Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Wednesday Factoid: Scam

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Have you ever fallen for a scam? 

I guess the closest to "falling for a scam" I've gotten is when I was new at my job (the last place I worked) and someone outright misrepresented themselves to me on the phone as being the toner vendor for our copy machine.

The vendor called me and said they were the usual provider of toner for our copier but since it was an older model the toner has been in less demand so it's more expensive to get it now, and they wanted to "lock in" an order from me for a case of the stuff before the price went up. I asked my boss about it and he said okay, so I agreed to the terms.

The person specifically said one case would be purchased and we could individually buy each toner to order at our leisure. Not only did it turn out that the toner we'd purchased was sold to us at an exorbitant price, but they also kept contacting us every other week to say our next order was coming. When I first got these kinds of notifications, I told the representative that I'd been told new boxes wouldn't come until I ordered them, but she denied that could be true and told me the volume at which they were sending them to us was a "typical" usage for that machine. (This was also a lie.)

These damn things were priced at over $500, with a ground shipping of over $50. It made no sense at all.

Come to find out we don't even need to buy toner because it's included in the price of a maintenance fee we paid as per a contract with a copy machine repair company in the area. And I didn't end up having to change the toner in that thing for almost two years.

It turned out that this is a company that banks on reaching people who don't really know the facts on what suppliers are used and getting basic verbal permission to send them a grossly overpriced product, which they will then invoice you for. They'll then just keep sending them to you to see how many times you'll pay the invoice. They hope big companies will just pay for it. I ended up teaming up with my accounts payable lady in the corporate office and fighting the charges. And I wrote a strongly worded letter stating that I did not want to do business with them anymore after they'd overcharged me and misrepresented themselves as my existing vendor. It was predatory.

From then on, anytime I got a call from them over the next ten years (because yes, they continued to occasionally try me again), I referred to them as "The Toner Pirates." 

Sometimes their schtick included calling first to get someone in the office to tell them what kind of copier you have because they're sending out updated manuals or something. Then when they call back next time, they can pretend to be your vendor because they already know what copier you have. 

There are whole blogs about it and how pervasive this practice is. It's really obnoxious.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Personal Digest Saturday: May 18 – May 24

Life news this week:
  • Saturday was pretty great. I got to see my friend Sarah for the first time in over a year, and she gave me presents for birthday and holiday since we missed them. I gave her presents for two birthdays and a Christmas. Haha! We ate out at Gino's for Italian food and hung out for a while with her husband David. After they left, I got to catch up on blogging and chat with my first Pitch Wars mentee on the phone. It was a lovely time. It got a little late and since I kept not being able to connect with my mom I told her she could still come over if she wanted, but she didn't answer me.
  • Sunday my mom still never talked to me so I didn't see her. I spent a nice day at the table, tried to repair my water tank again, did laundry and karaoke, helped Victor with his job search, and chatted to my friend Paul a lot. I tried to film a video but couldn't get my software to work on my new computer. It was a relaxing but not so productive day.
  • Monday I had to spend a lot of time on processing resumes for a submission! And we had FOUR letters (one of which was the big one that included the resumes). I was busy busy busy ALL DAY. Then I went home and my mom finally came over! She brought me a couple bags of extra food pantry items, but most of them had spoiled, so that was sad. I tried to cook some of the pasta for her but it turned out terrible and she couldn't eat much of it. We hung out and finally got to do some chatting, and she stayed over.
  • Tuesday Mom couldn't get moving by the time I needed to leave for work so I trusted her to stay behind and lock up my house and leave when she was ready. It turned out okay but she got a sick stomach and threw up in my trash can so that was fun. At home I updated Internet stuff and made banana bread for Jeaux because that was what he wanted for a birthday cake. :)
  • Wednesday I did some work, answered some questions, and met with Jeaux after work to go to Taco Bus and shop at Publix. Then we went back to my place for fun TV (What We Do in the Shadows and we started on the second season of the new She-Ra). We ate some of the banana bread.
  • Thursday was Jeaux's official birthday and he is now a forty-something like me! Well, a forty-nothing. Hooray. Had to do a bunch of forms and stuff at work. After work I did some submissions to short story magazines! I seem to be getting proactive with such things again. I talked to Victor and made an extensive post about my shirt collection, and I also managed to BARELY win an eBay auction for something I never thought I would get. I didn't get to even work on my drawings while on the phone. :o
  • Friday was a quiet day. My bookkeeper at the office got us Thai food and we had a little yum going on. Had to prepare reports. I got a couple rejections from the short stories already! LOL. Got my drawings done and managed to process my webcomic AND get my video software reinstalled (with some help from Jeaux because it was being an ass). I got tired early and couldn't finish processing a video though.

Articles, Interviews, Mentions:

New reviews of my book:

  • L. Fowler gave it a five-star review on Amazon, calling it the bible of Asexuality.

  • Diet progress:

    Check out my nutrition readout. Another half a pound overall this week, but every day it went up and down! I need to really work exercise in if I am going to go any lower I think.

    Reading progress:
    • Finished this week: Didn't quite finish the book I was reading. :/
    • Currently reading: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
      New singing performances:

      This week's karaoke song is "Take a Bow" by Madonna.


      Stuff Drawn:

      A kinda low-effort doodle of two one-eyed Gems, Sapphire and Nephrite.

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0732: "If She Wants Me."

      New videos:

      I made a couple videos but couldn't process them before the end of the week because the software wasn't working right on my new computer.

      New photos:

      Jeaux's birthday bread
      Current Steven Universe tee shirt collection: 46 shirts
      New pin ribbon!

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,255 for swankivy (lost 4), 682 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 968 for swankivy (no change), 1,340 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Facebook: 293 friends (no change) and 207 followers (no change) for swankivy, 647 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 151 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,517 (1 new). Instagram followers: 182 (no change).

      Wednesday, May 22, 2019

      Wednesday Factoid: Gendered Clothing & Grooming

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do you think men should wear skirts? How about if they wear makeup? Do you think women should wear ties? How about if they don't shave body hair?

      OH BOY!

      I think anyone of any gender should wear whatever they want, do their makeup and hair however they want, and groom themselves however they want.

      As a person who has multiple male friends who wear makeup and a couple who are comfortable wearing skirts, as well as nonbinary people who are not either men or women and may make aesthetic choices some find surprising, and many female friends who do not wear makeup, do not shave, and sometimes wear ties, I can absolutely say this is not hypothetical in my life. (I'm guessing it's not hypothetical for a lot of queer people, but I sometimes think these questions are posed by people who think it's a controversial or funny idea, not so much an actual experience that's familiar in my life.)

      As a cis woman who presents feminine and chooses basically feminine aesthetics for her wardrobe, I mostly am  not criticized for my choices along gender lines, but I almost never wear any makeup and I can't remember the last time I shaved my legs. (I generally don't, though I have done so for certain situations--I don't feel that strongly about it, but I also just have no reason to do it most of the time.) 

      It's also baffling sometimes how many people (mainly men) treat women like they're gross or unhygienic if they don't shave. Recently I saw a casual photo of a woman with body hair being circulated, and some of the men in the comments were disgusted--like "IS THIS REALLY WHAT WOMEN LOOK LIKE WHEN THEY DON'T SHAVE??" and "I CAN SMELL THIS PICTURE FROM HERE!" You know, as if women who don't shave are lazy and slobbish and filthy, and they can only imagine shaved women as clean women. Meanwhile they don't seem to think their own body hair is dirty. A woman being shaved is just part of expected hygiene and they assume the person does not have proper hygiene if shaving isn't part of it. That's wild, man.

      Saturday, May 18, 2019

      Personal Digest Saturday: May 11 – May 17

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday I got up early enough to finish my early summer decorating before my friend Steve came over. We had a GREAT visit! We went to Joe's Diner for breakfast and had fantastic chats, and then to my house for cartoons. We watched some emotional episodes (a couple I cried on, and I was pleased that he got emotional on one of them too even though it was a sad one), and we talked a while longer before he had to go to work. After he left I lazed around for a long time and then did my blogging and photos before falling asleep pretty early.
      • Sunday my mom was supposed to come over so I baked oatmeal cookies for Mother's Day, but she never showed up, so I just kept the batter in the fridge. I fixed a problem with a water hose on my water system, didn't do my table time because the next day tree trimmers were coming and they were probably going to make a mess, and did my usual laundry and karaoke and stuff. I drew a cartoon drawing for Mother's Day and talked to my sister on the phone.
      • Monday I only had one letter to do and not much productivity to report. Mom was supposed to come by after I got off work but she kept saying she was coming and then she fell asleep watching Andy Griffith so she didn't come. Waaaah. Well, at least the tree guys got the tree stuff done on my backyard trees! It was an epic production. They blocked off the street and had heavy equipment and everything.
      • Tuesday I did a bunch of work on prompting a few co-workers to create or review elements of an upcoming proposal because it was closing in on the due date and a lot of the work wasn't done yet. After work Mom was supposed to come by but again she told me she wouldn't be coming, though this time she didn't say why. I got a ride home, worked on some fun fandom essays, drew comics for a fan comic about the character Padparadscha from Steven Universe, finally baked the cookies from the batter I'd been saving for Mom because it was going to go bad if someone didn't eat it, and got my comics colored and scanned before bed.
      • Wednesday I was asked to come in early to work on the proposal but when I got there my boss had thrown in the towel on it and said we weren't going to submit. He wanted me to work on the next one but then when I told him what still needed doing on that one, he abandoned that one too. He thinks we have better chances with more traditional proposals and these were weird ones for Florida counties. Jeaux picked me up after work and we ate at a hipster place called SoFresh. We each got a teriyaki cauli bowl and mine had tofu and his had chicken. It was good! We then shopped for groceries and watched the last couple episodes of The Tick and an episode of What We Do in the Shadows.
      • Thursday I did resume research for an upcoming turnpike project (due Monday) and did some editing work on my dad's friend's book. I got home really late for some reason and had to postpone my call with Victor so I could recharge my phone and eat. I called him back and drew comics.
      • Friday we did some more work on the turnpike thing and spent a bunch of time kicking stuff around. After work I finished my webcomic and posted it. Mom was supposed to come over but then she texted hours later to say she fell asleep, and she didn't come. I finished processing my comic about Padparadscha and posted it online, and people seem to like it. :)

      New reviews of my book:

    • Louise gave it a two-star review on Goodreads, calling it dry and repetitive.

    • Willem gave it a three-star review on Goodreads identifying it as repetitive but with generally good information.

    • Diet progress:

      Check out my nutrition readout. I did manage to lose half a pound overall this week, but it also went back up in the middle of the week before going down again?

      Reading progress:
        New singing performances:

        This week's karaoke song is "Jimmy Jimmy" by Madonna.


        Stuff Drawn:

        Mother's Day with the Gems

        Also check out my 10-panel fan comic called "Thanks, Padparadscha." It really doesn't make sense if you don't know the character and the show, but I did some pretty unusual detail on the background paintings (which are digital) so you could just look at it for the pretty pictures if you aren't a SU fan.

        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0731: "What-If Mode."

        New videos:


        New photos:

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,259 for swankivy (no change), 680 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 968 for swankivy (4 new), 1,341 for JulieSondra (1 new). Facebook: 293 friends (no change) and 207 followers (lost 1) for swankivy, 647 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 151 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,516 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 182 (2 new).

        Wednesday, May 15, 2019

        Wednesday Factoid: Debt

        Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Are you in debt? 

        Well that's a personal question, isn't it, survey??

        My relationship with debt is weird. The "real" answer is I've never been in debt, at least not considerably, because I've never taken out a loan for anything substantial. I've never bought a car or a house, I didn't have to have student loans (got through school on a scholarship, had living expenses paid for by parents), and I've never had a medical issue that required me to take out a medical loan. Those are really the main things people go into debt for.

        When I turned 18 my mom opened a joint credit card with me to help me build credit. It's kinda cheating. I literally have never used the card and it is still active 23 years later. But that card, which my mother did use, is really the reason I had any credit as a young woman. My mom ran a pretty high balance on it but always paid on time.

        In 2014 I called my bank about something and ended up agreeing to the pitch for a new credit card (which is like a once-in-a-lifetime thing, actually saying yes to "are you interested in this offer??" but I figured hey, why not). So I've had one just in my name since then. I use that card mostly to buy toys.

        Yeah, seriously. Toys and cartoon stuff, and also gifts for others.

        I generally run a balance on it month to month and pay most to all of it off once a month, but I'm always charging new stuff to it. Almost entirely recreational stuff.


        Technically, if you ask the actual financial records attached to me, I have debt. One is the balance on the card I'm still carrying with my mom, and the other is associated with a car I cosigned with my friend Jeaux for. In both cases the other party is the one paying and is the one who spent the money.

        Since I rent my house and do not have a car, I have no other notable debts. Whee!

        Saturday, May 11, 2019

        Personal Digest Saturday: May 4 – May 10

        Life news this week:
        • Saturday was FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! I had coffee and then went out with Jeaux and Victor to collect free comics. We got most of what we wanted at Uncanny Heroes (where I usually buy comics) but we also hit Nerd Out comics and ate at Golden Corral. We also elected to see a movie (Captain Marvel) and it was good. Then I went home and completed my blogging, and I also finally got the top score on a quiz I'd been trying to beat. :)
        • Sunday it rained a lot so I did not get to do my table sitting. I did some laundry and had my friend Kari over for pizza and cartoons. We had a great time and watched from episode 69 ("Sadie's Song") to episode 76 ("It Could've Been Great"). She's moving to Gainesville for a while so this is the last time we'll be able to hang out as easily, but I'll still see her. Wahh! I also got to give her her (late) birthday present. She liked it! (It was a Peridot drinking glass.) After she left I did my karaoke and a post about fandom.
        • Monday I did two letters and had a bunch of questions from people that I could not answer. At home I wrote a ramble about asexuality, aromanticism, and the character Amethyst and it ended up getting a feature on Amino.
        • Tuesday I had to work on compilations of intel about one of the districts we're marketing to and I finished that and sent it to my boss. Received a cute dress in the mail and showed off some dress pictures. Set up my new computer! Made some plans with friends and fell asleep early.
        • Wednesday involved another database task, my last marketing class, and not a whole lot else. After work I went out with Jeaux. We ate at Denny's and went grocery shopping, and then watched What We Do in the Shadows and The Tick. He set up some software on my computer that's tricky to install, and we got it working.
        • Thursday was my lil sister's FORTIETH BIRTHDAY. I got to talk to her for a little while and made sure she would be able to use the family gift we were getting her: a gift certificate to the nearby yoga studio. So happy she likes it! On my walk home I unexpectedly ran into my old friend Steve's mom, and we chatted a bit. It's still weird that he died. After work I drew comics and talked to Victor on the phone.
        • Friday I worked on some upcoming letters and printing out a massive spec book for my co-worker, and after work I got to use my new computer for the first time to post my webcomic. Spent some time putting away crap that got spread around the house over the week, and redid decorations for early summer.
        Diet progress:

        After a while of not actively trying to do anything to improve my nutrition and lose the small amount of weight I intend to lose this year, I decided to go back to something that's worked for me in the past: Keeping track of nutrition using an app. Maybe if I post the weekly results here it'll keep me accountable? Here's this week's. I lost one pound this week, woo.

        Reading progress:
          New singing performances:

          This week's karaoke song is "Southland in the Springtime" by Indigo Girls.


          Stuff Drawn:

          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0730: "A Distraction."

          New videos:


          New photos:

          In Golden Corral on Free Comic Book Day
          Victor in Golden Corral on Free Comic Book Day

          All the free comics I got
          My new Rose Quartz Dress
          My new Rose Quartz dress
          All my SU dresses
          Wearing a Cookie Cat dress at work
          Look, new rubber bracelets! Running out of arm real estate!
          Got the sixth Promo Card for the trading card set coming out in a few months, so here's the whole collection.

          Social Media Counts:

          YouTube subscribers: 5,259 for swankivy (7 new), 679 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 964 for swankivy (2 new), 1,340 for JulieSondra (3 new). Facebook: 293 friends (no change) and 208 followers (lost 1) for swankivy, 646 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 151 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,517 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 180 (1 new).

          Wednesday, May 8, 2019

          Wednesday Factoid: What's Up?

          Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What's up? What's going on with you RIGHT NOW? --In the next few hours? --This week? --This month? --This year?

          Weird question!

          But okay.

          RIGHT NOW:

          • In the next few hours: I am at work. I will be performing tasks for others as needed, eating a salad for lunch, possibly doing some editing if I get time, and attending a marketing meeting this afternoon. Then Jeaux will pick me up and we will go eat, shop, and watch TV.
          • This week: Thursday I'll go to work and probably work on proposals. I will talk to Victor on the phone and draw my webcomic. And it's my sister's 40th birthday tomorrow, so I will try to talk to her and definitely deliver her gift. Friday I'll work and finish the webcomic after work if it's not done. I'll probably be doing some computer stuff to get my new computer customized for my use. I will try to find some time to redecorate my home for early summer season before the weekend. Saturday I'm hanging out with my friend Steve; we're going to breakfast and watching cartoons together until he has to work. Sunday I hope to spend with Mom. Monday and Tuesday will be busy work days again.
          • This month: What I have planned beyond this coming week includes seeing my friend Sarah for the first time in over a year (she's spending her birthday with me!), hopefully getting to talk on the phone to my original Pitch Wars mentee Whitney so we can catch up, hopefully doing something cool with Jeaux since it's his 40th birthday in a couple weeks, finishing an editing project, and trying to get some of these comics and website projects done. There will also be a lot of proposals at work that will require a lot of attention from me.
          • This year: I still plan to finish at least one book, might do NaNoWriMo again, plan to cosplay at Metrocon this year, will throw a Halloween party in October as usual, will try to catch up on some of my communications, and will do a bunch of baking projects and comics projects. I will also be launching a YouTube channel with my friend soon and we'll see if it pans out. I hope to hang out with Meggie, with my family, with other friends new and old. And I want to try to get a short story published. (It just got rejected again, though, waaah.)

          Saturday, May 4, 2019

          Personal Digest Saturday: April 27 – May 3

          Life news this week:
          • Saturday I got up with Victor having stayed the night and we made our Universal Yums video and ate snacks from Israel! (I won't be editing any of these videos until I set up my new computer, which should be soon.) After he left, I had to do a bunch of updates to book reviews and photos, and then in the evening I settled down with some coffee and attended the asexuality book celebration via Skype. The connection was bad so I wasn't able to hear the other authors well, sadly. They said they could hear me though! I regretted not being there in person.
          • Sunday I woke up early and got a few things done, then randomly went over my mom's house and looked at her old records. We hung out, ate pasta, chatted, and she took me home. I sat at my table and did my Sunday chores.
          • Monday was busy as usual at the office. I turned in one letter and spent a bunch of time on plans printing. I spent my evening making Garnet GIFs like a dork.
          • Tuesday there was a bunch of printing and letter updates at work. I bought Meghan a steam cleaner because she wanted one and her life is kinda being crappy right now. I worked on some book edits for a friend of my dad's, and in the evening I made some plans with my friend Sarah and finished drawing my writing comic.
          • Wednesday was spent on proposals at the office. We have so many of them flying around but I'm doing a good job keeping them organized. I had my marketing class and then met Jeaux for Which Wich? and Target shopping. At my house we watched What We Do in the Shadows and The Tick. I played a bunch of quizzes and they were frustrating.
          • Thursday I ate four cookies and worked on proposals all day. Preordered some fun stuff online! At home I talked briefly to Jeaux and then to Victor while drawing.
          • Friday I found out I won the Steven Universe Amino Awards in the Crafts category, for my strawberry cake last year. YES! I was also super happy that I got a meeting with my boss and we pounded out a plan for these proposals. That marketing class actually helped me get organized. :) I worked on proposal stuff and letter stuff the rest of the day, then at home I posted my comic. Jeaux unexpectedly had to come over and stay the night because his air conditioner broke and they couldn't fix it 'til the morning, so he bought me a pizza and we watched The Tick some more.
          Interviews, Articles, Mentions:

          • I appeared at the Asexual Community Event & Book Celebration held at Little Sister's in Vancouver--by Skype.
          • My book is listed in an excellent response made by a blogger in response to someone claiming asexual people can't be considered part of the queer community unless we can prove we've been around since before 2004.
          • The AsexualityCon Twitter did some tweets during the event I appeared at.

          Reading progress:
            New singing performances:

            This week's karaoke song is "I Am a Rock" by Simon and Garfunkel.


            Stuff Drawn:

            Webcomic So You Write Issue 95: "Experts."

            Webcomic Negative One Issue 0729: "Orphaned World."

            New videos:


            New photos:

            Had to clean up my puzzle so we could use the table :(
            Universal Yums snacks from Israel!
            My giant head Skyping to Vancouver

            Social Media Counts:

            YouTube subscribers: 5,252 for swankivy (lost 4), 677 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 962 for swankivy (no change), 1,337 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Facebook: 293 friends (no change) and 209 followers (no change) for swankivy, 646 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 151 likes for So You Write (6 new). Tumblr followers: 2,518 (2 new). Instagram followers: 179 (1 new).

            Wednesday, May 1, 2019

            Wednesday Factoid: Stood up

            Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Have you ever been stood up?

            Stood up. Well, in the traditional sense, no, not really. I don't date so I've never had a situation where I arranged a date with someone and then they didn't come.

            I've had a few things where I arranged to meet up with someone and they canceled at the last minute or the same day.

            Mostly my situations with someone never showing up have been stuff like a repair person or delivery person who promises they are coming and never comes, or--I'm afraid--my mom, who sometimes doesn't show up to things (or shows up very, very late). I wouldn't classify those as "being stood up" incidents.

            I feel like I've had the experience of waiting for someone and having them never show up, though. I can't think of when. Surely in the days before texting was a thing.