Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Monkey on my back

I hope you have all stopped in to visit Cup Of Joe Powell today to see his shout out to Tits McGee's photos of her trip to Graceland.

I commented to Joe that I would post a little trivia about the monkey in the picture. Or, more accurately, trivia about a song that Warren Zevon wrote about said monkey.

Mr. Z talked about writing the homage to the King's porcelain primate on his website. Here's what he said...

I was writing a song with one of my oldest and best friends and most frequent collaborators Jorge Calderón. And we were working on a different song. Actually, a kind of violent and terrible song. Too terrible to talk about now. And I noticed on his songwriting notebook as we sat on the sofa of suffering in my apartment, working, he had a postcard that turned out to be from Graceland - of the TV room, with the porcelain monkey sitting on the coffee table with the, you know, the onyx eyes. And that inspired us. I said, "What's that?" And he said, "That's Elvis' porcelain monkey." And then we had to spend the next week or two writing the song. Jorge and I talk all the time. You know, almost every day. And I called Jorge last night and his daughter -- his grown daughter was there, he wasn't. And she said, "You know, a friend of mine just came from a trip to Memphis and she said to me, ‘You know, I went to Graceland?' ‘Yeah.' ‘And the most striking thing I saw in the whole place was this porcelain monkey of Elvis'."
So, there you go.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The F word

I must have said the word "fraud" 100 times today. Part of my job (which I am not allowed to talk about yet I seem to do a lot of) is to get people to fill out this giant 22 page form giving me the right to run a background check on them to prevent any sort of fraud against the company for which I work. WHEW. Talk about run on.

So, I had this conversation with 3 different people today discussing these forms, their use, and how so many people have tried in the past to fraud...fraudulize? What's the active...wait, fraud is a noun so there is no active tense. Too bad The Editor never blogs anymore. I am sure she would have something to say about my grammar. Anyway, I said fraud a bunch.

That is why when my phone rang this evening at 8:30pm and the number came up as "out of area" I was hypersensitive. On the other end was a lovely man whose name I forget exactly but was something like Apu. He asked to speak to "Kelvis." No, acutaly, he just assumed I was "Kelvis" and said "hello Kelvis." Anyway, kind of like the way on certain days when I haven't had very much human contact I enjoy answering the door to find 2 young men in black pants, white short sleeve shirts and black ties named Elder Mar and Elder Jeb, tonight I thought "this could be fun."

Anywho, Apu launched into his script that he was calling from Chase credit and that identity theft is a big issue and that Chase is committed to fraud prevention and blah blah blah blah blah. Then Apu says that they are going to send me all sorts of information and a plan to help prevent fraud and I can cancel at any time and he just needs to confirm my address.

"Is your address 72...73...732 Evre...Evergrai...Evergreen Terrace?"

"Oh, Apu," says me, "do you really think, after your very compelling speech about fraud prevention, that I would actually tell you my address? You already know my phone number and, presumably the name attached to that number. I prevent fraud for a living and I know that with a person's name, their phone number and their correct address I can find their social security number, their driver's license number, their date of birth and whether or not they voted in the last election. So, there is no WAY I am going to give you my address."

He politely asked if he could transfer me to his supervisor.

"Sure," say I.

Sanjay the supervisor then comes on and says, "hello is this Kelvis Valley Grrl?"

"Well, that's who you called."

"Ms. Grrrl, we are calling from Chase.....blah blah blah....repeat Apu's script....blah blah blah."

He then adds that he is not asking me to tell him my address, he just wants me to confirm it.

I tell him that if, in fact, he works for Chase, then Chase has an address to which they send a bill each month and if they want to offer me fraud prevention, they are more than welcome to include the information in the envelope with my bill, but there is NO WAY I am going to tell him or confirm my address.

Oh, and now the baby is crying and I have to go.


Look, I am no Ralph Nader or even a lesser man's John Stossle, but GIVE ME A BREAK. People, please, don't give or even confirm ANY personal information over the phone, or, GOD FORBID, in an email. If your credit card company wants to offer you fraud prevention, they can put it in with your monthly statement. Then, you can call them yourself and get the info. If your bank has a problem with your account, they will call you. They are not going to email you. Don't respond to emails from your bank, or any lender or credit company including PayPal. If your bank calls you with a problem, respectfully tell them that you will hang up and call them back. Don't get the number from them. Just call your branch and go through the prompts till you get to customer service. The time you spend being careful is far less than the time you will spend cancelling cards and calling banks and creditors if someone does manage to steal your identity.

Shop online all you want but do so with a credit card that you use for nothing else. Read your statement each month and immediately report any unknown charges.

I could go on and on, but I didn't intend for this to be a life lesson.

Really I just wanted to tell you how I entertained myself tonight during summer repeat season.

Next post - how to avoid buying a lemon from Rusty Wallace. Just say no.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

One ticket to Paradise

So, I know I'm not supposed to blaHg about work. But, this was too good to keep quiet. This morning, instead of fighting the traffic on the 101, I took the 405 to LAX where I boarded an ATA jet to HA.

Or is it HI?

It's HI I think. Hi. I am in Hawaii!!!

It's funny. Not ha ha funny, but quirky funny. This is my second trip to Hawaii in 10 years - both for work. And, sadly, both no fun.

I know, I know. Poor me. Kelvis has to work in Paradise. Since the handful of people that read this blaHg have jobs ranging from desk jockey to...well, no job at all, it seems pretty darn silly of me to complain about my current situation. In fact, I am not complaining really. Stick with me.

See, I landed today around noon and was shuttled to an amazing resort on Waikiki beach. It truly is the most beautiful place. Green and blue and sunny and clear and the sky, oh my, the sky is so blue and clean. And as I stood there, surrounded by the beauty, it hit me. Paradise was not here with the flamingos and the palm trees. It is back in the Valley with my heart.

Maybe it's the mai tai talking, but everything pales in comparison to life with LA-B and Tenacious G.

That said, the mai tai is pretty tasty!