Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Got this e-mail from transactions@nacha.org this morning:

The ACH transaction (ID: 2************), recently sent from your checking account (by you or any other person), was rejected by the other financial institution.
Rejected transaction Transaction ID: 2************
Rejection Reason See details in the report below Transaction Report report_ 2************.pdf.exe (self-extracting archive, Adobe PDF)
13450 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 100 Herndon, VA 20171 (703) 561-1100 2011
NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association

Being on a Mac, I was too worried about an executable file messing up my computer and even if I wanted to I couldn't do much with it. Still didn't want it hanging around. And since I haven't made many electronic transactions recently I was even more suspicious. I didn't bother calling the number at the bottom of the screen as I figured it was a phishing expedition. Besides, anyone could set up a bogus phone line and tell me whatever they wanted me to believe to get my information and… POOF… I am sold off into electronic slavery… no longer the owner of my own name. What I did do, and what YOU SHOULD do any time you receive ANYTHING that requests information or that you click on a report or "visit a site" through a link provided is search the internet. Check Snopes. They have proven reliable in the past but don't stop there, look for the name of the so-calle organization that sent it. See what others might be saying.

I did this and found that quite a number of others have received similar messages. One called the number at the bottom of the so-called official e-mail and got that quick busy signal that one sometimes gets when a phone is out of commission. Snopes had the story. Even the real NACHA seems to be warning people.

Hard times have hit this world. And with it have come a renewed onslaught of people going on phishing organizations. I get e-mail everyday telling me that I won a FIFA lottery, or that I can get millions if only I would allow a poor, dying man a place to deposit his money so I could carry on his noble cause. Be smart people. No one is going to give you money and you haven't won any competitions, especially if you didn't enter them.

Be smart. Be safe. Be ever vigilant.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Game of Thrones (HBO) - "Fear and Blood" teaser

Yes! Winter is Coming! This teaser is probably the best one to explain what The Game of Thrones is all about – especially the first season. It's only a month away now. Read more about the series at HBO or the Winter is Coming blog.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

REVIEW: The Lost Gate

So, it is finished. This is the first of Orson Scott Card's Mithermages saga. Not having ever read Card in the past, I was completely in the dark as to what he had in store for me. I wasn’t disappointed as The Lost Gate is quite a good read overall. It will be on store shelves and shipping January 4. There’s a nice follow-up in the back of the book by the author that explains that this story was 30 years in the making… worth the wait. The story is described as contemporary urban fantasy. Normally, that would turn me off a bit. I like contemporary fiction and fantasy but when those words are placed together along with the word urban, it just sounds like someone is trying too hard to be the next Twilight. YA novels generally get too syrupy for my tastes.

Mither Mages is a creative attempt to tie all of the world’s mythology into one neat story. This particular tale focuses mainly on a teen named Danny. His family is part of the Norse mythology. An additional story line follows Wad, a mysterious young man who springs from a tree. Both discover that they are gatemages and learn what that means as the story progresses. By the book’s end their stories are tied together. Wad is a compelling character – full of mystery. He ends up living in the kingdom of Iceway. As for Danny, I didn’t much like him early on but his personally fits his character perfectly and Card’s writing quickly hooked me and made me want to know more. The dialog is believable, the characters interesting and the pace had me devoting more time to The Lost Gate than I had to spare. I couldn’t help feeling that there was a sense of doom following Danny and I kept waiting for one of the characters to “get him”. If you want to know more about the story see my earlier post, I have an exerpt, or check out the book's trailer.

The world of the Mither Mages that Card has created will entertain readers for years to come. I can’t help but feel a bit helpless after reading this first in a series as I am currently invested in a number of other fantasy sagas and wonder where I will find the time for this new one. Speaking of other sagas, I have cracked open my Christmas present Towers of Midnight. It is the 13th and next to last in the Wheel of Time series by the late Robert Jordan. The last three installments are being finished by the very talented Brandon Sanderson. His last WoT novel, The Gathering Storm was the best that series offered in many years. The book is over 860 pages and with my work load what it is, George R.R. Martin may actually have enough time to finish his next installment in his long over due sage, A Song of Fire and Ice. As much as I am looking forward to reading A Dance with Dragons, I would rather the author take his time and do it right. I know I will be scrambling this April to get a look at the Game of Thrones on HBO.

And before I finish, I must give props to Tor, the publisher of The Lost Gate, for going with something other than their traditional bad cover design. One final note, I received my advanced reading copy courtesy of the First Reads program from Goodreads.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Working at MOCA has been one of those dream jobs. For those who know me you've heard that sometimes those dreams are a bit on the nightmarish side what with the insane deadlines and shortened hours. Usually though, it has been a place to grow and learn and work with some amazing people. Being resourceful has also been one of the skills that I have had to hone. Often, a new idea for a fundraiser comes to MOCA all at once and we must all scramble to make things happen. The Art of the Dog was one such event. Unfortunately, it was one of those events that didn't quite make it out of the gate. All the MOCAteers worked like fire ants trying to make this happen but the plug was pulled. Perhaps it will happen this year.

The saying goes that there is always some kind of good that can be found in everything. Sometimes we really have to dig deep. The Art of the Dog made a lot of us extra work when we were all already working over capacity. Some were happy that it didn't happen. Today, I can say that this little doggy is wagging his tail as the logo that I designed for the event will be published in Logo Nest 01.