February 12, 2008

Depression, the Universe and Everything

I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed
- Marvin the paranoid android, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

There's something you should know. I have been diagnosed with depression. What a time I'm having: diabetes, high blood pressure, lack of substantial income, depression. The thing is, depression was the first major diagnosis. Oh, and allergies when I was a kid.

I used to talk about it more, and I sort of lost track while simply dealing with it. But I think I can serve a purpose by making this Weblog posting.

I'm not getting you down at all, am I?
- Marvin

First of all, it's not just a case of "the blues" or "being down". Everyone gets depressed now and then. No, I'm talking about a clinical diagnosis. True clinical depression involves brain chemistry, and the imbalances thereof. When you're depressed in this way, circumstantial depression gets worse; it hits you harder than other people. Other times, you're depressed and simply don't care about anything.

Some signs of depression are:

  • It lasts a long time
  • Loss of interest in things that normally bring pleasure
  • Sleeplessness
  • Lethargy
  • Seeing the dark side of things
  • Short attention span
There are more, but you can search those out on the Internet yourselves.

Funny, how just when you think life can't possibly get any worse it suddenly does.
- Marvin

I used to take antidepressants. Yes, used to. You see, I learned about thinking things through and not seeing the darker side of things so quickly. In another post, I mentioned Albert Ellis and his REBT therapy (look it up, I'm busy). Also, some Buddhist principles; both have helped me. Things are what they are, not what I think they should be. Addendum, November 2010: Since then, I have rededicated my life to Christ. The logic of Ellis still applies, but I have God himself living inside of me and I get help from the Bible.

There is someone I know who says, "You don't understand. I got depression!" So? I have it, too, but I won't let depression "have" me! (I hate it when someone will use an infirmity, real or imagined, as an excuse for not trying to do something for himself or herself.) Under therapist supervision, I went off the meds. Here's a kicker: fish oil. That's right, you heard me. Fish oil. I prefer "Nature Made" brand. I take it for circulation and heart stuff, but guess what? It has antidepressant side effects. Not sure how well it works, but I prefer it to relying on medication. I also gave up therapy. Too expensive over too many years. Friends help, though. I do have some that actually care and don't just pretend.

Do you want me to sit in the corner and rust, or just fall apart where I'm standing?
- Marvin

I still have to watch it, though. When I get into some of my "spells", I'm glad I do not own guns, so I don't use a bullet on myself. Yes, sometimes I get the urge to jump off the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge or swallow a 9mm hollow point. So, I have to make myself a "safe promise" and see it through for another day. It's something how much of a difference another sunrise can make.

So, if you have depression and it's major, look for some online depression screenings. See a doctor. Suicidal people should dial 911 (in the US, of course) or call a trusted friend. Or e-mail. I have people that care about me, and I care about, and we help each other. Sometimes, a kind word can help and you don't even know you've done it. Get with your pastor or a trusted Christian friend.

Life's bad enough as it is without wanting to invent any more of it.
- Marvin

What am I saying? First, if you have depression, get help. Second, I'm an example that you can function with it. Third, it cycles up and down, so wait it out.

Wearily I sit here, pain and misery my only companions.
- Marvin

Don't use it as a crutch, either. You become a walking joke. Fight back. OK, that's enough for today. Be good to yourselves. Stay out of shadows.

February 4, 2008

Time for a Scam

Updated 3-21-2008
There have been many hits on this posting from people doing searches. Glad I can be of service. A bit of new material is posted at the end.

You never met a weblog writer quite like me!
Gather round, gang. Uncle Bob wants to show you a scam. Remember, I do this stuff to entertain and educate. Most of my readers won't fall for this, but maybe someone who stumbles on this site (and they do come from all around the world) will take the warning. Be suspicious!

I received two letters in two days. They're almost identical. (I'm not the only one, either.) I'll reproduce one here and put my comments in red.

FROM: ALPHA FINANCIAL CONSULT. Yes, this does exist.

We wish to notify you again (?)
that you were listed as a beneficiary to the total sum of £6,000,000.00 GBP (Six Million British Pounds) in the
codicil and last testament of the deceased. (Name now withheld since
this is our second letter to you).
No, it's not.

We contacted you because you bear the surname identity
Oh, yes, dear old Uncle Stormbringer and therefore can present you as the beneficiary to the inheritance. We therefore reckoned that you could receive these funds as you are qualified by your
name identity. All the legal papers will be processed upon your acceptance.

Upon your acceptance of this deal,
Ummm...a beneficiary is not part of a "deal" we request that you kindly forward to us your letter of acceptance,Punctuate much? The comma and break are in the original.

Your current telephone and fax numbers and a forwarding address to
enable us file necessary LEGAL documents in your name at our high court
probate division
You're not telling which court. for the release of the fund in question.
Please contact me immediatley
Bad spelling is also in the second letter so that we can get this done immediately.

Kind regards,
Mr.Donnvan Housen.
Director Alpha
Financial Consult.
London, U.K.

Please contact me immediatley
See? so that we can get this done immediately.
Kind regards,
Mr.Wayne Robinson.

These goofballs sent the same letter from two different e-mail accounts. One of them is Hotmail, the other is one I've never heard of. A legitimate firm is not likely to be using free accounts!

My name, or the name of any relation, does not appear. Big money, and I have no relatives that are (a) this rich, and (b) in the UK. No decent contact information was given.

This is only on the Internet. Something real would have shown up in my postal mail, with signatures and verifiable information.

Know what happens next? In my case, nothing. I hope it's that way for you, too. If you or I bothered to reply, you know too well that they'd be asking for personal information, bank accounts, etc. Never give it! People fall for that too often. Let me say what you should know already: Never give sensitive information like passwords, identity, account numbers to someone that contacts you. When in doubt (and if you really have an account with a company that contacts you), you contact them through numbers that you probably have on file already, or through their main Website, and ask them if it's real. Don't click on a link and fill out a form.

OK, hope Uncle Bob has educated and entertained you.
Addendum, the morning of 2-05-2008
I just received a different one. (I have a feeling that I'm in for a wave of these things, but I won't post all of them.) Take a look. Pick it apart, apply what you've learned:



I am Rev.Fr Paul Bastian,a senior staff with the UN special duties office ;my office monitors and controls the affairs of all banks and financial institutions. I have before me list of funds and beneficiaries, which could not be transferred to some nominated accounts as these accounts have been identified either as ghost accounts, unclaimed deposits or over-invoiced sum etc. I have the opportunity to write you based on the instructions among others I received days ago from the officer in the computer section in person of Dr. Tony Kimber,to bring out part of your total pending payment with reference number (LM-02-341)amounting US$10million. The (Ten Million Dollars) is already arranged to be paid to you.

A lot of people are interested in your payment and those people are merely doing paper works with you and that explains why you receive different kinds of untrue fax, email and phone messages from different people everyday. As I found out that you have almost met all the statutory requirements in respect of your pending payment. Also we found out that some of the officials of the parastatals have been extorting money from you with the pretext of helping you receive your money. I can assure you this will keep happening if you do not do away with those officers.I am the final signatory to any transfer or remittance of huge funds moving within banks both on the local and international levels.

I am conditionally prepared to assist you get the money, practically after studying the part leading to this particular stage in the payment process in connivance with your local collaborators to conceal the authentic source of the funds.And my only condition for this unusual assistance is after all arrangements we have concluded that you must donate at least Four Hundred Thousand United States dollars (US$400,000.00) to any charity organization I designate as soon as you receive your money. To this effect, you will send to us a promissory note for the donation along with your full information. Call me on my private line below for instructions and further discussions on the payment.
May almighty God bless you, Please maintain top confidentiality as it may cause a lot of problems if found out that we are using this way to help you until you received your money. When you conclude this we will help to transfer the final part of your money to you. Henceforth, write me on my private email address below.

Yours Faithfully,

Director, Special Duties.UNO/WBF.
Email: rev_paulbstn@mixmail.com

Hopefully, you know that you should never give personal information, especially when it comes from a stranger offering a prize for a contest or sweepstakes that you never entered in the first place.

Gravel Pit Cottages,High Toynton,
Horncastle,Lincs.LN9 6NN
FROM: Mrs Trina Weaver.
Lottery Manager.
Secret Pin No:YOC: 00777471
Reference Number: YOC: 12058006/08

Dear Winner, [They don't know my name?]

This Email is to inform you that your email address just won you £800,000.00 from the
nineth year anniversary promotion draws held today in London, the United Kingdom.
The selection process was carried out through random selection in our
computerized Email selection system (ESS) from a database of over
250,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world. The
Yoga Clothing Promotional Lottery is approved by the British Gaming
Board and also Licensed by the International Association of Gaming
Regulators (IAGR).This lottery is the 2nd of its kind and we intend to
Sensitize the public. [Hopefully, the public is sensitized enough to avoid scams like this.]

This is your Secret Pin No.: YOC: 00777471 and your
Reference Number YOC: 12058006/08.

Contact your Claims Agent(Fabric Designer) with the Address
below to claim your winnings
neleve2010: ****************************************************************
Mr Alison Bell,
+44 70457 39297
Contact email: yodaclaimsagent@yahoo.com.hk
Claims Agent
Yoga Clothing Promotion
Contact him with your secret pin code:`YOC: 00777471 and your reference
number YOC: 12058006/08.You are also advised to provide him with the
underlisted information as soon as possible:

Claims Requirements:
1. Your Name in full------------------
2. Address----------------------------
3. Sex--------------------------------
4. Nationality------------------------
5. Marital Status--------------------
6. Age--------------------------------
7. Next Of Kin------------------------
8. Occupation-------------------------
9. Phone Number-----------------------
10. Present Country-------------------
If you do not contact your claims agent within 7 working days of this
notification, your winnings would be revoked. Winners are advised to
keep their winning details/information from the public to avoid
fraudulent claim (IMPORTANT) pending the transfer/claim by Winner.
neleve2010: Congratulations once again!

With Best Regards
Mrs. Trina Weaver
Lottery Promotion Manager.

They lay the groundwork and don't ask for the personal information. If you're silly enough to respond, watch out, they'll sneak around to asking for it anyway.

January 29, 2008

Entitlement Mentality

Stand back. Stormbringer's thundering again, and lightning is shooting out of his eyes.

You remember a while back when I railed about welfare slobs. But one in particular keeps setting me off, and I'm going to use this insufferable creature as an example of my point.

Imagine being 25 years old and having no intention of getting a job. Not only that, but expecting to be taken care of. Her mother works extra jobs to pay her bills, and this bitch has no shame in watching the old girl work herself into an early grave. And she's collecting welfare, too. Expecting, as a right, to get handouts from the government and from other people.

Laziness creates more laziness, greed creates more greed. Funny how those things go together. This particular "person" will sponge and sponge off people, always looking for more. The money is free, not worked for (as in "job"), and she calls it "her" money, and doesn't want to spend "her" money on necessities, only on luxuries. Other people are expected to foot the bill for everything.

A new low: she gives her grandmother a sob story about not having money (which is a bloody lie), and cons her into giving her more money. Then, Miss Bitchley gets money, but will not tell Granny! No, let her give from her pension to the greedy, selfish slob. And get this: Granny bought some candy and forgot to take it home. Guess who ate it all? Selfish slob.

And the bum makes a pretense at going to college...yeah, right. Too stupid and lazy to get a real job. It's all a lie.

I get so furious I can hardly see straight. Somebody's gotta feel my fist of rage!

The bigger principle? When people are coddled and don't have to do something for themselves (and again, I'm not talking about genuine need, but laziness as a lifestyle), they come to expect things to be given to them. They're entitled to handouts; it's their right. Well, I have the right to be angry that my pocket is being picked.

Can we be honest here? Conservatives say, "This is the land of opportunity. You can make something of yourself!" The Liberals say, "You need me. Elect me to public office so I can give you money and make you love me."

But guess where that money comes from? The government.

Bzzzzz! Wrong answer, Hans. "The government" is the people. Taxes are raised so that lazy slobs can have handouts. I want to drive the rock and roll pain train up their joyfully bouncing buttocks.

Am I wrong to feel this way? Am I wrong to think that I'm being taken advantage of, not only by politicians, but welfare bums? Get a freakin' job! How are you ever going to have some self-respect?

And it never stops. Entitlement mentality keeps on taking and taking...

January 4, 2008

The Green Green Cash at Home

Buon giorno, girls and gorillas. Let's take a moment to say, "Happy Birthday" to Christina. She's there in the back, looking embarrassed. Give us a wave, Teenie. Thanks. Stop staring, Nicki. She's too young.

One thing that the boys and I know about is money. We like to get it more than give it, of course, but sometimes you have to part with it. Even though we have quite a bit of it, we don't like to part with any more than we have to.

Let me tell you about some stupid spending. Freakin' idiotic, really. I know a weasel that spends money like nobody's business. (Well, it's not her money, it's from the hardworking taxpayers or from sponging off her mother. That's why it's fun for her to spend it.) But for those of us who have to work for a living, we try to be careful with what we do with our cash.

Spend smart. Weasel girl doesn't do this. She loads the icebox with pre-packaged goodies and convenience foods that are not only unhealthy but very expensive. Sure, there's a time for convenience foods, but it's much more economical to buy a block of cheese, for instance, and cut it up, store it in small-serving plastic bags and then grab one to throw in your lunch on the way to work or school. The same with those dreadful "juice boxes". If you really have to pollute yourself with that stuff, get a big bottle and pour some into a small, portable bottle. Capice? The savings add up.

Resist the impulses. Sure, I like to buy a new gun on occasion. But I look at whether or not I really need it, the extras like the cost of ammo and a carrying case, etc. And do I need the pearl-handled revolver, really? Something a little plainer will work just as well. But if I do decide to be extravagant, I plan for a while, think things through, add the costs, and budget for it. Listen, if I buy something too quickly, I won't have money for something else later on. Can I live with that? Besides, something may go on sale.

Consider the off-brands. Go ahead, try the store brands. Little Weaselette refuses to buy anything but the name-brand stuff because it must be better. Wrong-o, Cupcake. I've found that off brands are often at least as good as the name brands, sometimes better. But you have to take a chance, try a few things. Sometimes, you'll find that a certain name brand is better for you and you can't do without it. Fine, you tried.

"But Uncle Bob, the doctor said I should use Motrin!" Shaddap! Think for a minute. He said that for name recognition. Most doctors don't tell their patients to use acetaminophen, but that's what Tylenol is. Doctors don't say ibuprofen, either, so they say Motrin or Advil. Listen, for a drug to be marketed generically, the law says that it has to be chemically identical to the name brand. I get acetaminophen and ibuprofen for half or even a quarter of the cost of the name brands. You just have to keep alert.

Don't be too cheap. I know, I know, it sounds like a contradiction to what I just said. The fact is that sometimes you have to pay more for something good. This whole thing is a learning experience. Or a game. Just keep at it and learn that there are some things you have to spend more to get because some stuff is made so cheaply that you'll wind up replacing it and spending more money in the long run. Use your judgement.

The bottom line is to think about what you're doing. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to tell Nicki that he can't have Christina's e-mail address. Hey, Bastardo!

Addendum: The continuation of this article is about saving fuel and can be found here.

November 30, 2007

A Few Hang-Ups

Today's discussion was going to be a sequel of sorts to the rant about layabouts sponging off us. That will have to wait because I want to talk about some hang-ups I have. And I'm naming names.

Try to follow this. I'll tell this story the best that I can, and hope that I remember all the pertinent details myself.

Since I'm not a fan of cell phones (and long-term commitments), I did not get one until I absolutely had to. The Agency insisted, so I relented and got a Tracfone pay-as-you-go plan. I felt cheated, and went to a similar company called Simple Freedom. They were all right, but suddenly, I had been given up to another company. (It's kind of like going to bed as a CIA operative and waking up working for the NSA. I hate when that happens.) The company I was given to was Verizon Wireless Prepaid.

Well, the price was adequate, but I felt short-changed. Other people had Tracfones, and were pleased with their service; they did not have the difficulties that I had experienced. The other day, I switched from Verizon Wireless Prepaid to Tracfone.

I "ported" my number, since I'd had it a few years and my contacts were familiar with it. Who needs to learn a new number if you don't need to? Tracfone botched the job and gave me a great deal of grief for a few hours, but they got it done, finally, and the service was working.

A few days later (yesterday), my home land line was not working. HUH? The message was that it was now a Verizon Wireless number. Well, my number was a Verizon number, never a VW number (there I go with abbreviations again).

I called Verizon. An order to cancel had been placed. I told them in no uncertain (and vaguely menacing terms) that nobody ordered a cancel, I was not changing providers, etc. They told me to call VW, who had control of the number.

So I called VW. They said that it wasn't their problem, they didn't have the number, to have Verizon fix it. I have to admit here that one sweetie at VW was doing her best to have it fixed, but the Verizon department that she was working with had closed for the day, and she would resume the next day.

I called Verizon. The representative that I was supposed to contact never answered, so I started over and insisted on a supervisor. I eventually talked to Etienne (and got her phone number, giggity giggity!) and she worked on it. She got other departments and technicians involved. She insisted that everything was lined up on their end, and Verizon Wireless had control. The proof was that the message I received when I called my own number was from VW.

Back to VW. They had me talk to other departments about my "inadvertent port" issue (also called "slamming"), highly frowned upon by the Feds. It was released.

My new girlfriend Etienne called me and said that the problem was resolved. Later, another of the technicians followed up. Finally, good news.

So, that was my twenty one hours of hassle and anxiety.

How are things with you?

November 15, 2007

Black E-mailed

Edit: New images added and some editing 8-16-2011

There are some things you ought to know. This old cowboy (well, cowboy at heart) is a caring sort. Sometimes I'm dreadful at showing it, and I get thoughtless or maybe even selfish at times. But I try to be compassionate.

Some of us take exception to being blackmailed with e-mail "forward this if you care" messages, and also the "share this and you'll be blessed" stuff. Do not want!
Pixabay.com / Cornfreak
Lately, I've been getting blackmailed by e-mail (hence the title of this piece). No, the sender doesn't intend any harm. These are the letters that say, "I've been thinking of you. You're one of my many friends and I'm sending this to show I care", etc. (It often has a cute poem and pictures of teddy bears or something.) The blackmail part is at the end: "Send this to everyone you know and care about, especially the one who sent this to you. If you don't send this on, then you are evil, lonely, heartless, and will burn in Hell."

The same threat comes in some of those useless petition letters that have good intentions, but demean your character if you don't participate by forwarding it. This kind of nonsense is also on social media.

I have news for you: I don't send those back to the sender. Why? Because it's a lousy test of love and loyalty, and I don't cotton to being tested like that. Worse, if you're measuring how much you're cared about by how many e-mails you get back, I think there's something wrong in your cabeza. If I like the message I received, I'll trim it up by taking out the "FW: FW: FW: MESSAGE ATTACHED" clutter and the hundred other names on the recipients list, and I'll also take out the threat (or condition) at the end. Sometimes I'll leave on a suggestion that people "pass this on", though.

Another "threat" is the promise that, if I send this to a certain number of people, I'll receive blessings or a miracle. Uh, yeah, sure. Ain't buying that, neither. Copy, edit, and paste time, if I like it.

But if you send me something that requires sending back, don't set yourself up for disappointment if I don't comply and clutter up bandwidth. And don't think I don't care because of my lack of response.

You may want to save the URL for this message and send it to people who send you those black e-mail messages. Just a thought.

November 7, 2007

Do You Show It?

This discussion is more for the men, but I think women can get something out of it as well.

"Bond, I've always tried to teach you two things", said Q. "First, never let them see you bleed."
"And the second?"
"Always have an escape plan."

Although it is wise advice for the spy world, we're going to look at it and expand on it.

"Gosh, Uncle Bob, are you a spy?"

Let's just say that I've had some dealings with, uh, unsavory characters in my time. And some of them still owe me favors. Youse guys payin' attention? (Sometimes you have to talk that way so that they understand you.)

Never let them see you bleed.
Right. If you're wounded, the bad guys will be even more ready to charge in and finish you off. And you can't show your weaknesses. How does that work for daily living? In the business world, you can't let your competition see that you're wounded or vulnerable. That also applies to office politics.

It also applies to daily dealings. If someone hurts you, don't show it. That just signals them that they got to you, and they're ready to do it again. Worse, they'll tell your enemies and the party really gets interesting — for them. Clam up about it. If someone's taking verbal shots at you, one way to diffuse it is to laugh it off. Better yet, go along with the joke and show you're a good guy:

"Say, Bill, you're really clumsy today. Are you always that way?"
"You should have seen me trying to get a job on the bomb squad!"

Now, this doesn't apply to family relationships, necessarily, and not to a "significant other" (it's mostly for dealing with enemies). Nobody likes the "silent treatment", or having to guess what's wrong. The true aspect here is not to lash out in anger. Think about it for a while, decide if it's important in the first place. If it is, then you can go back to the person in question during a quieter moment and say, "That thing you said yesterday really bothered me." Much better than whining. Nobody likes a whiner. Capice?

Always have an escape plan.
Great for the espionage world, useful for us peasants. If you have a plan, have another to fall back on if the first one goes down in flames. That means learning things and branching out. I've always believed in learning at least a little about many things, like Leonardo DaVinci did. That knowledge gives you something to make plans with. Go into situations armed with knowledge. Be prepared, like a Boy Scout is supposed to be. Bring supplies, documents, support, whatever.

Sometimes you do need to "get out". I'm not talking about relationships, necessarily, unless you've thoroughly examined your heart and your head. What are your options? What do you feel? Take it slow, brothers and sisters. You may need to get out of a bad job. Is your résumé up to date? Are you checking for opportunities? I know when to bail out when the cops are watching, that's another escape plan. Even better, have sense enough to leave things alone that will harm you or those you care about.

I get hurt quite often. No point in whining or showing it. Sure, I do show it, sometimes. Trust is rare and slow for me, but I can let some things out to friends. (I'll talk about trust another time.)

So, I'll leave you to ponder the advice that Q gave to Bond. Meditate on it.

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