Monday, March 25, 2013

A Guide for Writing Scams

Part of my job is to check our general email inbox. At present I have over 52,000 unread emails but rather than deal with that pile of muck, I am instead going to share one of the many junk emails I get because I think they are hilarious:
Also, if you are a scammer, please read this post, you may find some useful advice.

aka Mrs.Jane Arumba. <>
First of all, if you're going to scam people, shouldn't your fake email at least look like it might slightly relate to whatever scam you're running?

Oh, yeah, that seems legit

I wasn't totally sure, but yes, this actually a place.

Is a little proof-reading/ spell check too much to ask?

This is to inform you about the latest development concerning your (UNCLAIMED)payment which was left in our custody for sometime now.
Sometime? But you're not sure when? 

We understood that you where given a bill of ( $195 ) or so, in order to receive your payment of which you couldn't as at then for one reason or other.
No words.

Hence, Our Western Union ( Department ) of the funds holding bank is now offering a Special BONUS to help you in receiving all your payment in our custody. Now in other words we are now requesting you to just pay only $89,to receive your FUNDS left in our custody since.
WOW! What a bargain! Only $89 and I have MY MONEY???? Also you still seem unclear exactly how long you have had this money. Just make up a date. Stick to it. 

Beside,this is the last opportunity for you to get your FUNDS and you are advised to comply and you will start getting your funds ( $10,000 ) per day 2 x 1,totaling ($890.600.00 ) 
Is that a threat? I am advised to comply. That sounds vaguely like a threat. Also 10,000 x 2 x 1 does not equal that number. 

"Note" that after (3 DAYS) you did not make the payment then we will convert the funds to Government pause as the law stipulated it here or totally cancellation of payment.
Oh no! They're going to give my funds to Government!! Is that the Marxist Republic government of Bernin? Or some other thing?

Again after ( 2 weeks) of this BONUS We shall enter a new project for the year and that was the reason we are offering this help to you. 
I'm not even sure what you're going for here. 

So you are advised to send the ( $89 ) immediately so that we can key in your payment in our PAYMENT DATA BASE to enable you to start receiving it from tomorrow.
At least this number is staying consistent

After the payment of $89 you will start receiving your money every day ($5,000 X 2 ) through Western Union Or Money Gram preferably by you ( $10,000 ) until the full payment of $890.600.00 is completed. So what you will be receiving per day is ($10,000.)
Didn't we just talk about keeping #"s consistent?

Please re-confirm and forward the below info., to the paying officer to avoid wrong transfer :

Contact Officer: Mr.Melvin Udah,( Area Director, Western Union Dept.) Email; / 
I actually deleted the real emails, just in case someone tries to steal my $890.600.00

Tel:+229 66 784 146

Confirm below Info of yours to him, to avoid any wrong transfer.

Receivers Name BlogWriter, Age 27 Address What for? Tel # Are you really going to call me from Africa? ======,Occupation/Position Why on earth do you care? Country Didn't we cover this? Text,Question Again, why are you asking for this?

Answer==========Scan Copy of Any identification Ohhh, now I see. You're going to try and steal my identity. Clever clever. But, having read this, I honestly wonder what value my identity would possibly have to you. 

Seriously, this is actually a question for me. What are you hoping to get out of this? What's your end game? Do these things ever work? I mean, they must sometimes because I keep getting this emails, but don't you think you should have some stronger call to action?
Don't get my occupation. Ask me to send you the $89. Seriously, I've never understood this. 

Anyway, if anyone knows why these scammers try it this way, can you write and let me know? I am honestly curious.
Yours Faithfully. 

Mrs.Jane Arumba.


Again, points for consistency.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Trouble with the Great Maker

As I have mentioned in a few posts, I have a boyfriend. He is really great, and not just relative to the quality out there, he really is a great guy. Maybe he's not perfect but he's pretty perfect for me.

That being said, he does have one flaw. He's not Jewish.

On Monday he is being introduced to my family. I am taking him to our traditional Seder meal.

For those of you who don't know, a Seder is a long, to varying degrees religious, meal. It's a bit like Easter dinner or Thanksgiving. I compare it to Thanksgiving because this is the big annual meal when my family comes together and we have a dinner. We sing the same songs year after year. We have used the family Siddur* for over twenty years and are still asking God to allow the Jews out of the USSR. Some copies have my crayon artwork on them, for when the meal was too long for my 6 yr old ADD brain.

*A siddur is the traditional book you read from during Passover that tells the story of Exodus: Pharaoh  Moses, 10 plagues, escape from Egypt- if you don't know the story, there's a Disney movie you can watch.

Anyway, bringing a guy to Seder is a pretty big deal. I've brought a few friends before and once the guy I dated for three years. He made fun of the meal (to me) on his first go-around and I never invited him again.

To put how big a deal the Seder meal is into perspective, my freshman year I spent Passover in the dorms. I had just been home from Spring Break, it was my freshman year, I loved college. Why not? I ended up being so homesick and missing the meal so much, that every year after that, I would fly home (or extend my spring break) so I could be there for this meal. My coworker, who's from Texas, just flew home on Friday for his family Seder.

This coworker has also met boyfriend on a few occasions. He once said to me: "Not only did you not go Jewish. You really swung for the fences on the not Jewish."

My boyfriend is a blond haired, blue eyed 6'3, Ukranian.

I am not commenting on whether or not there is a "Jewish" look. I have known blond haired, blue eyed Jews. I hate when people say because when I am with my mother's family (all Jews), I am the only one with dark eyes. Some people say I look Jewish, some say I don't.

That being said, my boyfriend does not look Jewish. It will be noticed and remarked upon. I will be judged for not dating a "member of the tribe." It is not a bad thing. It is not a good thing. It is just a "thing."

This dynamic is always difficult to explain to outsider. After all, from the outside, I know it is seen as racism. I have had friends comment, resentfully, that they are offended because Jewish boys won't date them because they're not Jewish. I'm sorry? The truth is, it just makes things easier and sometimes there can be unforeseen conflicts.

One of the few "dates" I went on in college was in many ways, an early affirmation of why dating someone of the same religion "makes things easier. I don't remember his name, but him and I had been eyeing each other for months and when we ran into each other at the library, we decided we should go and get a cup of coffee together. In my college world, this was the of the closest things to a date I'd ever had.

We started talking and somehow the topic of his tattoo came up. I, having studied Medieval art, immediately recognized it as St. Sebastian.
(Sebastion! That was his name! Note to self: FB Stalk Later)
We started talking about his religious beliefs. His very elaborate St. Sebastian tattoo took up most of his bicep. I had noticed it because we took a gym class together and he often wore sleeveless shirts. It was probably my bad for going on a date with someone who wears sleeveless shirts, my only excuse is that I was young.
He told me that he had a very real problem with the church as a religious institution. I probably brought up their bloody history and he, of course, agreed that the church did not have the most stellar reputation which certainly tainted his feelings towards the institution. He explained however, that his connection with the church was not about brick and mortar, it was about spirituality. His belief in God.


We didn't go on a second date. A week later he got a girlfriend and I'm pretty sure he was just checking all his options before settling down.

My new boyfriend is a great guy. I decided to overlook religion because, as he pointed out, he couldn't help how he had been born. He also told me that it had been a long time since he had been to Church and his religion wasn't a "big deal."

J hasn't been to a religious service in month, but he carries a prayer on his key chain. It is meant to give comfort in a time of crisis, that if you should die, Jesus is waiting to take you into Heaven.

I was not raised believing in Heaven or Hell. You do good things because they were right and good for the world, not because there was some reward (or punishment) awaiting you in the afterlife. I never believed in God as someone who could help me or save me. Because Judiasm for me is not just about spirituality. Or a belief in God. It's about Seder meals.

It is about my family and our history.

I once asked my father how he felt about my having a Christmas tree. He told me: "I feel like you would be turning your back on 10,000 years of suffering and persecution."
"Oh. So, that's a no?"

I think it's important to note, that my father, the man who will not abide my having a Christmas tree, is an atheist.

So this Seder is a chance for me to show my boyfriend what my religion is to me. It's about time with family, connecting with traditions that have been carried on for thousands of years, because we married within the tribe, and we fought through generation after generation to pass the siddur down from one generation to the next.

I recently met a woman who was one of the Jews who was trapped in Russia until the 90's. She came to America and has never looked back. I knew her story because it is a part of the story we tell every year about the continuous struggles of the Jewish people.

How do I give up any part of that fight?

The problem isn't that my traditions couldn't still be celebrated in a mixed-religion household. The trouble is that they might lose power and become diluted and then my children might not feel the same zeal that I do for keeping traditions alive. And if I fail in that, than I have failed my father. And his mother. And my great great grandparents who died in the holocaust.

When we talk about raising kids. we come to an impasse. J criticizes my inflexibility. And I don't blame him. I am fairly rigid. I want my kids to be Bar or Bat Mitzva'd. The boys will have a Briss. These are non-negotiables for me. But he asks for compromise. I want to give it to him. If we can agree on a movie on Netflix then sure we can come to an agreement about this.

But then there comes the fundamental difference. How can we introduce two religions with inherent cultural and spiritual conflicts. As a Jewish mother, I cannot and will not allow my children to be raised believing Jesus Christ.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that there was a man named Jesus. I believe he was killed by the Romans. I don't believe he was my lord and savior. How can there be compromise when I am against the very tenant of the other religion? But how can ask someone to give up their religion when I know just how important my religion is to me?

Luckily, we have many years still before we have to answer these questions. Kids are by no means imminent. And we are still light years from even being engaged. But I still find myself asking these questions and wondering if this challenge will prove insurmountable.

When I told my aunt that the boy that I was bringing wasn't Jewish. Her response was "well, he can always convert."

People laugh when they hear this, but I know it's not a joke.

I realize this seder won't be easy for J. He will be judged. I will be judged. I don't care. He makes me happy and he genuinely cares for me. I am bringing him to this seder because I hope that it helps him begin to understand how important my religion is to me. I am hoping he sees the beauty in the ancient celebration and doesn't see it as "cult-like" as my ex did. I am hoping he sees the culture of it. The history. And that God has nothing to do with it.

Refinery29, one of my go-to blogs, just posted possibly the worst article on "Eligible Bachelors in NYC" that I have ever read.

Let me preface this by saying that dating in NYC is hard. I can only speak from from heteronormative female perspective but I've never heard anyone, gay, straight, male or female, say "Oh yeah, dating in NYC and then finding someone serious is REALLY easy."
I dated for two years. I can't count how many dates I went on, First Dates, Third Dates, Bad Dates, Great Dates. I've had my heart broken, and I may have broken a heart or two.

After two years I met someone truly fantastic and I'm really happy, but it was A LOT of work. Seriously, for awhile it was like having a part time job. A 10+ hr a week commitment. And honestly, I was much more into dating than I was into having a boyfriend.

Dating is easy. Everyone goes on dates. Everyone is looking for a date. Key word: Date. Reading through this article reminded me of exactly why dating is so impossible. I've pulled some of my favorite quotes and then offered my own translations.

Name: TJ Allers
Age: 32
Location: New York
Job Title: Public Relations Director
Sexual Preference: Heartbeat

"I am spontaneous, sometimes to a fault, I avoid drama, and I like to keep things simple…nothing worse than overcomplicating."

Translation: I am always late. Always. And don't point it out, because that will be drama. Also, I'm not really sure I'm looking for a "relationship" because that sounds like making a plan. I don't like those. How can I spontaneously check out another person w/ a heart beat if you're watching me??

Name: David Yarus
Age: 26
Location: NYC
Job Title: General Manager, Mr Youth
Sexual Preference: Ladies

What do you look for in a significant other?

"A partner-in-crime. A best friend. Someone who's doing her thing and supports me doing mine. Someone to share and explore the world with. Someone who appreciates the beauty in everything. Is easy-going. Laid-back. And, can make any situation into a good time."

Uhmm, did you copy and paste this out of your JDate profile?

What are three things a potential significant other should know about you?

"-I'm a hopeless romantic. Really.
-I don't play games. And, I don't like people who do!
-I keep kosher and observe shabbat. #Jewish."

Wait, is that a hashtag. Did you really have to Hashtag Jewish? #NoJustNo

Also anyone who says they don't play games is lying.

What's the biggest problem with dating in NYC?

"I'm all about quality over quantity. Living in the city, you can go on a date every night. But at the end of the day, it only takes one. The most beautiful, down-to-earth, all around awesome one. Like a needle in a haystack, in a city so big, where is she?"

Translation: I will never be satisfied. No matter how great you are, I believe there is probably someone better. Being in this article hasn't helped either, because now my ego will be totally out of control huge.

Name: Nary Manivong
Age: 30
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Job Title: Fashion Designer for my brand, Nary Manivong
Sexual preference: Girls, Girls, Girls

Disclaimer: I thought this guy was pretty cool. Like, maybe you could actually date him? Then I kept reading.

What's the biggest problem with dating in NYC?

"The biggest problem with dating in NYC is that people aren’t looking to settle down. Everyone puts their career first in order to be successful. NYC has a different standard when it comes to dating, a very high standard. I grew up in Ohio so it took some getting used to. Plus there is too much eye candy here!"

Translation: There's a lot of eye candy. 'Nuff said

I could keep going, but honestly, I think I've made my point and I'm just depressing myself.

So I will end with this(my favorite):

Name: Kyle Hotchkiss Carone
Age: 26
Job Title: Partner at Cole's Greenwich Village and Co-Founder of Host Committee
What do you look for in a significant other? "Long hair, an accent, narcissism."

I don't even know where to begin. Well, long hair. Okay. Sure. 

An accent? Do you mean like Long Island or were you thinking like British? And if British, London or country? So many questions. Either way, I don't have an accent so I guess despite my long hair we won't date. 
Oh wait, was that last quality again. Narcissism? So you want a girl who stares at herself so long in a mirror that she starves herself. Hmm, you know, I bet that does exist somewhere in NYC. It is NYC after all.

So when you meet this long-haired British waif, where will you take her on a date?
"I don't really go on dates. But if I did I would go to the bar at my restaurant, The Bottle Room at Cole''s a separate space off the dining room that is just detached enough that you don't feel like you are on a date. It's a place to 'grab drinks'. If it's not going well that can be one drink, if it is going well our maitre'd will read between the lines and offer you a table in the dining room to keep the night going."

Let me get this straight. You are going to take the date to you restaurant. Wait, don't you work there? Yes?  And you and the maitre'd have some secret code where he knows if you want a table or not? Well, that's weird.
Basically what you're telling me is that you're so cheap you will take me to a place where you eat and drink free, where I will feel incredibly uncomfortable because you know everyone and I know I am being judged from all angles. 

Well, that sounds like a GREAT date. So as long as you and I are enjoying each other's company so very much, what should I not talk about.

What are your biggest turn-on/offs?

"Talking about relationships."

...After free drinks you're just going to lead me back to your apartment and try to take my clothes off, aren't you? Quick question, will you at least pay for my cab home? No? It's 'cause I don't have an accent, isn't it?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Every Girl's Guide to Clubbing in NYC

I have been going to "Clubs" in NYC since I was about 17. I had a friend who was (and remains) actively involved in the "scene" and he would take me to various events through college. I remember the first time I went without him and I was shocked that asking for ID's was actually thing. Luckily I was 21 by then, but before that I had no idea why people talked about fakes like it was such a big deal.

 These days I have a friend who likes to go clubbing and so I will go with her. I am too old(27), too short(5'8), and too fat(I weigh more than 120 lbs), for that other friends current crop of women. And no, I don't have a problem with my body. I think I look far better at 27 then I did at 21 but the fact remains that while I could pass for 24/25, I am not 22 anymore. Also, I don't want to be one of those "girls." "Going out" in NYC is not an adventure to be undertaken lightly.

On Sex and the City the women always managed to get into the hottest bars and clubs without issue and once inside they would be surrounded by only the most beautiful people in the city, all in their late 20's to 30's.

It's not like that.

First of all, "the hottest clubs" won't take girls/women over 25. Even a group of women. Miranda? No way. And Samantha? She'd be more twice the age of any other girl there. Possibly even three times as old as some of the younger attendees. Yes, there are 15 yr old models roaming the floor. That's not saying "it's impossible" to get into these places. There are shortcuts. Befriend promoters and doormen. Go early. Have a group of friends go in on a bottle or a table- make sure the ratios are at least 3:1 girls over boys. Make sure the girls are "hot."

Hot= Tall (5'7+ and wearing 3"+ of heel), pretty (or at least caked heavily in makeup), thin or curvy (thin preferred). That's not to say all girls look like this. If they're attached to a table or are friends w/ a promoter, or they pay the cover, then they can get in.

Guys: Doesn't matter as long as they're paying(a lot.)

If you're a girl and you don't fill the above "Hot" requirements, you can get in, just expect to pay guy prices. What? This sounds like a horrible, cruel, self-aggrandized system? It is!

Clubbing sucks. Oh, did I forget to mention that part? Yeah, clubbing really, truly sucks. I should know, I've done it enough. I've done it at high end places, and I've been where everyone and anyone can get in. I've waited in line and I've been walked in by the owner. I realize that saying it sucks followed by pointing out how often I've done it, doesn't exactly lend weight to my cause that I hate it, but that's not really the point.

There is some measure of thrill and excitement about going clubbing. There's the fight to get in. Well, battle. To be fought with coy looks and credit cards. Find the right person at the door, and you won't pay a dime. Piss off the wrong person, and you will wait for hours in the cold (in very high heels and a short skirt.) Okay, the latter hasn't actually happened to me because I refuse to wait and will just go somewhere else. It's NYC, there is always some place where loud music is playing and over-priced drinks are being served, where you can get in.

Then there is the fun that takes place inside. My favorite game to play is: Don't buy self any drinks. If you're dressed right and look the part, there will be multiple offers of tables where drinks will be liberally poured. Oh, and just a word to the wise. Watch the drink get poured. Unless you know and trust the person, don't just take some drink that gets handed to you. I find a well stocked table to be your best option for getting drinks because the pours will be liberal and the line to the bottle is a lot shorter than at the bar.

The downside to taking a drink from a table is that then a man may feel that he has partial ownership of you. For at least the evening. I feel that a drink is worth a conversation. Not more. Especially if drinks run dry at the table. Then move on. Most of the time, these guys aren't looking for a date. Or a real girl. At least not at a club. If they're any type of quality they don't want to date some girl they met at a club. Never mind if you are a fantastic human being, they will assume the worst about you, just as you will assume the worst about them. Disclaimer: I have dated one guy I met at a club. And he was a really nice guy, but our relationship definitely kicked off under false pretenses and never recovered.

About this ownership thing. I know too many girls who will then stick by the guy because of the one drink. No. It's okay. You can walk away. Unless you really like the guy. Or think he's really cute. Or really want to hook up with him that night. Otherwise, walk away. If you stick around too long, you are actually doing yourself more harm than good.

How? Well, if you're not planning on going home with him that night, you are now officially a cock block. And the guy hasn't bought you dinner yet, which means that unless you want to piss him off (maybe his ex offered you $200 to make sure he goes home alone) take your drink and go. By all means, exchange numbers. Make out a bit if the mood moves you. But otherwise, move along. He'll appreciate what you're doing. Because trust me, he hasn't dropped $1000+ to flirt a bit. And if he's a serious club rat, then he's really not interested in a new table fixture.

There are two types of tables at clubs. The regulars and the "Guy's Night Out." Oh, there are girl's nights out too, but stay away from those unless you want a cat fight. Seriously, save your hair extensions from pulling, and stay away.

Guy's night out: 

These guys look out of place. They have way more dudes than girls. There will be one who's in charge. The Night Out was probably his idea. Often times it's hedge funders or tech guys, they made a bunch of money and are looking to blow it. There are either a couple of girls or no girls at their tables. If there are girls, they are probably way underdressed and staring around uncomfortably. Their boyfriend/husband invited them and now he is talking to his coworkers and completely ignoring her and she feels weird, awkward, and way way underdressed. And she is worried that her boyfriend is checking out every scantily clad woman that comes within five feet of their table.

Who to talk to: Not the guy being celebrated. He'll be wasted. Not the guy who's in charge. He's in major Alpha dog mode and is way to distracted making sure his boys have a good time to pay attention to you. Look for the guy on the fringes. He's probably talking to a friend and wishing he had the courage to actually approach a female. Talk to him. Seriously, make the first move. If he's with a friend, grab your friend and go in for the attack. These guys (if you can spot them and their not too deep in "Dude Mode") are low hanging fruit.

The Regulars (and there are 2 Kinds)

The Promoter: 

This one's easy. He's got a table full of women dressed in BEBE and a couple of dudes who don't look rich enough to be there (no nice suits, no ties, check the shoes).
Who to talk to: Any of the dudes. They'll all be quick to offer drinks. If you're having fun at your present location, get the promoter's #. Get on his list. If you're on a list you'll get texts Thurs-Saturday night about various events in the city. Don't stick around long. There's nothing for you here and the girls in these circles are usually a dime a dozen.

The Club Rats: 

These guys look far too at home. They're sprawled out at their table, eyeing the scene. They're wearing nice suit jackets and shirts that aren't buttoned up all the way.
Who to talk to: This is actually the hardest group. These guys, unless one of them is particularly attracted to you, has no interest in you. They know every girl is trolling for free drinks and they do this all the time and they've seen 10,000 girls who look just like you. Don't bother approaching this group, you are wasting your time. If they want you, they will come for you.

And remember, you can get in just about anywhere if you are a girl and do the following: Show up early & dress to impress.

Friday, March 22, 2013

More Late than Fashionable

H&M announced today that they're going to be offering online ecommerce. OMGREALLYWOW

No, seriously H&M you are really really late to this party.

India's big box stores are getting online before you.

I honestly didn't even realize H&M wasn't online until I read that.

"Things are changing very quickly. Especially with the ability to shop on smartphone apps, you have to be online to take part today," said Nils Vinge, aka Captain Obvious, H&M's head of investor relations.

Seriously, not being online is as outdated as jokes about Captain Obvious.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Away We Go

I always thought if I started a blog it should just be about one thing, like fashion, the state of our society, marketing, writing fiction, food, work, dating, etc. Then I realized that lot's of people have these same interests, so there was no reason to limit myself to just one topic.

Okay, that's enough about that.

So this week I entered a March Madness pool at work. I have only ever entered one other March Madness pool. It was in college. I watched ESPN Sport's Center with my friend Aaron and then picked everyone the experts didn't pick, thinking I would win with underdog points. I didn't. I lost miserably.

This year, with $10 riding on it, I decided to go with the expert's picks. But then this totally took the fun out of it, because let's face it, I probably have the exact same picks as everyone else. I decided though, I wanted to at least be a competitive player. I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing, and I'm hoping to stay in the running as a "winner" for at least a little while. Why? Well, because in all honesty, I work at a male dominated office. And while I love action movies, you can only discuss "Is Iron Man better than The Dark Knight?" so many times. This at least can be a new source of conversation.

I'm wondering if it means I actually have to watch the games?