Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Geek Mafia

I downloaded the free book on my laptop so I could read on the plane during my vacation. As far as these easy to read fiction goes, I have to stop myself from finishing the book before leaving home. Like it or not, I can finish it in a day's spare time.

The fiction is believable except for the amount of money involved. The biggest gig was $800 K, involving a whole team to do the cheating and stealing. One person can stay alive with that money for a long time, but practically in North California, where the hero resided, you can't even buy a decent house. But I understand the balance of the amount; any larger it sounded like world class thieves. Smaller amounts are more appropriate to the Mafia theme.

Firstly, I feel a certain degree of personal connection with the story. Once in a blue moon, I ran into PL in a 7-11 store. Her hair was pink (!!!) at the time, same as that of the heroine in the book. I was totally shocked. When she is taking care of herself well, long volume flowing hair is the norm. At the time I was about to entry an all-Japanese girl hostess club in LA. I was all dressed up, Japanese Mafia style. Nothing really happened as most of them are pretty young foreign exchange student types. Though I got lots of hints to invite them to play golf, and I got invitations to come back for the Christmas party.

I also have about a million to burn if I have to, and believe me it will go up in smoke in California pretty fast. I'll be also doing some gigs on my own, nothing illegal, rather than relying on a pay check.

As for the relation to prostitution, me and PL had some exchange over careers. She gave me some unique motivation to move on. I'm in a pretty good neighborhood. My neighbors respect my disposable income, perhaps I dispose of it in no time. They also respect my health care, and the worry free lifestyle based on regular pay checks. Even the local bank tellers recognized me as I deposited big bonus checks and took out grands of cash of play money from time to time. But not PL. I wouldn't say she despised my income, but when she misunderstood me that I turned from employee into my own boss, she had sparkles in her eyes. Or least she looked at me differently.

I can understand that. Even if you have only one shop, be it small, in a bad neighborhood, you got potential if you haven't fold already. Half a mil turnover is easy in LA. And for that, six figure income is nothing. Her rich boyfriend just got a qualification that well educated people will despise of. He's in the right place at the right time - and now live by the beach in multi million dollar home.

I'm the sort of lazy guy that seek immortal fame rather than wealth, which would be hard work and there bound to be someone richer than you. I didn't envy rich people as I still got the girls now, believe it or not, 20 somethings attractive flight attendent. That would be another story. But PL did give me some insight. If I have the chance to pick, I would pick a path that many more people, including PL's kind, will look up to.

And believe or not, I need some money sooner or later for plastic surgery. Not that I'm ugly or what, on the contrary. PL once slipped that I need it. One of her "friend" had it as he recently got a 30 year old girl friend. Not that his gold digger sort of girl friend demanded it. You don't want to look senior with a young girl friend hanging around you. The other day, I heard from TV ad that 70 is the new 40 for women. I doubt very much, but probably very true for men. Money do make a lot of difference in quality of life in that case.

I'm not a planner not a dreamer. What I said to PL was it's a shame not to find something to sell on the net. It's pretty easy to convince a thousand people to give you a few dollars each month. That's a pretty good 2nd job. That could easily be a few thousand giving you a few dollars more each month. PL must have taken it in by heart. But she forgot the qualifiers: that you need skill and talent to stay ahead of competition. Also, either you need a gig with long term potential, or you have to live gig by gig, like the geek mafia.

Of course I'm serious. That was what I'm going to do. But she took it seriously too. The next time we met the conversation soon turned to selling on the net, which I almost forgot I ever talked with her about that.

Girls and guys, forget about the high end stuff and even Victoria's secret. Suddenly the words Leg Avenue came out from her mouth. It was so sudden that I almost didn't recognize the label. I gave one outfit to every girl who would accept it and wear it for me, PL included. I never dreamed that she would notice the label, because she has lots of Chanel sun glasses, Chanel shoes just to mention a few. Usually, unless I'm sure that they are OK with it, I would start with the higher end stuff - something that they can enjoy it themselves, like quality lingerie. Leg Avenue is pure sex, cheap because it's like disposable items.

What happened is that she talked to a "friend" of hers who's selling them, who claimed to be able to make up to a few thousands a month. So I told her how right I was, but also discouraged her about the competition. Leg Ave had been on the net for at least a couple of years now. Of course I know these things. Anybody can sell them on eBay. But if PL hasn't get anything better to do, that's a good starting point. But she asked me what I was going to sell. Because leg Ave doesn't look promising. She signed that the print catalog is thicker than the distance between her thumb and her index finger. She didn't know where to start. I didn't tell her exactly what I'm going to do as that was too complicated for her.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Being fired (as a client)

PL fired me. All of a sudden, she didn't pickup my calls. Her phone is still ringing.

Weeks before DOW 12,000 I heard in the boards that some ATF's are missing. Wasn't that a good economic barometer? And I wasn't surprised. One or two of our blogging playmates are also fading out of the game. And while I was vacationing, the local index also bloomed. Even though I was hitting the top of the line girls, they are so hard to book.

The interesting thing is, if you fire your regular for whatever reason, what would be your last word? One guy couldn't get his All Time Favorite to answer the phone. And once he got through, her only and last word was "fuck".

I understand that since PL has only one number for everyone, so she couldn't have given up her number all of a sudden. The best way is to discourage any past patrons from calling ever again. If she said goodbye politely, I would try to honor her wish but I wonder if I would call her again in a couple of months to temp her. Of course there are many troublesome clients who wouldn't take no. The F word is simple and effective I guess, especially to regulars. I came across some voicemail greetings asking you to leave a message at the end of some music, which is a couple of minutes long.

It hurts for a regular patron to get the F word. But in a way that's logical. I had been displeased with PL on many occasions. I didn't hesitate to let her know given half the chance. She must had been unhappy with me on some occasions. But she had to keep it to herself. I can imagine if she doesn't need to take anything from anybody anymore. "Fuck", what a relief.

That's the generalization that I can imagine. Me and PL is more complicated. We both saw it coming. Do we all understanding that when it comes to who dumping who, it was forever in dispute? She didn't seem to make up her mind whether to quit, doing it full time again, or part time as it is. Distraction affect performance. I couldn't decide whether to dump her or give her a few more chances. Indeed I deleted her number from my phone book once, my capital punishment. So even if I cool down and change my mind later, I cannot undelete it. However, since I googled her number shortly before that, I retrieved her number from the automatic form filling feature some days later.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A secret home phone in your pocket?

Thanks to Vonage, I thought internet phones are for volume users. But I was wrong.

I was looking for a cordless home phone with digital recorder, with caller ID to reject telemarketing calls. The no-call registry obviously don't work. The whole thing has to be tiny as I don't use it that much.

Then I came across those subsidized fully featured phones, just like subsidy from cell phone companies. It's from internet phone companies. Sunrocket has the $10 package with all features except for $3 for voice mail. There's the $15 package from Vonage for everything. It's 200 free anytime minutes for Sunrocket, then 3 cent after than globally. It's 500 for Vonage and similar charge after that but local, long distance and international are charged differently I think. Wow, just the neighborhood calls plus CID cost me more than the Vonage, no brainer. The internal calls are less than 1 cent more expensive than Skype, if you call a normal phone number from your computer. You can also port and keep your old number.

Now the secret part, with reference to Sunrocket. With $10 a month, it's as attractive as my secret cell number. If you want two phone lines, you have to buy two phones at the moment. But it's trivial to make some device to switch the lines using one phone. It's also not too difficult to hide you secret phone if necessary. Like many people, if you buy a few extensions for your cordless system, you cannot tell that there is a secret phone among them. Vonage has a Wi-fi phone, just like a cell phone. It's easier to put it in a secret place.

There are several nice features if you have some secrets. You can sign on with a credit card which could be those cash cards with no ID checks. You can buy the phones from retail stores using cash. You can have any area code you want. Actually you can use your phone anywhere with high speed internet connection! You can be in a motel and answer your calls as if you are at home. This will work for now as internet phones aren't not too popular. People aren't used to the idea yet. If you check the phone number online, it usually say it's a land line from some familiar carriers, not from Sunrocket. If you port, I would think it will still register as from your old carrier, just like my cell.

You can have a separate incoming phone number for just $3 a month. Ring tones, voicemails etc are all separate, but when you call out, it will show your main number. It can still be OK as it's very common to call someone on published untraceable prepaid numbers, but they will call back immediately with a blocked number, which maybe a high volume cell plan, or land line.

Other nice features are online voice mail and call logs.

If you have Wi-fi, you don't need to install anything if you buy the Wi-fi phone. If you have a router or a wireless router, you can buy a special phone and just plug it into the router. If you want to use ordinary phones, you need an adapter, one side for the cable modem or router, the other side for your phone/fax/recorder. The adapters or the phones are usually routers so you can just plug your computer in. Some older fax standards won't work, and security system auto dial system won't work.

Once I was in transit in Miami. There are plenty of waiting rooms with big screen TV's. Most of them are empty. I saw a football program that gave me an idea. I immediately made an international call with my cell. So CID is out of the question. Being next to the TV, it gave the illusion of me being at home.