July 2nd, 2004

Dragonball MZ!


Anime Expo 2004 starts today - this is the first time since 1994 that I'm not there. I went to every AX since the first one in 1992, except I missed 1994 because I was in Europe finishing my history degree that summer. And I always kind of regretted missing that one year, because I couldn't claim to have been to every AX and that bugged me on some deep level...

But this year I'm the one who decided not to go. Part of me still really wants to be there, but I think that's mostly inertia and routine. Since 1992 it was basically 'the trip I take every summer'. Every July 4th weekend I'd be on my way to AX (well, one year it wasn't July 4th). But the past couple of years I felt kind of out of place. My anime fandom has been less rabid the past few years, and I relate less and less to the 'new wave' of anime fans. I don't have the time to watch anime constantly that I used to have, so I'm forever out of the loop on what's 'new and cool'. I can't be bothered to bit torrent the shows that aired last night in Japan like so many of these kids seem to do. If you're not 'now', you're not really a fan. So AX had become less about the anime for me and more about seeing old friends. But then fewer of those friends have been attending AX in recent years, and after the big meltdown with Mike and Jen and PMX and AX... I just had enough I guess. I couldn't justify spending hundreds of dollars on a trip to AX when I'd probably spend most of the time just hanging out and talking to a handful of people. I don't care for sitting in con video rooms watching anime with a room full of otaku, online shops have made the dealer's room obsolete and over priced, and I've never cared for Masquerade, the concerts, or dances. So maybe the AMV contest, and the industry panels - but these days there'll be people posting *at* the panels with wireless net access. You can get the latest news without being there. (In years past I've done similar things with my rig.)

Still, I feel kind of displaced and sad - like I'm not where I should be or something. I just feel strange and not quite right.
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I need that like I need...

Some people...

I participate in the PayPalSucks Forums for a few reasons - to see what people like/dislike about payment systems when I'm developing things for Pay Cash, to answer the general questions that come up that I can, to pick up on potential marketing angles, to name drop Pay Cash for people looking for a payment alternative (I'm quite open about working here), and, to a small degree, for amusement.

But, I tell you, a lot of the people there are fucking morons. They blame PayPal for their own idiocy. Yes, PayPal has had many issues, including severe customer relations and support problems (as a PayPal employee told me at their conference last week they used to act in a "guilty until proved innocent" manner when it came to suspected fraud and this has built them a bad rep in several circles for locking innocent accounts). But *most* of the people complaining brought it on themselves. They got defrauded by some buyer/seller and they're actually pissed off than PayPal 'let' the scammer defraud them and/or that PayPal dared take their money away to cover a charge back. I'd be dumbstruck by that if my opinion of the general populace weren't already pretty low.

So you sold something to a random buyer. You didn't follow PayPal's rules to use their Seller Protection Program. The shipment went through, but then the charge is challenged and canceled. So the consumer's credit card company reversed the charges to PayPal - of course PayPal is going to turn around and take the money back from you! They're not going to just suck it up, dumbass. A lot of these people even admit that they thought there was something odd going on, but they *still* want PayPal to bail them out. If you knowingly shipping to an address different than the one on the account, if the buyer was acting squirrelly about providing details, those should be red flags. Expecting PayPal, or any payment provider, to be omniscient and able to stop all fraud is ridiculous.

A lot of these people have never read PayPal's user agreement and are *shocked* to find out they're not magically covered. And then they go on to call PayPal evil, illegal, a giant scam, etc. Fairly idiotic, vitriolic babbling. Yes you agreed to use their service, you didn't avail yourself of the available seller protection, you didn't even bother to get tracking or insurance on the shipment, and you got scammed. Welcome to reality, it is a harsh teacher. I especially love the people who claim to have sold things like $7,500 plasma TVs, taken a PayPal payment, and then shipped the TV without insurance or tracking. WTF? Either they're lying or they're a danger to the gene pool.

Commerce isn't 100% safe - 'e' or not. Physical stores get 'shrinkage', and they also suffer from bounced and forged checks, stolen credit cards, etc. Going online isn't going to magically make all the bad people go away. It is all about risk management (man, I've been using that phrase a lot lately). PayPal offers some protection with their Seller Protection, but you have to follow their rules to be covered. If you can't/won't, then you either have to suck up the greater risk or use some other payment system. The only real way to not risk a chargeback is to NOT take credit - accept cash or cash equivalents only. Like a money order or cashier's check - or, yes, Pay Cash. But charging forward and taking the risk and then blowing your stack when you roll snake eyes is just being a baby. And blaming PayPal for it is just fucking stupid.
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Zoner en fuego!

Oh, for those who use DCU

A new DCU branch is open on Solomon Pond Mall Road - between I290 and the mall. Very convenient if you're going to/from the mall, or even just to jump off exit 25 on I290 for a minute.
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I see you.

Sometimes change is lame...

For several years I kept changing the shoes/boots I bought because I'd buy a pair and they'd seem OK - but over time they proved not to be as comfortable. One set I had, some style of Lugz, actually proved to be the cause of the bad pain I was having in my left knee for a while. As soon as I stopped wearing them the pain cleared up - that's after X-rays, CAT scans, etc. I'm a big guy - 6'6" and close to 400# for those who don't know me - so I put a lot of pounding on my footwear.

Eventually I picked up a pair of Timberland Euro Trekker Leather Black boots, style 84160. And they were great. I wore them into the ground and they still felt good, so I got another pair and I've worn those pretty much daily for a couple of years. But the soles are almost worn smooth, the inner padding is pretty much all gone, and the surface of the leather is so scuffed and scratched that polishing really doesn't help anymore. I've been trying to find another pair since *last* summer when these were 'pretty well worn out' - now they're really worn out and have actually started to be less than comfortable for much walking. I'd called some months ago and was told they were seasonal and wouldn't be in production until the spring. So I waited, but they never showed up.

Well, I just called and got the news I expected - Timberland overhauled their product line and no longer makes that style boot. So I'm taking my chances with the boot which is kind of the replacement, the Euro Hiker Leather Black, style 85079. The lower part looks the same, with the same sole, but it looks like it doesn't come as high up on the ankle and it doesn't have as many eyelets. I ordered a pair and I'll have them in a week or so. I hope they're as good as the boots I've had.
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Oh, an addendum to my PayPal post. One of the things that really rubs me the wrong way are the people who bitch about how dishonest and shady PayPal is, then talk about how you could scam PayPal and try to screw them over.

Yeah, way to back up that moralistic stance, jackass. If it is wrong for them to do it, it isn't right for you to do it, capisci?
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