26 October 2013

Quo Vadimus: The State of the Scroll

October never fails at being a particularly hectic and utterly draining month for me. I don't know if it's the onset of the winter holidays, which carry their own baggage, or that it's the month that follows my birthday, which manages to get more depressing despite my efforts to make it otherwise. Somehow, though, this is the month when it feels like things fall apart, even if they're perfectly solid. 
Following my anything-but-amicable encounter with an eBay buyer (who never lived up to the "buyer" portion of that title, among other shortcomings), I went up to Wisconsin for a few days to see my dad and some of my family, including my aunt. I'd been planning on going up anyway for some time, but after what happened with my aunt's health, I wasn't sure if I'd be going. It's hard to talk about, so this will be brief. In addition to back problems since young adulthood, my aunt recently had trouble swallowing, which she found out was due to a tumor at the base of her skull. It was also starting to have an unusual effect on her voice, a kind of breathy falsetto I got to hear when I called her a few days before her surgery. She'd been run through all the worst-case scenarios of the surgery, and was doing her best to keep a smile on her face despite it all. The good news is that the surgery went very well. 
The bad news is that she had a stroke shortly after. The nurse was moving her from one side of the room to the other when her entire right side fell limp. After being virtually comatose for what seemed like weeks, she began to slowly, painfully come around. She cannot speak, has all but zero control over her right side, and her overall communication and comprehension skills are sketchy at best. When I saw her, there was certainly no questioning her awareness, which I'd heard was the biggest improvement. She had no trouble recognizing me, and seemed utterly ecstatic, even if she couldn't say so. 
In the months approaching her surgery, she'd commented on Facebook how much she liked much of the artwork I'd been posting there, especially the BaRoW and Punch Cards. I'd brought along some blank cards of bristol and a small assortment of my markers. I ended up making three cards while there, with the intention of leaving them with her (I took a few quick snaps of them, but I don't intend to post them; they're too personal). I'll never forget the smile on her face when she saw the third of the bunch. I placed them on a shelf above her bed, next to another drawing I'd sent her (a remake of another black-and-red drawing I'd done, Rubeno Florajoj) that my other aunt had gotten a nice frame for. I gave her a big hug and told her that I loved her. 
I drove back home the next day. The last I'd heard, she was back in the hospital due to some swelling around her incisions, possibly brought on by a bad fall she had a few days before I arrived. I haven't heard any news since then, which can be good or bad. I have no idea what will happen to her, and as hard as it is to talk about what's happened, it's even harder to think about what's to come. 
Since I've been back, I haven't been particularly productive, except for the occasional post to Tumblr or even Flickr (mostly about cooking projects), but apart from a quick stick figure comic about an online gaming ad, I haven't been terribly visible on DeviantART, something that's honestly started to bug me less and less the more I think about it. During breaks at work, I'll break out my little notebook I always carry with me, but rarely will I put anything in it beyond a few random thoughts or a doodle I only find myself doing out of some desperate attempt to feel productive. As I said before, there's really no shortage of ideas (my to-do list is ever-growing and I'd initially only thought to make one card while visiting my aunt, getting ideas for two more while there), it's the other step of the process that tends to get the better of me. It's never fun to miss your own deadlines, and while I've been somewhat ahead of the curve here compared to DevART (my goal here being one entry a month, whether I've got anything or not), I still feel like I've been neglecting this place, which I like to think of as my main site.That is, should anything happen on my other pages (like if I get banned from DA for whatever reason), this will be the fallback. 
So, as much as I hate writing journal entries that are simply, "today I did this/tomorrow I'll do that/yesterday this happened" I guess there's nothing wrong with writing a simple update entry every so often, especially when things slow down, giving everyone a chance to get on the same page and assure everyone these sites are by no means abandoned or even neglected. Trust me, if that happens, there will be a notice posted on the door, a "Dear John" if you will. It's a kind of rule/courtesy I got from a past relationship, that if we ever broke up, we at least owed each other a goodbye letter. Luckily, for anyone who regularly follows my work, this is not that letter. 
Thank you all for your patience. 
Good night, and good luck. 

07 October 2013

So, This Is Funny For What May Be the Worst Possible Reason

It’s been a stressful few days for me, as I've written, and today wasn't helped all that much. In all, it’s nothing serious, simply needed a little quiet time and was managing not to get it in almost every way. Felt a little overwhelmed, so I went outside. 

There’s this pavilion outside my apartment. It’s meant for barbecues and whatnot. I go up there sometimes when I’m on a call because I get really rotten cell coverage inside. The pavilion supposedly has “hours,” namely between morning and dusk, but it’s not enforced all that well. At least, it typically isn't. 

After about five, ten minutes of sitting up there at a table, a few cars pull into the spaces next to the pavilion. I’m not looking; my mind’s elsewhere. Then, I hear a voice, “Excuse me, sir.” I look up and there’s three cops standing next to me. It turns out they got a call about a “suspicious person” and saw me as they pulled in. They asked if I lived here and if I was okay (“Rough night?” that sort of thing), then asked for my ID, assuring me I wasn't in trouble, only responding to a call. 

"It’s the hoodie, isn't it?" 

They all laughed. 

06 October 2013

And Then He Played the Race Card

The so-called buyer I spoke of earlier crossed a line with me, and I refuse to acknowledge him as a person anymore. Even if he may not be a con artist, if this is how he conducts his business, he deserves failure. After I posted my "419" entry detailing some of the inconsistencies surrounding Mr. Jiya and his operation, I got a message on eBay from him as to why he's delaying the money he owes me for the sale. 
Bear in mind, this is after hearing nothing from him for 2 days after the sale, then getting a reply on Twitter that he'll give me a date in 24hrs. I asked him, if he was only 10 short, why could he only give me 30? What happened to the rest? Never mind that eBay isn't set up for partial payments (this would have had to be done off-site, which is another thing con artists do), but he's not even offering half. It turns out he made another purchase after realizing he was short, paid that person in full and on time, and was now offering me the change as collateral while he spent a week scrounging up what he owed me in the first place. Then there's the last part of the message, as well as this Tweet:
I replied back that I wasn't aware incompetent bullshit peddlers were a race. Also, speaking of "hiding info" remember that Tweet from before about DHL:
After he asked why I called him a con artist (which is at least a week after the complaint about DHL he'd made), he said this:
Emmanuel, I do not judge people by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Your "character" has ignored me, lied to me, made excuses and excuses on top of excuses, paid someone else my money because of your inability to keep track of ten dollars, offered me the difference as collateral while taking a week to scrounge up what you owed me in the first place, and then had the damn nerve to accuse me of being racist when I call you out on your bullshit. I want one good reason why I should acknowledge your humanity in light of any of this. I've sent you this edict on your Facebook page. You' have given me no answer. 

As for everyone else, this will be the last ever mention of this incident, even as reports and cases are being considered (I accidentally filed the wrong kind of report for this matter, so I have to wait for that one to close before I open the right one). I may well have jumped the gun in calling his operation a con, I freely admit that. However, the only thing I am at all sorry for is giving anyone the impression I put people down or write them off solely based on where they’re from, who their ancestors were, who they love, or how they look. At the end of the day, I value words, I value trust, I value talent, and I especially value the respect earned from standing by those things. 

eBay deBacle (Prologue)

Saturday was awful. It had already been a rough couple of days, so I upgraded my pastry that morning. I added Kahlua to my coffee that night, but that's not exactly an upgrade. The issues with a so-called buyer on eBay had escalated to a breaking point. I wrote of most of it on Tumblr, but I hadn't kept up on it here on Blogger, so this will be a somewhat condensed update. Then, that will be the end of it. I have a case pending, but for all intents and purposes, it's all done and I have to relist an item. 

03 October 2013

419, And It Stands for a "Person"

Recap: Sold something on eBay. Buyer used "buy it now" option. 2 days, no payment, and two ignored messages asking if everything's all right. Buyer's eBay profile on the mobile site gives a New York street address:

Then, I go to the main site, and see this:

Notice the "unpaid" feedback? Notice that Nigeria is not New York?

I find his Twitter, and come across this Tweet:

I thought he was referring to my sale, but the dates are wrong. Still, there's that New York address. The most recent business attached to it is a cargo company called Allworld International. I find their Facebook page, the last update is August 2012:

Hmmm, if they're a freight company that regularly goes to Nigeria, why would someone need DHL to do a pickup to the same place? Google Maps Street View may have the answer in this image dated September 2012, one month later:

That hardly looks like a bustling business. Also, if Bing is reliable, Allworld was only there for about a year, replacing a brokerage. Their phone number gets me a machine, but that can mean anything. Like I said, if it's a shipping firm, why would they need DHL to take something to where they already go?

Emmanuel, my sale was not for international shipping. Your actions speak louder than your words, your inactions even louder. Of course, feel free to explain to me why I should believe a single thing you say.