I Must Be Adopted

I am truly hopeful that I am adopted, and thus not as messed up as the rest of my family.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

What the F?

I literally just finished the post about Credit Card Companies and the Internet, and just this second, I learned that Neiman Marcus does not accept Mastercard or Visa. Only a Neiman Marcus or American Express card.

Are you kidding me? Not that I care, other than the fact that Traci now wants me to go to Philly next weekend, so she can purchase a dress.

"That's a no Bob."

Credit Card Companies and the Internet

To have the reader feel the same level of frustration I felt from this encounter, I will not abridge the events. I was frustrated by the end of this, and hope you will be too.

I recently switched to a new credit card -- Chase Freedom. I look for cards that give me cash back, and this card appears to offer the best program. Just bear in mind, that these programs (mileage, cash back, points, etc.) are only worthwhile if you pay the balances off each month.

I digress... Traci's 2007 initiative is to update her wardrobe. She has been inspired by the TLC show "What Not To Wear." To that end, she has saved up a sizeable amount of money on her own (we each get a monthly allowance), and we've set aside a significant amount from the "house fund" to fund this initiative.

The purchases have begun. Starting with the after Christmas sales, she has been purchasing with wanton abandon -- she assures me she has a plan. I say "I don't care. You have the set amount you can spend, buy whatever you want; just not a penny more."

The other day, she calls me at home during lunch. Turns out, her new credit card had been denied while trying to make a purchase on-line over her lunch period. I tell her to just use the old one, and that I would call Chase to see what's up. Here's the conversation:

"Please enter 16-digit account number." BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP (x4)
"Please enter your 5 digit zip code." BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP
"Please enter the last 4 digits of the primary card holders SSN." BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP
"Please enter the first 3 letters of your mother's maiden name." BEEP-BEEP-BEEP
"To help us verify your identity, please confirm these 5 transactions." It then lists 5 transactions from the first week in December.
- $2.85 at a grocery store
- $15.87 at a gas station
- 3 other transaction, I can only guess are legit

"Thank-you. Press 1 for blah, 2 for blah, 3 for blah or press 0 for assitance." 0

After a short wait, "Thank you for holding, may I please have your account number?"

"I already entered it."
"I need it again." I give her the account number, AND answer the same series of questions as before. I then explain that my wife's card had been denied.

"Yes, there is a hold on your account. I need to transfer you to the security department. Please hold."

Short wait, and then want to guess the first question?

"May I please have your account number?" WHAT?!?! OK, here we go again. Account number and the same questions.

"Please hold while I access your account." 30 seconds later.
"I need to ask you some additional questions."
"Please verify these 3 transactions" She then lists different 3 transactions. They sound legit.
"Please describe the age range of Joann . Is she between 16-20, 21-26..."
"I don't know a Joann. Who's Joann?"
"Just needed to verify you are the real card holder."

"There was a hold placed on the account because your wife tried to purchase something from the Internet."

At this point, I was floored. "Yep, she sure did. And she's going to do it again real soon. I may even purchase from this new fangled Internet thingy." (yes I actually said that)

The transaction apparently looked suspicious. She was trying to purchase from Talbots' website. For those who have not heard of Talbots, it's a somewhat upscale clothing store.

I explained, that we frequently purchase from the "Internet Thingy", and that if I had to call in everytime to clear a hold placed on my account, I would be cancelling the card.

Upon further investigation, the "questionable" activity was that:
She purchased in-store Wednesday evening from Talbots.
She purchased via-phone from the Lancaster Talbots store Wednesday evening -- the one in York didn't have this particular item.
She tried to purchase yet another item Thursday, that neither store had via the Net.

My point is that if she purchased from Talbots in person (Wednesday evening), what's the chances that a person who stole her identity (card) would purchase via the Net from the same store?

Christmas Gift Wrap-up

Here's what we got (family gifts included):

Me -
Tickets to Nickelback concert at Bryce Jordan Center (PSU campus)
Astronomy book
Money towards a game console
245 piece Craftsman tool set
Wallet -- women, if you read this, we don't buy you clothes, please do not buy us wallets.

Traci -
Worst XMas gift ever (my point-of-view) -- it has it's own blog entry.
Necklace from Tiffany's
Pirate's of the Caribbean, Dead Man's Chest
Dead Like Me - Season 1
Gift cards to clothing stores - Talbots, Macy's, Anne Taylor, etc.
Gift cert to a local spa

I'm sure I missed some minor stuff, but that's the jist of the gifts.

The Worst XMas Gift -- Ever!

This gift deserves it's own entry for so many reasons.

Short setup -- Traci really likes punk/indie/underground music, in addition to 80's hair bands.

Consequently, there are not many good radio stations in the area for her. I've shown her how to locate and download music from the Internet, but discovering these indie bands in particular is quite difficult, since there is no radio play for many of them on conventional radio stations.

As such, I thought a satellite radio would be a great gift idea -- Sirius to be precise. So I purchased the radio, and 1 year subscription for her.

She loves the radio and the music selections; quite possibly, this was the best gift in her mind this year (the necklace from Tiffany's runs a close second.)

Why then it is the worst gift ever? Let me explain.

It all started the Thursday after XMas. I was off this week, and as it turned out I needed her car to run some errands on Thursday and Friday -- she has an Outback, and I needed the extra room the Outback has over my Legacy. Since she can't drive a stick (my car is a stick), I had to drive her to and from work on Thursday and Friday.

On the way to work Thursday morning, she announces that she's only almost rear-ended 3 cars since Tuesday. Seems she's too distracted by the Sirius radio, and switching through all the stations finding songs she likes -- too many choices. Only 2 days, and she's almost had 3 accidents; this is not good odds. In her defense "only 1 was really close." There's going to be an accident sooner or later.

That's not the worst, however. The worst is the fact that we take her car whenever we go anywhere. There's a couple of reasons for this, cheif among them are:

1) She can't drive a stick, so if we go on long trips, she can't help drive if we use my car.
2) Over the past 5 years, we put a lot of mileage on my car, running trips around town, and short distances. She had an older Jeep, and I didn't want to push the wear-and-tear on the Jeep, and risk it breaking down before we could afford to get her a new car. Near the end of the Jeep's life, we used my car for all long trips as "little" things started to go on the Jeep.

At any rate, now that we drive her car most places, the difference in musical tastes is becoming VERY apparent. It wasn't so bad when we only had the choice the terresterial stations offered, but now that there are channels with nothing but 80's hair bands, indie, punk, goth, etc... It has become painfully apparent how different we are in our musical likes and dislikes.

We haven't even taken a long trip yet. I fear I may lose my equilibrium while driving, if my ears start to bleed from too much 80's hair music. I may have to start to drive with my iPod while in her car.

Monday, December 25, 2006


I have spent a couple of Christmas' eating at Denny's in my life. Actually, I ate Christmas Eve dinner there... I would refuse to eat anywhere at Christmas. I wasn't about to be the reason somebody was stuck waitressing on Christmas.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Word Problem Contest

Word Problem time -- you remember these from math class, right?

If you following the contest rules, you could win $25!!!

The York College December 2006 graduating class cosisted of 25 people graduating with an MBA. Of these 25, only 32% showed up for the ceremony; 20% of those earning an MBA had already moved out of the area (remember those who finish over the summer don't participate in a ceremony until December); 12% earned an MBA with a concentration in Information Systems (myself included). And of the people who did attend graduation 25% live within a 0.2 mile radius of each other, and didn't know it until yesterday.

Now the questions:
1) How many people earning an MBA attended graduation?
2) How many people earning an MBA had already moved away?
3) How many people earning an MBA had the concentration of Information Systems?

Bonus Question

4) How many people earning an MBA live within a 0.2 mile radius of each other?

If you think you know the answers, please write your responses on the back of a $50 bill and mail it to me. The Grand Prize winner of $25, will be randomly selected from all correct entries. Please include your contact information, in case you are the Grand Prize winner.

Disclaimer: No purchase necessary. Entrants must either be idiots (or a Strouse) or willing to part with $50. Please allow 6~8 weeks for Grand Prize winner selection and notification -- payment to the winner may take longer. For complete contest details, please write to:

The Man in the Moon
PO Box 6789
Wallawalla, WA 12345-6789

Photographic Evidence

Despite Sean's objections to the authenticity of this photo, I am posting indisputable photographic evidence to my claim that I was the first graduate to lead the procession into Grumbacher hall.

Indisputable if you use the same criteria used to judge the photos of Bigfoot, Nessie, Yeti, Jersey Devil, etc...

The gentleman you see in front and to the right of me, is the Dean of Student Affairs, aka the Graduation Marshall (his title for such ceremonies). He is the last in line of the Administration procession, and the graduating candidates follow him.

Also, as a follow-up to the Shanon side of things... I just spoke with my sister, and told her that we enjoyed Shanon's company, and that it was a pleasure to spend the day with him, and have him as our guest at dinner.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

MBA Graduation Day and a Trivia Question

I can see it now... many, many moons in the future, a group of people gather around their anti-grav coffee table -- I said it was in the future -- playing Trivial Pursuit (York College Edition):

"OK, for the yellow wedge in Persons, Places, and Events category, and the win -- Name the first student to receive a diploma in the Grumbacher Sports and Fitness Center?"

Well, today I officially completed my MBA program by participating in the York College Winter 2006 graduation ceremony.

The ceremony was held in the brand-new, multi-million dollar Grumbacher Sports and Fitness Center, that just opened April 29, 2006.

The graduation ceremony was the first ever held in this facility. And as it turns out, I was the first ever graduate to:
1) Lead the graduating processional into the hall
2) have their name called over the PA system
3) walk across the stage to receive their diploma in this facility (or the rolled up piece of paper saying your diploma is on it's way).

I am now part of York College history; there will never be another first graduate to walk across the Grumbacher stage. One day, when the York College edition of Trivial Pursuit comes out, I could very well be the answer to a question such as the one posed at the beginning of this entry.

I am now unique -- just like everybody else in the world.

P.S. Back in April, Traci and I purchased a commemorative brick with our names on, that was placed in the court yard on the right hand side of Grumbacher (by the circle right outside of the building). If you zoom in on the picture, you might be able to see our brick.

Pleasant Surprise

I didn't want to detract from the significance of the Trivia Question post with this little bit of surprising news -- it's my Blog and if I want to toot my own horn, I can.

Shanon accompanied Laura to my graduation ceremony today, then back to my house, and then out to dinner with us tonight.

I must say, that we (Traci, myself, and Traci's family) were all pleasantly surprised with Shanon. I'm not saying that Shanon and I are now the greatest of friends or that we bonded, but I must admit that he seems like a very nice individual.

Traci and I may have been a little rushed to our initial opinion of the man. I believe I will be calling my sister tomorrow, to thank her for her gift once again, and to comment approvingly about Shanon.

It takes a big man to admit when he was wrong, and I admit -- I may have been wrong.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Let's see how often

Chuck reads my blogs...

Chuck, sometime ago, you asked me a question about Corel Painter IX.

I have found the info you seek, and would like to email your answer to you - it will fit in an email.

Call me and let me know what address you'd like me to send to.


Unrelated to the caption of this picture... When I see this picture, I think back to a white water rafting trip Traci and I took with our friends Sean and Allison.

At one point during the trip (while navigating a class 5 rapid), Traci loses her paddle and screams "I lost my paddle". She then gets it back and shouts "Nevermind, I got it."

Meanwhile, Sean is trying to keep me from going overboard by grabbing ahold of my leg, and hanging on for dear life. I'm glad to say he was successful, and neither of us went into the drink.

Traci, was so concerned about her paddle (you see the guide said whatever you do don't stop paddling and do NOT lose your paddle), she didn't even notice that I went face first into a huge wave, and almost went overboard.

I imagine the scene was similar to this picture, but that I wasn't out of the raft yet. Sean, thanks for not choosing to make an individual sacrifice.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blind Hunters

Apparently there is a proposed bill in Texas to allow blind people to hunt.

Come on... I'm all for blind people's rights (I'm half blind myself), but hunting!?!?!

Only in Texas.

I'm eagerly anticipating Chuck's response to this...


Still sick. Traci and I are passing the bug back and forth now.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Missed It By THAT Much!

No, I'm not talking about the highly anticipated release of the Get Smart! DVD Colleciton -- though I must say I'm tempted...

I'm talking about the Military Coup that just occured in Fiji.

You'll remember that not more than 2 months ago, Traci and I honeymooned there, and had a great time. I've no idea what happens to plans of current or soon to be honeymooners, but I can't imagine what Traci would be like right now if this were October 5th -- 9 days before our wedding -- and not December 5th.

I wonder how much kava you drink for a coup?


Sorry for the delay... I have been sick and as such I can relate to the above..