Beware the Scammer

It was a couple a weeks ago now, as I was nonchalantly looking at the rental market up in Northern British Columbia, that I came across an ad that seemed to good to be true. I was delighted when I got a response almost within hours of my query to the ad. I was inspired, and felt hopeful glee, when I was told that this particular home was available, and that I was the only one who has responded. However, in the end, once it was evident that this was a scammer hard at work, trying to dupe me, I whisked away the happy thoughts and moved on.

So, yes, scammers are everywhere, and sadly, not even our law enforcement in British Columbia, the RCMP, can do much about it. It is buyer beware, and due diligence that must be practice when combing the ads of both printed and on-line media. Scammers are everywhere, and they have no moral values; they are human parasites in today’s world.

What was obvious at first for me was how awesome the ad was. It was too good to be true. The price for the dwelling was, unreal, to say the least. So moving forward, looking at the price, and how it was a deal, was the first sign of the scam. In a market that is flush with little competition, where prices were outrageous, seeing a deal that was unbelievably fifty precent below market value, was a dead giveaway. But I kept going with the email exchanges anyway, hoping that this could be the real deal, but doubting it more and more as time went on. Added to this, all utilities were included, even cable and Internet. Yes, he was going to pay for my Internet! My B.S. meter/detector was pointing off the scale now.

The second warning sign came in the form of how fast the acceptance was, and the rush to move to the actual rental agreement form. I should also point out that the replies I received were typed in very poor English, almost to the point that this person was using a spell-checker, while doing “cut and paste” chunks of phrases from other emails. The poor grammar, and ward choice, coupled with flawless paragraphs in the same email proved that this scammer was luring several victims at once. Yes, I had one section where he was speaking to me as a female. Not to mention how basic the rental agreement was, and how little information I had to give, I laughed when he added that to the text of  the email–no attachment or signature in return. It was obvious that all I needed was a pulse, to prove that I was alive, and money, to give to the scammer.

Third, was when I asked to see the place first before I would give out any money for the damage deposit. Now this is where things got murky. In British Columbia, the laws are different from other jurisdictions about what a land lord can, or cannot, ask for as far as money, information and types of contracts rental agreements. To pay for “site unseen” is, well, not the proper way of doing business here in Canada. So when I asked to have the address of the dwelling before I would consider paying with any money, the answer was no: “pay first, then you get the keys” was the reply. The exchange was to priceless. First was the Trans Union Money address in the Untied States, and then the promise of the keys and receipts delivered to me by Fedex. Then was a possible visit, once I was moved in, to see how I would enjoy my new home.

I stopped my conversation with David, the scammer. He never bothered to continue as well. It all stopped as it began. However, I could imagine him waiting for his next prey, another unsuspecting person searching for a place to live here in British Columbia with his deceptive ad.  All I could do was hope that his ad be taken down after my complaint and rid the net of this parasite for about thirty seconds.

Please use your head when shopping on-line, or from printed media, especially about renting. If it seems to good to be true, than it will be a scammer hard at work ready to take your money. Do your research, and please report these ads to the appropriate authorities once you have determined them to be scammers.

It Seems Like it was Thrown at Random

Ode to email Spam, those wonderful texts of lures that pop up on my in-box on an almost daily event. Some are funny, becuase their claim, requests, action, and demeanour are painfully out of whack. Others, well, they are so damn scary becuase I almost read into them. Sure, I know, everyone has a email story of their own. And I am not typing this out to play One-Ups-Man topping the worst email tail of all time, but rather to say, they are getting clever, sneaking through email-filters, and methods more meticulous. Here is an account of events that happen to me yesterday, as I almost fell into an email Spam trap.

A Pile of Numbers On the Ground Weblog Image

I had just finished opening an account with a VPN service that I wanted, and I was waiting for their Account Verification email, after I had done the payment, and typed in all of my biographical information, on their website. Like clock-work, an email popped up in my in-box, with the header, “Account Approved – Your Reference Number.” So I clicked on it, and the page opened so neatly, with a short blurb on “Terms and Conditions” and “Account Information – Terms and Uses.” But in the body of the email was, “Some fields in the form were not properly filled, or the wrong information typed in – Please enter the necessary fields (highlighted in red) to complete the form.” Like a monkey following a banana tied to a stick, I did what I was asked.

After clicking on the hypertext, my browser opened up to a page that looked totally foreign to me. I had never seen this webpage before, and in fact, my browser was having problems tying to construct the HTML into a meaningful looking page. But, just at the moment when I was going to dive deeper into the page, I noticed the URL header looked strange. It was an URL address that did not make sense (…bradshawfq-3442433-sum223-543.net/qr24332/m-text23.) My fingers applied the brakes towards the Enter Button, and I paused for a moment. “This is not from my VPN, nor would they want this garbage/information from me.”

Then it hit me (only after spending a sum total of less than a minute looking at this webpage) that I was being doped. Yes, I had almost fallen into a Spammer’s trap. So evil they are, those Spammers.

A few minutes later my anticipated Conformation Email came from my VPN provider.  With my VPN account opened, I laughed at the thought that for once I had almost fallen into the trap of a Con. (not meaning Canadian Federal Conservative Member of Parliament).

I did report the URL to my ISP, and found it listed on http://hoaxbusters.org/

The Born Again Armchair Criminologist

Nothing worse than getting involved in an un-academic argument over issues about crime with the armchair Criminologist. In fact, one of the first warnings I got in my first year in University was, “Criminology is one field that everyone believes they know more about than the expert.” And I can honestly say that my Professor was absolutely right. I hear it at my work, when I am out in public, and among my neighbours–they all have their their tails of victimization, abuse of authority and bulk at why laws are so loose on those who commit crimes.

I was waiting in the check-out at Walmart, when I over heard two women talking about how bad the crime rate is in Langley City. I listen with curiosity, and they were aware of my proximity to them, as I am sure they would have happily allowed me to join them on that topic. While they went through the line-up, and departed on their marry way, I heard another couple, this time behind me, talking about how they just installed their brand new auto security system; to deter would-be thieves from taking their SUV. They talked at length at what they say is a growing problem of vehicle break-ins; so they wanted to protect their investment. On my way to the parking lot, after paying for my groceries, two young teenage boys wearing their hoodies over their heads, riding on B.M.X. bikes, raced through the parking lot at full speed, sparking another conversation, with the people in the parking stall beside me, on youth crime.

Yes, in a very short period of time, about an hour, I heard these three groups of people all talking about crime. I am not surprised though, as this time of year people are more stressed, and more busy than normal, so attitudes change, and priorities too, when being with families and friends over the holidays take precedent. I like to call this, looking through rose coloured glasses, as we tend to see world in this weird tint.

But remember the media, pumping out story after story about crimes, one after another; it is no wonder that more people do not just stay at home with their doors locked and windows bolted shut–now I am being sarcastic. And this is where most get their few bits of data from, the morning newscast before they head out to work. One would think that crime is all around us, in every corner, behind every closed door–it is everywhere–oh no. We all believe we are victims, reciting that one event when a wrong doer wronged us, and we felt that the punishment given was a joke, or the authorities did nothing to catch them, and they got away with it. Everyone has an event to talk about from their past.

The last time I engaged a person on the topic of Criminology, specifically on youth crime, was my former land lord’s wife who was dealing with her grand child’s social and physiological deviance, and I chimed in. The first response to my thoughts were that she should recommend her daughter take her child to a specialist, was, being that I did not have a child of my own, I therefore have no valued knowledge in the field of child rearing–and she said, “Thank you.” In which I replied, “That is like you saying that, becuase I am not a criminal, I do not know anything about criminals? How absurd.” She did not offend me, but I learned a valuable lesson that day, citing that I can bring a horse to water, but I cannot make it drink.

Knowledge is valuable tool to have. It changes us from ignorance, to people of reason. Knowledge is very costly, both in time and access; you generally have to go to an institution that teaches it, where you learn from those who have mastered in it, in order to have gained it in its pure form. Anyone can obtain knowledge, but few do because of its costs, yet in the same vein, the free stuff–well, you get what you pay for.

A Key Holder’s Life

There is a very strong correlation between how many keys one has, and how complex one’s life is. In my experience, all throughout my adulthood, the level of a stress-free and meaningful lifestyle, can be measured by how many keys I am holding at any one time. I really noticed this when I was managing a warehouse during the weekends for a company back in my late twenties. I remember the day vividly, starting out on that job, experiencing “super stress” for the first time with all the responsibilities that came with the position.

KEYS - April 3 2015 - Blender Render - Weblog Image

Looking at my key-chain then, I counted fifty-four keys attached to it, all different sizes and shapes. All the keys were active; they opened doors and turned locks needed to start equipment; they locked-up, turned-on and shut-off various facets of the daily routines that came with that job. This also meant that I had to be available, everywhere, throughout the time I was on the clock. But it did not end there. The keys stayed with me, almost 24/7, so in the event of another manager calling in sick, or he or she lost their set, then I was obliged to step in. Of course, with such responsibly came higher pay, which was the motivating factor that compelled me to accept this position in the first place. It was the stress that was attached to those keys that eventually wore me down.

Later on in life, at another point, I started to develop an upward growing collection of keys that reached critical mass, and I found myself again mired with super stress. It was in the winter of 1995 when my home in Langley City was burgled, and several items of high value were stolen. So, then came my period of “high defence” spending, were every door, window and gate had a lock installed on it, and it did not end there; my security PVR had a lock on it too, along with all of my harddrives on my PC. That was when the keys on my key chain started to populate. I was so paranoid of being preyed upon by the local thieves that I found a good deal of my time was spent opening and closing everything with my keys. The ultimate stress reliever was moving to a more rural residence, and overnight my stress was greatly reduced, along with my 1kg of keys.

One day, I hope to reach a Zen like state where I only have one key to serve me my whole day. Perhaps even going to a keyless life style, where everyone around me can be trusted, and not a worry in the world would cause me to keep a key with me, let alone to lock something up. But, as an old friend once told me (who is a Lock’s Smith) “a lock and key only keeps honest people out.” But at least with the seven keys that I keep with me now, I can deal with the stress and responsibility that comes with them.

Seeing a Ghost From Long Ago

First off, I am a Criminologist, so I know a thing or two about how the criminal justice system works here in Canada. The reason why I say that now is becuase I get emails and tweets from people who either say that I am full of “it,” or I make this stuff up. I can assure you that I know what I am talking about, and everything I say here is fully verifiable. Second, no one is braking the law by posting decisions made from our Courts, as this information is public knowledge and anyone can see for themselves any decision made by the courts that has been released into the public court system. This also holds true for those who have been accused and await their day in Court. Yesterday while I was scanning the public court records (for a paper that I am working on), I haphazardly came upon a name that grabbed my attention; of course I am not going to mention that name for personal reasons. It was like a ghost from long ago returning to hunt me–a name that I not since heard from my days at high school and my early twenties, heck, even from my childhood. But nonetheless, I felt this need to satisfy my curiosity and searched further.

The Scales of Justice Sep 2014 Weblog Image Once I had access to the Court documents that cited the arraignment and reasons for the charge against him, it was easy after that to grab his entire criminal history, going back to just before his time in Youth Corrections–which I knew of.  The list was long, spanning thirty years, from five provinces, and ranging from driving offences, drugs, to serious charges of assault and forceful confinement–I was shocked at how violent some of these charges were. Each time in person he would serve his time, usually released early, and then he would reoffend a year or two later. This time, as of September 2014, the charge of Robbery, or as it is known as, CCC 344, which means, Robbery and Extortion–with the use of a weapon, a firearm, used during the event. Not surprisingly, this charge is an indictable offence, with a “minim punishment of imprisonment of four years,” or life–a very serious charge. Naturally the Court is holding him in remanded custody upon his next court appearance.

Perhaps once the media has latched onto his case I may talk more openly about him. For now, all that I want to say is, it is amazing how, for all of my friends while growing up, how different our paths have gone as we grew through time, and the twisted path this particular person took. We parted our ways many years ago over the theft of some money that he took from me, and I never bothered to seek him out after that. Only through third party associates and snippets of news paper articles I found his name pop-up over the years–other than that I left him behind in my mind for those terrible things he did to me, and to my friends. To read this, it brought back many memories, and sadness too that he has never took hold of a life that would bring him peace and happiness, but to continue to hurt people, and himself. At age 48, I doubt that a second chance will reform him.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

After reading the news article from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Sunday Edition, by Michael Enright called, “Innocent Until Proven Guilty – Except on Remand,” I felt that I needed to post a reaction post of my own because he brings up some really good points, but he also misses some of the obvious problems that we are faced within Canada today with Remand. Why is remand the way it is today? I like to make two points that Remand is being used as a warehousing/staging mechanism due to clogged Courts, who are consistently backlogged as the (1) “net widening” of various criminal laws that catch more people now who fall into them, and (2) lack of funding, right from policing, through to the Courts, and the prisons themselves, are dealing with reduced budgets and other cost cutting means. As I talk to my peers, they say it continues to get worse.

I was at a deposition hearing in 2012, in Surrey, British Columbia, where the judge asked a lawyer if his client could post bail, noting that the accused had being convicted several times before. I noticed the judge then checking to see if the remand centre had enough room for one more person. I did not think that much about it at the time, as I was more focused on capturing as much as I could on what charges the Crown had, and their list of evidence. My lawyer friend who I was helping out, told me that the situation was bleak as far as backlogs go, and that he had clients who were sitting in remand for up to two months before he could schedule hearing dates for them. He called that exceptionally productive back then, as I hear it has gotten a lot worse today as far as backlogs go.

Net widening, in this aspect, is a term that is used when laws, already in force, are amended to catch more offenders by adding in more rigged attributes to them. In some cases it allows the police to lower the threshold of when certain crimes are committed, and lay charges, and apprehend perpetrators. The result is an increase in charges due to these changes in the Criminal Code. In the last decade, Canada has seen a huge increase of net widening from within the Criminal Code, thus resulting in a corresponding increase of intakes into the criminal justice system.

The people who should be put into remand are generally people who either fall into the category of unable to pay, or cannot meet the terms for bail (so that they will not flee the country and will return for their trial), and people who could pose some form of danger to society, or to themselves. The term “dangerous offender,” is used in the latter point. Add in cutbacks and under funding to the Justice System, such as fewer court facilities, then you are bound to have bottlenecks as prisoners are being put through the system. If someone cannot have their day in court, due to backlogs, then they will spend more time in remand until then when space becomes available for a trial.

Canada had “time served” rules built into the Criminal Code where if you spent time in remand, then you would qualify for “two for one, to partial—time severed,” which meant that when you were sentenced for jail, part of your time would be shortened (taken off of) because of the time served rule in remand. These rules have since being changed and phased out under the Harper Government. Now remand is viewed upon in many circles as the starting point of punishment, and dims the idea of innocent until proven guilty in Canada.

Michael Enright is absolutely correct about these conditions of overcrowding in remand centres. He is also correct in that no politician would ever dare stand up and argue against a crime bill. A government who plays the “crime card” during an election usually believes that they will capture more votes, so this “tough on crime” agenda usually falls amongst all parties in the political spectrum.

Photographing Police in Public View

Canada has been a hotbed of public outcry with regards to its police forces over the last few years, as videos, shot by the public, capture the moments of death with their cellphones and cameras. Just in the last week there was the shooting of a young man , 18 year old Sammy Yastim, who was wielding a knife on a Toronto street car when he was shot nine times, to his death, at point blank range by a Toronto Police officer. Back in 2007. Perhaps the most highest profile of extreme use of force by the police caught on video was Mr. Robert Dziekanski, a Polish visitor, at the Vancouver International Airport in Richmond BC, who died from multiple taser shocks while he was wrestled to the ground by four RCMP officers.

The capturing of images of police incidences, coupled with the Internet, has changed the face of Canada’s Police forces forever. Had the video of Mr. Robert Dziekanski never happened, odds are the public inquiry and public outcry would have never happened either. The video, when released by the RCMP was made public soon after, and made most viewers horrified at whet they saw. It was not the issues that the police showed up and were about arrest the traveller at YVR (Vancouver International Airport), but it was the way in which they did it. The video clearly shows an extreme use of force that most viewers say was totally unnecessary. The homicide of the unarmed man, being tastered multiple times until he died, drew questions as to just what is going on with police forces such as the RCMP, and how they interact with the public. The question asked was, could Mr. Robert Dziekanski be alive today if the RCMP simply talked to him, trying to communicate with him, subduing the situation with words rather then brute force? All of this would have not have being possible if a traveller did not shoot the indecent with his camera.

The right to take photos, including videos, is surprisingly murky with most people that I talk to. However, the rules are basic and simplistic, in my opinion. I can shoot photos of just about anything, providing I (or you) have a right to be at the location, and some basic rules are met, such as not violating someone expected right to privacy. Intent is a big factor too, such as why am I shooting a photo, what am I going to do with it, and will I cause hardship to that person, or property with that image. I found this cool blog that lists the basics of what rights a photographer has in Canada, and I believe it is worthy to post it here on my Blog.

From the “Canadian Privacy Law Blog” (August 23, 2012):

Here’s a summary of what Canadians should know about this:

  • There is no law in Canada that prevents a member of the public from taking photographs or video in a public place (other than some limitations related to sensitive defense installations);

  • There is no law in Canada that prevents a member of the public from taking photographs or video of a police officer executing his or her duties in public or in a location lawfully controlled by the photographer (in fact, police officers have no privacy rights in public when executing their duties);

  • Preventing a person from taking photos or video is a prima facie infringement of a person’s Charter rights;

  • You cannot interfere with a police officer’s lawful execution of his or her duties, but taking photos or videos does not, in and of itself, constitute interference;

  • A police officer cannot take your phone or camera simply for recording him or her, as long as you were not obstructing;

  • These privileges are not reserved to media — everyone has these rights;

  • A police officer cannot make you unlock your phone to show him or her your images; and

  • A police officer cannot make you delete any photos.

Please read the whole page from the blog, it is fascinating information for anyone who shoots a camera in Canada and finds themselves in a situation where they witness a horrific event, such as a police incidence, like the two I mention above.

Now for my personal experience with photographing the police during an event.

This happened in Langley City, BC seven years ago. It was at the intersection of 200th street and Fraser Highway, in Langley City, when out of nowhere four police officers tackled a motorcycle driver from off of his bike onto the road. I was stopped waiting for the single light to turn Green on Fraser right behind the motorcyclist. I had a cheap point’n’shoot camera with me, and after 30 seconds when I finally got the video mode to work, I held up the camera to record the event. It was at that time that an RCMP officer banged on my window telling me to stop shooting with my camera, saying that I would be detained, and could be charged for obstructing a police officer. I rolled up the window so she could not grab me, and I kept on shooting. She banged again, ordering me to stop filming, and I ignored her; I could not go anywhere anyway becuase the whole intersection was stopped because of the police blocking the traffic. It was about 10 seconds after she made her command that her co-worker told her to leave it (meaning me) and deal with getting the traffic moving again. The Male officer tapped on my window, asking me if I would would be so kind to giving him my Identification, as a witness to the biker’s arrest. I gave the constable my driver’s license, but never heard back from the RCMP again about it. The whole video was botched anyway as the poor camera had difficulties focusing through the widow of my vehicle. I got great shots of dust, bug spatters on my windshield, and my rear-view mirror, but not so much of the mounties wrestling the biker on the grown. Nothing much happened to the biker either, has he was quickly handcuffed, and taken away to an awaiting police car.

Thomasso’s Take on Macho Politics

I was inspired to write this post based on a conversation that I had with a person who I work with when he said, “I know crime, criminals and how they work and operate, better then anyone else… why waste time at university when all they can do is give that psychological mumbo-jumbo, and tell us that keeping criminals out of jail is the best place for them.” This notion that everyone knows the word of criminals and that straight forward and “get tough” policies are the answers to curbing crime are fooling only themselves. What my co-worker fails to see is that his analogy serves no greater good to himself, nor to the whole of mankind. For the armchair Criminologist, the bulk of his source of information comes from the media, a source that in itself is nothing but an ad machine with its only purpose of selling news that is condensed, canned and is usually void of any sufficient facts and absolute truths. The rest of his reasoning comes from his personal experiences, he told me. This transmission from the media of events, repeated, stacked one after another, amplifies the scope of criminal activity overall, creating a distorted and exaggerated reality of what our world is really. With this reasoning, it is not a huge surprise to me that my co-worker would appreciate a government that would extend this fallacy even further by offering solutions to this media driven wave of crime, and offer up political solutions in the form of fighting back with a get tough on crime initiative.

I asked my co-worker to view this video, hoping that he can see that this solution is not a very practical one, and that tough on crime policies have a darker side to them that seems to add to the problems rather than solving them.

After he viewed it, he stated, “how could she be one hundred percent in the right when ALL of the politicians say otherwise.”

So, I offered my co-worker this: after you have been incarcerated for a crime that you committed, I will meet with you in front of your cell bars and explain to you in full detail, the woman’s philosophy from the video, for you because we will have lots of time to do that.

Just In Time to Start the Work Week – And a Love Story

It has been a crazy week these past few days. I really did not get much of an weekend, spending most of it working, playing catchup with the mountain of things that needed to be done, and helping those who needed my help. Most id this I was willing to do, but there one chore that I damn well rebelled about, but went into it with resistance, and the unwillingness to do it–working a sixth day when I was not absolutely necessary. Among the  activities I performed these last few days, I came across an interesting situation that I am still pondering about at this very moment: watching young love go down the toilet.

Catch My Love - Thomasso - June 30 2013

When I was in Langley City, on my way home from work, when I came across a friend who I have known for many years at the store. He has a daughter, who was not in the best of moods when I met them, and they had just gotten back into town. My friend told me the story of how his daughter came to know this charming young boy, and they began to form a serious relationship, and their friendship grew even more serious. Her boy friend had a little problem: he like to take things that were not his. In fact, this young boy was such a persistent criminal that he was very well known to the RCMP. My friend just happened to work with the RCMP, and using his connections, he went  to do a little background check-up on this charming young boy.

A week ago, my friend sat down with his daughter to explain to her who this charming young boy that she fell in love with was. She was furious, not that her boy friend was a criminal, but that her father had done such a thing, “creeping her out.” She ran off, mad, and the following day, she decided that she would confront her boy friend about all of this nonsenses that her father had told her. We figured that she got a totally different story from the charming young boy, becuase they decided to drive off to Kelowna, British Columbia to run away and stay with the charming young boy’s friends who lived there.  It took her two days to realizes that her charming young boy friend was not all that cracked up to be, and she asked her father to help her go home. This is the point in the story when I met them.

This “love” is really amazing; makes people do the craziest things.

Socail Parasites Suck

Nothing like getting a letter in the Post that says that you owe more than Ten Thousand Dollars to the Government in the form of business (and personal) taxes. The Man in this case is our friends over at Revenue Canada who decided that since I was the only one out of my former partners who surrendered contact information, (and I doled out my Social Insurance Number), they are attacking me for the rest of the Four-Fifths of the phantom money that they say is outstanding. The shock from the letter almost sent me into tears, then panic, then for a moment of disbelief, then that droning feeling of stress that is still with me today. When I disagree with the Taxes, I call it a social parasite problem, but when I get wrongfully taxed, well, then, it is larceny.

Tax man Colling 2013 a

Let me back up and paint the picture for you. Three years ago when I was just leaving University, me and Four other friends (graduates) decided to start our little program working in the field of rehabilitation with inmates from/under Corrections Canada. It was a grand and an ambitious project. If we raised the seed money, and got the project off the ground, then the government would follow through. But first we had to qualify, and by that I mean we had to put the cash on the table. In 2009, the economic crash was killing many economies, so dealing with the Banks, especially here in Canada, was next to impossible, so we funned everything right out of our own pockets. We did this with the understanding that if this should fail, we would take our money and leave, and call it a bad day becuase nothing was invested. With the onset of the Harper Government, the paradigm shifted as Corrections Canada was left with a huge funding shortfall and a booming prison population. So out went our project, and aspirations–right down the drain.

When I left the project in 2010, I had just graduated, and after that had little contact with the rest of my group. One member moved to Ontario, and Two others moved down to the States to be with their families–the other, I completely lost contact with her. I am the only one who stayed, pretty much at the same address and kept the same phone number. Because the money that I posted for the project earned some interest, I had to declare that as income; fair enough, as I was only looking at a cost of less than One Hundred Dollars in taxes. Sadly my friends did not do any book-keeping when they took their money, and as a consequence, Big Brother is assuming that everyone cheated him from not paying their taxes. Strangely enough, Big Brother cannot contact, or even find, the rest of the group? You would figure with all of those resources, like secret police, and armies of lawyers working for him, tracking down tax evaders would be a cinch you would think?

So, I have a hearing/meeting/court in August in which Big brother has invited me to defend myself in, and fork over his money. I am hoping to avoid this. I just sent off a letter stating the whole chain of events, but somehow I think Big Brother wants the money first, then we sit down and talk. I know that this is just a paperwork, fill-out-the-forms paper chase, and once all of the “I’s” are dotted, and the “T’s” crossed, this will be just one bad dream.

As for my friends, they stopped taking my calls. Nice friends, eh?

Well, I have their application forms from the project, with all of their personal data on it, so that is my ace-in-the-hole. Hopefully Big Brother will see common sense, and the error of his ways, and leave me alone.

Yes, I am angry at the whole situation. The last thing I need right now are my wages being garnished. That would suck. So I pace back and forth, thinking, planning, stressing out, thinking what should I do. So much for being honest–and filling my taxes from this. Sheesh. Perhaps running (like the rest of the group did) is the best thing to do? This is all one big fat mistake!