Onward and upward...

As I mentioned before, things are in flux. Today is my last day at my present job and, although I didn't think it would be this way, it's bittersweet. Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly excited for the new job. I get a lot of freedom, a new perspective, huge responsibility, and, actually, a whole new city to explore. All those are things are very sweet.

But at the same time, there's a bit of bitterness. I'm going to miss a lot of my coworkers and even my bosses. When I announced I was leaving, I received emails from coworkers in other offices with phrases such as, "Say it ain't so!" or "I'm happy for you, but I'm still so sad." And there were people in my office that just showed up at my office door with sad looks on their faces and say, "I thought you were going to be here forever" or "I'm happy for you, but I'm very sad to see you go." And then there's the people I worked for who I not only look up to, but genuinely enjoyed working with, the people who's experience I know I will benefit from and carry with me for the rest of my career. That's the bitter.

But all of it makes me think about a story about my father. Strange, but true. There's one thing I have to qualify about my father. He is perhaps the most giving person that I know (I know I've said that someone else is an incredible giver, but as much as she is, my father tops her out...but not by much). My father's made his entire life about giving. He gives everything he has to his family, he constantly helps people in need, and he even picked a job that is about giving and encouraging others to give to the less fortunate. Simply, I'm lucky enough to say in all honesty that my father has a heart of gold. Yeah, he's a pretty cool guy.

One day, when I was thirteen or so, he was driving me somewhere and I asked him, "Dad, why did you decide to do the job you do?" He said, "Well, because there are a lot of people in need and it makes me feel good to know that I'm helping them." I said, "Well, yeah...but if you worked somewhere where you were paid more, you could help people by donating your own money. So I don't get it, why did you decide to do the job you do?" He said, "When you get older, you're going to have a lot of opportunities [I don't know that this is true, but hey, it is my dad], and some of them will pay you financially and some won't. But what you should do if find something you love, something that you genuinely enjoy, something that gives you more good days than bad. Find something that you would be willing to do for free and then find some schmuck who's willing to pay you to do it. That's what I did. I found something that I'd do even if I weren't getting paid and someone pays me to do it. It may not be much, but it takes care of you, your siblings, and your mother and I. And I like how it makes me feel about me."

And that, in a nutshell, is the problem. I don't have that feeling. Simply, I'm not happy where I am. Certainly, work is not the only arena from which I should judge my happiness. There's spending time with family, great friends, that incredible significant other (all I need to do is get Natalie Portman to start taking my calls...). So I don't expect work to be the be-all-end-all (I mean, they call it "work" for a reason), but when you can't explore the other things because of the lack of balance with something that isn't making you happy, well, that's when it's time to do some serious internal and external exploration.

So I've explored...and I've made a change. I don't know that it will be the answer...but it could be. I don't know if it will be where I spend the rest of my career...but it could be. So I'm going to try it, and, at bare minimum, I'll continue to develop in my chosen profession. And, I'll give you an idea about how it goes.

In the meantime, if you've got Natalie's cell phone number...


It's all in the name of science...

Fellow bloggers, be sure to check out the MIT 2005 blogger survey. It's not that bad and you can actually enjoy being part of the masses.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Special thanks to Postmodern Sass for the link!


Gone Phishing...

In the span of a week, my life has gone into flux. I've decided to take a new job in law enforcement in another city, so things are, well, changing. I'm selling a house, looking to buy a new one, putting in notice at my job, starting a new one...so, yeah, things are definitely in flux. Of course, as I learned this weekend, that doesn't mean there isn't time for a little bit of the unexpected.

I, like many of my friends, am on Friendster. Friendster is pretty much "six degrees of separation" with the internet, except it only goes three degrees. One of the best things about it is that you can often find a new group of friends that knows some of your old group of friends when you move. So lately I've been hanging out on Friendster a bit and have gotten in touch with some people that I haven't seen in some time. Because I've been contacted by some people I know, but haven't seen for a while, I leave my Friendster profile on "public." Every once in a while I get some spam in my Friendster inbox, but generally, that's pretty easy to see and I round file it pretty quickly.

However, this weekend I received a Friendster message from a girl named C____. I had never met C___ before and according to Friendster C____ and I were not closely related (Friendster tells you who you know someone through...I guess the three degree limit is why Kevin Bacon and I don't have any connection). The e-mail notification shows that C____ is pretty cute, but not anyone I've seen before, so I take a look at the message. Here's what it says:

Subject: Hi there [BA]

Message: Hey there, just browsing around trying to meet some people from around here. I just moved to [city] a few weeks back and I hardly know anyone. I figured I'd give friendster a shot and see if I have any luck. I'll keep this short until I know you're interested. Just looking for someone to hang out and have a good time with....not looking for anything serious. I RARELY get a chance to check this account on friendster so if you want to chat hit me up at c____c_____@hotmail.com and I'll send you some more pics. Talk to ya soon hopefully.

I move around a lot, so I understand how much it sucks when you're the new person in a new town. So I feel some sympathy to the plight of the newly relocated. Sympathy aside, I'm intrigued, so I looked at C____'s profile.

Her profile indicates that C____ is in Sales, specifically pharmaceuticals. Her hobbies and the rest of the information she writes in are pretty normal, but she doesn't have any friends...not in my city or anywhere else. Strange, but maybe she was just trying out Friendster and hasn't linked to anyone yet.

Then there's her "About Me" essay, which states:

I'm charismatic, fun, creative, and I like to think fun to be around. I have two very valuable assets. 1, my brain, and 2, my chest LOL! Hey, at least I'm honest! I wound up here in [city]. not by choice, but because my job forced me here. The only thing I can really complain about is not knowing anyone. My company definitely took good care of me. I have a furnished house (pretty small but I'm happy with it) and it also has a jacuzzi! If I can just talk them into a pool....LOL! Anyway! I'm just here browsing for new friends, nothing serious. By serious I mean I'm not looking for a "boyfriend", something physical is never out of the question. Alright, I've said enough for now. Message me if you'd like to chat and hopefully hang out.
A little on the juvenile side, but there's one line that causes me some pause: "By serious I mean I'm not looking for a 'boyfriend', something physical is never out of the question." Besides the failure to use a semicolon rather than a comma, this statement is, well, weird. Not something I would write on a Friendster profile. But then again, everyone isn't me and I've seen some strangeassshit on Friendster.

Anyway, C____ also writes, about people she would like to meet: "Cool guys/girls to have a good time with. Sorry ladies, my gate only swings one way! LOL! :-)" Again, odd, but not entirely outside the sometimes-freakish statements that are written on Friendster.

So I figure, if someone is really having a difficult time finding people to spend time with in the city, even if I'm leaving, I can give them some pointers of good places to go, where to meet people and, if they check out as at least close to normal, possibly introduce them to some nice folks I've met. So, I send the following email to C____:


Hey there and welcome to [the city]! Unfortunately, I'm sort of on my way out the door. I was recently offered a job in [another city], so I'm in the process of selling my house and doing all the other fun stuff that comes with heading out of town. However, this really is a fun city (as I spend Saturday night cleaning for showings next week). There are a lot of great people in the area.

I'd be happy to give you the benefit of my experience here though. I've moved around a lot since I graduated law school and I know how much it can suck not knowing anyone in a new city. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help you get familiarized!


As you can see, I do feel bad for people that are new to a city. I mean, in a few weeks I'm going to be one of them.

Earlier today, I heard back from C____. The first paragraph of her e-mail stated:

Hey [BA], thanks for getting in touch! So how is your weekend going? :-)

A bit about me....I'm a Chicago woman, who moved to the [city] area for my job (sales) and I officially know 0 [that's "zero" -BA] people. I never imagined a change like this would be so hard and lonely to say the least. I definitely want to meet up with you soon if you're down! According to friendster, I live close by so we could really meet whenever you want. GREAT NEWS (if you're a baseball fan) my boss gave me 2 tickets to the [crappy American league team]/[other crappy American league team] game for the 14th...it's at 7:05PM. Care to come with me???
I'm thinking, well that's a little forward. Ok, it's a lot forward. I mean, geez, this girl really must not know anyone. Inviting me to a baseball game after having gotten one e-mail from me, much of which wasn't substantive? And why wouldn't she say thanks for my offer to tell her some info about the city?

My answer lied no farther than the next paragraph, which stated:

I posted A LOT more pics (as I said I'd give you!) on my newest personal, some are topless but NOT bottomless but they're at http://www.b____hookup.com/c____2k5. My profile is listed in that site under "BackSideBabe". I wanted to post my personal info (i.e. phone # and my personal email address) there for 3 real simple reasons. 1) It's DISCREET! 2) I never have to worry about being contacted by children since only adults are allowed in the site and 3) I know all the replies I receive are genuine. I've met 3 people off of this site, and it's truly made me feel safe. I had a nightmare of an experience in the past that I don't want to happen again. Thats all I've got to say right now, let's just plan on meeting soon! Cause you know what that means... ;)

Give me a call!

So many questions came to mind... Why did C____ decide it was important to qualify that her "added pictures" were topless, but not bottomless? (Seriously, ladies, if you ever are discussing pictures with nudity, total or partial, just say "naked"... it's all any guy needs to hear.) How exactly did people C_____ met off the site where she was posting naked pictures make her "feel safe," and was this feeling at all related to her decision not to post "bottomless" pictures? What exactly was this "nightmare" experience and does C____ really expect posting naked pictures for solicitation by strangers really ever provide her with a way to avoid such a "nightmare" in the future? And the all-important question: How exactly did C____ settle on her nickname, "BackSideBabe?" But before I can ponder these questions further, I notice the new footer at the bottom of this e-mail:

***The following is a requirement of this website: "If you are offended by adult material or are not of legal age to view such material, or if you simply would not like to hear from any members from this website, follow this link to be removed:" http://www.b____hookup.com/subscription.php
So, yeah, it's pretty clear to even me that if C____ isn't really an old fat guy typing with one hand at his computer under the auspices of claiming he's a 28 year only pharmaceutical sales rep, then C____ is in sales alright, but it's sure as hell not pharmaceuticals. Needless to say, this seems to me to be the perfect time to have some fun. I have an idea, but want to enlist the help of a friend (because, let's be real, this situation is just too damn funny to deal with it alone). I call my friend, A____, give her the whole rundown, and propose my solution. (To A____'s credit, she knew with the Friendster e-mail that this was either prostitution or porn. Yeah, she's a smarty.) After we both stop hysterically laughing, I send C____ the following e-mail:


Whoa there...OK...I think you've got the wrong idea. But, I think this is probably the point where I should tell you the reason I'm moving away from [this city] and to the [other city] is to take a position as a prosecuting attorney. In other words, I've accepted aposition as a law enforcement officer.... (This is the part where you would say,"Oops!")

With that information, I imagine this will probably be our last contact. But hey...have fun at the ball game. Oh, and it's just my personal opinion, but it's just not baseball with a designated hitter.
Take care,

Sometimes, you've just got to love phishing schemes...

Oh, and lest I forget, special thanks to H____ who, because C_____'s boobs looked real in her picture, suggested I should at least get the free baseball game out of the deal.

Update: As much as I love comments, this post has gotten a little out of control, so I'm turning off the comments. I'm glad so many people have found it helpful and/or entertaining and I hope it continues to help more people avoid this phishing scam.


It's all in the technique...

Normally I hate watching courtroom movies and television shows. The reason is they are usually just so incredibly wrong. However, every once in a while, I resign myself to watching one that I think will be different and sometimes I'm actually surprised because there's not only moments of truth, but lessons actually worth knowing. For example, in trial practice in law school, you learn not to ask too many questions on cross-examination. The reason is that if you ask too many questions some witnesses will jam the answer down your throat and, to quote a courtroom movie, "take your beautiful cross-examination and make it seem like a bunch of fancy lawyer tricks."

The perfect example of this phenomenon (no pun intended) is in the movie "A Civil Action" with John Travolta. If you haven't seen the movie, it's about an attorney who takes on a very difficult toxic tort case and brings his firm and himself to financial ruin in pursuit of a corporate giant. However, the part that I'm referring to is when one of Travolta's opposing attorneys is teaching a trial practice class that the director intersplices with portions of the trial involving Travolta's character. The opposing attorney says to his class, "Never, ever ask a witness on cross-examination..." The scene cuts back to Travolta in the courtroom who asks, "Why?" The witness then proceeds to answer "Why?" in a way that would make an attorney search for an objection, any objection, to shut the witness up and, when that fails, do everything he or she can to pick up the pieces of what used to be an effective cross-examination from the floor and try to turn them into something that could be useful in a closing argument. Basically, the witness jammed the open-ended, opinion-based question up the attorney's ass.

The reason I reference this is that even though I don't talk about work (which, from the past example, you can likely guess the profession I'm in), sometimes I learn things professionally that have a profound impact on other areas of my life. One of those things is, don't ask too many questions.

There was this girl I met through one of my friends a while back. She's very attractive and quite intelligent (and for those of you looking for an answer to the next question, no). A while back I expressed my interest and invited her for dinner. We made plans, but whether intentionally or not, our wires got crossed and I ended up at the restaurant alone. I ended up going out with a friend later in the evening, so it wasn't a total loss. Nevertheless, we talked about it later, apologies were said and all was well. We talked on a few occasions afterwards, but recently we were both busy because, among other reasons, she and I both work ungodly hours.

A few days back, I received an update email from her...what's going on in her life, etc. So, we were corresponding by email for a few days. Today, in a "how's life with me" email, she indicated she had a hellish date with someone related to her job. In the sarcastic fashion that you folks have come to know so well, I responded, "if I were feeling catty, I would say, as I recall, you had an opportunity to go out with a very nice boy, but stood him up. But I'm not feeling catty today, so I won't say that ;)." To ensure that my off-kilter, but humorously intended statement was not taken too seriously, I qualified it with the following: "You better take that with the humor it was intended."

Yeah, I know, this was one of those situations where I did the correspondence equivalent of asking one too many questions. You can tell, even by what I'm saying already that she's going to take that sentence and jam it up my ass. I think I knew that when I wrote it...I guess sometimes I'm just a glutton for punishment.

What was the response you ask? "Well, I think I have made it pretty clear that I have not been interested, romantically in any other boy prior to the one I am currently seeing."

Wow. I mean, wow!

Let me make clear, I am not writing about this because I had something I said jammed up my ass. I mean, jeez, if I wrote about that on every occasion it happened, you folks would be bored out of your mind. No, no. I write about this one for an entirely different reason.

I'm impressed. I mean seriously impressed.

You have to admire the elegance of this one: Stern, but not ego crushing. Clear, but not aggressive. Ladies, if you're reading, take notes on this one. This is exactly how to do it. The I-won't-call/email/yell at-him-back-unless-I-need-something...not cool. The I'm-waxing-my-legs/car/back...that sucks too. The I-like-you-but-in-a-friend-way...like a visit to a urologist with a hook for a hand. Up-front, clear, but not personal...that's the way to go.

So, yeah, I get it. I definitely get it. But it doesn't mean I can't continue to admire the technique.