Sunday, September 30, 2007

I Love a Good Mystery

I came home one day last week to find a notice taped up over the mailboxes addressed to residents of building # ### noting that the amount of animal feces "in front of and on the sides of the building" was getting out of control and threatening a $50 fee to any pet owners deemed to be in noncompliance etc. (I have decided that "on the sides of" really means "beside", but you never really know.)

After seeing this, I was not surprised to see a note for me rolled up next to my doorknob (our management's second-favorite way to leave us a message, after taping it to the door). I got in and unrolled it and sure enough it was the same thing, but with an addition: a handwritten telephone number 800-942-2045. What could the phone number be? The SPCA? A vet? Maid service?

Well, rather than call, I Googled the phone number. It belongs to UBS Financial Services of Stamford, CT.

The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It Was Bound to Happen

I got a 419 e-mail the other day, from (supposedly) an American sergeant who, with his buddies, had found $63m of Saddam's money in Tikrit and wanted to get it out of the country. I don't know whether the scammers are slow, or I just hadn't got one of those until now. I've also noticed an uptick in 419 e-mails from Ouagadougou, and I am always surprised that it is correctly spelled. (They don't always get "Burkina Faso", but you can't have everything.)

I still haven't finished Making Money, since I started it on a Friday afternoon after finally getting out of the office, so I managed to finish three chapters. But I can say that, since Thud! came out, HarperCollins has hired a copy editor who is able to distinguish "1" from "I" from "l". Very exciting.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

European Online Open, Day 1


Round 1 went ok; I won three hands, but someone else won 5, so she won the round.

Round 2 I think I played ok, but I could not pick tiles for anything. Illustrative example: I had 159C 27B 38D (or something very similar) and six individual honors. Knitted (fourteen tiles out of 147, 258, 369 of different suits and the honors) seems indicated; no matter how the suits break down, I've got nine tiles, all I've got to do is match what I draw. In 20 or so picks before someone won the game, I managed to pick the one remaining honor and 3C. That's it. When you consider that 15 of the 27 ranks (six of the C, although that only became 1 once I had picked the 3C, 4 B, 4 D, and one honor) were good, that's pretty pathetic. I finally managed to win the last hand with a minute on the clock to pull ahead of the third-place player by five points.

Round 3 I wasn't getting any hands either, but I wasn't planning/taking advantage as well as I should, as I was behind early and frustrated from the previous round and trying for BIG hands. I did win the last hand here too, but I was still in last place by a good 55 points. Big goose-egg. And, even though all my teammates took second place at their tables in round 3, we (as a team) went from fourth (one spot out of the money) to eighth (just above .500). It looks like I have Things To Prove tomorrow for the last three rounds.