My new pen pal.

Occasionally ordinary incidents of the day strike enough of a chord in me that I feel the need to record them.  To others, there may be nothing singular or striking about these events, but I still find they have worth.  I don’t pretend to know the meaning behind each, other than to prove the world of Stacey is a strange place.

Of late, I have been doing some online dating.  When I say ‘online dating’, I mean trolling the internet for people I might actually like.  Usually there are some emails exchanged, and some of them even result in live, real-world dates.  At the moment I am on match.com which has been highly rated by two people I trust, Mike and Gina.  However, I’ve had little success with it.  No one has emailed me out of the blue, and those who I’ve emailed have not responded.  I’ve also been looking at postings on Craigslist, which is where all the actual communication and dating has sprung from.

Even online, there’s no gentle way to let a person down.  Whether you’ve actually met them or not, the final ‘let’s be friends’ death-knell is difficult to give.  I myself have occasionally been prone to the ‘chicken’ method – never emailing or speaking to them again, no matter how many times they call/write.  I just hate to be mean to people, even when I don’t really like them.  I guess it’s because, despite the reasons and even a lack of interest in both parties, rejection stings.

I was pleasantly surprised then by a recent return email from a guy I’d told I would be willing to meet, but only as friends.  He said that he’d been talking to this other girl too where he had quite a bit of interest, so this kinda made the decision for him.  I don’t doubt that, but I do doubt his feelings in that regard were, as he said, ‘good’.  He did also say he didn’t really want to meet as friends, since he had trouble being friends with girls he like and wanting more.  Again, understandable and pretty much what I expected.  But then, he wanted to keep emailing anyway.

While I’m not opposed to the idea in principle (hey, I get bored at work – just look at how often I post in a single day), I don’t get it.  Is he trying to keep communication open in case I realize my mistake or things go horribly wrong for him and this other girl?  Is he really an identity thief on my trail?  Is he a Nightwatchman, a la Special Topics in Calamity Physics, looking to recruit?  Does he just really really like writing emails?  I’m not sure, but I think I find it intriguing enough to keep writing.  Why not?  if nothing else, it will shape up my form for the next online dating dive.

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The Best of April Fools

A head honcho at my current place of employment asked me if I had the ‘bandwidth’ to do some editing for him, to which I verbally replied “Yes”.  Secretly, however, I was thinking ‘I urgently need to write down some stuff about April 1 (today) on my blog’.  So, here it is.

1) Custom Time on Gmail (Thank you, Corina) – While the ability to send mail as if it had been sent hours or even days ago is one I imperatively need to beat my lifetime curse as forgetful Jones, thus far the real world has been unable to provide me with the ability.  todd-j.jpgIn the meantime, I’ll have to make due with the funnies of this page.  Classics such as ‘Gmail utilizes an e-flux capacitor to resolve issues of causality’ and ‘If we were to let you send an email from Gmail before Gmail existed, well, that would be like hanging out with your parents before you were born — crazy talk.’ really make this particular prank a class act.  However, my ultimate favorite is the ‘do from Todd J., Investment Banker, on this page.  With the finger-pointing, I can tell he’s a class act.

1-b) Google books has NEW! Scratch-and Sniff varieties.  Yay!  Oh wait, it’s not real.

2) Wikipedia’s ‘Featured Article‘ (Props to Josue) – While ‘Ima Hogg’ is the true name of a famous Texan lady (only in Texas) she did not, in fact, have sisters named Ura and Hoosa.  She was neither a circus emcee nor an ostrich jockey, and she was brought up to wealth, rather than in government housing.  However, it is most unfortunate that her father, one of Texas’s governors, was nicknamed ‘Big Jim’.

3) Google’s (/Virgin’s) Virgle Pioneer test – while the actual documentation on said exploration was somewhat less than titter-worthy, I completely enjoyed the online test, titled ‘The Adventure of Many Lifetimes’.  Here’s my results: ‘Well, you’re distressingly normal and could conceivably adjust to life as a deep space pioneer, though we recommend instead that you leave the Mars missions to the serious whack jobs who scored over 130 and instead finish year 3 of law school, tuck your toddler into bed, design Web 2.0 applications, run for Congress or do whatever other normal, healthy, middle-of-the-road thing you’re currently doing with your normal, healthy, middle-of-the-road life. ‘ Also notable was the Virgle is real link under the FAQs.

I’m guessing that there are others…please, keep me from boredom!

The Lion and the Big Orange Ball

While the title may seem like a great one for a children’s story, I really want to talk about something more serious and adult.  So, the adventures of Sparky and his amusing attempts to defeat inflated rubber in mortal combat will have to wait.  Instead, I’m going to discuss online banking and investing, one of the most serious and adult topics I can think of.

Currently, I have three actual bank accounts.  Two of them (checking accounts) are due to the logistics of my past – Indianapolis has eliminated Bank of America (woohoo!) and therefore there are no banks that have branches both in Indy and Boston.  When I moved to Boston, I opened my second account, but I still have the Indy one, just in case.  I think it has about $30 in it.  The final account is a savings account with ING direct.

For those of you who don’t know about ING Direct (and especially don’t have an account yet), let me give some detail.  It’s pretty awesome.  They give really good rates, probably because of lower overhead.  They have no branches – all transactions are handled online, so no locations to maintain, service people to hire, or paper transactions to record.   And if  you want to do CDs or other higher-yield savings options, they have those too.  Money is easily transferable, though sometimes the transaction does take a few days to process.  Also, if you let me refer you, I think I can get you $25 for your account, and me $10.

They have also just acquired Share Builder, which is basically an online investing platform.  So, now you can trade stocks and ETFs with them daily as well.  The associated fees are comparable to something like Scottrade, about $10 per transaction, which is twice as much as cheaper options like Zecco.  However, since I know them and they’ve proven so reliable with my money in the past, I think I might try it out.