12 hours to liftoff, leak discovered in #8 internet pump

223/365 - my bank sucks

Some despicable creature used my (just re-created!) debit card number to buy $700 of whatever at a goddamn Wal-Mart in Morgan Hill, CA, causing the number to go dead just before I go overseas for two weeks.

This has resulted in yakety-sax with harmonizing sad trombone for the last two hours, including a conversation with my bank about Japanese addresses, two disconnections at critical parts of a discussion with them, a number of deadlines and minimum service times just exactly out of reach, use of the entire week’s supply of foul language, and a thing where I bumped my elbow on the door.

Rays of sunshine: my bank caught it and I’m not paying for this troglodyte’s Wal-Martery; I actually have money, it’s just going to be a bit harder to get at; I’m going to Japan, dammit.

That war on bank fraud? We’re not winning!

How Green Was My Upper Middle Class

When I was a child in the 1970s, there was something called The Ecology.

During the 1960s, some of the grownups had noticed that there was a lot of pollution, too much garbage, and a possibility that we might run out of things completely. They set out to reduce industrial and personal pollution, manage garbage better, and use things more efficiently.

“The Ecology,” as presented to us kids, was a thing that had to be preserved and kept clean. We were shown pictures and films of littered beaches, sad birds with trash on them, disgusting goop in bodies of water, and huge ugly smokestack factories spewing poison. What was to be done?

Two things: we were not to litter, and we were to pick up litter. The Ecology would stay dirty and get dirtier if we failed at these tasks. It was implied that the sad birds would still be covered with garbage and that things would get dirtier and dirtier forever.

There wasn’t much said about the smokestacks, the goop in the water, or any of the more complicated things the grownups had to work on. It was generally admitted that people had to change things around and stop treating the world as a wastebasket, and the grownups said they’d do that.

When I was a young adult in the 1980s, there was something called The Environment.

Despite putting filters on the smokestacks, stopping the goo from getting into the water, making cars a less dirty, and picking up a lot of litter, the grownups still had problems. Poisons were seeping into the groundwater, spray cans were carving up the atmosphere, fish populations were diving, and rainforests were being chopped up.

The Environment needed protection. Stopping litter and toning down the industrial pollution was fine, but now we needed other things. As young adults, we were asked to stop using spray cans and styrofoam. Additionally we were asked to recycle some things, to protest some of the more egregious industrial practices, and to purchase items that were good for the rainforest in some way. Particular companies were held up as examples of evil for turning rainforest into cheeseburgers or dumping crude oil on penguins; we were to boycott them. Finally, we were supposed to give cash or time to organizations that stopped bad behavior by companies or tried to preserve bits of natural beauty.

It was generally admitted that people had to change things around and stop grinding everything up into consumer products, that we should use things more than once, and that we should change our consumer behavior to reward or punish those who were selling us things.

Starting in the 1990s, a concept arrived called Green. It’s still with us.

Green is an adjective instead of a noun. If something is green, it is helpful to the environment or the ecology, or something like it. A policy can be green. An organization can be green. A person or a technology or a restaurant or even a web page can be green. There’s a lot of good done with this adjective: efficient technologies and alternative power sources, for example. But most importantly, a lifestyle can be green. As with other American lifestyles, green comprises magazines, television, social networks, and products. Lots and lots of products. Food, packaging, clothing, cars, appliances, services, and entire brands are green.

It is generally assumed that people need to take on a green lifestyle and purchase products that are labeled as such. The best demonstration of the lifestyle is to purchase as many products and services offered by lifestyle publications and media and show them to others as a demonstration of green lifestyle.

WHOOPS!

One-Click Horking

Hi there. I’m going to talk to you today about website programming. You aren’t interested, but maybe you should be, because your bank sucks at it.

Today I cancelled a credit account that had been paid off a long time ago and was no longer useful. Before I called them up, I looked at the website for my account to make sure that everything was clear and that no pending or recurring charges would show up.

The account statement looked like this:

Available Credit: [redacted]

Current balance: $0.00

Minimum payment Due: $20.00

Previous Balance: $0.00

Last Payment: $58.97, 3/5/2005

I immediately saw that I had a $20 payment due, but missed seeing that my balance was zero. Oh crap, how long has that been due? At least since March! Better pay that last $20 before I cancel. I clicked on the “Make a payment online” button.

that’s when it got funny