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So part of my heart and a large portion of my brain is currently in a… - Tactical Ninja

Oct. 26th, 2010

09:39 am

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So part of my heart and a large portion of my brain is currently in a plane, somewhere over the Phillippines. I am keeping myself occupied by searching out cheap flights from Brisbane to Hong Kong. Tonight I have dinner with friends and tomorrow the researcher for whom I did the BZP interviews is giving a talk about the research up at the university.

I am happy and sad - happy for Dr Wheel that he gets such an awesome opportunity, sad that it's so far away.

Ah fuck, I can't talk about this.


Last week I went and bought a skirt. I noticed 2 things - first, this year's clothing selection seems to actually contain some that I like for the first time in about 5 years - both in colour and in style. I am surprised and pleased by this, and might actually buy some clothes this year.

The other thing I noticed is that sizes seem to be shrinking. Not in that 'oh gosh my waistline is expanding' kind of way, but in that 'are we ego-sizing' kind of way. When I was in the US I noticed their clothes sizes are quite different from ours - what would be a 12 here was about a 6 there. Now, I don't change shape all that much and I'm aware that there's a variation in clothes sizes here too, but normally if I grab a 10 and a 12 on the way into the dressing room, one of them will likely fit.

This time, what fit was an 8, in several cases.

I repeat, I have not changed shape. The size of the clothes has changed. I don't really care about this except in the lack of consistency always keeping me guessing as to what size I actually am.

OK, the weekend. Apart from the obvious, I spent some time going through the boxes behind the couch and managed to reduce the quantity to about half what was there before. If there's gonna be emotion I might as well make the most of it, right? I found the diary Dad kept when shipping live whales to Canada, I found the title deeds to the various houses my folks owned over here, I found a love letter that Dad wrote to Mum just before they got married, entirely in rhyme, I found my grandparents' marriage and death certificates. I want to make a book to put this stuff in, like a family history sort of thing. Because I need more projects, right?

Also, I'm thinking the Cypriot consulate might be interested in some of Dad's slides from living in Cyprus 1958-1962 - that's 50 years ago now so kind of historic. And the Shaw Savill people might be interested in all the menus from the (40 years ago) olden-days sailings of the Southern Cross. And the Dargaville Little Theatre might be interested in all the cuttings and photos of various shows. etc. So.Much.Stuff. I feel a bit like I'm being buried under the weight of all this history and digging myself out from under it keeps requiring me to make hard decisions about stuff.

tieke, do you think your Mum would be interested in four old-ish photographs of some pretty old-looking spinning wheels?

And right now, all I want to do is sell the bloody house so I can be debt free and go live in Hong Kong.

In more transference, I got a letter back from IRD which I considered less than useless, so here's a copy of my reply:

Hi,

Thanks for your reply to my letter enquiring what IRD is doing to retrieve the 2-year-old, $6000 debt owed to me by ***. I was informed that someone had phoned him and that now he'll be sent a letter.

This is not good enough. Two years is a very old debt. $6000 is a large amount of money and every month that goes by it gets larger.

I am getting very angry with the lackadaisical and apathetic approach to this by IRD. Letters and phone calls will be ignored by a person who is capable of depriving his son of a fair contribution to his upkeep. They barely even count as action. I know IRD has the power to access people's bank accounts and I want to know how old the debt has to be and how much the total has to reach before someone will do something more than just make phone calls and send letters.

And when my son reaches 18 in 2 1/2 years, if *** still owes all this money, what then? Does it get written off? Will he still have to pay? Will I ever see the "It's our job to be fair" IRD take some fair action on my and my son's behalf?

Here's what I consider fair: I supposedly owe IRD $900. Consider this my official notification that I will not be paying that debt. I expect any payment of that debt to come from money retrieved from *** towards the debt he owes me. And I expect IRD to do the work to retrieve that money the way it is supposed to.

Two years. $6000. It's worth more than a letter or a phone call.

Yours angrily


Yeah, running out of tact.


It might be a wee while before normal programming resumes.

The rest of this year had damn well better be good, you hear?

Comments:

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From:crsg
Date:October 25th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
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I've noticed the clothes size thing too, and it kinda pisses me off. There's more to it than 'I am mildly inconvenienced', but I'm not awake enough (or possibly just not motivated enough) to explain why. Just, I don't know... I guess I feel like there's already enough body-advertising crap out there without adding this too, and I could swear I'm seeing more and more of it every time I go to any kind of large-ish shopping centre.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
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With horseshoes, they get around that by the next size down being '00' and then '000'

(i have never had a horse that took smaller than 1s)

This is your useless factoid du jour.
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From:dragonvyxn
Date:October 25th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
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just verifying - i've seen 00 and 000 size clothes in the us. they are tiny! i'm not sure what size i am either, really. *shrugs*
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From:helianthas
Date:October 25th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
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I've kind of given up shopping entirely. Here in the US, I am a size 00P (double zero petite) and sometimes even that's too big. At the Gap, which is notorious for vanity sizing, I have a skirt where the tag reads XXXS. That's 3 X's.

Pretty soon I won't exist.

Except for in Europe.

There, I'm a nice normal size 2, and that's often a little tight. Validation!!!
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From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
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No. Turns out public holiday weekends mess with clearance times.

I fail to see why in the computer age, weekends and public holidays are relevant at all to how long it takes to send money from one account to another.

Also, I'll see how Socrates copes with 1G. It coped fine with VDJ on 1G.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
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So there is more risk if I transfer money on a weekend than there is if I do it on a weekday?

It's especially weird given that I'm transferring from my own account to my own account, and neither account lets me move money I don't have. There is no risk.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
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I am less interested in that explanation than I am in why it was ever important for there to be a measured number of business days for things to clear once transactions started being done by computer.

I can understand it when you have a person checking off a list of figures, or when mail and transfer of actual money is involved - but that stopped happening 20ish years ago and they never changed the rules around operating on weekends.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
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One of the organisations I deal with offers two options for a form they need:

1. Print, sign, scan and email form.
2. Print, sign and snailmail form.

Nope, they don't allow digital signatures.

*headdesk* I choose option 2 because it's less work for me.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
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I think there's a measure of security paranoia going on in there too. You probably remember the days when identity theft was easy through the net. I suspect some of the 'no digital signatures' and 'several business days' stuff is a holdover from the feeling that it's necessary for an actual person to be involved in the process for validation.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
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As any kid who's ever forged their folks' signatures on report card verifications would know.
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From:t_c_da
Date:October 25th, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
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Add to this the small detail that the banks have a limit (last heard to be about $1,500, by me anyway) below which they don't even bother to check the paper cheque at all. They just don't let folk know about that small detail, but still sock the customer with overdraft fees for going over the limit, even if the cheque is technically invalid (no signature or post dated, etc.). Well the overdraft fees are slowly going out the window, but not entirely yet...
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From:richdrich
Date:October 25th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
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You are are basing all this on many years working in the banking industry and extensive knowledge of their processes and business imperatives?

(The reason they don't run interbank jobs at the weekend is that they need to be monitored by people, who aren't there. Also they need maintenance windows. Yes this could all be fixed, at a cost of tens of millions at least. So it doesn't)
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From:tatjna
Date:October 25th, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
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This doesn't explain the difference between various banks' ways of doing things though.

It did occur to me that upgrade/maintenance windows might be part of it, but the three business days thing for a transfer of funds from one of my accounts to another (regardless of whether it's a weekend or not - the three days thing just works out at five days in real time if it happens over a weekend) seems somewhat arbitrary and unnecessary.
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From:edm
Date:October 25th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)

Signatures

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Wet-ink signatures are very well understood legally, and as much as they're relatively weak due to being easily forged, they're also strengthened by procedures around important signatures to decrease the probability of abuse (eg, witnessed signatures, asking someone out of band if they signed it in case of doubt, etc).

Digital signatures, on the other hand, are relatively poorly understood legally, and suffer from a number of not-yet-solved use issues. Fundamentally the digital signature just proves that the key material for the signature was able to be exercised by someone, not necessarily the person who is supposed to be associated with that key. It's the "corporate seal"/"Royal Seal" problem again, without most of the safeguards around that (kept under lock and key, armed guards, etc) to protect it. And of course most people's computers are terribly insecure, which appears to be a hard to solve problem. (Granted many of those computers are terribly insecure due to the people operating them falling for social engineering -- dancing ponies -- but the problem remains.)

On balance I think the two are approximately equally secure in current usage, and that digital signatures have the potential to be more secure if only lots of tricky usage issues could be solved. However I'm not holding my breath for those problems to be solved in the next 20 years any better than they have been in the past 20 years. Coming from a legal background I'll still generally default to sending actual bits of paper through the mail, including cheques, for anything that matters. (Inappropriately handled cheques are well understood legally; direct credits, not so much.)

Ewen
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From:tatjna
Date:October 26th, 2010 12:58 am (UTC)
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You know, that comment might make you feel awesome in that 'hey i proved someone wrong on the internet' kind of way, but it really doesn't answer my question either.

Why does it take 3 business days to transfer money in the computer age?
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From:t_c_da
Date:October 26th, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
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Why does it take 3 business days to transfer money

I suspect the answer to that question lies within your choice of bank...

With my (alas, Australian owned) bank I can shuffle money between my accounts any time their web service is up (usually 24x7, but not always) and have it available in the destination account immediately. There are other issues with my bank that are not relevant to this discussion.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 26th, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
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Yes, my new bank has a rather convoluted and slow method for putting money onto a debit card. On the upside, they are good at soliciting feedback and are planning to fix this issue apparently.

However, every bank I've ever been involved in has the 'payment made on Friday doesn't clear till Tuesday morning' rule for internet payments.
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From:richdrich
Date:October 26th, 2010 05:22 am (UTC)
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I thought the idea of a debit card was that it gave access to all funds in a bank account, like an Eftpos card but through Visa/Mastercard.

(I only have foreign ones, which all work that way).
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From:tatjna
Date:October 26th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
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I'm glad you still think I'm young, but I object to being lumped in with the Facebook generation.
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From:richdrich
Date:October 26th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
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What EDM said. Also, the bank has used paper based systems for 2000 years and has a very good idea of the fraud rate, which is built into their costs. In any new system, they have no idea whether there will be a hidden loophole that will bite them. For instance, who would have thought that it would be practical to affix magstripe readers to cash machines and acquire account details?
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From:richdrich
Date:October 26th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
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I think you'll find that potential costs are never accounted for until they become unconditional.

My house might collapse in an earthquake tomorrow, but right now it hasn't and I own a house. (well, I don't, but for purposes of illustration )
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From:anna_en_route
Date:October 25th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC)
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National Archive might be interested in some of your parent's stuff as well.

*good thoughts on the rest of the year*
On the (ever so slightly) bright side...Summer, sunshine and sheep...
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From:edm
Date:October 25th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)

Clothes

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I used to be a "M". At this point I pretty much won't buy anything larger than an "S", and often find that they don't actually stock a size small enough for me to buy anything that fits in a bunch of things I might otherwise buy. If anything I'm a bit larger than I used to be 20 years ago when I started buying "M", so it's not me shrinking. I'm not looking forward to this process continuing to its logical conclusion, and being unable to buy any clothes that aren't three sizes too big.

Ewen
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From:heartofawarrior
Date:October 26th, 2010 06:35 am (UTC)
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The whole "vanity sizing" thing drives me up a wall - I'm never the same size in 2 different brands, and sometimes even within the same brand, I'm a few different sizes, depending on what "style" I'm buying, and they're never the same size I was last time I bought clothes (in spite of me not having changed stats - I still weigh the same, and I'm not getting any taller). Pants are usually the worst culprit (especially trying to find jeans that fit my arse and thighs, while not gapping a mile wide at the back of the waistband - it's pretty much impossible, and correcting it with a belt doesn't always work), but I've noticed that I am now an "extra small" at Old Navy, where I would pretty much always be a "small" or "medium" in the past, and in other brands. Sometimes even the XS is too big, which boggles me. I'm only 5 lbs heavier than I was about 10 years ago, and I haven't changed shape THAT much.
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From:ophe1ia_in_red
Date:October 26th, 2010 07:50 am (UTC)
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The worst thing about sizing inflation, as far as I’m concerned, is that tiny people might fall off the bottom. Over the last few years, during which, if anything, I have got a bit bigger, the smallest size in a lot of shops is too big for me, especially if they only do double sizes (like 8-10, 12-14). Presumably each shop is only willing to stock a certain number of sizes, so if they all get bigger, small people are no longer catered for. :(
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From:tieke
Date:October 26th, 2010 09:44 am (UTC)
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Oh, hey - that's me!
Yeah, I think she would. She would at least be likely to be able to tell you something about the wheels in the photos. She's in town tomorrow actually, though that is probably too short notice.
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