a bitchy fucking post AKA me in public with strangers

IMG_8727ONE:

A couple days ago I was waiting at the bus stop in this hot summer heat. I was wearing the dress pictured above and my hair was up, and I was feeling like quite a lady, actually. Girly shoes, cute bag, the whole bit.

I’ve been working on not having a panic attack every day on my way home. For those of you who don’t know I do get anxiety pretty badly in public places. The trip home is always when it gets me the worst, after a long day of being around people and knowing I’m going to have to be stuck in close proximity once again to screaming children, drunk and dirty construction workers, scab-picking hobos and pushy old ladies. I get a stomach ache nearly every single day on my way home, no lie. I thought it was the food I was eating, then I thought it might have been my restrictive tights squishing my guts but after years of experiments with diet and clothing options I’ve found the only common denominator in everything I do and getting stomach pains is my proximity to a stressful bus ride.

So each day I try and talk myself out of getting anxious. Don’t worry, me. Those people aren’t staring at you. Don’t worry me, that guy won’t try to talk to you. Don’t worry me, that guy isn’t coming over here to look at your legs. Don’t worry, me. He’s not standing directly beside you on purpose even though there’s a ton of room everywhere else.

Oh wait, yeah. You’re being “hunted”.

I call it that because it literally makes me feel like some slow-moving animal is sniffing me out of the pack of bus patrons, circling, about to make some kind of move. It can’t be only me who has experienced “the hunt”, I’m sure.

It’s that thing where you’re standing still out in public and a stranger sees you from afar and decides he/she wants to talk to you. For me, personally, it’s always men or crazy people who want to talk to me, and 95% of the time it’s when my tattoos are showing.

I *hate* being “hunted”. I can see it coming ten minutes before the person even decides to make a move. I see them do that weird stare-from-afar thing out of the corner of my eye. Then comes the oh so casual walk-over. Oh they just happen to be standing directly beside me? What a coincidence. It’s the equivalent to the yawn-and-stretch move in a movie theater. So. Obvious.

Then they don’t give a shit if I’m reading a book or not looking at them or listening to a super interesting podcast, they just start talking about their opinion of me in a condescending manner, like I should be flattered that they took the time out of their day to talk to me. It’s never like “hey, want to talk about interesting books or the local sports team?” It’s never a normal girl wondering where I got my shoes or a tourist asking if I have seen their bus go by.

It doesn’t matter if the person says a nice thing or a mean thing to me if I don’t want to talk. Because first of all, did I fucking ask them for their opinion? No. Second, I don’t feel like having a conversation so I am not going to be forced into one. Third, chatting me up about my tattoos is the ultimate cop-out of an opening line. It’s like if you see a super pregnant lady down the street and for some reason feel the need to walk up to her and be like “when are you due?” and then talk about your epesiotomy while she’s just trying to use the bank machine or something.

I’m a grown-ass woman, I should be able to just sit in peace without a bunch of pseudo-thugs and misinformed middle aged men trying to chat me up.

The guy in question that day, he was way down the sidewalk at a busy bus stop. I was sitting on a little ledge on the side of a bank, just waiting for my bus and listening to Nick Cave after a long hot day at work. Even though I was looking to the left, waiting for my bus, I could see him to my right doing the stare thing. He was kind of dorky looking, mid-20s in age. He had a new-ish looking sleeve of mediocre tattoo work and was wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, just dying for somebody to notice.

He slowly took two steps towards me, then hesitated. I pulled my iPod out of my bag and looked at my music selection intently. I wanted to look as busy as possible. Do not talk to me. I am busy. Do not talk to me. I am not interested.

Two more steps and he was in front of me but a sidewalk’s width away. I turned up the volume, changed the song and looked for my bus.

He stopped, just standing there, facing me, staring. It’s so awkward when you know somebody’s just waiting to catch your eye and you don’t want them to. I didn’t glance up from my iPod again, even though I wanted to see if my bus was coming. I didn’t want to accidentally send some kind of “come hither” signal over there.

After a few more moments of awkwardly standing in front of me, he ever so casually walked over and stood beside where I was sitting, propping his elbows up on the ledge and leaning back. It probably looked very cool in his mind.

“I like your tattoos.” He said, loudly, staring at my legs.

I didn’t acknowledge his existence. At all. Oh I heard him, and I saw him, but I just did not care. I wanted to say “Yeah? Who asked you?” Or use a super sarcastic tone, saying something like “Oh thank god, I did this all to impress you.” but I do have a bit of social grace engrained in my very being, and I could not bring myself to be *that* rude.

Anyway, I’m sure he’d have turned even something like that into an invitation to tell me about his “ink”. A lot of the time I feel like guys like him just want to talk to me just to let me know that hey, they also have tattoos so. Yeah. I guess we should probably make out now or something. I don’t know.

It felt really good to just ignore him. It turned into a really awkward moment … for him, not me. As far as he knew I didn’t even know he was there, but probably six or seven people standing around definitely saw the exchange. I’m not sure if it’s because my feelings are turned right off sometimes lately or what but I just wanted to show him that you can’t walk up to whomever you please and force them into talking about you and I didn’t care how embarrassing it was for him. Come on, he did’t want to talk to ME, he wanted to talk about the way I look and then segue into talking about himself and how cool he is.

I’ve just had enough of those conversations to last me a lifetime.

Just then, my bus came. Turns out it was his bus too. So I pretended it wasn’t mine until he got on and went upstairs. He actually waited a beat to see if I was getting on, too, looking back from the doorway. I got on at the last moment and sat downstairs near a screaming child. With a horrible stomach ache and a racing heart. Because being hunted is not good for anxiety, I tell you h’wut.

hwut

(me)

For comparison’s sake, I’ll tell you about a great experience I had, where the exchange was a pure compliment and the person didn’t expect anything back. The guy was…let’s say “rough and tumble” in appearance. And he was with his friends and his girl, but he didn’t try and put me down to show off or anything like that. He just said this:

kjhkhh

And he said it like he meant it. And that? Made my day. That’s a true compliment.

When I don’t want to talk, but you go in anyway with a false compliment and immediately segue into talking about yourself, you are a bore and are not respecting my privacy.

No thanks.

TWO:

Here is a letter I wrote to the new Indian restaurant just down the street from my work. They have not responded as of yet, and I will not go back until they make this right. If they don’t then they’ve lost my business forever.

Hi there. I’m writing to you from the tattoo shop down the road, as I’d like you to know my two experiences with your staff.

Yesterday we ordered a few small items for takeout. A woman (I think she might be a manager?) answered the phone and was very polite, and also helped me when I came by to pick it up. The service inside the restaurant by her was great. There was a young man working there as well who walked straight up to me while I was waiting for my food and asked me for a discount on tattoos. Not the most professional behaviour but whatever, I get rude questions all the time in public as I’m pretty heavily tattooed so I brushed it off. I paid with no problem and left. Everybody said the food was delicious.

Today one of the tattoo artists was very busy and asked me to call and order her a naan. I do this for the artists quite frequently and as such have developed a pretty good relationship with many of the nearby restaurant staff.

I called your place and a young-ish sounding man answered. I placed my order and before I could find out how much it was going to cost or when it would be ready he hung up on me. We all actually had a laugh at that, supposing he was very busy and forgot his manners.

I guessed that it would take around ten or fifteen minutes, and walked over there to pick up the food. There was a man standing out front who was very friendly (I guess the owner?) and I walked in to where the host was standing. He didn’t greet me at all, just stared. I said “Hi, I’m here to pick up a take-out order” and he walked straight to the back and got it, no smile or anything. (This was the same guy as yesterday who asked for a tattoo discount.)

I tried to pay with a $20 bill and he literally raised his voice at me, berating me, saying “YOU HAVE TO HAVE EXACT CHANGE” and was absolutely furious. He walked around very dramatically asking everybody in the restaurant if they had change for a $20 and finally another server came over. He also scolded me as if I did something wrong, saying I should pay with exact change. He handed me $15 even though my change was more than that, saying he’d give me the rest next time because they don’t have change.

I was so taken aback I didn’t say anything at the time, plus I’m not so great with being yelled at by complete strangers when I did nothing wrong, but I’ve been sitting here fuming about it for a couple hours.

First of all, even if this were a world in which patrons should always pay with exact change, maybe somebody should have told me how much the food was going to be instead of hanging up on me and expecting me to magically know the procedure.

Second, you cannot yell at customers or make them feel stupid. Ever. Period. Or hang up on them mid conversation.

Third, you should give your servers a big enough float to deal with big bills on the regular. This is a city full of rich people and tourists. They’re not all going to be carrying around exact change. I work with tattoo artists who use $50s and $100s regularly. I’m lucky she handed me a $20. This is not my problem. Go to the bank OR make it apparent that you have no change for some reason. Tell the people over the phone BEFORE they come pick up their orders. I do not think it’s unreasonable to expect you to be able to change any bill I bring in. Everybody else on the street can do it.

Fourth, you can’t say you’ll give somebody the rest of their change later. That’s not okay. That money belongs to the person I was picking up the lunch for, not you.

I really want to like you guys, but your staff is making it difficult to say the least. I really hope you take my criticism in a constructive manner, I know it’s in an aggressive tone but I am still very angry about what happened today. I can see by your Facebook wall I’m not the only one who has had a terrible experience lately.

Nova
Tattoo Zoo shop manager

THREE:

crackhead

Basic human kindness quiz: So say you see somebody in the street whose appearance you find, oh, I don’t know, revolting. For me, it’s skeleton-looking dirty stringy-haired crackheads who have obviously thrown away their lives to booze and drugs. What do you do?

A) Do nothing and keep on walking, pretending you don’t see them.

B) Give them a smile, they probably could use a stranger’s kindness.

C) SCREAM at them that they’re “fucking disgusting” while they’re standing at the bus stop minding their own business, until your friends have to literally drag you away, while everybody at the bus stop stares at you and the person you were screaming at.

This lady yesterday? She chose C.

Good times.

How to get rid of the ICSPA moneypak scam virus because now I’m like those hackers in the movie Hacker.

1995-hackers-movie-still-01I’m awesome at computers!!!!!!!!!

No. No I’m actually not. At all. In fact, I’d say I’m barely computer literate. I can follow directions when people tell me how to do things, I’m not afraid to look in the files on my computer or try things out, but I really know nothing about how it works. Like, how does a program do programmy things? What’s an internet?

I actually don’t know the difference between malware and a virus so I’m going to use the terms interchangeably in this post, if you can explain it to me like I’m six in the comments that would be greatly appreciated.

So here’s what happened. Yesterday morning I got up, and as part of my morning routine I turned on my laptop. I usually hit the power button, go make coffee, feed the dog and come back because it takes a few minutes to get going. Yesterday was no exception. I turned on the computer, left the room and came back…to a weird white screen I had never seen before.

And…it looked like this.

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(I found this pic on Google images, mine said $150 not $100)

So basically I had 45 heart attacks. If you don’t know, the RCMP is the federal and national police force of Canada. It’s like if an FBI warning popped up on an American’s computer. And my computer was completely locked on this screen, like I couldn’t get to my start menu, my desktop, nothing. I scanned it super quickly, saw the words “$250000 fine” “illegal” “child pornography” “zoophilia” and “deprivation of liberty” and then I guess my brain shut down for a moment. I turned off my computer by holding down the power button, let the dog in from his pee, and kind of freaked out for a bit.

Now, of course I was not viewing or distributing the files it was saying I was. And I’m the only person who uses this computer so that bit couldn’t be true. After a few moments of OMG NOOOOOO I’M GOING TO JAIL FOR SOME REASON I leveled out and thought “they must have made a huge mistake, I have to call them and fix this, I can’t pay a huge fine like that!!!” And I turned my laptop back on to find a contact number.

It turned on and went straight back to that screen. I decided to read the entire thing slowly and deliberately, to make sure I didn’t miss anything and to know exactly what it was saying I had done. And that’s when I noticed a few things that were a bit off about it. First of all, where that black box is with the handcuffs in the above image, it said my ISP address, the name of my service provider and my computer username (novaisawesome) but nowhere on the thing did it say my real name. You’d think any type of legal document dealy would have my name on it front and center, right?

Secondly, there was no contact information whatsoever.

Thirdly, and most importantly, at the bottom of the page, the font changed to some kind of comic sans type lime green lettering and said if I paid them $150 within 72 hours then the criminal charges would not be executed. Hm. Is that the same deal they offer to all child porn distributors? Oh just pay us a hundred bucks and we’ll forget everything, buddy! No worries mate!

IfiYs6wqlUul

So that made me suspicious. I went onto Ryan’s computer and googled the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance. It turns out it is a real thing, but on their front page it says:

The name of the ICSPA and various law enforcement agencies are being used in an attempt to trick citizens into making payment to criminal groups who are carrying out a ransomware scam.  Anyone who receives email communications to ‘release’ or ‘unblock’ their computer should report their concerns to their local police services and under no circumstances pay any money.  If you have received an email like this, your device is probably infected with malicious software.  You are advised to use a reputable computer repair facility to have your device disinfected, or use a reputable security product to do this for you.

Man, I felt so relieved, first of all. And then angry. Some stranger, somewhere in the world has created this sense of panic in thousands of people and in the same fell swoop, extorted money from them as well. I mean, if I were less of a critical thinker, I probably would have been scared enough to have just paid the $150. I have never ever been in a situation where I’ve thought to myself “oh shit, I’m in trouble with the law” like that and I never want to feel that way again. I would have done anything in those few minutes just to make it go away.

Anyway I didn’t have time to do anything about the virus just then, as Ryan had gotten home from his night shift and I had to get my clothes out of the bedroom before he went to bed. That whole scene tainted the entire day with an air of panic, it poisoned my blood. When I got home that night I was feeling tired and didn’t want to deal with all that computery business so I left it for this morning.

This is actually a really common virus, apparently. There are tons of YouTube videos and websites explaining how to get rid of it. I was on a mission pretty much as soon as I got up this morning and tried a bunch of things before one finally worked.

First I tried booting up in safe mode, with the intention of restoring my computer to an earlier date, but even in safe mode the fucking virus was blocking everything. I guess it just opens up in front of everything, so no matter what you do it’s there.

Then I tried unplugging the internet because one YouTuber said that the virus attaches itself to Internet Explorer, and then from there you can open up in Safe Mode and do whatever. So I unplugged every damn thing I could think of that would throw internet my way, restarted my computer in Safe Mode and…nope. Still there.

Then I tried following this guy through the steps of doing safe mode with command prompt and deleting a specific file name on the scary black screen, but my computer couldn’t find the file name, so I guess the guy in the video had a different virus than I did.

Then I tried to find out the damn name of my virus so I could delete it the same way that guy in the video did, but I had no idea how to do that so I gave up.

Then I took a break and had some breakfast. And went back onto YouTube and found another video that had a method that actually worked!

Here’s what finally ended up working for me (this is for Windows 7):

1. Restart computer. (Ctrl alt del still works with this virus you can do it that way, but if it doesn’t for whatever reason just hit the power button to turn it off and then back on again.)

2. Hit f8 a bunch of times as it’s restarting.

3. Select “safe mode with command prompt” using your arrow keys, then hit enter.

4. Don’t freak out when all you see is a black box with some computery writing stuff in it.

5. Don’t hit enter or anything, just type where the cursor already is.

6. Type NET USER /ADD USERNAME PASSWORD

7. Hit enter. It should say “command accepted” or something like that.

8. Type NET LOCALGROUP ADMINISTRATORS USERNAME /ADD

9. Hit enter. It should say the same thing again. “command accepted” or whatever.

10. Do control alt delete and restart normally.

11. Then it’ll restart and you’ll have created another account.

12. The username is USERNAME and the password is PASSWORD. Sign in.

13. Ta daaa your computer is working. Now do something to get rid of the virus.

14. I downloaded malwarebytes and ran it the quick scan, and then deleted all viruses.

15. It said I had to restart to get rid of the viruses when it was done, so I did.

16. Magic. Except this malwarebytes program is a bit annoying now, it keeps telling me it’s blocking things every five seconds. I just right clicked on it and selected “hide icon and notifications” so hopefully that helps. At least its little messages aren’t popping up anymore.

I really did feel all cool when I was typing in the commands, haha. I was like “man I wish someone was filming me and playing techno music right now”.

I’ve only been using my computer for about half an hour since I did that, but so far so good. I was so bummed out yesterday. I didn’t like the thought of having to go into a repair shop and pay like a hundred bucks for them to fix it. Especially if they weren’t familiar with this virus, because then I’d have to be all like “no, I swear I didn’t distribute animal porn, it’s not real!” you know?

Anyway so that was … a learning experience. Good times.

Any advice for a passionless lump?

I have this total writer’s block going on lately so I’ve been filling the gap here with many links and many cute pictures of my dog. It just seems like I don’t have the heart or the stories to be interesting.

I don’t know anything about anything anymore. I used to be so passionate about linguistics, and then photography, and then learning Spanish, and then writing… now I don’t really care about any of it. I still find it all vaguely interesting when I come across something but the spark that drives me to learn more is gone and nothing has replaced it yet.

So if I care about no particular thing…what do I write about for you all to read?

Not my home life or relationships or friends or gossip or sex or the kids or work, because I feel like that’s a bit TMI for the internet. I have no hobbies or outside activities that occupy my thoughts. I haven’t worked on any art projects or crafts or pieces of writing in a long time.

I watch a lot of TV shows and hang out with my dog and Ryan, but I don’t feel like there’s much there to say a lot of the time.

I don’t know. Just having one of those lulls in life where I just don’t feel interesting enough to talk about it. I’m not sad about it exactly, I feel content and quiet and stable. But I’m also disappointed in my lack of passionate gumption.

internet job scams ruined my evening

I don’t really understand how this works, maybe one of you out there could enlighten me on the strange wide world of online job searches.  This one sounded perfect. It would only be 20-30 hours maximum a week, real-time meaning-for-meaning transcription of college courses for deaf/otherwise hard of hearing people.The hours would be awesome for filling up the winter months in the slow tourist season, and I’d get to hang out learning stuff for free all day long. 
Right? Awesome. 
I usually assume transcription jobs are fake when I find them online because you always need to have taken a course … online … on a sketchy as hell website. And it’s always like seven hundred bucks. And then the work isn’t even guaranteed afterward. And all the online reviews are fake too.
But this. It was actually a job posting on a real website of a real college. They said they’d pay for candidates to take the course and at the end there’s (probably?) jobs at the college. I emailed the contact people that were listed in the job posting asking what I’d have to do to get this too-good-to-be-true job and one woman responded with an email that linked me to a website. 
*cough*this one*cough*
Okay. It looks like every other scammy transcription school website I’ve seen. But real people in a real college sent me there. I think??? 
Anyway so I went through the motions of creating an account and verifying it with my email addresss and I read the first few pages of instructions. Which were kind of … off.
They are supposedly looking for well-educated people (because you’d need to have at least some computer knowledge, understand some or most of the course material you are transcribing, as well as understand grammar and be able to concentrate well in distracting scenarios), yet the site was totally written for dummies. I mean, it explained that you should read all the directions (duh), what links in a sidebar do (double duh), and it said things like “The typing test is what you will be doing next. This test is really hard. You may have taken an online typing test before but this one will be even more difficult.” bla bla bla that’s not an actual quote but you get the picture. 
So…after reading this I was feeling pretty suspicious. But I read everything. Including the one small sentence buried in a mountain of text stating that “graduates” of this course would of course not have to pay their own tuition if they had a sponsor but they would have to buy some type of software and provide their own computers. 
Hm. What software? And more importantly, how much does it cost?
I clicked around a bit.
Yeah. Three hundred bucks. 

The one rule I know about internet scams is never give anybody any money so this is a huge flashing red light to me. SCAM SCAM SCAM

But then I was already all set-up and pumped to do a typing test, and that part is free, so I thought “what the heck” and clicked through to the test. The site crashed and said I needed to download a specific Java update to continue. When I tried to enable that specific Java dealy my computer warned me that it was known to cause problems with security and is “unstable”.

Well that was the final straw. I closed the entire site, and emailed the woman who told me she’d be my sponsor and who had linked to the site. I asked, first of all, if the college would be buying the $300 software after I graduated and secondly whether or not they’d heard of other people having security issues with that version of Java. I asked politely but as I was typing it I was thinking “I’m on to you”.
Anyway I don’t expect to hear back. Oh, also, as I was writing that email I noticed her phone number in the letterhead is a Vancouver number. Why would a college in Victoria (not a sister of any larger university) be hiring from anywhere in Vancouver? 
Anyway the entire thing reeks of a scam or at least it feels somehow wrong, and I’m very disappointed because I went so far as to fantasize about a job in a college, doing transcription work, attending interesting classes and all that jazz. Bla bla bla whatever. 
I don’t know…
Here are some outtakes of that first photo.