Dream final?

Oh boy, FIFA’s gone and done it again. Its own site proudly trumpets “Dramatic semis produce dream final“, and the article goes on to proclaim that a Japan-USA rematch is “the gold medal match fans the world over were hoping to see”.

Well, it’s the final that FIFA was hoping to see, clearly. When you put things in those precise terms, FIFAbots, people might at some point assume that the result of the Canada-USA match was rigged. And given FIFA’s own notorious problems with corruption and people at very high levels passing brown envelopes full of money up and down the chain to ensure expected results (let’s not kid ourselves, that’s how Qatar got the next world cup) it really should make more people wonder whether FIFA has perhaps taken a position on the match that was not exactly impartial.

And when I now hear that FIFA is looking into punishing Canadian players for their post-game comments, while the real outrages that took place on the field remain unquestioned, I can’t help but see Sepp Blatter as your traditional mafia don, preordering the result of important games and exacting a capricious, autocratic revenge on anyone who dares question his dictatorship. Remember how this is the same idiot who didn’t think there was anything wrong with Thierry Henry’s infamous handball which sent big-market France to the World Cup finals and sent small-market Ireland homeward.

It’s time to call a spade a spade here. FIFA and its leadership are corrupt to the core and everybody knows it. It’s time for serious football to organize in an organization which is not so completely and utterly rotten.

edit: I’ve decided to save a copy of FIFA’s “dream final” text to this post, as I have a feeling that it will probably be heavily edited later.

The continuing crisis…

Against all expectations Paypal did restore the access to my account on Saturday, but for some stupid reason they are still pursuing disputes on my behalf that I never filed or asked to be filed. So now I’m receiving some emails with the title “We’ve decided in your favor”, but these seem to be for items that are already on their way to me (and Paypal is aware of this). And this is after me writing to them on several occasions to clear up the fact that these are things I willingly purchased. I know this because they sent some largely incoherent responses to my previous communications yesterday.

At this point I can only shake my head a little. The whole thing has gone from being silly and aggravating to suddenly making no fucking sense at all.

Here’s what Paypal had to say about the whole thing:

“Due to data protection reasons we are unable to give you the specific reason as to why a payment has been investigated.”

“I am sorry to tell you that the transaction you mentioned had been reversed for risk concern. If you still want the item, you can resend payment to this seller.”

Seriously, why anyone would trust their money to Paypal is beyond me.

The continuing Paypal saga

Every step in dealing with Paypal just leads to further steps. And at no point is there any indication that progress is being made, or even that the person handling the case now is even aware of the steps that have already been completed. It’s like Astérix Chez Les Romains, you know, that sequence where Asterix has to fetch a form (“le laisser-passer A38!”) and is sent on a wild goose chase through a building known as “the building that makes people mad”. Asterix of course completes this task by driving the people who work in the building mad themselves, but I seriously doubt that this is a realistic option for me (regardless I’ll give it a go).

This is bloody ridiculous. At first they wanted a proof of address, and I provided one. Not good enough. Today I actually talk to a human being (whom, it turns out, is about as useless as the rest of the resolution process, sorry to say). He wants me to upload a photo ID. I do so. I hear nothing for a while.

And now Paypal is telling me that my computer may have a virus and they want to see proof of an antivirus scan being run. Never mind that I have MSE scan every night. And frankly this is starting to sound funnily like those scams where someone calls you up from India claiming to work for “Windows” and telling you that your computer is “broadcasting error messages”. This does not fill me with confidence coming from a company that already has my credit card information. So I’m running a full scan with MBAM (Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, the top offering out there AFAIK). And yet I would gladly bet a sizeable amount that Paypal will simply then change their tune again (as they have at every step so far) and demand yet something else.

It’s in-fucking-sane. Oh, and also now I must change my password and security questions. As I have been requested to do (and have done) two days ago and again yesterday. They claim that someone has had unauthorized access to my account but all purchases charged have very much been made by myself. They have essentially invented a problem where before there was none. I really cannot fathom why they persist in this.

I’m sure there will be more to this story…

Paypal lies to its merchants!

So, my Paypal account is still suspended. They wanted a proof of address, I sent them one, then the next day that didn’t work for some reason and now they wanted a photo ID, which was promptly sent. Since then, nothing. So I went to hit a few golf balls, come back, check out the resolution center and Paypal has now taken the liberty of telling people I purchased items from on Tuesday that the charge was unauthorized, like someone had stolen my account credentials.

Paypal is lying. Paypal is not telling the truth. Paypal is dishonest.

I have to agree to cancel those two transactions. But when I do I explain to the seller what’s happened, I tell them that Paypal is lying to them, but that since (in the case of at least one merchant) they offer no alternative way to pay, then I must agree to cancel because I have no idea when those idiots are gonna be done creating the completely unjustified mess they’ve made, let alone clean it up.

Still, what the fuck? Did an ex of mine get hired by Paypal or something?

A note to everyone at Paypal

Dante described the very worst of the bottom rung of hell as “All of the sinners punished within are completely encapsulated in ice, distorted in all conceivable positions”. Yet in my view that is still not as bad as trying to deal with an issue with my Paypal account. Now I have to write the people from whom I have attempted to purchase things today and explain to them what’s happening, and it won’t be kind to paypal. Seriously, how much easier does commerce get? I’m a customer who wants to buy a product which is legal, and there’s a seller who wants to sell it to me. Somehow you managed to utterly bugger it up now. The words “piss-up” and “brewery” spring immediately to mind.

So apologies to the following: Nicole Leibman, Discount Golf, irina cristobal, Rare Posters Dba Art Wise and AwesomeTreats. Paypal has decided to hijack the money in mid-payment. That’s what you get for making the mistake of trusting them.

“Lawful access” — coming very soon to a computer near you

Public Security Minister Vic Toews is planning to introduce his so-called “lawful access” bill to the House of Commons later today. So, how does it measure up?

According to Ottawa U Law professor Michael Geist, it’s going to create a panopticon society where online privacy essentially no longer exists and is replaced with a sort of Big Brother. Which is pretty funny when you consider that the Tories are also about to introduce their bill to scrap the long gun registry and proactively delete any and all data therein. Apparently guns don’t kill people, but the freedom to go about one’s own business does… that pretty much tells you what you need to know about Stephen Harper and his cronies.

And then there’s the issue of cost, which is entirely offloaded onto the ISPs themselves, who will now have to keep a record of everything you do online — well, everything you do online taking the direct route via your ISP, making it trivial to circumvent — for 90 days. I rather pity the ISPs who are going to be stuck storing all that data at their own expense. You can be certain that they’ll be glad to pass the savings onto you, of course.

So what’s the justification for this garbage? Mr. Toews, never one to shy away from stooping to scrape the bottom of the barrel, claims that either you are with him or you are siding with “the child pornographers”. Never mind that there have been a number of child porn busts recently which have not required any of the new police state powers Mr. Toews insists are absolutely crucial to fight that crime. Personally I’ve always thought that it was illegal, but apparently by senile old Vic’s reckoning it was impossible to fight this crime before! Of course it wasn’t. Mr. Toews is just pulling his Maud Flanders act, and it sells out very well out West, where evidently people ignorant or mad enough to vote for the insane old codger think “internet” is a kind of potato blight.

But why should we let Vic the impaler set the terms? I say, unless you are against this so-called “lawful access” bill, you are siding with the fascists. I guess the Conservative Party has yet another self-renaming in the works.

An open letter to a Montreal cyclist

To the Chinese man on a bike who nearly plowed into my car this morning: what the fuck is wrong with you?

Seriously, I was waiting at a red light for at least 30 second with my turn indicator on. Meanwhile you were riding next to the sidewalk, hidden from my view by a number of large roadworks cones. You did not stop. You did not slow down. In fact if it weren’t for the fact that I, yes I, was paying attention to my blind spot when I turned in, you would have been seriously hurt. Especially since you weren’t wearing a helmet. I suspect that’s because you don’t have much to protect up there.

And then you had the balls to yell at me, you dumbass inbred motherfucker. I flipped you the bird and honked my horn at you because frankly I did not feel it would have been appropriate for me to turn off my engine, get out of my car, and give you the shit-kicking that you absolutely and definitely deserved. I was in the middle of the road and had a job to get to, you stupid cunt.

Watch where the fuck you’re going you moron. I hope you burn a red light and get hit by a semi or a bus. Why that choice of vehicle? Because either of those can run you over and not be overly damaged or cause another accident as a result. You are a fucking menace to everyone on the road and the sooner you are forced off it the better off this city will be.

The CBSA: fast asleep on your parcels

For a few weeks now I’ve been noticing that some packages of stuff I ordered just weren’t coming in. In particular I have a bunch of dealextreme orders for cheap Chinese stuff which I needed to make a couple of youtube videos poking fun at, well, cheap Chinese stuff you can get on dealextreme so I was becoming very curious as to what was going on there. After a while the CBSA emerged as a clear culprit for what was happening there.

Well, I’ve just received one of the packages I’ve been waiting for, and indeed I was right — overseas parcels are being unreasonably delayed because someone at the Canadian border is just sitting on this stuff. The order was for a few t-shirts from a place in Pennsylvania. Now I’ve driven there, PA is about 10 hours away, and I’ve just received this package on March 18th.

When did the package ship? February 24th. Over 3 weeks to cover a distance that wouldn’t even take half a day to drive. When did this shit become acceptable?

And then, in the time-honored CBSA spirit of adding insult to injury, I got charged a $5 “handling fee” for some dweeb to intercept my package and let it gently age for a full 2 weeks before the damn thing was even looked at. So to recap, not only am I hugely inconvenienced by this nonsense, I’m also being charged for the privilege of having been inconvenienced. A bit like a mafiosi who beats you up and then charges you “protection money”.

It just seems to me that since the CBSA is (by all evidence) unable to discharge its duties in a reasonable time frame it at the very least should drop that so-called “handling fee”. Either that or shape the fuck up, hire some more fucking personnel and get those fucking packages moving at a reasonable rate, which they’re nowhere close to doing now. At this point I have stuff which is nearly a month late. This is more than an inconvenience, this is a serious impediment to commerce.

Stalwart defenders of liberty

Given the events transpiring in Egypt one may be tempted to think that Americans are united behind the Egyptian people’s desire for freedom and democracy — after all Americans can’t stop shouting slogans about liberty. But the truth of the matter is, that Hosni Mubarak has a sizeable and influential fan club in the United States and particularly in the Republican party.