Two very quick things

THING THE FIRST: Does anyone who is not currently using the Digit app want a referral for it so they can start? We each get five bucks if you do. Digit is one of those apps that links to your bank account and occasionally stealthily takes a few bucks out and puts it into a savings account. I’m experimenting with it right now. Drop me a line in comments; use the email address you want me to send the referral to when you sign in. You don’t have to put your email address in the comment.

THING THE SECOND: Well, I sort of screwed the pooch on this one. Thing Two was originally me asking why the hell Cyntoia Brown has to wait to get out of jail until August 7th. I had done some searches earlier today when the news popped and couldn’t find a damn thing, and the weird part was no one was asking. Well, as it turns out, August 7 is apparently exactly fifteen years since she went into jail, and the same governor who is letting her out early because her sentence was bullshit apparently believes that fifteen years is more appropriate than fourteen years and four months for some reason. I mean, at least she’s getting out, but … come the fuck on.

Regarding yesterday’s posts

Two addenda and/or corrections, depending on how you feel about it:

  • FIRST, that my issue with Bank of America was solved without rancor or drama; they just moved the payment.  Done.
  • SECOND, that along with the new cover of Along Came A Wolf apparently came a copy-edit, as the concerns that I had about occasional grammar issues in my (older) version of the ebook were not immediately apparent in the print edition that arrived yesterday.  So you can erase that concern, and buy to your heart’s content.  Whee!

From the “I’m a dumbass” files…

b-of-a-card-artWithout getting too deep into my financial status, I will say this: I have spent my thirties paying off less-than-optimal decisions I made in my twenties.  The good news is that I’ve been pretty good at being in my thirties, and while I had hoped to be entirely free of credit card debt by my 40th birthday at one point and won’t make that date, I’ll be pretty damn close.

I currently have two open Bank of America cards; one that was originally opened from BoA and one that was actually the first credit card I ever had in my own name and has subsequently been acquired by them.  One, the older one, has a zero balance.  When I started beating on it, the balance was five figures.  The other card is my current “target” card, and a big part of the obscene raise I received with the new job this year has gone to paying off this card.  I tend to send them money twice a month a lot of the time.

Furthermore, the paycheck I just received last Friday is technically a “third paycheck”– meaning that I already have a Bills Paycheck and a Mortgage Paycheck in January, so I can literally spend this one on whatever I want.  When it showed up, I took what was left in my checking account from my last paycheck and immediately sent it to Bank of America.

Tonight, planning on making another BoA payment now that I’ve figured out what I’m doing with the extra money, I logged in.  And noticed that the extra money I’d sent them didn’t appear to have shown up.

A bit of investigation showed that somehow I had managed to make a $150 payment to the card with the zero balance, meaning that that card now has a -$150 balance in my favor.

Bank of America is one of the worst corporations ever, so I expect shenanigans when I try and fix this tomorrow, if I even can, because of course I discover this on the Sunday night before a national holiday.

I’ll keep y’all posted.


In which I wasn’t mad until you apologized

target-data-breachI haven’t talked much about the Great Target Data Breachenationing of 2013, mostly because, honestly, I haven’t been terribly concerned about it– I was one of the ones theoretically affected, because there’s a Target basically in my back yard and I shop there all the time, but I also generally keep a really close eye on my bank account and so I would have noticed any suspicious charges basically immediately. I feel like for the most part Target has behaved as a relatively responsible corporate citizen while all this has been going on, my bank hasn’t made the decision to fuck me unduly like some other banks did; no big deal, right?

I got an email from Target a few days ago; so did my wife and so did, very likely, a whole lot of you, offering me a free year of credit monitoring as a way to make amends.  I’d love to know how much coin Target had to shell out to make this happen or if Experian is just figuring they can make it up on the back end by convincing a shitton of new customers to keep going after that year is up.  I don’t currently have any kind of credit monitoring turned on, although I have in the past, and I’m considering taking them up on their offer. The email is, generally, very apologetic about the whole affair, and it appears that they’ve located a seventeen-year-old (of course it was a teenager) in St. Petersburg who wrote the malware that made the hack possible.

It didn’t hit me until yesterday that, at least for me personally, there’s sort of a big question hanging over my head about the whole thing, and that question didn’t come to light until I got that email:

How the hell did Target get my email address?

I have never ordered anything from  Target doesn’t ask for emails as a part of doing business.  I have– and I checked, and since I use gmail my email archive goes back to forever— never received any emails from them before.  I don’t have a Target credit card, and never have, and certainly didn’t in December when the breach happened.  We had a wedding registry with them six years ago, but that was with my wife’s email; mine wasn’t on it.

I can think of one way and one way only that they might have it, which is that I applied for a Target field trip grant for the DC trip this year– but that wasn’t attached to any bank or debit card information, and the address and phone number I provided them was my school address and phone number, so even if they’re cross-matching databases the address and phone number wouldn’t match what they (might?) have through my debit card.  They could, maybe, have done a match with my name and town and made an assumption– but that itself assumes that they’re willing to have a pretty fair number of false positives, and also that they’re working their asses off to collect and consolidate customer data that they have, in turn, then never used until this data breach.  If they got it from my bank, I kinda feel like my bank ought to have told me that, and they didn’t.

I find myself more curious about how they got my email than I am about how the hack was able to happen.  I don’t know if that indicates skewed priorities on my part or not.  And maybe if you’re going to send a giant email to millions of people about how your data collection process got screwed up and compromised, you include a line somewhere about how you got the information that allowed you to contact them in the first place.

Pics or it didn’t happen

tumblr_m4w5jpExao1qjavxhI’m teaching first hour today, as I do.  I’m expecting a pretty good day– a number of my usual discipline issues are suspended or out of the building for some reason, so, oughtta be peaceful, right?


We’re midway through first hour when It Happens.  One of my girls– normally not a dipshit– looks out the window.  Note: it is snowing today.  It’s not super bad, certainly not anything to compare to what’s hitting the East Coast right now, but there’s definitely precipitation happening.

“Santa!” she squeals.

Uh, what?

Other kids are running to the window.

“Santa!  Santa’s outside!”

Note that this is a seventh grade class.  These kids, if they ever believed in Santa, don’t anymore.  And they are all hollering to me that Santa Claus is outside.

I look out the window and there is a goddamn fat person in a gigantic bright red coat with white fur lining the edges in the field outside our window.  He or she– I can’t see a beard, and something about the person scans female, but I can’t tell for sure because of the gigantic coat– is walking a dog.  The dog is wearing goddamn reindeer horns.  

Dude/ette spent twenty minutes outside my room, just fuckin’ walking around in circles– I don’t know if the damn dog was constipated or what but it was freaking below freezing outside and by the time he finally left I was about to just send the kids outside with him.  Because holy shit you people can be distracted by anything.

I have a silly job.


Several months ago I severed my relationship with Big Multinational Bank in favor of Smaller Regional Bank.  I was startled to receive a new bank card Saturday afternoon from BMB.  Identity theft? I thought to myself.  Nah, no way– it would require the stupidest identity thief ever to start a new account in my name and have the new card sent to my house.  It was Saturday, though, so I couldn’t call anyone or do anything about it until just now.

Hint:  When confronted by a voice-recognition phone system and a problem that can’t be neatly categorized by their bullshit (I don’t have an account with you; I can’t give you my number, and there’s no number to press for “you stupid shits sent me a card I don’t need for an account I don’t have anymore”) there is usually a good solution:  start swearing uncontrollably into the phone every time the recognition system asks for an input.  “Fuck cunt bullshit cock whore” gets you to a representative really quick most of the time.

After some digging around, she tells me that my checking account is closed, but my savings account is still open.  It has two fucking cents in it.

Which, at the time, was annoying– but now I’m still confused, because they sent me a debit card, which I could never use with my savings account before– and it’s not like I’ve gotten any paperwork or statements from them since I closed my account; I’d have noticed it.  So… yeah. Gonna go in tomorrow and get my two gotdamn cents and figure out what the hell’s going on.