Virus in the Brain

28 04 2012

I received a call from a female who could barely speak English, she claimed to call me from Ottawa, the capital of Canada. She said she called because I had a virus in my computer. After trying to establish the conversation, she handed me over to someone who uttered a few more words resembling English. He gave me the same line saying I had a virus and he was following up with a phone call. He claimed he worked for Microsoft, but after much prodding, I discovered he was from an unknown independent company, if it was even a company. He gave me a command, go on my computer and see the virus. He claimed he called for my benefit; he would remove this virus from my computer for a nominal fee. I thought to myself, these people are probably the ones who planted the virus initially only to remove it.

At this point, the only place I saw a virus was in his brain. Feeling cheeky, I told him my satellite detected a boogie man in his closet and for a nominal fee paid through paypal to: removeboogiemanfromyourclosetNOW@hotmail.com, I could have the boogie man removed. He then asked me what a boogie man was. Clearly this person was not from North America. And if he just emigrated, there was something still wrong with his story. He wanted to get into my computer and charge me for it. Which of the two was worse I couldn’t tell.

Ever seen movies where there’s a heist? Characters are usually ex cons, they are highly skilled in cracking codes, opening safes, getting through laser security, and they come together as a group to steal a painting, diamonds, or some antique relic. There’s one common thread in all these movies. They are all serious professionals who hatch a plan and study very carefully and practise the heist over and over. They study maps, architectural layouts of the building with ducts, and underground passageways, the placement of security cameras, the schedule of security, so forth. They are meticulous in their study as if it was the dismantling of a nuclear bomb. On the day of the heist they are all dressed in black, or in masks; they are a highly trained operation. I have often wondered, with the amount of training, they could have a legitimate job. They would be great in the Special Forces, FBI, and so forth. Yet they spend their time practising to steal. The amount of time spent being a thief is harder than working a legitimate job.  Which makes me wonder: why are people corrupt?

If people have the brains to hatch a plan, for example, plant a virus only to remove it, why can’t they do something more productive? Like write a software program. This obviously takes just as much time. In fact, being illegitimate takes more time, just ask the person behind bars.





Brup

27 04 2012

Do you have a favourite word? Every so often I have words swim in my head and just love to say the word out loud. A while back it was combobulate, I like the way bob and- u- and-late  sounded and with the com in the beginning, the word danced on my tongue oh and when you add the dis in the beginning, don’t even get me started, discombobulate, listen to all the dance.

My latest word is brup. I love the word brup. Now brup has no meaning, but it brups along very fine, and every so often when I want to say something, I say brup (you got to roll the r). Brup is an important word to me because it express everything and nothing–much like our society.  Since it has no apparent meaning, there’s endless things a brup can do: a brup can have a bruptometer that measures brups, or bruptoligists that count brup movements, or bruptiotic machines that analyse brup language.  Brup is more important word than we know. Brup is bruptilious, brupnificent  and brupterful. You can fill your drawer with brups, you can brup out loud, give out brup cards. Just when you thought it was only a word. Things to do with brup is endless. It’s a journey in itself. So there it is. Have a fun Friday filled with brup.

Brupty Cheers,

Sisi Theo





Functional Space

21 04 2012

I have a friend in the real estate industry and she describes living space as functional in her listing. The first time I read ‘functional’ as an adjective to describe space, I thought it unpleasant to the ear. People want a beautiful home, I thought, not a functional home. We function all day long, we don’t want to come home to more function, we want a home that will take our mind away from the harsh realities of life.

Functional sounds like warehouse space. But is utility so bad? Recently, I realized the importance of functional space. A home is not a bunch of walls keeping your stuff, a home is a place that needs to function properly. The design of the functional home carries out what it intended to do in the best possible manner: where one can cook, eat, rest, and live comfortably. For example, the living room shouldn’t have a hallway tracking through it, or the dishwasher too far away from the sink, or a bedroom used as a hallway (I have actually seen a place like this). For a person who just wants to lay down their hat, a layout may seem trivial, but inoperable space carries elements that alter lifestyle, even for someone transient. For example, the dishwasher that is far away means you have to clean water from the floor frequently, the hallway in the living room disrupts living (conversation you are having, a movie you are watching, etc.), and a bedroom that functions as a hallway loses privacy, even sleep. So, is functional important?  Yes indeed. It is the first feature to look for.





Ostrich Dilemma

16 04 2012

Ever have days when you feel like life is out of control and there are too many things to do at once. You wonder how life got so complicated and begin to envy the college student’s biggest problem, the student loan. Then the ostrich dilemma creeps in, whether it’s fact or fiction that an ostich buries its head, you want to bury yours in the sand. “Please, no more,” you think to yourself and wonder if life can get worse, and discover that everything bad can in fact get worse.  If you find yourself in this situation here are some tips.

1. Take a deep breath and step back from the situation. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What exactly is the problem?
  • How can I fix it?

2.. Go do something refreshing. For some it’s getting together with a friend over lunch or coffee, for others it’s buying a new hat, shirt, shoes, whatever. Take your mind off of your problems for a time and do something you enjoy.

3. Come back refreshed. Don’t over react. Now answer the questions: What is the problem, and how can I fix it?

4. Spend the next few days making changes. Do everything you’ve been procrastinating. Don’t leave any rock unturned. Problems don’t resolve by themselves. Get in there and make changes before it gets worse. Belive me, it can get worse.

Even if you don’t make the right decision, you can feel satisfied that you tackled  the monster: the problem. We are all a work in progress. Pat yourself on the back for effort. Until next time, more cowbell baby!





Ice Cream and Pickles

12 04 2012

I received a telephone call from Bell Canada, the caller introduced himself as Richard Williams, with an unmistakable accent from India. So I asked him, “Are you sure you are Richard Williams?” In case I heard wrong. “Oh yes,” came the reply; as if he was surer than the Maharajah. Then when he started talking about making a deal, I had to laugh. This guy was trying, very unsuccessfully, to fool me, or he believed his own lie. Either case, it was as weird as ice-cream and pickles. So I ask the ethical question: Bell Canada, why do your employees lie to us? And a question to the public, why do we let these big corporations get away with unethical business dealings?





Ethics in Business

4 04 2012

Ethics in business have changed over the years. Gone are the days when a handshake would seal the deal. Today, even paperwork is unable to implement ethical boundaries. Truth in business has evaporated. The fine print dilutes truth with the use of ambiguous befuddled language. Purchases online have strings attached where the customer is automatically signed up for other products all because they put a check mark in a box unaware of its ramifications, again due to mumbo jumbo wording. Then unknown charges appear on the credit card, usually under a different name to add more confusion. Also, beware of anything offered for free, this is usually a ploy to get consumers to spend money on a product they won’t normally purchase. The word free means just that, “free.”

Shady business dealings are prevalent among telecommunication companies, gym memberships, travel agencies, products online, free offers…just to name a few. Deceptive  activity must become illegal and enforced as such. The government must set fines to companies that don’t provide full disclosure of product information to consumers. Here are some of the deceptive practises:

  • Ambiguous mumbo jumbo language
  • Undefined terms
  • Misleading promises
  • Misuse of the word “free”

Further, companies need to return hard-earned money they stole from people, yes stole, by their surreptitious dealings. The consumer has power to speak up and demand truth from companies. Unethical business dealings are like a disease to society’s moral fabric. Trust is broken, our standards lowered, lies  become acceptable, and truth gets compromised. Government must declare shady business practises illegal and as such, eliminate them.





3 04 2012

sisitheo

Melina Seaton is finally pregnant. After three long years of trying to have a baby with her husband Scott, they are finally going to begin a family. “I’m so happy,” Melina said, while sitting in her beautiful Beverly Hills home. When I asked her about the ultrasound, “I don’t want to know whether it’s a boy or a girl,” she replied, “I just want a healthy baby.”

I was ecstatic when Melina allowed me the interview and I rushed over with my laptop and recorder. Trying to appear organized, I got together a list of questions for the interview of this acclaimed actress, long overdue of accolades for her stunning performance in the film, “Three Days of Summer.” The first thing I noticed when I stepped into her apartment was that she was truly human. She ate, slept, and lived just as I did, she even used the same brand of…

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