Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Call of the wild

So after a month of nightmares and living in constant fear of escaping the orbit of earth(yeah.. I feared that the most.. weird).. I finally sky dived at Monterey. It was an experience I'll cherish for life. Big cheers to Bay Jump. The tandem masters and the photographers had made me super comfortable and were totally professional with 1000+ jumps under their belt.
Now that I did it, I find myself wondering why did I do it... I am definitely not an adrenaline junkie , nor was I "not scared" of jumping.. probably I was just arrogant about doing it.. more arrogant than I was scared.

The jump was from a height of 15000 ft and the chutes came up at 5000ft. Thats a free fall of 10000 ft. It took about 1.5 minutes to cover that distance, 15-20 secs of which were wasted in shouting, screaming and getting used to the fall. In the remaining few seconds I just felt numb, not scared.. just plain numb, and appreciated the beauty that engulfed my pshyche. The scenery was breathtaking.. mountain peaks rising from the clouds, birds flying below me, the bay with its extraordinarily sparkly water and just the visible curvature of the earth... neither words nor any photograph can do justice to that.
Check out this video.. I look scared to death(which is about 10% how I actually felt.. kudos to the videographer) and my vest got fluffed up giving my tummy an extraordinarily rotund appearance.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Email scam!

Many of you guys would have recieved spam mails by some rich guy in Nigeria (or some such place) wanting to offload money and asking your help in doing so. I was not sure of the consequences if I had gone with the scheme. What could the money transfer do to me anyway? I learnt it the hard way.. well I did not goof up.. instead it was my roommate who did it few months ago.

Few months ago, before moving out(after graduation), we decided to sublease our house. My room mate, lets call him XYZ, took the initiative of finding someone. He posted ads on craigslist, various user groups, mailing lists and what not. Finally one day he victoriously declared that he had found a hot blonde from London who wanted to move in a month early and was ready to pay $4000 (our rent was $810.. I smelled rat but who was I to dampen his spirit). Quite surprisingly, within a week or so he got a check for $4000. Since that was gonna be shared amongst us, I kept my suspicion under covers and joined the celebration.

(This part of the story was revealed to me after it happened).
A week later XYZ was contacted by the girl saying that the rent was not fair and that she had checked out various websites and wanted a fair deal. Being the "decent guy" XYZ is.. he agreed to pay $3000 back and since, supposedly the English blonde was low on cash, XYZ money ordered it to her. And then the inevitable happened.. the cheque bounced. XYZ got conned of $3000 which ended up eating up all his savings and cancellation of his credit cards connected with that account. The bank did not want to help in the case of an international fraud.. neither did the police. The school lawyer could only help so far as filing a report with the police and putting up a public notice letting students know that email scam threat is very real.

As sorry I was for XYZ, I was amused and curious as hell. I asked him to forward me few of the emails. Email scammers are not as high tech as spammers so analyzing the emails was quite easy. All I had to do was to do a geo lookup of the MTA ip address. The IP addresses pointed to some location in Mexico.. not London.

Generally these cases go unnoticed because people dont want others to know. I called XYZ yesterday and he told me that he saved 5 other friends from similar scams. These scams are not as uncommon as you think... so beware of trolls on various public lists.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007