Going off Grid

I once thought that the internet would be my passport to the rest of the world when I moved up north. About a month before the big move my PayPal account was hacked and some lazy idiot somewhere was trying to buy a bunch of video game cards. I caught it and went to my bank. The usual happened. My card was cancelled, the transactions disputed, and eventually I was able to get my money back. I signed up for an identity theft prevention program provided by my bank. At $7.95 a month I expected better.

Less than a year later it happened again. While at work my phone started to go off and only because of things happening with the family lately I checked my screen to find an email thanking me for buying a memory card for a video game system I don’t own. I immediately checked my bank account to find other transactions. Stuck for another two hours at work I had to wait to start taking care of things.

One of the items was immediately refunded. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was caught by the bank but I was told that I would have received a phone call and I never did. The other item went through because the genius theft didn’t bother changing the address or any other parts of the account before purchasing their stolen merchandise. That was also how I found out so soon what was going on.

That night, I went home and either deleted or closed down accounts in: eBay, Etsy, Patreon, PayPal, amazon, and a few others. While eBay was actually really cool about the situation and shut a few things down right away it still bugs me that their security is so lacking. Two years in a row and I believe last time my PayPal was hacked via eBay. I no longer trust these companies anymore. If I want something I will have to physically find it. This is bad news for a lot of people. The artists on Etsy who make cool stuff. The podcast I want to support via PayPal, and the writers who deserve extra cash while being screwed by big name publishers. It sucks, but when I’m spending $120 a year to keep this from happening and someone is still able to steal $50 and I still have to go through the contesting process, something is fucked up. My bank took my money while failing to provide a service and someone else took my money when someone else was supposed to prevent it. At this point I am over the whole thing.

Welcome to the new minimalist. The guy who no longer buys anything online. The one who still sends checks in the mail to pay his bills. I wish more people did this even though it is bad for my current profession. This is not to say that I don’t own plenty of stuff. I have more than enough books. I still have records I have not listened to. I try not to drive when I don’t have to. If I am hungry, I walk out into the backyard and find a black berry patch to eat from. The annual headache of buying things online has reached its peak in bullshit and I’m done with it. Besides, I’m tired of other people tracking what I buy, telling other people, and sending me adds, and other shit that I never asked for. Goodbye internet consumerism, have fun with your bad security and constant fraud. I’m over it. Call me when you get your shit together.

For anyone interested in bitching out an internet theft you can find the asshole who hacked my account at: Studentghetto1@outlook.com be sure to let them know how you feel or return the favor.

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The Ghost of Bourdain

All I wanted was a hard cover copy of A Cook’s Tour, one of Bourdain’s early books after Kitchen Confidential, for my personal library. I noticed that eBay had a nice selection of books for fairly cheap and some places offered free shipping. If I could get a good copy for a few bucks instead of waiting for a local shop to get one in then I would buy one online. I found a copy by a library bookstore and they were offering free shipping. I figured throwing a few dollars to a library was a good investment for everyone. I placed my $8 order and waited, and waited, and wondered if it would ever come. Today I came home after running some errands and found some packages on the porch, one of them was for me. I opened the package to find my copy of A Cook’s Tour. I flipped through the pages to see if it was a first edition and found the signature first. The loud obnoxious “Hello!” was in my face and I turned the light on to see if it was real. Flipping the page over there was that indentation of a pen being pressed against the page. I had seen these before, the early signatures being simple and a quick scribble of his name, during a time he wondered if his fame was a fad and if it was all going to fall apart at some time unexpectedly. This was before the knife or the skull and the addition of “cook free or die” written on the page. I have found gems like this before. A signed first edition of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay with an inscription by the author Michael Chabon was on the shelf at a local store of $1. I bought it and took it home feeling little guilt happy to know it would stay in my collection for decades to come. This was the first book I read where I thought to myself “this is what writing is all about.” My taste has changed over the years but that one book has always stayed with me. Other have come my way over the years, John Updike is a common occurrence, Jim Harrison is on the list, and the local Bonnie Jo Campbell is a dime a dozen in town but I don’t pass them up. This by far is the best find I have come by after seeing dozens of Bourdain’s signed books online for hundreds of dollars and wondering if I would ever be able to own one. I couldn’t help but wonder if his ghost swiped its hand and said “ya know, he’s always been a big fan, stuck through until the end, here you go young man.” I had been looking over his estate auction wondering if I could buy part of his personal library, but this is so much better and in my price range. Somehow, someway, this book came my way, and that need for a person bit of Bourdain’s history being in my life is complete. From now on this book is not for sale, it’s staying on the shelf, I’ll take it out for moments of inspiration and when I die the kids will likely donate it to the local goodwill. I hope I raise them right. Maybe it’s time to get that “Cook free or die” tattoo.

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