Best dating spam I’ve ever gotten

From: kevan arlene
Sent: Monday, June 23, 2008 12:29 PM
To: Dan Amrich
Subject: The administration of a dating site informs you

Good Day! You are disturbed by administration of sites
of acquaintances of USA. You are the member of this group.
One of our members interested in you and we send you the message
delivered from MemberName=”MiraOldy”
This WOMAN wishes to get acquainted with you.
There is HER message:

Greetings the stranger, are Written by me to you from the
big country of Russia, I have read your profile, and you
are interesting for me, I see you as a pleasant interlocutor,
I wish to get acquainted with you better and to exchange photos
and not only. I will be very glad if our relations do
not stop on that that we will communicate only on correspondence,
I’ll be glad to meet you one day.

I will tell a little bit about myself:
I’m very nice, sociable and cheerful girl.
I’m 27 years old, growth 169, my eyes are brown, hair dark, weight of
54 kg, a sports constitution. I regularly visit fitness the centre
to support the figure both to be in shape and to like men.
If you are self-assured and trust that can deserve my attention that
write)) we will look that will turn out…………)

Mira.
You can write to my E-mail: [justnaotherspammer]

D&D

So…yeah, I’m back in it. I liked playing in high school. I didn’t like the esoteric, very nitty-gritty rules that evolved through the 3rd edition, so, like a lot of casual RPGers, I lost interest along the way. But then I heard rumors that the 4th edition would simplify everything — make it less about the rules and more about the roles. Streamlined, simpler, and, um, funner. So I bought the books and I’m reading through them, and it’s more of a fresh education than a refresher course.

Naturally, people fear change, and many players for the 3rd edition liken 4th to a baby’s toy, built for simpletons with short attention spans — and a desperate cash grab to win over some of those WoW addicts. As far as I can tell, here’s the main difference between the previous version and the current version:

3rd Edition:
DM: “You enter the cave, and two trolls spot you. They look hostile.”
P1: “I’ll attack.”
DM: “Okay…roll 1d20 for initiative.”
P1: “It’s a 13.”
DM: “Okay, he gets to grapple you. Roll a 1d6 to see where he grabs you.”
P1: “It’s a 6.”
DM: “It’s somewhere uncomfortable. Roll 1d10 to see how much discomfort you endure.”
P1: “It’s a 9.”
DM: “The discomfort is high. Roll to see if you can reduce the discomfort.”
P2: “Is it my turn yet?”
DM: “No. Because we still have to find out if he can break the hold with a parry, block, grapple, thrust, spin…”

4th Edition:
DM: “You enter the cave, and two trolls spot you. They look hostile.”
P1: “I’ll attack.”
DM:”You kill them both. You also get 100 gold pieces and a girl.”

4th Edition is clearly built in the shadow of EverQuest and World of Warcraft, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If the granddaddy of RPGs has gotten crusty and crufty, and these new kids have figured out a way to make fantasy roleplaying accessible and enjoyable, why not steal a few tricks? Simplify the math, put the focus on storytelling and adventuring (arguably, the entire point in the first place), and jettison the rules that impede rather than enable. Both systems will find their fans — the existence of 4th doesn’t mean 3rd no longer exists — but without a simpler, streamlined choice, the fanbase was never going to grow. And outdated players like me would have never shown any interest in returning to the experience that we have romanticized.

This is brilliant.

Housing ho!

We’ve finally started looking for a house. I cannot be trusted with the family finances, so Kat wisely stepped in several years ago, assessed the debt, started eliminating credit cards, paying off student loans, and even getting consolidation loans to do both of the aforementioned tasks quicker. It worked — it’s been five years or so of smart planning, but the credit cards are all but gone, the student loans are ancient history, and our credit scores are extremely good — Kat’s is 749, mine’s 798. We’re first-time buyers, and we’re ready to move in more or less immediately. And this week we got pre-approved for a mortgage. This was cause for celebration. We went to Chipotle.

The Bay Area housing market has been not so much a rollercoaster ride as an attraction that would get an amusement park condemned. Instead of going up and down in a series of natural or predictable peaks and valleys, the housing market, since I got to California in 1996, has gone up. Then, it went way up. And a bit later, it climbed significantly. After that, it went up. Against all logic, against all national averages, against the threat of half the state sliding into the ocean with one big catastrophic shake, housing prices steadily rose. We went looking at some open houses about six or seven years ago just to start planning for the future, and houses that could only be described as dumps — creaky edifices in bad neighborhoods with water damage and substandard electrical wiring, not to mention tacky wood paneling straight from 1974 — were going for half a million bucks…but only if you acted fast. A decent 3BR for a family? $1.2 million. So, we rented. And rented. And watched the housing prices climb higher still, and actually started dreaming about what life would be like if we had only bought that craptacular dump when we had the chance. We consoled ourselves by letting Kat’s Magic Money Mojo do its thing, praying for the Second Coming of Sanity.

This year, the housing market finally went to shit. Bad lending practices and risky loans backfired on everyone involved, leaving people without homes and banks with a lot of buildings that they didn’t necessarily want. Foreclosures spread like the flu. The $1.2 million non-mansions suddenly dropped to $800K, which means the houses that used to be $800K started scraping significantly south of $500K. And if any of those have 2 or 3 bedrooms, we’re interested. (Note: The multiple bedroom thing does not mean we are having children. This means we need a home office and/or a large room for Kat’s creative works. More on that in a bit.)

Today we went out and saw five houses. We had only planned to see two, but there were so many realtor signs advertising open houses that we actually couldn’t stop finding them as we drove around nearby neighborhoods. Of the five, we saw only one that we kind of liked, acknowledging that it was overpriced (it has only been on the market for two days, so we figure…check back in a month) and it needed more work than any of the others. But it had charm, and it had hardwood floors (which needed a complete refinishing) and room for arcade machines and poker tables, the potential for a secret passage (always a lifelong dream), and a freestanding garage that could, with great time and investment, be turned into the combination dance and photo studio that Kat has always wanted. Such a space needs to be at least 20 feet long and have decent ceilings. We have…unusual needs as homeowners. But the good news is, thanks to our excellent credit standing combined with other people’s foreclosure misery, the selection is actually pretty good.

And it feels weird to benefit from that misery. We were in one house that was quite nice today — walking distance from the mall and BART, garage for arcade and laundry machines, sizable back yard, cool color (purple!). The cheery realtor let us know it was a short sale, so the price had been lowered significantly and they were looking to close a deal fast. But if you don’t find it slightly heartbreaking to see hallway photos of three small children, and walk into their rooms with brightly colored fish all over the walls (but no bed frame for the mattress on the floor) and think to yourself “Wow, this would be a great place to put my Xbox 360 and HDTV,” you are dead inside.

For me the final chilling blow was walking into the master bedroom and seeing a paperback book on the shelf. It was called The ABC’s of Getting Out of Debt. It had been borrowed from the library. And on the closet door was a list of sentences in Spanish. I was able to pick out that they were daily affirmations, phrases like “I will try to do my best every day,” but my heart dropped when I figured out the sentence “I will be professional in my dealings as a representative of Mary Kay.”

I’m ready to buy my house. But I’m not sure if I’m ready to buy someone else’s home.

Overcommit much?

Let’s look at my current list of projects:

  • Work: Active (days, some nights & weekends)
  • Band #1: Active (rehearsal, performance)
  • Band #2: Active (rehearsal)
  • House-hunting: Active
  • Special issue: Active
  • Secret project #1: Inactive
  • Secret project #2: Active

Of those projects, only one has a hard stop date — the special issue, which is due July 1. That doesn’t leave any time for, you know, playing Xbox 360 (which I do not do at work). Or just playing guitar for fun. Or sleep. Even WoW, I’m lucky if I get two hours a week — so much for calling it an addiction.

As a friend likes to remind me, my work/life balance sucks.

Sometimes…

…I just want to grab a guitar or two, throw them gently in the car, drive until I hit a coffeehouse, and play Fountains of Wayne songs until they kick me out, or I make enough money from crowd handouts to fill the tank and find another coffeehouse.

Actually, it’s not sometimes. It’s a lot of times.

Network Solutions: Bunchafuckheads

Kat’s found a domain she likes, but it’s taken. It’s not in use, but it’s taken. She’d like to buy the domain. The Whois info is complete…and completely wrong. The emails bounce; the phone number is disconnected. This, as you may have heard, is not only a pain in the ass but against the rules of owning a domain. You have to list your real name and your full valid contact info must be available, either in the WHOIS record itself or through your registrar (if you want them to filter out the junk and only contact you with serious business offers, security issues, etc). Logically, then, “contact the registrar” was the advice of friends.

Network Solutions says there’s no way to get in touch with the person. Like, they’d call them, but if the phone number is wrong, like, there’s nothing we can do, you know?

Um, wrong. Not only is there something you can do, it’s your fucking responsibility. ICANN, the fine folks subcontracted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, says so.

A complaint has been filed. The deadbeat now has two weeks in which to resolve the issue. Otherwise, the domain is stripped, and Network Solutions loses not one but two customers.

Bunchafuckheads.