can end.

Confused conversations can also be hilarious when two friends finally realize what’s going on. But surely those misunderstandings can occur between two people, and each of them walk away being none the wiser about the mistake. How often does that happen? There’s absolutely no way to know.

I don’t like the concept that the foundation of our day to day communication is resting on sand, and can be shifted without our knowledge or control. I hate being misunderstood. I like thinking that the world is solid, and black and white, and that we all grok it in the very same way. But no.

I’ll just have to comfort myself with the fact that I learned a new word today. (Thanks, Mor!) And the next time I have one of those confused conversations that end in laughter, I’ll look at the person and say, “Mojibake, my friend.”

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For Real

Have you ever had a conversation with someone that made you question reality? Sometimes two people can draw such different conclusions from a situation that it makes you wonder if you come from the same planet. I had one of those recently.

A friend said, “You just called me an (xyz).”

I replied, “What are you talking about? That word never came out of my mouth. What I said was (abc).”

My friend repeated his assertion. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Especially since we were communicating via text.

So I said, “Dude, scroll up. Where are you seeing (xyz)? Where? Show me.”

Long pause.

Then he said, “I just talked to (mutual friend E) and she agrees with me. I’m not an (xyz).”

Me: “Wait a minute! Where is this coming from? What are you talking about? I never said you were!”

Him: “It really hurts my feelings that you disrespect me so much that you think I’m an (xyz).”

At this point, my feelings were kind of hurt that he would think I was the type of person to say such a thing. So I said, “On my life, I never said that! I don’t know where this is coming from. If I struck some sort of a nerve somehow, I’m sorry. But I’m not responsible for the nerve being there in the first place. You’re pulling facts out of thin air, so I really think we should leave it at that.”

God, how I hate being misunderstood. Even worse, I hate trying to explain something that seems perfectly obvious to me, only to discover that the other person just doesn’t get it. “But… the sky isn’t lime green with purple polka dots! Look at it! Look!”

I would probably be easily sucked into a cult. Because eventually I’d just give up and I’d really want to believe the sky was purple and green, too. Anything to make the world make sense again. After a while, I might actually see a tinge of green. And maybe a spot or two.

Or not. Who knows?

green and purple

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A Modest Bucket List

An interesting text conversation with a dear friend, shared with her permission.

Friend: Did something on my bucket list that I hope won’t shock you too much.

          Me: Been trying to call. WHAT DID YOU DO?

Expect the worst and it won’t be so bad.

           Last time you did a bucket list thing, you bungee jumped out of a perfectly good hot air balloon.

You can guess and I promise I will tell you if you get it right. It’s nothing like the balloon stunt.

          Ran off to join the circus? Posed nude with a boa constrictor?

Neither of those. And not fond of tight hugs.

          Not fond of tight hugs… Boob job? Something medical?

Still braless. Nothing medical.

           Nothing medical. Nothing death-defying or snake-related. Are you a blonde?

No way.

          Tattoo? Some alteration of appearance? A new purchase of some sort? An experience?

Very slight alteration in appearance. (This is soooo much fun.)

          Nails? Teeth? Something above the waist or below? Did you shave your hoo hoo?

One of those. Darn you are good.

          YOU SHAVED YOUR HOO HOO?

Guess again.

          Teeth? Details.

It’s not teeth.

          Nails?

Yes. They are blue.

          Child, please. Why would that shock me?

Hey, it’s the most exciting thing on my bucket list. Maybe I will do my coochie pop next.

          I bet it would itch.

I got nothin’.

          And having a boring bucket list means you are satisfied with life. That’s enviable.

Do you have anything on yours?

          Mine is 5 pages long. Mostly travel related. Remind me to show you.

Sounds exciting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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My Voice

I had a fascinating conversation with some old friends recently. I’ve known them for 10 years in the virtual world of Second Life. We hang out a couple times a week, but in all that time I’ve never heard their actual voices. All our communication is via text.

Am I alone in this? When I read something, I “hear” what I’m reading inside my head. I’ve always done that.

But the other day, for the first time, it occurred to me that when I read what these two friends type, I have different inner voices for each of them. Based on their personalities, my mind has created a kind and gentle voice for one, and a straightforward, practical, no-nonsense voice for the other. Fascinating.

So naturally, I asked what my “voice” sounds like to them. I was really surprised by the answer. They said it doesn’t sound like my blog.

That’s intriguing. I think of this blog as me on a screen. I’ve taken pride in laying myself bare and being honest and vulnerable here. But my friends say that in my blog I sound like a strong positive woman, and when I talk to them, I’m more fragile.

Hmm… Yeah, I can see that. Since I write my entries several days in advance, I have plenty of time for multiple revisions. That means by the time my posts reach you, I’ve edited out a lot of the craziness, impulsiveness, negativity, and basic hysteria. (Yeah, I know. Hard to believe.) I think that makes the blog infinitely more readable, but perhaps it also makes it less “me”.

But when all is said and done, that’s the definition of true friendship, isn’t it? Someone who sees the unedited version of you, warts and all, and loves you anyway.

I’m a very lucky person.

voice

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It’s Not That Complicated

I go to work. I come home. I start dinner. I sit on my back porch in my fifteen dollar red plastic Adirondack chair, and put my feet up on my brown plastic thrift shop stool.

My dog Quagmire jumps on my lap. Sometimes I ask him to tell me about his day. He’s never very forthcoming.

I enjoy the sunshine when I have it. I enjoy the rain, too. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I just sit and think about the fact that I’m not spending any money at this exact moment, and that’s a relief.

When dinner’s ready, I eat it, in my Adirondack chair, this time sans Quagmire, unless you count his baleful stare from the back stoop. (He’s been fed, but to hear him tell it, it’s never enough.)

I look at the lawn and tell myself I really ought to mow. I water my flowers. I do that much.

I go inside and put my dirty dishes on the growing pile in the sink. Maybe I take a bath. Maybe not. If I have a pimple, I pop it. Etc.

I change into a tank top and climb into bed. Maybe I watch Hulu. Maybe I check Facebook. Maybe I text a friend. Sooner or later I just spoon with Quagmire and go to sleep. As I drift off, I think about how lucky I am.

The next day, I wake up, get dressed, poach myself an egg, feed the dog and go to work. My life isn’t exciting. But it’s enough for me.

adirondack

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Smile Means Chisel in Greek

As someone who majored in a foreign language in college (I wasn’t thinking at all about how I’d pay the bills upon graduation), I have spent a lot of time thinking about the things that get lost in translation. Words are not mathematical equations. The word for something in French does not “equal” the word for that same thing in Tagalog.

Words are not just the signifier for objects. They have cultural and emotional connotations. Don’t believe me? If you say swastika to a German, it will bring up a completely different range of memories and emotions than if you say svastika, the word for the very same symbol, to someone in India. There, it’s not the dreaded symbol of the Nazi party. It’s a symbol of good fortune, luck, and well-being. You’ll often see the svastika on wedding invitations.

On top of that, pile on the fact that some languages are vastly more complex than others. When translating from a language that consists of, say, 430,000 words, to a language that has 100,000 words, how can you “make” one word equal another?

It amuses me when someone believes that they have fundamental comprehension of any text, particularly the Bible, which has been translated through so many languages, so many cultures, and so many historical perspectives. It’s like handing a high school class a first edition of the Canterbury Tales and asking them to convert it into modern slang. You’ll get wildly different results.

Is it any wonder that there are so many misunderstandings within the United Nations? I would argue that it’s virtually impossible for people who speak different languages and come from different cultures to completely understand each other. The beauty is that they even make the attempt.

I am someone who revels in the differences in this world. Without that variety, things would be awfully uninspiring. If we weren’t occasionally forced to entertain different perspectives, our minds would become rigid, inflexible and closed. Then what would be the point?

canterbury-tales

Hibernation

I admit it. I’m an introvert. People don’t energize me, they drain me. I’m not someone who looks forward to parties and large gatherings.

It’s not that I don’t like people. Quite the contrary. I have several dear friends. I just prefer to interact with them one on one, and I agree with Ben Franklin that fish and visitors stink after three days. I’m quite happy to see them go after a certain length of time, but that doesn’t mean I love them any less.

It is much easier to be social and an introvert in the modern era. I can keep in touch via e-mail and facebook and text messages, and I can write this blog. Then, when I want to have some “me time”, all I have to do is log off. It’s the electronic equivalent of “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

I am glad I have my dogs. It’s nice to have a heartbeat in the house, someone who is happy to see me when I come home. But I’m fairly certain that if they suddenly were endowed with the ability to speak, or if they stopped feeling the need to sleep 18 hours a day, I’d probably be setting them up in their own bachelor pad on the opposite side of town. Oh, I’d call and chat daily, but I wouldn’t want to spoon with them as much as I do now.

Katherine Hepburn had a good point when she said a happy marriage would be one where the spouses were to “live nearby and visit often.” Unfortunately it would be hard to find someone who would be willing to agree to that, which is probably one of the many reasons I’ve never been married.

I actually enjoy my own company. I can entertain myself for hours on end. Some of my fondest memories of vacations have been the ones where I’ve rented a cabin in the middle of nowhere, and stayed there for a week, just me and my dogs, a good pair of hiking boots and a stack of books. Bliss.

Perhaps I was a bear in another life. The thought of crawling into a den and hibernating for months on end appeals to me greatly. But in this life I’ll just have to settle for hot baths and curling up in bed with a good book.

bear

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