Friday, May 29, 2009

Star Trek: Sylar as Spock

Google tells me that I'm about a year and a half behind on this, but I like the fact that I didn't know this going into the film as then I got to experience the unsettling realization firsthand.

Sylar, the serial killer in Heros season 1 (played by Zachary Quinto) is now Spock in the new Star Trek film. Ok, Sylar isn't there but those Quinto eyes have an intensity that both Sylar and Spock share, and underscore the uncomfortable fact that the characters are two sides of the proverbial coin. An ambiguity that the always brilliant J. J. Abrams seems to thrive in.

According to this article
Heros creator Tim Kring thought it was cool too. It is a fun circularity as Sulu shows up in Heros.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Check Fraud

I've been waiting to post about this until I had some resolution, and now I do.

In early April, I received an email from the bank saying that they'd transferred money to cover an overdraft. I knew there was enough money in the account so I immediately checked and saw two charges totaling $800 to two different Walmarts. I never go to Walmart so I called the bank and we went through the process of filing a report which involved answering a series of questions that basically said I had nothing to do with the charges and I was not involved in some elaborate, impressive sounding theft conspiracy involving buying things and then walking away with the merchandice while claiming fraud (people do this? yeesh.)

That all completed I had two incident numbers and a promise of 10 days to resolve it.
(though it all worked out in the end.) Since they weren't sure if it was just a mistake or actual fraud, they suggested leaving the account as it is for now while they check. To cover some real checks I had coming in I transferred money to cover it. That was a mistake

The next day I checked the account and the balance looked similar except there was a minus sign in front of it. Hmmm. Checking further showed that evil check kiter had written 1300+ to Nordstrom Rack on two different visits. I didn't even know it was possible to spend that much at Nordstrom Rack. The reason the account balance looked similar was a coincidence. They had sent it into the red to nearly the same amount it was in the black yesterday. $#@%@#!!! I could see the check images and they were completely different, but had my name and address on them and my account number. I had the actual blank checks of the check numbers they had chosen. Peeved I called the bank again and this time they said I should freeze the account and go to the branch and open a new account. I told them all the checks that were outstanding. They told me that electronic access would still work but only those checks would go through.

So I went and opened a new account, and told the 5 parties who had the checks. All but the Forest Service said they'd destroy them and I wrote them new ones - the Forest Service had already been sent off and later cleared.

Wells Fargo sent me an affadaviat to fill out. I did and on form they asked my who I thought might be responsible. They're actually asking me to speculate? Wahoo, because I sure had a very good idea who it might be. You see I usually only write checks to friends and dog agility orgs. I have a long history with all these folks and I trust them. The only unknowns were the out of town Forest Service, and a relatively large local Dr's office who I had never been to before. Given that our steroidal shopper was very local and the Forest Service is in Bishop, I had a nice big target to point to and I did so and said why.

Also in my report, just to make things plainly obvious, I included printouts of the cashed checks and my completely different looking blank checks with the exact same number.

To be continued...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Self Sabotage

I keep having to remind myself how much I dislike hiking by myself. I forget. I start thinking about how fun it will be to climb something and someone else isn't around who wants to go, and when I go and do it I find myself pretty much instantly now saying "I hate this" It's the weirdest thing - a complete cognitive disconnect. I wonder if this is what childbirth is like? No, this isn't even close, but the crave/hate phenomena seems to come up in a lot of ways. Addiction comes to mind but I don't have an overpowering urge to hike, I just like to explore, but don't like to feel like I *have* to do it alone.

One issue is that after snow, dirt just isn't any fun at all. Climbing snow is much more work, but snow is much more fun. It's prettier, and it often doesn't hurt when you fall on it. (Though granted it can be cold, and it can be hazardous in different ways than dirt and rock.) My last snowshoeing day trip I was fine, my last time on dirt at Mt Diablo (Eagle Peak) I was miserable even though everything went well.

I'm also setting myself up to fail on Shasta and I'm not sure what's going on. I'm not getting enough time to train and am unwilling to make more time. I even paid a trainer to design a perfect strength workout for me, but the best I can do is once a week instead of twice. At least I am exercising in some fashion pretty much every day, but it's not likely to be enough. My goal at Shasta is pretty modest. Get further than Lake Helen as that's the furthest I've been so far. This is totally within my grasp as I've been up to Helen at least twice and could have gone further, but wanted to glissade. Now that I've spent a couple of winters skiing I can probably resist the perfect glissade and continue on.

But I'm having a major attitude struggle and after this climbing season I really do need to take a break from it. (It really is time to get that road bike and deal with my hip injury). Though I fear pausing climbing as I will be 50 in a few years and while people climb well into their 70s, it's harder, and I fear my MS symptoms coming back and interfering with things like walking. Of course, this worry and stress doesn't help preventing my MS symptoms. They say that MS really isn't stress related (an old disproven theory was that MS was stress related), but the more stressed I am the worse my symptoms are. Within 3 hours of learning that my beloved dog Cali had a spleen full of tumors and had to have it removed right then, I went half blind in one eye. This wasn't psychosomatic, a later MRI showed damage to the optic nerve. Fortunately, I recovered from that, but the lesson for me is pretty clear. Beat up on yourself at your peril. Of course, then I start beating up on myself for beating up on myself. I'm so good at this. Sigh.