Monday, January 24, 2011

In Case You're Wondering About Our Snow...

Last Friday after school, Sam and a neighbor boy up the street helped us dig out an ice fort for Sam:

But being inside the snow is only so much fun.  Much more entertaining for both boys (when they weren't throwing snow at me) was to climb a snow mountain and then slide down the other side:

Needless to say, we all were cold, wet, and happy by the time we came inside.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Experience with Craigslist Scams Part I - Arianna Emmert and TNT

Two years ago, we came back from Christmas break, powered up the computer, and nothing happened.  I cracked open the computer, cleaned out the enormous amount of dust, and replaced a bit of memory.  Everything went back to normal, we backed everything up, and went about our lives.

Fast forward to two weeks ago.  We come back from Christmas break, power up the computer, and nothing happens.  I crack open the computer, clean out the slightly less than enormous amount of dust, and fiddle with the memory.  Unfortunately, I discover that one of our memory slots is shot, meaning that instead of our normal 1 gig of memory we could only operate with 512 MB.  In other words, our computer became really, really slow.

I quickly began shopping for a new computer and since I use a Mac at school, thought about switching at home as well.  As part of my searching, I went on craigslist and found the following amazing deal:

2 Month Old iMac for sale running 3.2 GHz Intel Core i3 Processor, 4 GB Memory. $610.
Snow Leopard 10.6.4 Respond to post with any further questions regarding this computer!

I read the post and thought to myself, "Too good to be true," but followed up anyway, sending the seller the following message:


I was wondering if you still had the iMac for sale.


The next day, I received back this message:

Hi, I am getting back to you regarding the 21.5-inch iMac from Craigslist

My name is Arianna and I am now in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.
I am selling the iMac for $600 USD. I have attached some pics with it to this email.
The iMac is still available and I hope you are still interested. The iMac was bought brand new from Apple a couple of months ago.
About the iMac I can say it's in perfect shape, as I used it only for a few weeks. Included in the $600 price is everything that came with the iMac.
The iMac is here with me.
I tried to be as thorough as I could with the presentation so you can have all the info if you decide to go ahead and buy it.

Please get back to me and let me know if you like the iMac if you're really interested in buying it.


Chief Logistic Officer 

She even included pictures of an iMac like this one:

Needless to say, a red flag went up when a transaction that was supposed to be local suddenly went global.  I decided to play a bit and see where this went, so followed up with this message:


Thanks for the e-mail.  Two quick questions.  First, why are you selling the computer and second, why did you advertise in Kansas City?  How would you get the computer here?


Now the story gets really interesting.  Since most people won't just send money overseas without having the object purchased in hand, "Arianna" responded with this option:


I posted the ad there because I live there. But now I have been relocated here with my work.
I am selling the imac in the US because the warranty is good only there. Because of that, nobody wants it here for this price.
I found a way to sell you the imac that will cover the both of us. It's a worldwide delivery company called TNT. They have a service that will allow you to test the imac before I receive my payment.
Please go to the TNT website below and read their procedure so we can be on the same page:

I will pay the TNT shipping fee and I can use 2 day delivery if you are in a hurry.


Arianna Emmert
Chief Logistic Officer

Hmmmm.  I followed the link and it was extremely well put together, and actually looked like the real TNT website.  But look through the two sites and you can begin to see small differences.  I sent a note to TNT's fraud department and then did a few searches for "Arianna."  Seems like she moves a lot, has had several last names, and tries to scam people on craigslist regularly.   So I thought I'd see how long I could string her along and replied with the following message:


I'm in no hurry and I need to talk to my wife about the computer today.  I'll get back to you.

By the way, where did you live in Kansas City?  In the city proper or in one of the suburbs?  Find some favorite BBQ while you were here?

She must have realized I was on to her because no messages since then.  But hopefully my posting this little saga will help someone else out who encounters "Arianna."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Criminals beware...

...because the Super Guys are on patrol.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day!

I was supposed to start teaching today.  I had the syllabus up on Blackboard, the powerpoints ready, new topical jokes to try out.  Then the snow started falling.  I don't have morning classes on Mondays, so I elected to stay in and watch what happened.  Slowly, the tally of school closing rose until UMKC could no longer hold on and it closed the campus at 1:00.

I hadn't even gone in.

What to do on a day with everyone home from school and the roads bad enough that going anywhere seemed silly (not that the roads stopped us from going to Target this morning for last minute Kindermusik purchases for Joy and new snow boots for Noah)?

These two had an idea:

After naps, We all bundled up and headed outside.  The boys immediately fell on their backs and began making snow angels, they ran from bush to bush and from tree to tree shaking limbs to make snow fall on them, they wrestled and tromped and had a generally good time.

Me?  I shoveled the walk.  And helped a neighbor up the street in her back-wheel drive, sport tire car that barely got any traction at all. 

And, of course, endured a barrage of snowballs from these jokers:

Not that I didn't retaliate some.  I mean, I did have a big shovel full of snow most of the time.