Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Through the Looking Glass

I arrived home the other night, from a surprisingly delightful evening at my parents. The old man and I had to play a round of Dr. Mario before heading to bed, and then as usual, we had to check our email; so goes the ritual.

As I made my way across the room primarily unscathed and sat before the monitor, waiting because our computer might as well be as old as a Commodore 64, I noticed a rock in the middle of the floor. My better half has a tendency to find things in nature that he wants to paint, brings them home and then does nothing with them; I figured this was one of those items.

Or so I thought until I noticed a trail of glass patterning a spray from the window in all directions. I glanced at the window to find a couple broken slats in the mini blinds. That's right, some bum (presumably, I can't discount that I pissed someone off) picked up a rock (it doesn't help that the outside of our property is lined with them) and launched it through our window with enough force to break the screen, both window panes and forcefully rip the slats of our mini blinds.

Despite the amazing feats the CSI team is able to accomplish, the police could offer nothing except a suggestion that we get our windows fixed as soon as possible. Plural, yes. While waiting for the blue man group we discovered that both our street facing windows were smashed by rocks.

What a friendly hello! Or maybe, I have a secret admirer that missed the lesson about throwing pebbles to alert your love interest, not ginormous stones.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Graffiti

Everyday I walk by the Hostel on 18th. Everyday I look at the massive 6'x10' sign that reads: OBAMA and some gibberish.

Well it reads: GIBBERISH and some other gibberish.

What I find both humorous and telling is that since the first day this sign was hung out to dry, it was painted with thick sweeping white strokes of graffiti. Since day one, others have added to the art by offering prostitutes phone numbers in the big letter of O, drawings of private body parts in B, offensive four letter words in A, pictures of lude acts in M, and gang poetry in the final A, not to mention a plethora of other choice narrative throughout the sign.

Isn't it funny that this sign represents Obama's entire political career? How he didn't do anything about crime rampant throughout Chicago? How he drove through the slums every day on his way to work, working tirelessly to do nothing whatsoever? How he is a dirty smoker pouring graffiti into his body daily? How he and his wife spout flem and diarrhea and bile every day of their waking lives?

I kind of like the sign now; it represents the truth.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Crosswalk x Deux

Hooooly Mackerel!

How many times do I have to explain how a crosswalk works? If you are driving a car and you encounter an intersection - stop. Put your foot on the brakes! If there is a person on the sidewalk, if there are white stripes on the concrete, and most importantly if there is someone in the middle of the street - don't take your foot off the brake. If you haven't stopped yet, and there is someone in the middle of the street - stop.

And that, people, is how a crosswalk works!

I was crossing the street today - at a crosswalk, white stripes across the concrete - when an idiot driving his car through the intersection decides he doesn't need to stop. I'm on his side of the street, just a few steps into the crosswalk. He slows down just a bit and attempts to inch past me. Maybe he couldn't see over his massive white beard - or maybe he was just too old to make out that the shapes in front of him were people!

As if this act alone isn't a big enough offense, I am walking my two dogs. One is ahead of me and the douchebag in the car, but the other is behind me just stepping off the sidewalk. At this point, the car is between me and my little dog. And, even though I am clearly, indisputably, no question about it holding two leashes in two separate hands, he continues to inch forward.

We are face to face. I glare, he looks at me stupidly. I call my little dog, and the driver thinks this is a signal for him to continue forward, even though I'm in FRONT OF HIS CAR!!

Finally, I've just had it with this bum, so I yell at him, slowly: "STOP YOUR CAR."

He looks at me even stupider than he did before, as if that's humanly possible. And I'm so mad, that I get in his face (through the window at least) and yell as loud as possible, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???!!!!"

Fortunately, me and my two little doggies made it through the ordeal. Ridiculous!

After I made it across the street a woman pulled up next to me and rolled down her window, "I stopped for you." She tells me, almost asking to be granted clemency.

I assure her, "Yes, thank you! You are great! I can't believe that guy!"

She agrees, "Yeah, that was pretty awful!"

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My back itches

We were technically driving outside of the technical downtown boundaries, but in a trendy area nonetheless, and I live downtown, so it all applies. We reached a stoplight at the top of a hill. On the corner a man was standing there with a sign. He was a ways off, so my husband and I strained to read it.

You have to read the signs here, without feeling ashamed, it's part of the culture. It's a competition among bums, of sorts.
"Too ugly to prostitute. Too Lazy to Steal."
"Help? (Other side) For Beer?"
"It's Hot! I need Beer!"
"25 cents for free insults."
"How dare you not help me!"

Much to our surprise this guy was not a bum, but a vendor. He was selling back scratchers, 3 for $5! What a steal! We watched him for a minute waiting for the light to turn when he pulled out a device, lifted his right arm high into the air, waved the wand around for a minute and began scratching his back as he wiggled his legs and body around performing a dance for us.

Okay, how can we just drive off at this point? I pulled over and the old man got out to buy a couple of scratchers. We received a fancy compact and retractable purse scratcher, a standard scratcher, and a scratcher that had rolly balls on the opposite end for therapeutic reasons.

The scratchers came with a card:

FRONT:
Grouped Thronged Collects Selected Conveyance
Back Scratchers
BSXBS
Benevolent Society
No/License # /Bond # /Insurance # Non /Taxable /Deductible
Not Associated with Back Scratchers Museum Museum: 60th and Belmont
B.S x B.S. and B.S.M. may or may not be independent creations of the Bills in mind
BACK:
B S & B S MISSION
In order to thank those who scratch the backs of those whose backs need scratching - We Thanks each Backscratcher with which to scratch their own backs so be it that we that can be scratched on the the back so can we scratch back the back of those back scratchers who have scratched our backs.
PARODY without parody, THANK YOU
SCRATCHERS GRANTED EXTRA SMILES PER GALLON

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Permanent Fixture

With the exception of the overweight female who perches in front of the Washington Mutual Bank everyday, I rarely ever see the same bum twice. Well, make that two exceptions. The wig lady is a permanent fixture of this fair city. I encountered her just the other day getting advice from a fellow street traveler about where to get free meals.

I have always been under the impression that begging on the same street corner without variation would be counterproductive; apparently this is not the case though. I overhead the resident bank female telling her story to a pedestrian:

"We come out here everyday, me and my dogs, just long enough until we make enough to meet our needs for the day. And everyday, I see the crack dealers dealing drugs, pick pocketing and stealing, but not me. I'm not trying to fool anyone, and that's why I come back to the same place everyday."

I was reminded of this story today when I was at McDonald's. I was picking out a movie. A woman was walking out of the restaurant when a man says to her, "Is that your mother?"

"Yes," she replied annoyed.

With a sallow face he answered, "What a fine specimen!" and immediately began to cackle hideously.

I turned around to see who the ladies man was... and I found myself face to face with... none other than... I couldn't believe it! It was the defective counting death row dwarf!

He's a scary guy. Seriously.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Points of Interest

Even though I found myself immersed in duping (as much as that is possible) a lonely Nigerian scammer, much has been happening in terms of bums, vagrants and downtown happenings. Finally, I'm happy to report.

Today I found myself at the DHS office, and that is a scary place to find oneself.

Let me tell you about a few of the characters I witnessed there; witnessed, not encountered - that would insinuate interaction and although I stole a few glances for purposes of later documentation and reporting, I was careful not to submerge. While I am typically courageous in the face of danger from the local drunk bums, I also am in a position to run away if the situation becomes dire although more often than not that drunk bum is in no position to possess the energy or life force to raise even the tiniest finger, and this is why today I stole only the most furtive glances: The truth is now written for the world, like most others, I only taunt those who lack the prowess to taunt, or impose bodily harm in retribution.

And finally * will stand for any number of expletives - insert your pick, you won't be wrong.

Upon arrival the first "lady", corn rolls surrounding the skull and a head full of braids cascading down her back, likely integrated with a weave, was screaming at everyone in there who ain't got no * sense! And she was old, with no bra (you are welcome for the visual). She just wanted * someone to * tell her * someones * number! And if * someone don't * tell her, she's going to * put a bullet through their * head just like she * did to that other * and she ain't been * caught because * no one saw * nothing!

The next guy had corn rolls too. In fact, everyone there had corn rolls. He had a big fat gap in his front teeth, and he was a short guy. But I'll let him tell you about that. He has been in solitary confinement for 8 * years and on * death row during that * time too! Most states won't * put a dwarf on * death row because they are a * dwarf - yeah he's only * 4' * 8", but not this * place. He's been on death row for 10 * years. They let him out for * 15 minutes in the yards, before they * put him back in that black * hole. It's * the pits! They let him * shower but * guys got scabies and * and he * don't want that! So, he refused to * shower for 11 * years! And he's a * dwarf - that's * right!

Then the dwarf, and a * white * girl, got in a pissing contest. The white * girl, while pretending to act like a social worker, thought the * dwarf was asking her a question, but the dwarf was talking to another * white girl, and the other * white girl needed to calm the * down! The other white girl was not having that though, and she demanded he calm the * down! Also, it's not fair for the rich people to have access to all the * bathrooms. Them people needed * bathrooms too! Sometimes it just ain't fit to piss on the street!

Then some * got on the phone and needed to call his * . He is about to come into some * money. A couple * hundred dollars, and he really needs that * money. He's going to sell Beckham's * LA jersey on * eBay or something. It's going to be * awesome. He was also talking about * something else, but he couldn't talk about it there because there were * people listening. But, since he's been out of * jail he's actually got a * bed, and his own * shower! A * shower, man!

I'm going to be honest. I couldn't get out of there fast enough!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Link

Mary is getting highly frustrated with me at this point! And I can sense that this could go on forever - so I've decided to fully devote myself to this newly discovered cybersport and start up a new blog:

http://www.scambaitersunite.blogspot.com

I'll continue to post information about MaryWelch9@gmail.com & PaulWelch8@gmail.com, and you can continue to follow this story there! I look forward to hearing from you!

Besides, the backstratchers of Belmont and rock fiends are feeling ignored so I've got to get back to the downtown business at hand.

Nigerian Scam Update - This Could Go on Forever

Because of the fact that Mary and Paul are God fearing individuals, they are willing to rent to someone with a criminal record. Bless them! They are willing to turn the other cheek and simply ignore and disregard this fact. Again, bless them!

In fact, Mary and Paul are pretty much willing to ignore anything. They don't even care that I haven't bothered to call them, as instructed. They are simply moving ahead with instructions for payment:

Thanks you for your understanding, we are putting our trust in you and hoping you wont let us down. my husband said thay he will prepar the rental agreement in your name as soon as the he confirms your payment.

The payment will be sent through western union and here is information where you will need to send payment through western union below. His secretary will help him in receiving the money at the Bank.

Receiver's name: Bolade Adejumobi
Receiver's Adress: 101 Isolo Rd.
City: Mushin
State: Lagos
Country: Nigeria
Zip code: 23401

Test Question: who is the greatest
Test Answer: God

As soon as you send the payment from the Western Union Money Transfer,you would be given some informations. You would have to get back to me with following information:

1. Full Sender's Name And Address Including Zip Code:
2. MTCN Confirmation #:
3. Amount Sent:

As soon as i confirm the payment, I will send the necessary document and keys of the apartment to you through DHL and get back to you with the Tracking number and the arrival time of the document and the keys, because the package will be delivered to you the next day.

Thanks and God Bless you.

I want to prolong this a little further - so I choose to continue to play dumb, confused, bewildered:

"Mary,
Thank you for the instructions, that was very helpful as I have never done this before. I just wanted to make sure that the fact that I have a criminal record will not impede my ability to get this apartment!
Before I send the payment, I am a little confused. What is the test question for? Will they ask me this question at Western Union. What if I can't remember the answer? Should I write it down so that I am prepared? But I don't want them to think I am dumb - that would be embarrassing!!!
I just get nervous when I do something new, and this is such a big deal I appreciate all the help you can give me!
Thanks!
Unis"

She wrote back within minutes:

Thanks for the mail, i want you to know that you will include
the text question when sending the payment through western union, so if you know you might forget. you can possible write it down and take it along with you to the western union.
Hope to read from you as soon as you send the deposit.

A few hours later I wrote Mary back:

"I went to Western Union today, but I forgot the test question! Crap - I will try again tomorrow!"

She didn't like that, and told me emphatically, that she really, really, really wants to send me the keys so I need to hurry, hurry, hurry and send them payment! This couldn't be any easier!

But now I've encountered a new problem: Why am I paying Bolade Adejumobi? Is that an acronym or scramble of Paulwelch8@gmail.com? I don't think there is a J or B is Paul's name, yep just checked - no J or B in Paulwelch8@gmail.com, and no 8 in Bolade Adejumobi. I have to ask:

"Mary,

Why am I sending the money to Bolade Adejumobi? Paul Welch is the name of the person who I originally emailed. I will send the money to Paul Welch - not Bolade Adejumobi. What is going on here, I am very confused and nervous. You said this was 100% legit, and backed by the law, but I don't understand why the names are funny! Please explain - I am leaving for Long Beach very soon and I am counting on you to provide me with housing. I am a good person, except for my small criminal record, and we had an agreement! I am trusting in you to be up front and honest with me! Long Beach can be a scary place and I don't want to be homeless!
Please explain why the name of the person I am sending this to is not your husband!

A very discouraged Mrs. Viceroy! "

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lucky Approval: Nigerian Update!

I was approved, lucky me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At this point, I realized I was using my personal email address, since the original ad duped me; I need to promptly correct this. So I logged into a crappy non existent email, put Amy Unis Viceroy as the contact, and wrote Mary the following:

"I just wanted to let you know I had to change my email address. Please write to me from this email address, and I likewise will only be able to email you from this address. My other email was hacked into and stolen by a very dishonest liar, and I no longer have access to it. I will always be available on this email now."

No mention of my hacked account, only a 2nd copy of the original approval letter as follows:

Thank you very much for your reply, I can see your willingness in thisApartment. I want you to know that i'm satisfied with your profile andalso believe l can trust in you because l would not like to experiencewhat l experienced from my last tenant again.I will like to know theexact date you will like to move into the apartment,l showed yourapplication to my husband and he said he is satisfied with it.l wantyou to know that we can let you stay in my apartment till the periodof time you wish to.I want you to know that the rent fee is among theapartment utilities all included, so you can use them anytime but makeyou take proper care of my property.My husband will be receiving thedeposit payment from you via Western Union ,l wish you best of luck inyour job, from your application l can see that you are responsible anda hard working person ,may the almighty Lord lead you in what ever youwish to do

Accommodation Features...................................................
Wood Floor :
Heater :
Central Heating :
Equiped Kitchen :
Tv:
Cable/Satellite TV:
Video/Stereo:
Internet :
Air Conditioning:
• Full Kitchen
• Refrigerator:
• Garage/Car park
• pets allowed.

Kitchen Features...................... ...........
Washing machine:
Juice Machine :
Iron :
Toaster:
Oven :
Dishwasher :
Coffee Maker :
Microwave :
Refrigerator:Stove:

As soon as the deposit payment has been confirmed by me via Westernunion,l will go ahead and commence on how the apartementkeys/documents will be delivered to you via DHL courier service onnext day delivery and it will be delivered to the address you providedin your application form.Let me hear back from you as soon as possibleso that l can go arrange for the delivery of the keys/Documents. Onceagain l'm giving you this apartment on trust and do not dissapoint mebecause l dont want our flat to be destroyed again, if you wish tomove in with your own properties,we still have one extra room that isempty so you can easily put our own things that you think you dontneed in there.

Here are the contents that will be delivered to you via DHL courier service.
1) Entrance and the rooms Keys
2)Paper/Permanent Flat form(Containing your reference details)
3)The Flat documented file.
4)Payment Receipts.
5)Full address and description of the Apartment.

My husband will like to talk to you,you can call him as soon as youget this Email his number is +2348037243553 Or +2347023264843. Getback to me via email if you will need me to send you the informationwhich you will in sending the deposit payment via western union to myhusband secretary.

Thanks and God bless you...

Best Regards


First off, I'm not going to call this douche bag! But, I did learn that what I'm participating in is actually a cybersport by the name of Scambaiting - you can get tricks, hints, resources, etc. at http://www.419eater.com/. They suggest working it so they call you. Of course, you don't want to give them your real phone number, but there are a number of sites that will provide you with a fake number and route it to your phone! This way, not only are they not going to screw you out of any money, but you can turn the tables, and potentially screw them out of some money.

So, I wrote her back:

"Oh Mary,

I'm so pleased that you got my new email. I was nervous that you wouldn't get my email and that we would lose the house forever! So, I have never sent a payment through Western Union or Money Gram. Can you explain to me what I do?
Oh, I forgot to tell you. I don't want to mislead you, but I do have a criminal background, and I don't know if that will prevent me from getting this apartment. I do really like it, and I don't know where we will live if you deny me, but I wanted to be honest and let you know the truth up front. Please let me know if this will create trouble for me?

Amy"

How long will they keep this up? Lucky for me, I have nothing better to do!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Nigerian Scammer Mary Welch Update

After I told Mary she was being too pushy, she IM'ed me again. I guess she thought if she waited overnight, I wouldn't feel as though we was being too pushy. So, instead I decided to push her a little bit, and she got a bit "embarrasive".

Mary: hi

Me: I kind of feel like this isn't for real with all the pressure you are putting on me

Mary: what do you mean? you sound embarrasive and doubtful

Embarrasive? Not sure what that means - oh yes, of course, embarrassed! Wouldn't I be embarrassed if I was silly enough to hand over money to someone who I knew was stealing it from me? Do you think I know that you are trying to steal money from me Mary?
me: Yes, I am doubtful. Embarrassed, not so much...

Mary: oh really

me: oh yes (a little mocking here) If you aren't willing to hold it for us, then I understand, but it is a big decision to move across the state, and if you need to give it up to someone else, you go ahead

Mary: everything is 100% legit and backed by the law
Mary: ok just get back to me as soon as you fill out the application thanks

I found her very convincing. I mean if she says it's 100% legit and backed by the law, then why shouldn't I believe her. I'm not sure entirely to which law she is referring to, but by all means, any law must be a good law right?

So, I filled out the application as follows: (And, if you haven't figured it out, all this information is false!)

"Mary,
You really assured me today when we talked, so here is the application.
We found out today he got the job, and we are looking to move in the first of September.

=========== RENT APPLICATION =============

Also,Pls answer these questions below:
1)Your Full Name
Amy Unis Viceroy
2)Present Address(where you reside now) & Phone Number
Trailer Park
3)How old are you
36
4)Are you married
Yep
5)How many people will be living in the apartment
2
6)Do you have a pet
Yes
7)Do you have a car
Yes
8)Occupation
Mechanic
9)What is your religion
J Dub
10)How long are you willing to stay
1 to 2 years
11)1 month Or 2 month deposit needed
I would only like to pay one month deposit"

This is also at which point I decided to turn the tables. Let's she how she reacts if I no longer take this little farce seriously.

Friday, August 1, 2008

And thennnn?... Scammer Update

Up till this point, I haven't told the old man about it. He was busy taking this test, and I knew he would get involved, and I didn't want to distract him - so I decided to wait until it was over.

We were dining at this little dive down the street, and I started filling him in. I didn't want to blurt out it was a scam at the beginning, I was building up to that... you know? I started telling him about this cute little place I found, and our series of conversations, etc. I left out a lot of the really obvious alert signs like the West Africa thing, to keep up the suspense.

When I'm just in the middle of telling him about how they had to move to Maryland, and we have to fill out the application online I see the person at the table over staring at us. When I look over at him, he timidly raises his hand up to his shoulder, "Um, I'm sorry I didn't want to interrupt or eavesdrop - but I just can't let you go through with this!"

"I'm sorry, what?" I ask. My old man looks really confused!

"This is a scam! We had this happen to us, and they just want your money, they don't have a place, they aren't going to send you the keys, and I just couldn't sit here knowing what I know!"

What a great guy! See, it's not just all bums and vagrants! Although I knew this was a scam, what if I didn't? I think that is really stand-up!

So, we decided together to keep this going: Scam the scammer so to speak. In fact if you Google such a phrase, you will be busy for several hours delightfully amused.

When we arrived home, my husband got onto the computer. Marywelch9@gmail.com had something to say:

Mary: hi

me: Howdy!

Mary: have you filled out the rent application form ? so that i can forward a cpoy tomy husband

me: yep

Mary: pleasesend tome ok? are u doing that right now so that i can inform my husband

me: Stop being so pushy!

Mary: ok let me know when you have it done i will like you to mail me when you are done ?