Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WORK @ HOME!!! Part 4

STOP Read Part 1Part 2 & Part 3 first!

Again Joe asks me for my full name and mailing address which I had already provided to the company twice in addition to my résumé. I did not re-confirm my info or respond to this particular e-mail. In fact, it would be the last e-mail I would receive from either Joe or Daniel. From here on out, I would be communicating with my Supervisor via Instant Messenger. Every morning when I logged onto Yahoo IM, not at the scheduled 8pm start time, but usually around 10am, I would have this message waiting for me:

Joe
how are you this morning

To which I would always reply: good. And that would be it for the day. This would go on for days at a time. I had no reason to suspect that there was anything legitimate about this "job" but I didn't really see Joe's angle yet. It was more out of curiosity that I logged into Yahoo. It was never at the scheduled time, and some days I would forget to log on all together. Joe didn’t seem to mind. This went on for a week or two and then one morning I logged in only to be greeted by this:

8:16AM
Joe
Good Moning
How are you doing today...

10:17AM
Joe
where have you been/.
BUZZ!!!
?

10:19AM
chris.auman
I've been busy working on my assignments and I guess I forgot to sign in to yahoo this morning. Sorry about that, boss.

8:16AM
Joe
you need to always stay online

10:20AM
chris.auman
ok, sorry.  What's up?

10:20AM
Joe
so how are you doing with your assignment?

10:21AM
chris.auman
Good. It's a tough one, but I am making good progress.

10:22AM
Joe
ok

The fact that I had not been assigned anything, didn’t seem to faze either one of us. It was just important for him that I be on-line from 8AM to 1PM. I had already decided that Joe was probably not even in this hemisphere but more likely somewhere in Western Africa at a crowded Internet cafe filled with like-minded "Supervisors" trying to think of new ways to import more Yankee dollars. At any rate, in spite of this reprimand from the boss, I made no effort to sign in earlier than 10AM, in fact, I found it difficult to even sign in that early. Usually he didn’t seem to mind, here is an example of a typical instant message from Joe:

10:30AM
Joe
Hello
How are you doing

10:30AM
chris.auman
hello.
good

10:30AM
Joe
ok
let me know if you need anything

10:31AM
chris.auman
ok.

After several more weeks of this, Joe must have decided that the hook was sufficiently baited and it was time to reel in the fish. I received these instructions:

10:22AM
Joe
Good Morning
How are you
Will update you on primary assignments shortly
The Company has introduced a Domestic Petty Cash Payment; the purpose for this fund is to help employees solve any domestic or emergency assignments that may require the use of funds. E.g. Shipping Payments, Packaging/Tapes, Postages and any other related domestic Payments.

You are required take 5-10 mins of your time to set up an account with www.FaceCard.com to received a Prepaid Face MasterCard for this purpose, click the link to signup http://members.facecard.com/get.php

Email me with the account login details to enable the company credit the account with funds as as soon as you are through with the signup.

Let me know if you need anything
brb
  
brb meaning Be Right Back. Joe ended almost every IM exchange with brb, even though he never was. Even though I had no intention of performing this task, I replied back asking how much I should put on the card. I received no reply.

Tomorrow: WORK @ HOME Part 5

Friday, May 27, 2011

aquarius Pictures, Images and Photos

WORK @ HOME!!! Part 3

STOP Read Part 1 & Part 2 first!

The next day I received an e-mail from my new supervisor, Mr. Joe:

January 29, 2009 7:18:35 AM CST


Welcome to XXXX Inc, My name is Joe Phillip; I will be your Supervisor for the Customer Service Representative.

You will need to be online on the yahoo messenger to receive updates on your daily assignment, your working hours are from 8am-4pm or 8am-1pm your time, depending on the hours you applied.

Note: The time you are online determines your pay as we have a program installed to the yahoo messenger that keep tracks of the time you are online. You will receive a paycheck at the end of every 30 days via regular mail.

You will need to report directly to me for anything you need, I will be ONLINE ON THE YAHOO MESSENGER to guide you through your assignments.

My yahoo ID is joe2desk; instant messenger me now to receive updates on your assignments.


Joe Phillip, Supervisor
XXXX, INC

I already had a Yahoo e-mail account so I went ahead and IMed the boss so I could receive my assignments. I received this e-mail the following day:


January 30, 2009 9:42:39 AM CST


The Company has introduced a Domestic Petty Cash Payment; The purpose for this funds is to help employees solve any domestic or emergency assignments that may require the use of funds. E.g. Shipping Payments, Sales Payments, Payments to Ophanages, Packaging/Tapes Bills and any other related domestic Payments.

OBJECTIVES:

Receive Petty Cash Payment

INSTRUCTIONS:

• Notify Supervisor as soon as you receive payment by regular mail, FedEx or UPS.
• Have funds cashout from your bank.
• Notify Supervisor as soon as a fund is available for further assignment update.

I will need you to re-confirm your full name and mailling address for the delivery.

Regards,
Joe Phillip, Supervisor

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Matching Unicorn and Princess

WORK @ HOME!!! Part 2

STOP Read Part 1 first!

Suddenly Daniel Clarke's diction and grammar appear to suffer (“your location do not matter”?), however, I did sign the Confidential Agreement Form and e-mailed it back. I did have to provide my mailing address and signature on the form, but no other personal information was requested of me in the paperwork. It may have been at this point that I noticed Mr. Clark’s e-mail address was somewhat suspicious as well. The domain name in the address was not the company he professed to work for, but a Yahoo e-mail account. The following day I received a congratulatory e-mail from Mr. Clarke:


January 28, 2009 4:13:13 AM CST

Congratulations!! This is a confirmation message to let you know that your signed CAF has been received successfully.

Fill out the Form below and have them forward to your Supervisor (Mr. Joe) to Email Address: xxxxxxx@yahoo.com, for your complete employment file setup.

Employee Data Form

Full Name:
Address:
State:
City:
Zip Code:
Country:
Home Number:
Email Address:

You are required to setup a screen name with yahoo messenger
immediately, add and instant message your supervisor (Mr. Joe) on
yahoo ID: joe2desk, to provide you with more information on the job and when to start working.

Note: The yahoo messenger will be your major means of communication

Congratulation ones again for been part of XXXX, INC, please contact your supervisor via email and Instant Messenger so that he can provide you with more information on the job and your complete employment setup.


Regards,

Daniel Clarke
Recruiter Officer
XXXX, INC.

Mr. Clark seemed genuinely elated at my ability to successfully fill out the CAF, “Congratulation ones again,” he had written. The aforementioned employee data form simply asked for the same information I had already provided—the same info that was on the résumé I had initially sent them. I filled it out the form and forwarded it to “Mr. Joe”.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WORK @ HOME!!!

OH, INTERNET!

So I was looking for a job on the Internets one day and I happened upon an ad for a company in search of a Customer Service Representative. There was no reason to suspect that the ad wasn’t legitimate. Here, judge for yourself:


XXXX, Inc. is a leading custom software, web & database development company delivering world-class outsourcing services for both Fortune 500 and venture start-up companies around the globe.

Currently, we are looking for a Customer Service Representative.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

• Follows departmental policies and procedures, particularly in regards to customer confidentiality
• Accurately enters or confirms customer information into database; initiates and/or completes proper request forms in assisting customers.
• Effectively uses computer systems for tracking, information gathering, and/or troubleshooting.
• Perform any other duties assigned

MINIMUM KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES REQUIRED:


High school education or equivalent. Must be able to perform data entry and basic computer skills


Seemed like your run-of-the-mill CSR ad. Nothing special. There was no mention of pay, or of the location of the company, although I assumed that it was Chicago-based since it was advertised on the web site of a local weekly newspaper. I e-mailed my résumé through the Craig's List link and to my surprise received an e-mail response almost immediately. I was informed by Recruiting Agent, Daniel Clarke, that my application was under review. Mr. Clark also informed me that his employer, which I will not divulge the name of as they are a real and legitimate company who likely have no knowledge of what was about transpire, was looking for a customer service agent to work from home. The pay was twenty bucks an hour. Well, you can read it for yourself:


January 26, 2009 8:25:21 AM CST

My name is Daniel Clarke Recruiting Agent to XXXX INC. We have received your job application posted to us; your resume is under review. Below is the applicant we are looking for.

JOB DESCRIPTION:

Class Title: Customer Service Representative
Class Code: 9933
Job Class: Independent Employee (Work from Home)
Pay Grade: 509
Salary: $20/Hour, 5-8hrs a day, Monday - Friday (Monthly Payment)

RESPONSIBILITIES:
• Follows departmental policies and procedures, particularly in regards to customer confidentiality
• Effectively uses computer systems for tracking, information gathering, and/or troubleshooting.
• Receiving and disbursement of Payment to Orphanage Homes, Less
Perform any other duties assigned

REQUIREMENTS:
• Phone Line & Internet
• Computer PC OR Notebook

BRIEF INTERVIEW:
• Do you have a Computer and Internet and a phone Line?
• Do you have another Job and if yes, Is it a full time Job or a part time Job.
• Will you be able to dedicate at least 5 hours (Part-time)
or 8hrs (Full Time) per day 9am-2pm or 9am-5pm, Monday – Friday?

Reply back to me if you are interested in this position and meet the requirement.

Daniel Clarke
Recruiting Officer
XXXX, INC


This didn't seem to jibe with the ad they placed and the "Payment to Orphanage Homes" line that appears in the job responsibilities section seemed a little suspect. Not only that, but I was a little suspicious of how quickly I had seemingly been "hired" for this work-from-home position. Groucho Marks famously said that he didn't care to belong to any club that would accept people like him as a member. That's generally my feeling about employers. I don't know if I can trust a company that would hire me so quickly. Let's face it, even with a substantial amount of padding, my résumé is not all that impressive. At any rate, I answered Daniel Clark’s brief interview questions and received the following response the next day:



January 27, 2009 10:09:21 AM CST


Thank you for your email, your answers to the question has been received and approved. You will be working from home as an independent employee and you will need to have a computer with internet connectivity at home in order to be effective in this job.

This is a work from home position and your location do not matter, you will be working on General Customer Service duties, your assignments will be made available to you vie email, phone and IM, you will be assigned with a supervisor that will guide you through your assignments, your salary will be made available to you by certified check or wire transfer.

Attached is a Contract Agreement Form (CAF) with contains our terms and conditions associated with this position. Review the contract agreement form carefully, sign the last page the CAF and return back via E-mail or Fax #: 270-812-6055, contact via email as soon as you have sent the signed CAF, to transfer you to your supervisor for your complete employment profile and assignment updates.

Regards,

Daniel Clarke
Recruiter Officer
XXXX, INC


Seems a little suspect, no? More tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Adventures of Jim Bob & Pencilneck NEW CHAPTER






Written by Bif LeBeau in the late 1980s before his mysterious disappearance, The Adventures of Jim Bob & Pencilneck  chronicles the lives of two American kids from their austere  beginnings in Cheesetown, USA to the tragic crime that sets them on a  cross-country flight and a journey  of self-discovery.

Read
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
NEW!!!  Chapter 6

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Music Review: The Eternals

THE ETERNALS
Approaching the Energy Field LP (Addenda)
I've always imagined The Eternals to be a bit of a spiritual incarnation of the Clash—like they started with side seven of Sandinista and just kept going from there. They are definitely adept at genre blending, experimenting with effects, pushing the boundaries and sometimes they feel like funkin' it up. They're also not necessarily as concerned with pleasing the public as they are with charting their own course. Unlike the Clash, yet very like Wayne and Damon's previous band Trenchmouth, The Eternals may be one of the most underrated and overlooked bands putting out records today (and yes this is a real vinyl record). Kinda hard to figure. Their blend of hip hop, dub and rock produces beats that, while might not play well in the clubs, I would think would have appeal to the hip hop kids, especially those more politically attuned and left of center. Approaching the Energy Field is an album in the true sense and it needs to be listened to as such. There's a continuity to it, it's sequenced to flow and, as far as I can tell, there's some narrative continuity to it lyrically as well. It's a friggin' good record by a band that just keeps getting better because they never stop trying to be better. The Etenals may not be well known in Chicago or even the States, but Brazillians of people appreciate them in South America at least—Joey Germ


Read more reviews!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Music Review: Heidecker & Wood

HEIDECKER & WOOD
Starting from Nowhere (Little Record Company)
Let's get this out of the way first: Tim Heidecker is the co-creator of Adult Swim's Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Davin Wood is a composer on that show as well. If you're familiar with the Awesome Show then it's really hard to listen to record as a serious musical effort. Watching the Awesome Show is like watching someone get punked over and over again and that someone is you. So, how do you take a song like "Cross Country Skiing" seriously given the background of these guys? It ain't easy. It's hard to find that thin line if you're looking for it. For example, "Weatherman" was a song that started out as a composition for the show, but was expanded upon by the duo and here it is on this LP. Keeping the satiric and ironic nature of the two separate in your brain proves difficult and maybe even pointless, especially considering songs like "The Grandest Canyon," "Wedding Song," and "Cross Country Skiing". Just where is that thin line between irony and sincerity? Remember after 9/11 when they told us this single tragic event would be the end of irony as we knew it (and action movies, and really tall buildings, etc.)? Well, Heidecker and Wood may truly single that end. Maybe the jokes on me. Maybe there is no joke. In fact, there probably isn't. This may simply be the duo's chance to unleash their 70s AM radio influences on a built-in audience. The end result is eleven songs and one bonus track of breezy yacht rock. Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, even Elvis Costello get thrown into the slow-jam stew, but I can't help feeling like I just got punked when I listen to this record. You can come out now, Kutcher!—PC Jones

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Music Review: The High Llamas

THE HIGH LLAMAS
Talahomi Way
(Drag City)

It’s interesting that we should receive this album the same week as Heidecker & Wood's Starting from Nowhere. They’re very similar in their approach to pop music. The High Llamas have been at it for a lot longer of course and it’s hard to determine exactly where Heidecker & Wood are coming from. The Llamas, led by founder Sean O'Hagan, have been at it since 1992 releasing nine records in that near twenty year span. I have not heard any of the band's preceding eight efforts, nor am I familiar with O'Hagan's previous bands Fatima Mansions or Microdisney. I can only assume that he, like many artists with any sort of career longevity, started at one point and arrived at another. Beach Boy comparisons have been a theme throughout the Llama's career and O'Hagan has professed a love of Burt Bacharach, so the lush and orchestrated music on Talahomi Way is no surprise. And is that a harp I hear? Probably. I can picture this record playing softly at a Yonkers as people shop for shoes. That's not to say that it's cheesy or the work of hacks. Quite contrary, it's very well crafted. Every note seems to have been meticulously plotted and every arrangement painstakingly planned. Lead off track "Berry Adams" is the standout tune for me, although "To the Abbey" is its rival with a catchy, breezy hook. If there's one single thing that The Llamas do especially well is create music that has a timeless quality to it, yet stills seems very specific to a certain time—PC Jones

Reglar Wiglar Interview: David Gill on Phillip K. Dick

"(Dick) has given us a guidebook on how to operate in this century and how to stay sane and how to stay centered and how to stay positive, even though those aren’t characteristics that are used to describe his work or him."

Dickhead? That certainly is a rude thing to say about a man, unless it's true of course. In this particular instance Dickhead refers to a fan of sci-fi legend, Philip K. Dick. Mr. Gill is a PKD scholar of the first order and therefore is worthy of the title. Nick Sondy reached Dave in Oakland to discuss all things Android in Part 2 of this two part interview.

Read Part 1!
Read Part 2!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Zine Review: Edible Secrets

EDIBLE SECRETS: A Food Tour of Classified US History
Mia Partlow & Michael Hoerger (microcosm)
How do you take the information obtained from over a half million declassified government documents and present it in a way that is palatable for the average reader? You do what Mia Partlow and Michael Hoerger did. You make it about food. The pair noticed a theme while scouring through these piles of files: references to food kept popping up like waffles out of a toaster. That became the focal point of their presentation, from the CIA's attempt to poison Fidel Castro's milkshake (one of many failed assassination attempts) to the trumped up ice cream truck robbery charges that resulted in jail time for a young Fred Hampton. The book also sheds light on the bubbly relationship between the Coke and Pepsi corporations and whoever happens to be in the White House. (The Cola Wars is serious, ya'll.) Edible Secrets also examines the CIA's study of subliminal messaging, which was originally used to subconsciously compel moviegoers to crave popcorn. And what was Ronald Reagan's solution to Mexico's impending food shortage? Why the answer to all the worlds problems of course: The Free Market. Quite a compelling effort here and one that will make you hungry for more knowledge about what our government is cooking up in their behind the test kitchens. (NOTE: All puns intended.)—Chris Auman

Friday, May 13, 2011

Only One Way to Rock(?)

I've always thought that The Red Rocker had an interesting point when he stated that, while there may be "a million ways to make love" there is only "one way to rock." He acknowledges that this isn't simply his (Hagar's) opinion, but is a fact. However, Sammy does not go on to share with us what that one particular 'way' might be. Is it the way that he, Hagar, does it or is it something you'll only know when you see it? Surely when Sammy and Eddie slap each other "five" as they trade licks in the live Van Halen version below, that would seem to suggest that they are indeed "rocking" in a particular style or way. It's just never been clear to me what that way is. I am open to anyone's insight into this. Thanks!

Reglar Wiglar Interview: Jake Austen

Jake Austen has his hands in many pots. He also wears many hats and is perhaps a renaissance man—if the renaissance was understood to include comics, punk rock, puppets, dancing and paying homage to late, great and sometimes forgotten luminary figures of this nation's colorful musical past. Jake started his long-running Roctober zine in 1992 and has never looked back. Actually, he may very well have looked back and why not? What's wrong with looking back? In fact, that's kinda the point of this interview, so let's get to it.

Read the Interview!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Zine Review: How & Why: A Do-It-Yourself Guide

HOW AND WHY: A DO-IT-YOURSELF GUIDE
Matte Resist (microcosm)
Although I may not attempt all or any of the projects laid out in this book, this is a good resource to have at your disposal. Matte provides step-by-step how-to's on everything from caring for your own garden to building your own musical instruments. Internet how-to's just capitalize on Google algorithms, zeroing in on key words and bombarding you with more ad links than advice. Like much of the information found on the information superhighway, these web pages can prove to be ultimately frustrating, pointless and impractical. Don't get me wrong, I love my Interwebs, but this is a book you can take with you out to the backyard or work shed and get down to the business of building shit. The main chapters concern bikes, gardening, home schooling, home and garage and musical instruments. The last chapter is a catchall that gives advice on dumpster diving and tutorials on stencil making, watch repair—a dozen projects in all. That's the 'how-to' part. The 'why' is Matte's own take on why he does the things he does the way he does them. If you're at all familiar with Microcosm titles then you should be familiar with the DIY ethos and what that entails, so I won't break it down here. I'll just leave you with my own how-to: If you want to get your ass more self-sufficient, then don't "resist" this book. (Get it? Matte Resist...)—Chris Auman