Monday, September 29, 2014

Spam Is Sometimes Hilarious

First, without comment, the spam email.

Date: 2014-06-03 07:35
From: "Federal bureau of investigation"

Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division
FBI headquarters in Washington , D.C.
Federal bureau of investigation
J. Edgar Hoover building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington , D.C. 20535-0001
Ref: FBI/DC/25/014.

Attention: Fund Beneficiary,

This is an official advice from the FBI foreign remittance/telegraphic dept. it has come to our notice that bank of Nigeria has released 10,500,000.00 U.S dollars into bank of America in your name as the beneficiary, by Inheritance means. The bank of Nigeria knowing fully well that they do not have enough facilities to affect this payment from the United Kingdom to your account, used what we know as a secret diplomatic transit payment (S.T.D.P) to pay this fund through wire transfer, they used this means to complete the payment.

They are still waiting for confirmation from you on the already transferred funds,which were made in direct transfer so that they can do final crediting to your account. Secret diplomatic payments are not made unless the funds are related to terrorist activities why must your payment be made in secret transfer, if your transaction is legitimate, if you are not a terrorist, then why did you not receive the money directly into your account? This is a pure coded means of payment which we have had in the past has always been related to terrorist acts, we do not want you to get into trouble as soon as these funds reflect in your account, so it is our duty as a world wide commission to correct this little problem before this fund will be credited into your personal account.

Due to the increased difficulty and unnecessary scrutiny by the UK/USA authorities when funds come from outside of America , and the Middle East , the F.B.I crime commission has stopped the transfer on its way to deliver payment of $10.500.00 through a secured diplomatic transit, account (S.D.T.A). We govern and oversee funds Transfer for the World Bank and the rest of the world. We advice you contact us immediately, as the funds have been stopped and are being held in our custody until you can be able to provide us with a diplomatic immunity seal of transfer (dist) within 3 days from the world local bank that authorize the transfer to certify that the funds that you are about to receive from Nigeria are terrorist/drug free else we shall have cause to cross and impound the payment, however, we shall release the funds immediately we receive this legal documents.

We have decided to contact you directly to acquire the proper verifications and proof from you to show that you are the rightful person to receive this fund, because of the amount involved, we want to make sure that the legitimacy of the fund you are about to receive is not in doubt whatsoever. Note!! The fund is in the Bank of America right now, but we have ask them not to credit the fund to you yet, because we need a solid proof and verifications from you before releasing the funds, to this regards, you are to re-assure and proof to us that what you are about to receive is clean and legitimate by sending to us FBI Identification Record and also Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer (DIST) to certify that the fund is not for terrorism/money laundering. You are to forward the documents to us immediately if you have it in your possession, if you do not have it, let us know so that we can direct you where to get it.

These Documents are to be issued to you from the World Local Bank that Authorized the transfer, so get back to us immediately if you don't have the document so that we will inform you the particular place to obtain the document because we have come to realize that the fund was Authorized by the bank that initialized the transfer Identification Record and Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer (DIST) often referred to as a Criminal History Record or Rap Sheet, is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, Naturalization or military service. These conditions is Valid until 9th of June 2014 after we shall take actions on canceling the payment and then charge you for illegally moving funds out of Nigeria.

Guarantee: funds will be released on confirmation of the document.
Final instruction:

60fCredit payment instruction: irrevocable credit guarantee
61eBeneficiary has full power when validation is cleared
62 Beneficiaries bank in USA/outside can only release funds-
62 Upon confirmation from the world bank/united nations.
64 Bearers must clear bank protocol and validation request
NOTE: We have asked for the above documents to make available the most complete and up-to date records possible for the enhancement of public safety welfare and security of Society while recognizing the importance of individual privacy rights. If you fail to provide the Documents to us, we will charge you and take our proper action against you for not proofing to us the legitimacy of the fund you are about to receive.

The United States Department of Justice Order 556-73 establishes rules and regulations for the subject of an FBI Identification Record to obtain a copy of his or her own Record for review. The FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)Division processes these requests to check illegal activities in U.S and outside. An individual may request a copy of his or her own FBI Identification record for personal review or to challenge information on the Record. Other reasons,individual may request a copy of his or her own Identification Record may include international adoption or to satisfy a requirement to live or work in a foreign country or receive funds from another country (i.e., Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer, letter of good conduct, criminal history background, etc.).

FBI Director
James B. Comey.

And now for the explanation as to why it's funny.

In April of this year, I started driving a truck. The company Ace and I drive for requires us to have a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) card. I had to undergo a background check from the FBI to insure that I am not a terrorist or a wanted criminal or a lunatic. There were fingerprints and it cost over $100. I passed the background check in two days and then spent two months waiting for my card to be printed (Ace got his in a week 6 months earlier. They changed something right around the time I applied for my card, which caused delays. That's the government for you.)

So, imagine how much I laughed at being told that I have cleared the background check by the FBI by the TSA and that I am considered a terrorist by the FBI in a spam email.

This, like taking cheese to Wisconsin, will never stop being funny to me.

P.S.: I have my TWIC card now and we almost never go anywhere that it's needed. I'm about half disappointed about that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Random Thoughts No One Else Probably Cares About

I still suck at this posting more than once in a blue moon thing. Sorry. I hadn't quite realized how long it had been since I had posted.

Since I don't really have much in the way of coherent thoughts right now, here is a random list of what is on my mind.

1. Some people are really good at circumventing the rules. Sometimes it's impressive. Sometimes it's bad. (Ace is reading me a follow up article about a kid who got suspended for selling full sugar Pepsi. The kid figured out how to keep selling the soft drinks without breaking the rules.)

2. Why are we, as a society, so hung up about gender and what people have in their pants? Does it matter if I'm female or male to anyone other than Ace and me? Should it?

3. Did I use proper grammar in that last point? Should it have been Ace and I instead of Ace and me?

4. I need to post that email that made me laugh sometime. With the explanation as to why it was so funny.

5. Ace and I traded trucks. We love our new one, even if there are a few things we don't love about it it. It is so much better than the last truck. (I can drive this one without messing up my hip!)

6. I should post about weird/random/whatever things I've seen since I've started driving. (I have a weird story about a wheel. Short, but weird.)

7. Today kind of sucked. But we made it through the day without crashing the truck or yelling at anyone.

8. I had to pay a quarter to use a bathroom that didn't even have soap or paper towels (or a hand dryer) to clean my hands. That sucks.

9. I'm glad people are talking about depression and not just ignoring it. Why do we stigmatize mental illnesses? Are we afraid they are contagious?

10. I don't have a ten, I just like even numbers.

My brain is kind of active lately. But now I think it's time for a nap. Hopefully I'll get back soon with those posts.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Suicide Is Hardly Painless

I know it's been forever since I last posted. Sorry about that. Things have changed some, and I'm now driving (at least sometimes) and that has lead to being more tired and less inclined to write. I'm also less inclined to read as much. It's making me sad. That, however, is not the point of this post.

I want to talk about my theory of suicide. (Robin Williams is still having a profound effect. Hopefully people will get help instead of following the leader.) If that bothers you, sorry. Hopefully I'll post something less emotionally traumatizing soon after this. You might want to skip this post if you are fighting that fight, although I'm not really planning on going into hows as much as whys.

I have a friend who posted a link on FaceBook about depression. And it got me thinking, once I got past my emotional first reaction of finding depression entirely too close for comfort.

I used to believe, back before I ever fought depression, that suicide was selfish. I was a stupid teenager who wondered how someone suicidal didn't see the impact on their loved ones who were left to mourn the loss. I didn't understand that sometimes people are just pushed to the edge of what they can handle and the lack of hope is the final straw. I did understand that as bad as things seemed, ending my own life would never seem likely a good solution, because I'm probably more scared of the potential physical pain than I am of finding a way to just keep going. I'm kind of wired oddly sometimes, but it works well for me in the long run.

Today, I saw much more clearly that suicide is much more about someone who couldn't hold on any more. The pain and rawness of depression are too much. The numbness seems unending. The lies of depression seem too believable. The self-loathing is too acute and the belief that no one else cares seems too real. You know that it's not true, but you just can't fight any more.

I'm still not the kind of person to attempt suicide. I'd rather just hide from society and just not move until something motivates me enough. I struggled two years ago with depression crippling enough that I wasn't eating right and couldn't find it in me to want to do anything about it. But I found the motivation to go shopping once a week and go to a prayer team once a week and to do the minimum that I needed to not become one with the bed. It was horrible, because I just felt so bad and I wasn't sure how I was going to be okay again. And then, it got better.

But it helps me understand better why someone might give up. When 3 steps is too far for food, you learn things about yourself. And they aren't pretty things.

I survived. I've not had anything even remotely as bad as that happen again.

We are, all of us, more than our weakest moments.

Even when we fail to make it through those moments.

If you are depressed, please find help. I should have. I wish I did. I wish I could have. I'm thankful that my will to survive was stronger than my lack of motivation. I am willing to listen/read. I don't have answers for you, but sometimes just sharing with someone helps. If I'm not your cup of tea, please find someone who is. There are plenty of people out there willing to help. And not all of them require making a phone call. (Sorry, my own weird phone phobia is slipping in.)

And remember, please, that you are more than your weakest moments. It does, eventually, get better. Depression lies. And someone does love you.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

I Have Some Things to Say

Dear World,
You do not get to define me. I am much more than your limited views of me would suggest. I am not just anything, except for just me.

Because you do not know me, you cannot tell me that I can't have problems because I am a white woman. You cannot tell me that I cannot have problems just because I don't have children to figure out how to feed. Life is hardly ever as simple as outward causes for mental problems.

You cannot tell me that my husband can't potentially have problems because he is a white man. That his weight is where it is simply because he's lazy. That he doesn't care about me intensely because you don't see him doing whatever you think shows his care.

You can't tell me that everyone is hurting and then expect that everyone is fine emotionally. That someone who outwardly has their life together can't be lost inwardly. That depression only affects those whose lives have obvious complications and the rest of us are just weak or lazy or overly emotional.

You can't tell me that depression only attacks when things are bad. That I've never felt fine emotionally when things were at their bleakest from the outside and barely able to semi-function when things were starting to get better because it suddenly attacked with every trick in it's demented book.

You can't tell me that I'm the only one that's happened to.

Stop telling women that if they don't look like this celebrity or that supermodel that they are fat, unhealthy, and worthless. Too many of us take it to heart and it causes more problems. Quit implying that any woman who has any noticeable body fat anywhere is overweight and needs to diet and exercise. Quit implying that every man finds your insane standards of beauty to be the only standards that are acceptable. Quit lying to us all.

Quit acting like who someone loves is more important than that they have someone they love. That only one religion could possibly have the answers to everyone's questions. That just because I go to this church instead of that one that I am going to Hell because God is so narrowly strict on who he accepts. Quit denying that the Bible says that God wants to save as many people as He can. Quit telling me, without words but with attitudes, that I am going to Hell for any minor wrong and that I've got to be careful to never have a bad day (but apparently judging people based on their sins is okay, despite what the Bible says).

Quit trying to pigeon-hole everyone. Let us all be as free to be ourselves as we want to be. Let us be individuals or a group based on our social understanding and let us label ourselves.

Quit labeling women with negative words when they do things that a man would be praised for. Quit acting like a woman's worth is tied into being perfect at all things at all times while a man's is tied into what he earns. Quit acting like my opinion on anything might be less than my husband's because I am female and he is male.

I think it is time we all grow up and treat each other as we would want to be treated. Let's try that for a while, instead of judging and labeling everyone for convenience.

We are all more than most people see from the brief glimpses we get into each other's lives. Maybe we should try to respect that more.

M.A. Smith

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Exhausted Rambling

I would love to say that things are going swimmingly over here. They are going pretty well, but today has been long and I'm tired and sore and cold (Pennsylvania is cold in February, especially right after a snow storm, spread the news).

Ace got a load today that we drove 20 miles, maybe? Before he got 5 miles from the shipper, we got a call that he needed to head back. But we had to wait, somewhat, for a call from his dispatcher (because the first call was from someone else) and now we've been waiting for over an hour for getting into a door for them to unload the load they just put on the trailer and...

It's nothing big. We're getting paid well for that short trip. But it just made half the day feel pointless and I already had problems with not wanting to get up this morning.

I just want to wake up and not feel tired. That is where I'm at today.

Tomorrow, we get to be up and have the truck moving by about 6 am to make it to our next pick up on time. And I'm feeling like I've not been getting enough sleep for the past month (I really have, but it's been not so great sleep). And it sucks and I'm whining and feeling annoyed about that.

Things are going well. This is a small issue and I'm not getting depressed over it. I'm just ready for the day to be done. Because I think Ace is coming down with my cold/sinus gunk/whatever, which strangle came back when we got to colder weather. And I just need one of us to be okay right now and it doesn't seem like it's going to be me.

I'm just glad I have my blanket to wrap around me and help me feel like something is going... at least not completely pear-shaped. And I'll get to lay down and sleep soon, I know. I'm just ready to be past soon (and to have some heat warming my toes).

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Literary Tattoos on the Brain

I've been fascinated with literary tattoos lately. And this is unsurprising, seeing as I am usually reading several books at once and stories with meaning stick with me and if I enjoy (or don't absolutely hate) getting tattoos, I may consider one someday.

I, somewhat recently, read a book about literary tattoos. Mostly it was looking at pictures of tattoos, but still. It was fascinating. Some people explained their tattoos and some people didn't. One woman wrote a story (or was in the process of writing a story) by having words tattooed on people. Some were tattoos that related to writing more than just being about a specific book. Most of the tattoos were quotes.

I'm not sure there has been something that I've read that I want to put permanently on my body. That, however, is not necessarily going to be true forever.

So far, I'm planning on getting "I am stronger than I think" and "It gets better" tattooed on my wrists (possibly in white). As reminders to myself that dark days don't last and I will get through them. Ace and I have talked about getting matching tattoos, and even potentially picked out what we're getting. Of course, if I don't like the process, that will put a damper on the idea.

I've never thought of myself as someone who gets tattoos, and yet I'm considering getting not just one, but three.

Anyway, none of this is set in stone. But I am fascinated by why people choose the tattoos they choose.

And now I think it's past time I went to bed.

Friday, January 24, 2014


One of the things Gretchen Rubin wrote about in The Happiness Project was being grateful. Between that and the book Ace and I are reading about marriage (not the best book as we keep disagreeing with things said in it and our marriage is doing quite well, thank you), I have been thinking about how much I am grateful for how good a husband Ace is.

And they have caused me to reflect that I say "Thank you" to Ace regularly for him holding open doors for me. He prefers it when I let him get doors and I'm happy to let him, as I like it when he holds open doors. I almost always say "Thank you" and I always mean it when I say it. Sometimes it probably sounds like a subconscious statement, but it never is. I always appreciate his being willing to hold a door like a gentleman.

It's also caused me to reflect on the other things about Ace that I'm thankful for. The man takes such good care of me, even when I'm being cranky or grouchy. He cares and it shows. He cares more about our relationship and my well being than I sometimes give him credit for. Mostly when I'm being cranky or grouchy.

I have a wonderful husband who makes it easy to be thankful that he's in my life. He lets me tease him all the time and while he often teases me back, he never gets his feelings hurt by my teasing (not that I'm malicious). He is my hero. And he's very easy to get along with.

So, I am thankful for Ace. And I love him. Enough to make stupid jokes about silly books. And have serious talks about serious subjects. And to make plans for the future.

Thank you for being the best husband ever, Ace. Hopefully I'm at least as good a wife.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happiness Is...

I am currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (along with 2 other books that I'm reading out loud to Ace as he drives and we're talking about). And it's got me thinking about what I can do to appreciate my life more as it stands.

I started reading it right now because there are several people's blogs talking about depression, and it was getting me depressed (Not that they shouldn't talk about depression, because they should talk about whatever they want to talk about. I just needed to focus on something else after that, and happiness seemed like a good option.). So, I decided to focus on something positive.

It's one of the first nonfiction books I've read in a while. Ace and I have been reading through fiction, which is wonderful, but I like nonfiction too. So, I'm in the middle of 3 nonfiction books at once. (Nicely, they are about 3 different topics, so they are easy to keep straight.)

I'm not unhappy. And I know I could probably be happier in general, but I'm pretty happy with life right now. Things are going well. I can replace my worn out clothes. My bills are paid and we're starting to not feel like our finances are tight. We're going to be paid on over 4,000 miles next week. Life is good.

But I'm doing better emotionally because I am focused on happier things than depression. I pulled myself back to the shore before it could get away from me. I'm doing good.

I am planning on spending some time looking into poetry after I finish The Happiness Project. I've never really appreciated poetry, and I'm going to work on seeing if I can find poems that I like (Besides The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, which has always appealed to me, despite the somewhat dark and depressing subject matter. Maybe it's the meter?).

I'm going to work on growing some. Exploring things. I may not ever love poetry, but I bet I can find some poems that speak to me. And worse case scenario, I waste a few days and find that poetry is truly not something I like. There are worse prospects.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Can I Just Sleep for the Next Week?

I am having a weird day today. I'm not depressed, I don't think. I'm just... emotional? Or something. Other people's emotions are hitting me harder than normal. And I'm way too tired for someone who got plenty of sleep last night.

I am struggling with my own emotions some too.

My grandma is not as well as I'd like (not that I can do anything about that). My laptop, the one that my brain keeps telling me is mine, is supposed to be fixed and waiting in Tulsa, but I don't know when I'll get it (and then I have to add stuff to it all over again).

And people are fighting depression, and I get it and I love the posts about it, but it sort of feels like those posts are dragging me down, unintentionally. And I'd hate to find that talk about depression, even talk about things to pull you out of it, gets me depressed. That undertow would be nasty.

I am finally, after our time off, past my cold. And things are going well, financially, for the first time in years. The laptop thing? A minor blip for a few days. Seriously, we had to watch our spending from Monday until today, and now our bank account looks really nice again. It's been way to long since we've had that kind of financial security.

So, I'm having a weird day. The shoreline is not as steady as I'd like, but I can still see it. I'm not fighting an undertow. And I'm being cautious to keep that from happening.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

(I'm) Colorful

I once had someone tell me that she liked my clothes because I wore lots of colored shirts and she had gotten in the habit of only wearing black and white shirts because of something her ex-mother-in-law had said. That's been in my mind lately, for a good reason.

This past weekend, Ace and I were off the truck for some home time. Which in this case was us sitting in a hotel about three miles from his company's yard and trying to relax/get some things accomplished. One if the things we did was buy me some new clothes. It's been a while since I've done more than replace socks, jeans, shoes, and underwear. My long sleeve shirts show that they've been worn for most of the last decade.

Most of my shirts are very colorful. I like wearing bright, somewhat bold colors. Not because I just love being looked at, but because I like color. Despite the colorful clothes, I usually do a good job of blending into the background when I want. I am content with this, because I usually prefer not being the center of attention. But I like colors and I'm not afraid to wear them.

This extends to nail polish, when I actually wear it. I usually don't wear nail polish, mostly because I'm too lazy to mess with it most of the time and partially because I get annoyed when it starts chipping (which is always way to quickly for my tastes). But when I do go for nail polish, it isn't usually in pinks or reds. I like blue or green or purple or black (from time to time on the black).

One of the things I got was a second hoodie. The one I've been wearing for the last several years is grey. It's a nice, neutral color and I know it goes with everything. My new hoodie is green. It's bold and probably will clash with something at some point, but so far it's been fine (of course, so far I haven't worn red). It's mostly for me to wear when I need to wash the grey hoodie. But I kind of like the bolder color. It's nice in a different sort of sense.

I am M.A. Smith, and I like bold colors. And that is awesome.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

An Update Mostly on Laptops

The good news is that it turns out that Ace and I had to share a laptop for very little time. And now we'll have a back up laptop if something happens.

The other good news is that even with the hotel, car rental, laptop, clothes (oh yeah, I've got new bits to my wardrobe), and food (for the hotel and the truck), we still have money in our account!

The only bad news is that Ace had to contact his old trucking company to get them to mail out his last paycheck to our mailbox, which was slightly annoying. But they owe him money, which is better than the alternative.

We did have a bit of a misunderstanding with the rental car company about how much car insurance was needed, but we got that straightened out and they didn't charge us extra for my one day of driving it (they were originally going to do that). So, that was wonderful and helped us afford the back up laptop.

I've still got to figure out if this laptop is my laptop or the one I mailed off is and which one will be the back up laptop. But that is much less annoying.

Each laptop is made by a different company and looks different. We kept meaning to get two of the same, but it kept not happening.

So, now we have 3 laptops for the 2 of us, except one is mailed off to Houston to be fixed. But that will be back soon enough.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Because Of Course It Is

In an effort to prove that Ace and I really shouldn't share a laptop, my nice, new, under-a-month-old laptop decided that it's hard drive should fail. So, we're sharing a laptop for at least a few days until we can see if my old laptop can used with a monitor and my new laptop can have it's hard drive replaced (that should take about two weeks, because of mailing the laptop off and getting it mailed back).

Thankfully, it should be a fairly quick fix once we mail the laptop off. Whee.

Thank God for my smart phone. It will help tremendously.

I love my husband, who spent over an hour on the phone with tech support (staffed in India) to get this issue as resolved as it already is. The man is awesome. (They kept trying to say they could send a tech out within two to three days, which is nice, but impossible for us on the road. They finally decided that it could be mailed off and they will mail us a box to mail it to them in. Hopefully they got our address right.)

Life is... well, better than it could be. That backup laptop is sounding better and better by the hour.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I'm Still Alive Even If My Body Says It's Not So Sure

So, it's a new year. And I haven't posted in a month.

December was kind of crappy for me.

My laptop got broken (the screen did) and had to be replaced (which it has). But I don't have everything set up on the new laptop yet because I don't have an unlimited internet connection and all my game cds.

I got a cold that has continued to last for over a week. Right now I have the most pathetic cough when I don't have medication in me. On the plus side, that is about the sum of what is left of the cold.

We had a terrible snow/ice storm pop up when we were on our way to home time and visiting my dad leading to a delay on getting to see them. And the roads in northwest Arkansas do not get plowed nearly thoroughly enough, which made travel slightly tricky once we could get there.

I had meant to post, right about the time my laptop broke. But then it broke and I had to share a laptop with Ace for about a week and we both hated it (we cannot share a laptop, that much is obvious). (We may be getting another laptop as a back up laptop in the nearish future... because we can't do the sharing a laptop thing again and that would keep that from happening.)

And throughout all of that, it was actually not that crappy of a month. Mostly because the stress of dealing with Ace's job was about half that of what it was in the past. Even when we have had stressful situations, I've been past the annoyance with his new company in a matter of hours instead of still shaking my head about it all.

It helps that we had the money to buy a new laptop within a week. Without hurting anything else in our budget. It helps that any annoyances are usually derived from having to drive back highways more than we had been. Which is only annoying when I'm on my period (which seems to be when they are the most popular for us to drive, oddly enough).

Basically, I'm complaining, but my life is actually better. Verifiably so.

Now to just clear up that jury duty issue...