Archive | March 2013

The Goal is 21 NOT 30

The other day, I ran out to get some flour – I was stupid enough to try to start making bread before checking how much I had on hand.  So I grabbed my coat and shoes, my credit card and car keys, and my son and we ran out to Trader Joe’s.

I like to bake with Trader Joe’s whole wheat white.  The price is very good and the results are too. Using whole wheat flour would be better but it’s not very pleasant to use for sandwiches and my kids hate it.  All purpose or bread flour is yummy and fluffy but not very good for anyone.  So I assume that whole wheat white is a good compromise.  At times I add bran.

As is often the case at Trader Joe’s, I went in for one item, and picked up many more.  The best thing I found was one of the last 4 bottles of Trader Joe’s Belgian Ale.  At Christmas, Trader Joe’s has their vintage ale in a 750 mL bottle.  It’s brewed by Unibroue.  I don’t remember when the Belgian Ale came out, if it’ll be a yearly seasonal thing, but these are generally one offs.

So I picked up one of the last 4 bottles and headed to the checkout. 

The beer was the first thing I put up on the counter.  Then I unloaded the rest of my stuff: cereal bars, 4 bags of flour, tacquitos, cookies, etc.  My little son, who is well into elementary school, was with me, helping the whole time. 

And I sort of knew it was coming before she said it.  She carded me.  Now, normally, this would be a great thing.  I have a kid who’s not too far away from being legally able to buy and consume alcohol.  My kid.  Not a step kid, not a foster kid.  My own flesh and blood.  And I was married before she was conceived. 

So, I explained that I didn’t have my ID.  I wasn’t carrying a purse; I just ran out for the flour.  And the lady said “once we ask for ID, we can’t sell it to you unless you produce an ID”. 

So I told her “I’m thirty XXX years old”.  And we talked about it for a bit and she stuck with the whole she can’t sell to me.  So I said “You only have 4 bottles left and I wouldn’t mind if I looked even close to being under 21.”

And here’s where things got really stupid.  This moronic cashier tells me “it’s not 21, it’s 30 and you definitely look under 30.” 

But it is 21.  It is. The goal is to not sell to someone under 21.  It’s different when the cashier is a teen.  Everyone looks old to a teen.  But when the cashier is my contemporary, he or she should be able to use common sense.  The cashier clearly knew I was of legal age.  Even the most poorly used 21 year old looks younger than me. 

The goal shouldn’t be to irritate customers.  A kid isn’t buying a 750 mL bottle of beer.  That kid is going to buy a 6 pack.  A kid isn’t going to be wearing a platinum engagement ring with a giant diamond.  A kid isn’t going to have a child the age of my youngest son.  I could have had him at 15 and still be more than legal. 

I really think some cashiers just like to bust my chops.  My husband never gets carded.  But there have been occasions, when I am with him, I’ve had cashiers try to deny the sale unless I give my ID.  Even when he’s paying.  I’m not joking.  I wish I looked under 21. 

Stores really need to work with their cashiers.  The goal should not be to piss off customers.  And, since Trader Joe’s is a 15 minute drive, I wasn’t going to drive back to get one of those last bottles.  And I might not be going back for a bit.  That exchange left me pretty annoyed. 

And I Have No Privacy – Follow Up

I wrote about trying to get my personal info off line a few weeks ago.  I was really frustrated, after googling myself, to see all sorts of my business online.  Information that I have never posted anywhere. 

I’m not sure what information I found most disturbing: the list of all the places I lived with the years I lived there, or my complete voting records with party affiliation.  I know those things are public record, but there is an inherent difference between someone going and requesting that specific information in person from a government agency and from someone posting all that crap online.

If I apply for a job and the HR person or the hiring manager just happens to google my name and doesn’t like my political party affiliation, I probably am not going to get an interview.  If someone is trying to steal my identity, well, it’s a bit easier for them since they can easily find a list of every place I have lived since I turned 18. 

Anyway, for the results of my efforts to get that information pulled offline. 

DRUM ROLL.

Useless.  Some places honored my request to remove information.  But it made almost no difference. 

White pages removed my info but Intelius didn’t.  And I had to send a copy of my drivers’ license to them (with license number and photo crossed out.  I also crossed out my date of birth, height, weight, and everything else except my name and address.  I’m not helping them flesh out their file on me). 

My Life removed my info from their site, but all the creepy info shows up in the google search results.  Peoplefinders did remove my info.  As I said in my original post, People Finders takes your IP address when you request info removal. 

This is a skeevy industry.  Who is overseeing these people?  What if my info is wrong?  To whom can I complain?  And how do I know if I’m hurt through this info accurate or not? Who regulates these scummy people?

Alone

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I’m on a business trip. It’s my first by myself. It’s actually my first real trip by myself. I’ve found I rather enjoy my own company. I’ve worked a long time to earn that feeling. It didn’t come naturally. I’m entirely to old to still be learning to be comfortable with myself. But better late than never. I’m in Philly. I’ve walked all over this city, often in heels. It’s beautiful. More so if the weather cooperates. I miss my family, after 5 days, but I’m not desperate to get back. Here, I’m just me. I’m not a wife or mother or daughter or aunt or sister or anything else. I’m just me. & that is an awesome thing.

Sexy & Smart Day

Today is Sexy & Smart Day. As a completely nerdy girl, I love this day. I can wear my safety glasses & lab coat & still be my sexy self. And there is a day to celebrate that attitude.
Smart is sexy. Intelligence is like hotness bonus points.
So all my fellow science-y girls, work that lab coat, rock those goggles!

International Day of Awesomeness

Every one of my days is filled with awesomeness ‘cuz that’s just how I roll.

But in honor of this day, I figured I should up the awesome, through cooking.  I started by breaking out the dehydrator to dry some lovely london broil that I marinaded yesterday afternoon.  I used to make jerky every time I went on vacation as it’s such a great snack for in the car.  I’m leaving on a business trip this Friday, so I decided I would make myself some.

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I’ve had this dehydrator forever.  I have no idea if they even make these anymore.

1362937577460I’m making 2 kinds of jerky: “regular” teriyaki jerky and a spicy version.  I can’t wait to try the spicy.  I used the recipe in my dehydrator for the “regular” jerky and added cayenne, red pepper flakes, chili powder, and Trappey’s Red Devil Hot sauce to this recipe to make the spicy jerky.  I adore Trappey’s Red Devil Hot Sauce.  I can almost drink this straight out of the bottle.  I buy it in the quart container.  I once found it in a gallon jug; I was in love.

Next, I made bread.  I make a variation on traditional french bread with wheat bran and whole wheat white flour only, no all-purpose or bread flour.  It’s still lovely and crusty but not so light and fluffy inside.

1362937543611Then it was on to pizza.  I made 6 pizzas today.  They are not perfectly round or perfectly anything as I make them all by hand.  I’m not skilled enough for them to be a uniform shape.  They taste amazing though, and that’s what counts.  I made 3 pepperoni, 1 cheese, and 2 mexican (carmelized onions and peppers, smoky salsa, jalapenos, shredded mexican cheese, and ground chicken with taco seasonings).  Yum.  My kids devoured the first pizza before the second one was even assembled and in the oven!

13629540197231362955934435I must have neglected to take a picture of one of the Mexican pizzas and I’m too lazy to get up and take one now.  If you’d like to try these, I use a variation on Alton Brown’s pizza dough.  I use Trader Joe’s whole wheat white flour and add 2 Tablespoons of gluten instead of using bread flour.  You will need to watch and perhaps add a little extra water, but not much.  It’s a bit denser dough, but I feel less guilty eating it.

Sometime in here, I took the kids to the library where I found the first 2 volumes of Astro Boy, the original by Osamu Tezuka, not that awful live action piece of crap.  My husband loves Astro Boy (and Ultraman and Johnny Sokko – both of which I found on DVD for him), so I checked this out for him, because that’s the kind of awesome I bring to our marriage.  I also found a book of zombie origami!  That is so going to be an evening of fun for me and my little son.

I then made shepherd’s pie:

1362937555038 I went a little heavy on the peas because I LOVE PEAS!  And I’m trying to eat more veg and less meat.

I made blueberry ricotta cheese pancakes:

1362937533293Just to change things up, I used a variation of this recipe from Food Network.

Then I used the rest of my quart of blueberries to make these awesome muffins:

1362951405067using  recipe from Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Bible.  I wish it made more than 6 muffins though.

One night this week will be breakfast for dinner and we’ll have ricotta cheese-stuffed crepes.  So I made the crepes.  I used a recipe online that resulted in lumpy crepes.  I’ll go back to using my beloved Betty Crocker Cookbook recipe from now on.

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I thought it was silly when my grandmother bought me this cookbook, but I’m still using it 20 years later.

I purposely made a large batch of the carmelized onions and peppers and the taco meat (ground chicken) that I used for the mexican pizzas.  I will be using these, some small corn tortillas, guacamole,

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and this lovely Chipotle-style rice to have a mexican fiesta night.

1362951421352Mexican fiesta night is one of my kids’ favorite dinner themes.  It’s so easy to make but varies based on what ingredients we have in the house.  I prefer brown rice, but I was out today so I used Japanese sticky rice.  In order to make the rice less sticky, I used less water during cooking.  Because no one wants sticky tortilla rice.  Ew!

To finish off the day of awesomeness, I broke out the entire series of Thundarr the Barbarian on DVD.

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And I let my kids eat pizza in the family room while watching it.  Because I’m cool like that.

I loved this show as a little girl.  I didn’t realize that it only ran for 2 seasons.  The intro, in case you’ve forgotten talks about how in the year 1994, a comet hurls to earth.  Hahahaha!  My kids asked me if this really happened in 1994 and we’ve recovered since then.  See, 1994 is before they were born.  They thought it was funny that, when this cartoon was made, 1994 was in the future.

They wanted to know if Thundarr was He-man.  I didn’t realize how badly He-man had ripped off Thundarr.  I was not a He-man fan.  How could He-man compete with Ookla?

How could this day be any more awesome?  Tons of cooking and Thundarr.  Hope your day was just as awesome.

And I Have No Privacy

We all have read the articles about how to manage one’s online presence. Some are geared toward potentially embarrassing things being found by a potential employer, others are intent on keeping one’s private information private.

 

A while back I bookmarked a couple of these articles with the intention of going out and getting my private info off of online databases. The first thing most articles suggest that one do is a google search on oneself. I did this and the amount of information that came back was horrifying. One site, that I have no connection with, had a map with a satellite photo of my house, information about every house I lived in since I turned 18, my age, and the names of my husband, brother, and father with their ages and addresses.

I see a lot of snarky comments from people that suggest this information is available because I must post it on facebook, but that is completely not the case. My profile has ALWAYS been private. I’m such a paranoid freak that, except for a small period of time after Facebook made yet another change to privacy settings, you can’t find my info in a facebook search. The only way to find me is to find someone who is my facebook friend and click through. And facebook wasn’t even around until I moved to my current home. My age has never been listed on facebook, and the birthday I entered is false. These places have my actual age, not my facebook age.

Anyway, I started with the first site that popped up in a google search and was horrified to see that you have to create a user account to have your data deleted. The second site with my info wanted an e-mail address so that they could “confirm” my identity. WTF? In order to remove MY data, because it is mine not theirs, I have to give these scumbags more data? I tried to find a way around this but haven’t found one. So I put the idea aside for several months.

Yesterday I decided to just suck it up and start again. A google search returned the following:

  1. LinkedIn account – This is acceptable. I want to be found this way.
  2. Names.whitepages.com
  3. Intelius.com
  4. Mylife.com
  5. Radaris.com
  6. Pipl.com
  7. 123people.com
  8. & 9. – race results – I wish my finishing time was faster, but I don’t mind showing up in these results.
  9. Netprospex.com – seems to be a sight that aggregates info from sites like LinkedIn so I guess I’m cool with that
  10. -15. Race results
  11. Backgroundfinder.com
  12. Race results
  13. Names.whitepages.com – again
  14. Scribd.com
  15. Oh.idoget.me
  16. -22. Online posting of an intern job for which I was recruiting – The job is long gone so I don’t know why the posting has been up for so long (few years), but this is ok
  17. Webmii.asia
  18. See 21 & 22
  19. Race results
  20. Peoplefinders.com
  21. Ohio-voters.findthedata.org
  22. www.name-list.net
  23. Reunion.com

I decided to start at the top.

Since I’m ok with LinkedIn, stop number 1 was names.whitepages.com. These jerks make you create an account. I did, sadly. Less than 24 hours later, my data is gone. But now they have a valid e-mail address. In the end, I’m not sure that I win. Maybe only because instead of any scumbag online being able to get my info, just that scumbags at whitepages.com have my info.

Intelius makes you send in a copy of your driver’s license. F$%^ers! Intelius tells you to black out your driver’s license number and your picture. Just blacking it out didn’t work on my copier. I had to use a paint marker until I was satisfied that no one would be able to read the stuff I was trying to black out. Otherwise, you could still read everything. I went further also. I blacked out my weight, height, eye and hair color, birthdate, and any other piece of info on my license. The only thing legible is my name and address. I don’t know if this has worked though. I still show up in a search currently.

I had to e-mail Mylife. Not sure if I’ve been removed yet or not.

Radaris has a profile. It’s old and lists me as residing in a previous house. It does have my correct age though. I followed their info removal instructions and they don’t work. When I search my name, at the top of the page is my name, age, and city of residence. Below is this long list of “related” names with addresses and phone numbers! And none of the addresses or phone numbers are blanked out. Full addresses and phone numbers are there. Because my name isn’t listed in the spreadsheet type format, I can’t select it to delete the info. Frustrating.

Pipl.com doesn’t give an option to remove one’s data. The site says that they merely aggregate (so, you know, they are absolving themselves of any responsibility) and helpfully recommends that you remove your info from all the sites from which Pipl pulls your info.

I went to scribd and still can’t figure out really what this site is so I’m going to skip it for now.

Peoplefinders has an online form to fill out. Once you have, you get a confirmation screen that LISTS YOUR IP ADDRESS!!!!!!!!!! Then, they try to convince you to buy, for $49.95, your profile from them. F U peoplefinders.

Ohio-voters.findthedata.org is truly disturbing. They list every election in which I have voted along with my stated party affiliation for each election. Additionally, they list the local ward in which I live. That identifies where I am down to a few handfuls of streets. The site also says that it won’t remove data which it has acquired through public records. How can this even be legal?

I am not even sure what the point of name-list.net is. I think they list names so that one can use them for characters in stories and games. How odd.

When I went to Whitepages.com to see if my info had been removed, I saw that they had sponsors that had profiles on me. Spokeo.com and Instant Checkmate.

I’ve already removed my 4 profile listings from Spokeo but had to provide an e-mail address to do so.

From Spokeo, I saw that I have a profile at addresses.com which lists my current complete address online. That’s just bulls%^t! I filled out their crappy form to remove my info, but you had to confirm your info in the form. I wonder how many of these places will just use my opt-out info to update their listings?

Just now, I did a Bing search on myself. I know no one uses Bing (except characters in shows that are sponsored by Microsoft – I’m talking about you Vampire Diaries), but I wanted to see if anything different came up. It’s mostly race results and the same scummy websites I found during my Google Search.

A new scumbaggy data aggregator I did find is emailphonedirectory.com. What a dumb name. I was going to remove my e-mail address, but based on the info they show (it’s partially blocked out), it’s a completely invalid e-mail address. I NEVER had an address that fit what they show. So not only are they scumbaggy, they are inaccurate.

A helpful blog is geekosystem.com/get-off-background-check-sites. It lists the main “offenders” for putting private info online/for sale along with links to opt out pages, and instructions.

I get that most of these sites are accessing public records. It’s one thing for someone to go in and request my information from a government agency. The requester may need to show identification and fill out a request. And then that person only gets one piece of data about me. No one should be able to do a google search and get my name, age, e-mail, addresses for the last twentysome years with a list of the years I lived in each place (that’s a special F U Mylife, you bast$%^s), a satellite image of my current home, my complete lifetime voting record with every election I’ve voted in and with which party I am affiliated, the name of everyone that I ever lived with or with whom someone that lived with me once lived with, and whatever else is out there that I didn’t find. These are not things that I agreed to share. These are not things that I have posted online. This is MY information. If I wanted it out there, I would put it out there myself. It’s complete crap that this is allowed to occur. Grumble grumble.