Star Wars on DVD

I bought the Star Wars trilogy on DVD last week. Unfortunately, there is a flaw in episode 4, A New Hope. After returning the discs four times, I discovered (on an Internet forum) that this problem is region wide. I learned that Fox will ship out a new copy of the disc to those that have this problem. Although I have to wait until the next shipment is printed and available, I still think that this shows that customer service still works. So despite the problem, Fox shows that it is willing to make good on its products.

I’ve been reviewing documents for the new site and rewriting them. I am currently updating the articles in My Bio. I’ve gone through several changes since they were written. I intend to keep them updated after publishing the new site.

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Lottery mail scam

I received a letter in the mail yesterday from Spain. Some organization selected me to share $615,000 with 17 other people. All I had to do was provide my personal information (name, address, date of birth, bank account information, etc.) to start receiving my payments. Of course, I didn’t get off the boat yesterday… seeing how I work for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, I walked the letter down to the Division of Trade and Consumer Protection and gave it to the appropriate person. She instantly knew that it was a scam (as did I, seeing how I never registered for anything in Spain to begin with).

Here were the dead giveaways to how I knew this was a scam:

  • No return address on the envelope; however, I noticed that it did have a Spanish post mark and stamp;
  • The letter felt chintzy; the paper was low quality and the signatures and letterhead were somewhat blurry;
  • It did not explain to me how my name was drawn;
  • It asked for my bank account information: had I really won anything, they likely would’ve sent me a check;
  • It was from Spain: as I stated before, I never registered for anything in Spain;
  • The envelope did not bear my full address; this was addressed to my building, but not to my specific apartment number.

The biggest tip-off was the fact that I instantly won something I never registered for. How this organization got my name is a mystery to me… my sister had a Spanish foreign exchange student stay with us back in high school, so that’s the only person I really know from Spain. Beyond that, I’ve never registered for or purchased anything from Spain. Some software that I’ve registered for or purchased is from Germany, so perhaps someone figured out a way to get into their registration databases. Or perhaps this organization found my name through some random Internet search or phone book. Who knows?

I know better than to send a stranger my personal banking information or other closely guarded information (this includes my social security number).

If you receive anything like this, please contact your financial institution or your state or local consumer protection agency. Whatever you do, do not provide valuable information to anyone without first checking with the proper authorities… it could mean the loss of hundreds or even thousands of your hard-earned dollars.

I just bought the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD today. I’m excited to start watching it. The bonus disc includes a demo copy of Star Wars: Battlefront for the Xbox. Seeing how I have an Xbox, I thought I’d pop it in and try it. It’s really cool! You can be either a rebel or imperial soldier and relive the major battles that were in the movies. The game also came out today, so I may have to do some more shopping this week.

My dad’s laptop, my grandmother

My dad purchased a laptop a few months ago and asked me to set it up. I finally found the time to bring it home and have at it. Since he already had some things on there, I had some cleaning to do. Fortunately, he didn’t connect it to the Internet and didn’t have any real problems. I have more work to do, so work on the new site is on hold. I may have to push its release to sometime past October.

My grandmother is not doing well. She currently lives in San Francisco. My parents went there to visit and to provide some moral support. I remember when she first came to the US. My parents sponsored her from the Philippines. I was six when she arrived, and I remember being very eager to meet her. She stayed with us for several years. I was sad when she left for California with my Uncle Greg and Aunt Sylvia (neither were married at the time). I had the chance to see her again several times since, but she has had difficulty in staying healthy in recent years. So, my prayers go out to her and my family. Today’s blog is dedicated to her.

Third anniversary of 9/11, my first week at DATCP

Today marks the third anniversary of the attacks on America. Although those that would view the US as enemies attempted to undermine its strength, we prevailed in showing them that we have the determination and resolve to come together and rebuild. Today’s blog is dedicated to the innocent victims of the September 11, 2001 attack on America.

I just realized that today also marks two years since I launched this site’s design. My inspiration for this site was the Wisconsin DOT federal intranet site, which I was redesigning at the time. I learned much about site design and using tables in HTML to structure a site’s appearance, as well as standards. I also learned a little about JavaScript and how to make buttons change appearance. Since then, this site has expanded into a large monster where I’ve attempted various different programming tricks that have lead to many inconsistencies. Furthermore, the dark borders and themes just don’t seem very inviting. In an attempt to clean up the interface and reorganize the material, I’ve chosen to approach the next generation design with an inviting look and structured feel.

In the meantime, work will continue on the new site, although I still intend to maintain this site until the new site is released. I’m still shooting for October of this year.

My first week of work at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) was short but very exciting. I’ve already met a variety of people, and I’ve started to really get my hands dirty on the various activities assigned to me. I’m even working on something that will be implemented nationwide. I look forward to being a major player and teammate on such a great issue, and perhaps I can mention more on the site later (in case you’re interested). In the meantime, following is a link to DATCP’s web site and the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC). Both of these are also available through my links page.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) – Premises Registration

My new job at DATCP

Labor Day has come and gone, and I’ve started a new job! I’m sure you’re all wondering how my first day went at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Well, it was definitely different. I was briefed on just a few things that I’ll be working on, I met many of the staff in the division, and I got e-mail and my telephone set up and working. I also managed to get right into the job and start learning about a couple of issues a little more in depth. People there so far seem very friendly, and I have some great people in the office. Traffic wasn’t bad either direction along the beltline, so getting to work and home each took 25 minutes.

I do have some computer issues, though. Although DATCP supports my PDA (as well as tablet PCs), I am now using Windows 2000 (I used XP at DOT and I use it at home). I also became a little spoiled by the 19-inch monitor at DOT; I’m now using an older 17-inch monitor (I swear that it predates my ViewSonic monitor at home). Finally, I’m using Office 97, whereas I used Office 2000 at DOT and Office XP at home. It’s dated technology, but I’m sure I’ll manage. It was only a few months ago that I migrated from Windows NT to XP in my previous job.

Although I pretty much ignored my computer over the three-day holiday weekend, I did manage to work a little more on the new site. However, there is still a lot more to work on. I hope to do more over the next couple of weeks. If so, I may publish the new site as early as October.

For those of you wondering, I did manage to buy a new football game for the Xbox. Based on the reviews and what my former supervisor recommended, I purchased ESPN NFL 2K5. After learning how to play it, I was actually really impressed. For the price, it’s definitely worth it.

Finally, I’m going with a somewhat new format for the blog and other articles. Rather than have links within the regular text, I will now put links at the end of the blog. I have two reasons for this: first, reading flow will not be interrupted, and second, it will make migrating these articles to the new site easier. I don’t plan on making these modifications to articles that I’ve already published, though. So, today’s link is below:

Today’s link(s):

ESPN NFL 2K5

New contact button

It’s official! I’ve got a new contact button on the site. That means that I’ve also managed to develop a new contact page. I learned what I needed to learn, tested it out, and got it all working properly (at least it worked for me). With this update, I hope that more of you that visit this site will provide more ideas or will just drop me a line. In case you’re wondering, the new contact page will look familiar on the new site.

In the meantime, only three days left at DOT. I think I’m getting anxious.

Metallica movie finally released here

After waiting nearly two months, I finally saw Metallica – Some Kind of Monster. It was well worth the wait. I’m so inspired that I’m on my way to writing another soapbox article… I’m long overdue for one. So, as an added bonus, I am also working on a soapbox article about my last days at DOT. It’s officially done, and I’m looking forward to a long weekend to prepare myself for a great career move to DATCP.