December 10, 2001

Dry Spell


I haven't felt like writing lately.
I haven't felt like doing much of anything, actually.
I guess it's another bout of depression.
I don't feel depressed, or anxious, or uncomfortable in any way. I don't feel much of anything. I'm just FLAT.

I haven't been reading or listening to music. The effort to become emotionally involved in something like that is too daunting.
I'm actually fairly content, on the surface, anyway, to rummage around my house avoiding human contact as much as possible.
The problem is, I know this isn't good for me. Or at least I don't think it is.
I don't know if this is down time that I need, or if it's actual depression. I don't know how much of this to allow myself.

One voice tells me that it's been an emotionally exhausting year, with two family deaths (my father in May and my sister-in-law in October) and the marital separation in between; not to mention world events that are enough in themselves to send people to the valium bottle, liquor cabinet, or ice cream freezer depending on their proclivity.
It is in my nature to temporarily shut down in order to recharge my emotional energy.

The other voice says that isolation is bad; that I should be a more productive member of society; that I have to pull myself together, organize my house, get back on an exercise routine and watch what I eat, make writing every day a priority, formulate some personal goals (i.e. get a job and/or get involved in some volunteer activities) and stop procrastinating!

I have a feeling that the second voice is closer to the truth.

In other news... the excitement of the week was a tie between my washing machine breaking down in a most dramatic way, emitting a foul odour and visible smoke, and having my bank card ripped off which I discovered when I tried to withdraw cash at an ATM only to be told I was maxed out.

I won't go into the details - yet- since the bank is still "investigating" but it had to do with being distracted at another ATM a few days earlier, in the course of which (presumably) my card was withdrawn, imprinted, and replaced. They must have seen me enter the PIN number as well.

Lesson 1: Never go to a bank machine located in a busy store on a Saturday in December before Christmas.
Lesson 2: Under no circumstances fall for the old $20 on the floor trick.
Lesson 3: If you DO fall for it at least keep the damn $20.
Lesson 4: Check with your bank re your bank card limits. If mine had been what I had requested, the crooks would only have gotten away with about a quarter of what they did. I was told the bank "automatically" sets the limit according to its own standards.
Lesson 5: Don't think that carrying a small balance helps. My crooks made a fake deposit in an empty envelope; their only restraining factor was the bank card limit.

I understand that credit card companies raise limits as well, but the purpose of that would be to get you to spend more and thus make a profit on the interest. I don't understand what benefit it is to the bank to make it easier to withdraw your money.

I've been told I will probably not be held responsible for the loss; if I am, I will (at the very least) fight anything above what I believed my limit to be.

Another cute part to this story was the visit to the police station.
The bank lady told us that a police report was "REQUIRED" in order for the head office of the bank to investigate the incident; so I immediately headed for the closest police branch office (a nearby storefront).

They were not very happy to see me.

First they said that for something like "fraud" I needed an appointment because they were very busy.
This, while TWO officers were up on chairs stringing Christmas lights over the windows.

I managed to spit out the gist of my story anyway, and they said that they will not take a report until the bank provides a letter declaring me responsible for the loss. (A letter which I am NOT in a hurry to get!)

The officer went on to whine that the bank "always does this" and cautioned me to NOT call them on my cell phone (as I was preparing to do) because she would not talk to them.

I replied that I was the one who had my card ripped off and I didn't need to be involved in politics between the police and the bank. I took the officer's name and number and gave them to the bank; apparently that was sufficient for the time being.

My family's reaction was appropriately subdued:

Rob: Mom, it must have happened some other way. You'd have to be a total MORON to fall for that.

Mark: Mom, you need constant supervision.

Housemate: (after a few hours of laudable restraint) I was SO good, I said NOTHING, if the shoe had been on the other foot, BOY would I have gotten it... (unfortunately, true.)

Oh and the final indignity? The bank commenting (in front of Housemate) that the usual targets for this scam are little old ladies.
I'm sure I haven't heard the last of that one.

Intriguing Stats Referral of the Day:

A hit from "army.mil" (U.S. Army) with the search term, "war is good for business".

I - as usual - smell a conspiracy!

Linque Du Jour:   Find Sounds

A search engine specifically for sound files!

This would have saved me much tedious sifting through regular search engine results when I needed to find that penguin call wav for my laptop!

You can modify search by file type, number of channels, maximum file size and a couple of other parameters; they also give you the squiggly line graphic thingy accompanying the sound; if you download their player and create your own sound (and squiggly line graphic) you can search for similar sounds, although once you've got one I don't know why you'd need more of the same.

I found three good penguin sounds and a bunch of cool guitar chords.

Good for eating up time, too.

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