Tuesday, February 28, 2006

like sands through the hourglass

Need to kill some time while gazing at your computer? Try the sand game. Be sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom to learn how to control the various substances.

Monday, February 27, 2006


If I were still producing a Band Name of the Day, you'd be reading about Meat Blanket and A Kitten Named Steve very soon. As it is, you're free to form your own ideas about them, so knock yourself out.

I had a nice, quiet weekend of classes and visits, pizza and beer. Checked out some more podcasts — Ask a Ninja is a must-see — and missed the closing of the Olympics.

I'm thinking of going to MarsCon this coming weekend, but I'm thinking even more about not going. Okay, I'd like to get to the panel discussion being moderated by a friend of mine, and there are a couple celebrity guests I wouldn't mind catching. But I'd miss a lot of the best stuff because it occurs while I'm in my Saturday classes, and I'm not willing to buy a full-price badge for half-time access, nor to skip the classes to attend.

Besides, if I have to see one more combover/ponytail combination, I just might have to deliver a geek smackdown. And you know that wouldn't be pretty.

Let's face it, with the exception of Dragon*Con last fall, the last few sci-fi cons I've been to have been disappointing. Same people, same costumes, same topics, same smell. I'm having a hard time trying to talk myself into this one.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Brunch of Champions

God, I love being a grown-up!

Friday, February 24, 2006

CSI: Sensational Acres — Day 26

I got a phone call from Detective Steve yesterday updating me on my burglary case. To summarize: no change. The police are still keeping an eye on the suspect’s house, for all the good it’s doing them, and nobody has seen my laptop. That is all.

In the meantime, I have installed that nifty security system and now need to spend a few minutes this weekend putting the security company stickers and signs up around the Acres.

Best quote of the 2006 Olympics: “I’m biathlon-curious.”

Not much going on this weekend. I’ll probably spend too much time listening to the many podcasts I’ve been downloading: Barenaked Ladies studio chat (which includes sample tracks of new songs they’re recording, a super-ultra-cool thing I wish more bands would do), James Lileks’s Diner, Lost commentary, the Onion’s one-minute faux news, sci-fi writer Cory Doctorow reading his short stories a chapter at a time.

I also really like the video podcast Ask a Ninja, but it takes a while to download, and I’m impatient. Maybe I should subscribe anyway and just relegate the downloading to the wee hours of the night. Yeah, that’ll work.

I’m so enamored of podcasts this week that I’ve actually considered buying the iLife upgrade, which includes built-in podcasting features. But what and why would I podcast? I have a hard enough time thinking up things to write, let alone things to say. Suggestions are most welcome, as always.

Something I meant to mention earlier in the week: This past weekend, the Bobs performed here in town. And I did not go. The Bobs are a schlock-cappella quartet I worshipped in college, enjoyed in grad school, and have occasionally smiled at in the years since. A couple years ago, I did attend a local performance, and last May I saw them, along with uberjugglers the Flying Karamazov Brothers, in Arizona.

But this time around, I took a pass on the Bobs. I haven’t been terribly impressed with them of late and wasn’t willing to spend the time or money to see if anything had changed. I was a little sad about this, as if I’d broken up with an old friend. But not sad enough to leave my cozy abode on a Sunday night and catch the train to the concert.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

amen omen

Two words: Lost podcasts.

Also making my day: the final component of my alarm system, the device that allows me to turn on a living room lamp using my keychain remote, was installed tonight. (The unit the guy brought over yesterday didn't work, so he had to come back.) The same lamp will also flash on and off if my alarm gets tripped, tipping off the neighbors that (A) my alarm has been tripped or (B) I'm operating a disco in my living room.

Making my day yesterday was a phone call that put an end to my dithering over concert plans for May 20. As I've mentioned before, on that date, Rockapella is performing in Las Vegas and SSQ (with the Gaither Homecoming) here in Minneapolis. I had been trying to decide whether to cowboy up and do the Vegas trip for my first-love band or stay home and cheat on them with gospel singers.

Yesterday, the family friends who have invited me to the Gaither Homecoming in the past called and invited me for this year's concert. As usual, they're generously paying for the ticket and providing transportation from their house to the venue, not to mention hosting a cheesecake bonanza afterward. Plus, they invited my mother as well, and she agreed to come. Since nobody offered to pay my way to Vegas or feed me and Mom cheesecake in the glow of neon lights and showgirl tights, I made my decision on the spot: gospel wins.

If you'd asked me a year ago how that one would turn out, I would have performed the anatomically dubious feat of laughing in your face while kicking your ass. Today, no contest. Hmph. How times do change.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

CSI: Sensational Acres — Day 23

I spent today at home while Dean the installer set up my home security system. Huzzah!

Key features:

1. Lots of equipment involved!

2. These sensors allow the windows to be opened wide enough for fresh air, but not so wide a bad guy could crawl through without setting off the alarm.

3. Wires, wires everywhere.

4. The magic keypad. If I enter the right codes here, I can tell the system whether I'm gone for the day or home for the night. I can also call the police and the fire department, and even leave voice memos for myself or whoever else might use the system (like Mother Media when she housesits).

Cool, right?


I'm home this morning waiting for the security installer to show up. Got the TV tuned to the Olympic channel. And you know what pisses me off? Some of the world's most fantastic athletic achievements are going on over there, and the wanking Today Show is doing a special feature on ice skaters who fall down.

That is so offensively pathetic I can't even believe it.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Disneyland Dells

I’m going to Disneyland — and by “Disneyland” I mean Oregon, Wisconsin, for a Rockapella concert in April. I debated long and hard about this one. For a while I wasn’t convinced I cared to make the five-hour drive to see something I’ve seen before. However, I want to see a regular show after getting the Christmas version last time out, and I’m itching to hear some of their new songs. So I’m going, and I’ve enlisted MixMaster AK as my co-pilot.

It’s another one of those deals where I’ve sent away for tickets via snail mail. Sent away, as if for sea monkeys from the back of a comic book. *Shakes head.* They could probably set up an e-store or PayPal ticket sales system in about 5 minutes, but that would take all the down-home fun out of it.

Internet, take note: the word is “whoa.” W-H-O-A. As in, “Stop, horse!” Not a logical spelling, I realize, but one I’d like to see brought into general use nonetheless. I know “whoa” because I’m from the Wild West, where it’s a staple of both practical cowboy vocabulary and cutesy cowboy-themed billboards. When I see variant spellings splashed all over cyberspace, it’s like seeing a friend’s name spelled Christie instead of Kristi: I know what it means, but it just ain’t right. So let’s all lessen the “whoa” woes with a quick spell check, okay? Thanks, pardner. ;-)

Actually, my mother, who still lives in the Wild West, says “pardner” instead of “partner” in all contexts, as in “Little Bobbie Smith is now a pardner in a big law firm in Rapid City, and aren’t you sorry you refused to go to the prom with him?”

. . . Okay, I made that example up. None of the boys who grew up to be lawyers — I can only think of one offhand — ever asked to pardner me at the prom. My prom dates grew up to be a Wyoming State Trooper, an accountant-turned-teacher, and a graphic designer, respectively.

So far I have eaten 10 Tootsie Rolls this morning, and it’s not even 10:00 yet. Where, exactly, are Tootsie Rolls on the new food pyramid?


Saturday, February 18, 2006

mature audiences only

Great. Now in addition to the herbal V1@gr@ spam and offers from Christian loan agencies, I'm getting invitations from "mature dating" websites. What, exactly, is "mature dating"? I'm afraid to click and find out, so I can only speculate.

Does "mature" refer to emotional or physical age? If it's emotional, I might actually check out the site, because God knows an emotionally mature date would be the final frontier for me. The last emotionally mature man I dated was Stuart, a high school boyfriend — and of course I failed to fall in love with him, and now he's married to a fine woman I knew at the college we all went to. High school, if you're wondering, ended half my lifetime ago. That's a long damn time to wait to date grown-ups.

If "mature" refers to physical age, I don't know whether to feel insulted or resigned. I am, after all, twice as old as I was when I graduated from high school. That means the men in my age group are mostly paunchy, balding, and married with kids. This leaves single 30-something women like me to wait until the starter wives start dying off, or at least running off with their pool boys. I might even settle for a pool boy myself if he didn't have hair on his back or in his ears.

I think I'll give the mature dating site a miss for now. I wouldn't know what to do with a mature date if I tripped over him.

Besides, what man would want to date me? I'm smart, funny, educated, employed, solvent, not hideous, not crazy (I don't think), and not obese. I have great teeth. I own my house. I understand the rules of football. I'm involved in artistic endeavors that provide me a social outlet, I give good massage, and I don't even talk to my cats that much.

Bloody awful. Guess it's time for a reunion with my longtime boyfriends, Ben & Jerry.

Friday, February 17, 2006

check out these great Honda ads

Check out these amazing Honda ads. Make sure your speakers are on.

I think the House Jacks could have done the "Choir" ad. Half their last album sounds just like that anyway. Click & grin. You'll see what I mean.

How cold is it?

How cold is it? It’s so cold that as I walked from my car to my office building this morning, when I sniffled, my nose hairs frosted together and briefly pinched my nostrils shut. So cold that as I approached the front door, the wind made my eyes water enough to blind me, then iced the tears on my cheeks. That cold.

I left a trickle of hot water running from the bathtub tap in hopes of forestalling the pipe-freeze that has plagued me the last couple winters.

So you know what this means: I’m going straight home from work and curling up in bed with my laptop playing Moonlighting DVDs and Lost downloads all weekend long. I’m just starting Season 2 of both.

Which reminds me, has anybody out there heard of or watched The 4400? It’s sort of an anti-Lost show on one of the non-big-four networks. Instead of being lost, 4400 people are found — returned to Earth after being sucked up by a bright light at various points throughout the 20th century. The show deals with the aftermath of their return and their inevitable supernatural powers. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Today I got an e-mail query about my online resume — from India. I’m sure Mumbai is lovely this time of year, but I don’t think I’ll pop over for an interview.

And for everybody who imports photos into their blogs and other web pages:
When I worked for the student newspaper in college, our staff attended a layout/design workshop at a national college journalism conference. (Yeah, the one in New Orleans where we spent 90% of our time comparison shopping for Hurricanes. That conference. The one where we became known-by-name regulars at a local bar within 36 hours. The bartender’s name was Rooster, and he always greeted us with a lusty, “Heeeey, South Dakota!” I lugged a street paving brick home in my carry-on luggage and gave it to my parents as a gift, and it’s now propping open the door to my home office. You don’t remember that conference? Me neither.)

Anyway. At the layout seminar, we were taught that inset photos should always appear at the right side of a column, not the left. This is so that the text starts on the left as our left-to-right-reading eyes feel it ought to, and we don’t have to backtrack for the long lines that flow beneath the photo. Okay? It’s an easy fix that will make your pages much more reader-friendly.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

CSI: Sensational Acres — day 18

Security Guy Kevin came over last night to write up the work order for my alarm system. He's supposed to call me back this morning to talk about my installation appointment, which will probably be early next week. My boss has already said I can work at home for a half-day or whatever I need. Have I mentioned how excellent my boss is?

BTW, I'm still, after 2.5 weeks, getting used to using my new passwords on various electronic accounts. GRR! I've chosen my new passwords from a different family of words from the old ones, so it's a real shift in thinking, but a good one, I believe.

EDIT: Installation is scheduled for the morning of the 21st.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

CSI: Sensational Acres — day 16

Today the insurance money magically appeared in my bank account. Woo direct deposit! So I put in a call to Kevin the security guy and told him I'm ready to go ahead with the purchase/installation of the system we discussed last Friday.

hearts & flowers

First of all, happy VD to all those celebrating it, and thanks to Mother Media for the loveliness pictured above.

Second, this business of Vice President Cheney accidentally shooting a hunting buddy in the face: Guns, even in the hands of trained handlers, freak me out a little. Dick Cheney, even in the hands of trained handlers, freaks me out 10x. Media sitting on the story for 24+ hours frosts my peaches in ways I cannot adequately express. What other monumental screwups are we not being told about because it might tarnish some politician's image? Oooooh, I HATE that!

Third, the Twin Cities are beset with freezing rain this morning, making me once again cherish and give thanks for my 2-mile, freeway-free commute.

Fourth, I just learned from my coworker, Evil Josh, that one can download Season 2 of Lost from iTunes video for near-instant gratification. $2/episode.

I did not need to know that!

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Monday, February 13, 2006

getting flicked

CNN recently delivered confirmation of something I've suspected for a few weeks now: that my Netflix delivery turnaround times have slowed. 'Struth. It's a policy acknowledged by Netflix that frequent renters get pushed to the bottom of the mailing list so that newer and/or infrequent renters — those costing the company less in postage — take precedence. This is seriously minor-league stuff, but still enough to be annoying. I mean, having to wait an extra day for the next disc in the Moonlighting set? Come on!

Friday, February 10, 2006

feeling more secure already

Got some good info from Kevin the security guy tonight. The best news is that the security company has a partnership deal with my insurance company that will net me several discounts, upgrades and add-ons, in addition to a reduction in my homeowner's insurance premiums once the system is installed.

So yeah, I'm gonna buy it, as soon as I get the settlement $$ next week.

CSI: Sensational Acres — day 12

Insurance pays off.

Bless my homeowner's insurance company: they just called with a settlement for my stolen laptop — a very generous settlement, considering the machine's age. And they'll deposit the money directly into my bank account in 3 to 5 business days.

Where did they get that nice big figure? They calculated how much it would cost to buy a comparable new laptop of the same brand. They even supplied a model number in case I want to check.

The settlement amount is more than the price of the security system I'm considering.


The security consultant comes tonight, and he's in for a grilling. My friend Senor Editor gave me a heads-up on some issues to address — like the fact that an alarm system doesn't actually physically prevent someone from entering the house. And will my cats set off motion sensors and trigger the alarm? And what about having windows open during nice weather? Can the alarm company set me up with a device to keep a window from being opened wide enough for someone to crawl through, or do I have to go elsewhere for hardware? That sort of thing.

If this security guy (or another) can satisfy my mind, I'll use the insurance money to buy the alarm system — in which case the thief will have paid to make my home more secure.

As bad luck goes, mine is pretty damn good.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Snow! Go?

I'm seriously considering not driving to class in the blowing snow tonight.

If you look carefully, you can see me and my camera reflected in the window in the second photo.


Lileks rocks

My bloglit hero, James Lileks, had this little gem on his Bleat this morning. He's referring to a discussion thread on another site about gender roles.

"Now I do all the housework and child care and do not feel as though I am making some Brave Stand Against Predominant Sexual Paradigms. It’s not like I get boobs when I mop. The thread is notable for the usual joyless prim thin-lipped intensity of some of the commenters; I hope they’re enjoying grad school." [emphasis added]

Ooh! BURN!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Kitten sink

Sprite carries that feline cleanliness fetish a little too far.


CSI: Sensational Acres — day 10

My robbery case, such as it is, plods on. Yesterday I got a letter in the mail from the county attorney’s office notifying me that LD, the woman arrested with my credit cards in her possession, has been formally charged with possession of stolen property and giving false information to police (she lied about her name).

The letter offers me the chance to give evidence or make an “impact statement” in court, to request restitution, and to be notified when the defendant is released from jail. (I’ve been warned by someone in the know that she might enter a plea bargain and not go to jail, but perhaps those outstanding felony warrants will make a difference here.)

I don’t plan to do any of those things, because LD did not really do me any harm. Detective Steve is pretty sure she was not the person who broke into my house, nor the person who used my credit cards before I closed the accounts, and I trust his opinion. Sure, she was planning to use my card(s), but it never happened. LD took nothing from me and owes me nothing back. I have no desire to make myself known to her.

I haven’t heard back from the insurance company yet, but I might check in with them today to see if they have an update for me. I also need to learn more about the home security system I’ve been looking at — about installation, specifically — and probably place my order.

So on we go. I’m feeling more at ease this week, although I still leave the TV on (muted) even when I’m not at home. I also have the doors to the office and spare bedroom open instead of closed, and the lamp in the living room stays on all night. And I call my Mom more often to let her know things are OK.

The alarm system will bring us both more peace of mind. While I’m not planning to move any time soon, it will also add to the resale value of the house. Plus, unlike a dog, it will get along with my cats, and I won’t have to clean up its deposits in the yard.

UPDATE: I called the home security company recommended by my coworker, and they're sending a consultant to my house Friday at 6:00. His name is Kevin. He'll help me figure out what I need and what it costs, and arrange installation.

I also checked with my homeowner's insurance company. They're still working on figuring out a value for the laptop. That should happen in the next few days. Then they'll notify me of my settlement. I'm thinking that old laptop was worth about enough to buy me a Blizzard. Which is better than nothing.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Coolest! Mapping tool! Ever!

A brief map of my life's journey. Click on the map to go to a more detailed version with captions for the waypoints. I'm still working on this, but it was too cool not to roll out right away.
WARNING: Map loads sloooooooowly, so be patient.

this is not news

Science has now proven that men fear smart and/or funny women. Um, this doesn't exactly come as a surprise.

explanation, please

Lately, the majority of the e-mail spam I get consists of offers of student loans. Why is this? Am I giving off some sort of unconscious cosmic back-to-school vibe? Do I really look like I have room for any more information in my brain right now?

Monday, February 06, 2006


This morning Grassmaster Amy alerted me to a great way she's learned of to make money. She had received an e-mail from a nice little old lady offering to share her wealth before she dies. All Amy (or anyone else) has to do is contact the lady's attorney with their bank account numbers so the attorney can deposit the money directly. Cool, huh?

I don't know my account numbers offhand, so I was hoping to ask for a money order instead. But Amy is planning to supply her credit card information so she can just turn right around and use the money she receives to do good for others.

Amy is more noble than I. I think I'll use my windfall to pay for the home security system I've been pricing online. According to ADT.com (recommended by a coworker who likes his ADT system a lot), I'm looking at $1099 purchase/installation fee + $35.99/month for monitoring. And I've already spent $216 to pay a locksmith to rekey all my locks. OY!

I might receive a small settlement from my homeowner's insurance for the laptop — might and small being the operative words here — but certainly not enough to pay for all that. Still, when I think of it as purchasing peace of mind, suddenly it doesn't seem like so much.

drift with the current

currently Netflicking: Moonlighting. This TV series was a favorite of mine when it began in 1984, and like stars Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepard, it has aged pretty well. In my opinion, Willis was the more fun of the two to watch, although since he was playing a loose and groovy character, that's no surprise. The repartee on this show is really quite well written and still enjoyable. As with all my old faves from the 80s, though, I can't watch it without wondering how different it would be if they had cell phones.

currently listening to: Rockapella's Smilin', because it's an album about fun in the summer sun. Winter has finally found its way back to Minnesota, so I'm relying on audio for warmth.

currently craving: pepperoni pizza

currently anticipating: Wednesday evening, when I'll finally have time after work to attend to a bit of writing I've been wanting to do.

current quotable quote: "Leave the mind in its natural, undisturbed state. Don't follow thoughts of 'This is a problem, that is a problem!' Without labeling difficulties as problems, leave your mind in its natural state. In this way, you will stop seeing miserable conditions as problems."
~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche, "Transforming Problems Into Happiness"

Meaning: It ain't a problem until you — I mean I — make it a problem.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Year of the Dog

On February 4, Twin Cities T’ai Chi held its annual Chinese New Year celebration and demonstration to ring in the Year of the Dog. Come see some photos.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Just the Equifax, ma'am

Numerous friends have reminded me to contact Equifax or another credit reporting agency to put an identity theft alert on my records. I've done this.

I've also changed passwords on web sites I visit frequently. Why? The bad guy — let's call him Asshat — could look in the Favorites folder on my laptop to see which sites I go to, like me e-mail and blog accounts, and visit them too. If the computer had stored a cookie that allowed automatic log-in, Asshat would be able to click right in and send messages or delete important things. Well, not any more.

Thanks for looking out for me!

CSI: Sensational Acres — day 5

Detective Steve called me back this morning just as I was about to leave for work. I gave him the info from the credit card companies. Then he updated me on the latest developments, such as they are, in my case.

Really, not much is happening. There hasn’t been any noteworthy activity at the address the police have been watching. It’s a private residence, not an apartment building. However, they’ve spotted or heard a dog inside the house, so they think people are still coming and going, but discretely.

A couple Sony laptop computers have been pawned in the days since mine was stolen. One was black, one was white. Mine was grey; no match. I really, really wish I had the serial number of mine to make tracing it easier. Lesson: write that stuff down! Detective Steve thinks the laptop is long gone, sold on the street where no one cares about serial numbers.

Detective Steve is working on getting more information from Virgin Mobile, the vendor from which the thieves tried to buy cell phones or whatever. Since the purchases were made online, Steve will have to subpoena Virgin Mobile’s records about the buyer in hopes of tracing a phone number or IP address back to the residence. The subpoena could take several weeks.

Steve cautioned me that even if the charges are traced to a particular address, the homeowner could claim it wasn’t him who made them, and it would be tough to prove one way or the other.

So the wheels of justice are still turning, slowly.

However, I did learn more about the arrest of LD, the woman who had my credit cards. Wanna hear it? Sure you do.

The Case of the Feebleminded Felon
Once upon a time — Monday, January 30, to be exact — LD ran out of the house she’d been visiting in my neighborhood, fearing it was being robbed. (Irony, anyone?) The robbers turned out to be representatives from a bank who had come to foreclose. But I digress.

LD ran to a neighboring home and relayed her fear to the homeowner, someone she did not know. When she left, the homeowner saw her get into a car driven by a man.

When the police, in the person of Officer Tim, arrived to investigate the alleged burglary, that same car (I think the homeowner provided a description) drove by, so the officers stopped it. LD initially gave them a false name, knowing there were felony warrants outstanding for her under her real name.

Officer Tim figured that out quickly enough and arrested her. He put her in the back of the squad car to await the arrival of a female officer who could perform a thorough pat-down search. He noticed, as LD sat back there, that she was trying to shove something into the crack between the seat and the backrest. That something turned out to be two credit cards. Officer Tim recognized the name on them: mine.

LD insisted that she had not been the one to steal the cards; she blamed the man who had been giving her a ride. Since he was from St. Paul, which is a ways away from my suburb, Tim (and later Detective Steve) did not believe her. So she got more specific: She said her husband’s nephew Jesse (she didn’t know his last name) had given her the cards at his house, the one she’d fled. He’d instructed her to use one of them to buy a new TV, for which he would reward her with crack cocaine. The name Jesse matched the name of a known resident at the house in question, so the police were inclined to believe that part of her story.

LD has been formally charged with possession of stolen property in addition to whatever else she was wanted for. She’ll spend a minimum of 10 months at Shakopee Women’s Prison.

Crack. In my ‘hood. Swell.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

crime scene photos

This is where my stolen laptop used to sit. See how the placemat has faded around its outline?

My black leaather shoulder bag/laptop bag used to slide neatly between these crates.


Meet Rob

Julie & I went to the Dubliner for a beer after class tonight. This guy Rob was there for a boys' night out on the eve of his brother's wedding. As the best man, he had orchestrated the party. He invited us along in the limo, a tacky white stretch summoned with his cell phone. Quite the impressario. We declined. He offered the couple at the end of the bar a ride, too. They also declined.

Rob offered the guy next to us, who was wearing a 40s reporter-style fedora and sketching in a notebook, $200 to draw his group's portrait. Fedora Man refused the commission. Later, however, inspired by Rob, Fedora roughed out a Far Side-like cartoon in which a man stares blearily into the guts of a toaster, screwdriver in hand. The caption is something like, "He had a lot of patience, but the toaster eventually got the best of him." The artist shared this with Julie and me and earned himself two hearty glass-clinkings.

The rest of the guys with Rob never so much as looked our way.

Rob made sure to tell us he was from Sioux Falls, SD, and 50 years old. He offered to moon my camera, but I talked him into a pretty smile instead. (You can thank me later.) When it came time to leave, he hugged Julie and me and planted a kiss on each of our foreheads. Fedora got a handshake.

As soon as the door closed behind Rob and his posse, we learned that Joshua the bartender had been serving them shots of ouzo and Sambuca, plus various beers, for at least an hour. Joshua was glad to see the back of them because he figured it was about time for them to start feeling nauseated from all the booze. He preferred that this happen in the limo rather than in the bar.

Well, that was enough excitement for me for one evening. I came home.


CSI: Sensational Acres — day 4

Not much to report. I left Detective Steve a voice message saying I have the information he wanted about the purchases made on the stolen credit cards. They were all online payments to Virgin Mobile, a cell phone vendor.

The big worry right now is that the bad guy will plug the laptop into the internet and figure out how to pass himself off as me. I've put my bank on identity fraud alert and bought their ID fraud insurance ($1 for the first month, $12.99/month after that). Hopefully this won't be an issue.

grass dream

Over the weekend, I dreamed that I was walking in a public park on a warm day. I came upon several freezer-size plastic bags that appeared to be full of herbs or grass clippings. When I moved closer, I realized they were full of marijuana. A guy named Stavros tried to give them to me to stuff into my backpack, but I declined.

A crowd gathered to gaze upon the bounty of weed. I realized that this was going to attract the wrong kind of attention, so I made my way ever so casually toward my car (the white Tracer hatchback I was driving a dozen years ago).

But I wasn’t fast enough. As I opened the door, a policeman (played by a particular character actor whose name escapes me) approached and called me by name, which he had of course learned by running my license plate number through his computer. I acknowledged him, and he immediately arrested me for possession of the marijuana. He handcuffed me and used a bright yellow cord to tether my cuffs to his belt. Knowing he wouldn’t buy “The dope isn’t mine, I came across it just lying there” as a defense, I remained silent.

Instead of taking me straight to the police station, he took me to a diner. He was in no hurry to process my paperwork and thought I might be more cooperative if he fed me. We were seated outside. He was discussing pork loin soup with the waitress when I woke up.

What does this mean?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

das boots

At least my new cowboy boots are safe. Ain't they the dandiest?

CSI: Sensational Acres

Just got another call from Detective Steve. He asked me to query the credit card companies again to get more specifics about the purchases made with my stolen cards.

Wait, isn't detecting Steve's job? Yes, but he says the card companies are more likely to respond to me, the private citizen whose cards were used fraudulently, than to an official inquiry from an official detective. If Steve called, they'd probably clam up and wait for a subpoena.

So sure, I'll pitch in. That's what lunch hours are for, right? Hey, if it helps bring the bad guys down, I'm on it.

on the case

First off, THANK YOU everybody for the good wishes regarding the robbery. I'm coping. You're helping.

So are the local police. My first phone call at work this morning was from Detective Steve of the Bloomington PD. He wanted to update me on yesterday’s developments and get a statement from me regarding the woman who was arrested.

The facts so far:

Yesterday the police arrested a woman, LD – for what, I’m not sure. She had in her possession the two credit cards stolen from my house. Realizing they were stolen, the police – possibly my buddy Officer Tim – told her she would be charged with burglary.

LD protested that she had not stolen the cards and was not taking any burglary rap. She said she’d gone to the home of her husband’s nephew, who lives about a block from me. There she was given the cards and instructed to go buy a TV.

I don’t know whether she got busted while actually trying to buy the TV or not. That’s irrelevant anyway, because LD had some outstanding felony warrants, so she will go to jail for possession of stolen property even though she’s not the one who stole it.

Meanwhile, Detective Steve now has the name(s) and address of the person(s) who gave her the cards. This is not enough yet for him to get a search warrant for that house, as LD may have been lying. But Steve & Co. are going to keep an eye on the place and try to find a reason to get inside.

I testified over the phone that I did not know LD, had not given her my cards or permission to use them, and had not given her permission to enter my home. Detective Steve said he’d keep me apprised of any further developments.

So. That’s something. The actual thief is probably aware by now that LD was arrested. If he’s still got my stolen stuff, maybe Steve will find it. But maybe he’s already ditched it so he doesn’t get caught with it if Steve comes calling. I’m just pleased that the police have something to go on.

Stay tuned.