Panama (spwebdesign) wrote,

Just shoot me now!

I am beginning to believe that New England weather is the root of all evil. At least in the tropics the rain has enough courtesy to come down from the sky like Niagara Falls for anywhere from half a minute to an hour and then be done. Here the rain lingers non-stop for days and causes all sorts of problems.

Tubby's friend George and I are planning festivities for Tubby's 30th birthday on Friday. The main event is a gathering at Jillian's starting around 8:30 or 9:00. (Y'all are welcome to join us, if you so desire.) We'll be joining up with a larger group of people celebrating two other birthdays that occur this weekend from Tubby's circle of friends. This event is Tubby-approved. What Tubby doesn't know, though, is that there is a pre-party at his place around 6:30 for his closer friends. So George and I have been calling each other to coordinate plans, and he always seems to call me from a different phone.

I have also been inquiring about maid services to tidy up the place in preparation for the pre-party, so I have been fielding calls from various maid services.

The point is, my phone has been ringing a lot in the past day with calls from unrecognized numbers. And every time I get one of these call, I get all tense and nervous, worried that it's the owner of the car I dented yesterday.

I know it's not right, but I don't want to pay for the damage to that car. I left my name and phone number on his windshield out of a sense of obligation, but I admit that I hope the rain caused the ink to bleed, rendering the number illegible, or that the driver got in the car and turned on the wipers, knocking my business card off the car, before discovering the crease in his fender. I know, I know, that's wrong and not very responsible at all. I need to own up to my mistakes. Blah, blah, blah. I just can't afford my own life right now, much less someone else's autobody work.

Speaking of which, don't any of you get married anytime soon. What with travel out of state to Dan and Keya's wedding, the hotel room, the tux rental, the wedding gift, etc., my expenses for this month have been crazy. So, I can't afford for any of the rest of my friends to get married for a while.

Meanwhile, karma is getting me back but good! Y'all already know about the lockout last night. There's more.

On my way to work this morning, I felt that I'd better turn my headlights on. I could see others fine, but I wanted to make sure they saw me. However, recently I've been leaving my headlines on if I turned them on during the day. Luckily, this hasn't happened in a situation where I've been away from the truck for long. Nonetheless, it is a troubling precedent. So, as I turned the headlights on this morning, I said outloud to myself, several times, "Just don't forget to turn them off when you park." Guess what? Uh-huh.

I meant to be productive at work today. Instead, I spent a chunk of the day pulling off a really cool April Fool's Day joke. About a month ago, one of the lab technician's, Xi, had her wallet stolen from the lab on a Sunday. The ensuing investigation did not turn up much, but there was a very fuzzy picture of the thief trying to use her ATM card. One of her labmates, Ross, asked me to write an official-looking letter telling her that the thief had been identified (as Ross). I suggested that, instead, I take a picture of him inserting a debit card into an ATM, doctor it up so that the film quality is really grainy and so that it might look like it was taken by a security camera, and then attach it to a fake e-mail from some random security officer.

Here is the fake e-mail:

Subject: Stolen Wallet, Incident Report #674QBC71
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 2004 14:04:10 -0500

RE: stolen wallet

Dear Ms. Sun:

There is new evidence in the case of your stolen wallet. Fleet Financial Services has provided
us with a photograph taken of an individual attempting to use your debit card at its Fleet's ATM
located at 720 Albany Street. The picture quality is very grainy, but we were able to enhance
it using our DigiClear technology. If you are able to identify the subject in the picture, it
would provide a lead that could enable us to close your case.

Please contact me at 617-638-2677 if you have any further information or have any questions.
Thank you.

Investigator Josh Inyoo
BUMC Security Department

And here is the attached photo, titled (to look more "official") ATM-Flt-720Albany-022904-135927.jpg:

She couldn't open the attachment at first because I made a small mistake in the MIME SMTP headers. So she actually called the phone number from the fake e-mail ... a real phone number. Of course, Security had never heard of Josh Inyoo and either did not realize the significance of the name or deliberately decided to string Xi along. So Xi replied to the fake e-mail. Her labmate Kathleen rushed into the office to notify me of developments. I rushed to put together a "reply" to her reply, hoping I could get the corrected attachment to her before she received the bounced message. She got the bounced message first and began started to suspect that someone was playing a joke on her. But when she got the fake reply, she wasn't sure anymore. Again, she couldn't get the attachment open. However, I had included instructions in the reply to have her contact someone in her IT department if she still couldn't open the photo, so she solicited my help. I'm surprised I was able to keep a straight face as I explained how MIME attachments work, how some browsers couldn't handle them, and how I intended to help her open her attachment.

Her reaction, when she finally saw the photo, was priceless, and her entire lab had grins on their faces the rest of the day.

I left the office at a quarter to 6. I was parked on the roof of the garage, about as far from the elevator as possible. I decided to jog rather than walk through the rain. As I trotted along I started humming the theme from Chariots of Fire. I turned the corner as I hummed the climax, and a gust of wind bellowed out my jacket. Very dramatic! So I had a grin on my face as I climbed into the truck, stuck my key in the ignition, turned it, and...


So much for not forgetting to turn off my lights. I called AAA. Second time in two days -- that's gotta be a record for me. It took me 10 minutes to get through. Figures! It's been raining since Wednesday, so everyone is out crashing their cars and getting towed. When I finally got through to someone, I was informed that my wait would be ninety minutes.

I decided to call Campus Security. I figured if they could get out there sooner and give me a jump, I could cancel the AAA call.

Security said they could be out there in 10 minutes. Then they called back to say their jumper kit was defective, but that someone from the parking garage would be up to help me in a few minutes. Forty minutes later I called back. Another half hour, and still nothing. However, security was telling me that the parking guy had claimed to have come looking for me twice...which of course is bullshit, or I would have been out of there much earlier; the guy just didn't want to get wet. Security finally showed up an hour and 45 minutes after I called them the first time. They sent a van to the garage to make sure I wasn't some April Fool's prank that kept calling about an imaginary jumpstart. The officer told me to go down to the lobby, where he'd meet me in a minute, to fetch the parking guy with the jumper kit. When I got to the lobby, I got a call from AAA informing me that their guy was on site. I went back outside and asked the guy to drive to the roof where my truck was. Then I went inside and, with the security officer and the parking guy in tow, took the elevator to the roof. The race was on! We beat AAA to the roof, and my car was running within a minute. I started driving down, stopping on the third floor to let the AAA guy, who was crawling up the garage at a snail's pace, know that I was all set.

I spent the drive home trying to see. I've learned I can either keep my windshield defrosted or I can keep all my other windows clear, but not both. And I can't be constantly wiping glass while I drive. I opted for a clear windshield. That only helped marginally. See, Massachusetts does not use reflective paint to paint markings on its roads. Nor does it use those raised little bumps other places use. So, when it is dark and there is inclement weather, it's anybody's guess where the lanes really are.

But I got home safely despite everything. And I got to listen to a wonderful violin concerto on the way home. And when I got home I sang splendidly for a couple of hours. So, all is well that ends well...but this rain better stop soon, dammit!
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