A paypal scam

We recently got a legit-looking invoice in our email from paypal requesting payment for a $1,600 apple phone.  The only weird thing was that it said to call a phone number in the invoice and at the bottom of the invoice (from the paypal boilerplate) it said never to call phone numbers within invoices.  After checking with me to see if I had purchased said phone (I had not), DH did the right thing and ignored the instructions on the email about calling and instead logged in directly to paypal through his paypal account.

The invoice was in the paypal account.  It seemed like a legitimate invoice because it was invoiced through the paypal system.

But it was also a scam because we did not order anything through paypal and should not have been invoiced.  I’m sure if we’d paid the invoice we would not have gotten a product(!)  If we had called the number on the invoice, it is likely they would have tried to get us to install evil software or somehow gotten access to more of our financial info.

The only thing to do is to not pay the invoice.  DH was able to cancel it, but had to message the scammer to do so(!)  DH did not use the expletive-laden language I suggested, but instead kept it to, “You are a scammer.”

The really irritating thing is that there is no way to report the phishing scam.  You can only report if you actually lose money, not prior to losing money.  Bad look, paypal.

Here are some other recent articles on this scam.



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What is actually causing inflation:  Supply chain issues caused by Covid and Russia’s attack on Ukraine decreasing the world oil supply.

Discussion on Taylor Swift’s penhold.

If you can early (in the US) vote, vote!  And make sure you know who is running for school board– you don’t want someone to ban all books that have Black main characters or girls programming or LGBTQ+ kids just existing.  These things are so important for our future.   For partisan stuff, send a message to Republicans by voting Democrat all the way down.  If you can’t vote Dem, don’t vote Republican.

Saturday is the last day for Vote Forward.  Be sure to mail all your letters!!!

If it’s Sunday when you read this, you can still write postcards to potential voters.  We need to keep fascism at bay.

I don’t know what else I can say with my small voice here.  Make sure your friends have voted and discuss the candidates and propositions with them.  Sometimes people leave off votes because they don’t know what to do, or just vote randomly.  Ask people if they have a plan to vote.  Donate to or volunteer with Vote riders to help people get to the polls, or with your local democratic party.  Pizza to the polls for when we have long election lines.  Do you have more suggestions for things to do and ways to amplify?

Ask the Grumpies: What is UP with the UK?

CG asks:

WTF happened in the UK over the past few weeks? I mean, wasn’t all of that an obviously bad idea? Or is there something I’m missing?

Please correct me in the comments if I get anything wrong.  Here’s a wikipedia article.  Check out October.

From what I understand the country needs to riot until they call a general election and kick the evil Tories out of power. But evil rich people like Tories.

So I’ve been getting most of my news on this from a combination of the kj_charles twitter account and the maureen johnson twitter account.

So um.. Brexit was this thing, this really stupid thing, where the UK is like, let’s stop being part of the EU and thus bring terrible financial distress to our country.  Like, they put it up to a popular vote and there was misinformation and xenophobia and people basically thought it wouldn’t pass and then it did.  They tried a lot of different ways to “soft” Brexit but none of them really worked and there were lots of changes of Prime Minister trying to deal with this, and now they’re actually going through the separation with predicted negative consequences.  The worst prime minister was Boris Johnson, a Trump wannabe and head of the Tory party, which is the party of the super rich upper crust.  They hate the poors and want all the money to go to the rich.  This is all background.

So… what happened recently?

Well, um… Boris Johnson got in trouble when it came to light that instead of following lock-down orders they themselves had instituted, his government spent lock-down partying maskless in enclosed spaces.  I really like the way the UK press grabbed a hold of this and made it an Issue because president Trump did worse but the US press just kind of gave up on being shocked and went straight to that’s just the way it is and will always be, which ugh.  There was finally enough anger among the UK public that he actually stepped down.

He was replaced by some woman named Liz Truss who immediately put forward some horrific policies that would insanely cut taxes for the super wealthy while cutting benefits for the poor and middle class.  That did not go over well — international criticism, tanking stocks, upset public.  She gave up on that and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was dismissed.  A few days later she resigned.  The “lettuce” thing that people were joking about was because the Daily Star bet that their lettuce would last longer than she would as Prime Minister.  And they were right.

Also Queen Elizabeth died and was replaced by King Charles shortly after Liz Truss took office.

Boris Johnson flew back from the Dominican Republic where he was vacationing or something to put his hat back in the ring to be Prime Minister again, and then after announcing he had the votes (which was a lie) he said on second thought he didn’t actually want the position anyway.

The current prime minister is Rishi Sunak (assuming nothing changes between when I write this and Friday), which, yay being the first British Asian Prime Minister, but boo being an evil Tory.

Apparently if people get upset enough they can do a general election and people can vote the Tories out of power, but right now it looks like that’s not going to happen this month.  But who knows, there’s still a few days left.


  • DH went to a candidate forum sponsored by our HOA armed with questions to ask the local school board candidates.  The first and important one was about banning books.  Our incumbent is vehemently against.  There is a crazy lady who is the local Republican party chair who says that our schools are indoctrinating instead of educating and is in favor of banning books.  The third candidate said he didn’t understand what the whole banning books thing is because he hasn’t looked into it but kids are going to learn things on the street if there aren’t books so what’s the point.  In terms of LGBT, the incumbent said it is incredibly important for all students to feel comfortable at school and to be accommodated so they can all reach their full potential (also gave other examples, race, learning style differences etc.).  DH didn’t bother to ask the crazy lady.  The third candidate basically said similar boilerplate to school being for all kids and it being important for them to feel comfortable, but hen had to spoil it with a followup that of course, as a good Christian he believes that homosexuality is a sin.  If I’d been there I would have called him a terrible Christian.
  • On the way to the grocery store, DH was stuck behind a slow car but couldn’t pass because the offramp he needed to get to was really close and he didn’t want to miss it and because it was close he wasn’t losing much time.  HOWEVER, there was a woman in a huge SUV tailgating him.  He was going the full speed limit on the ramp because he was no longer behind the slow car.  She sped up, passed DH, then slammed on her brakes in front of him, nearly causing an accident.  Thing is, DH has a dashcam and all that got recorded.  He doesn’t want to report it to police because there wasn’t actually an accident and he wants to be able to forget it all.  But, and this is important:  SHE IS VOTING IN THE LOCAL ELECTION.  All the people like her will be.  VOTE.  GET YOUR GOOD PEOPLE FRIENDS TO VOTE.  Otherwise the world will be more full of evil people like her getting away with things with impunity.
  • My two flights back from Blue coasts recently were full of obviously sick people not wearing masks.  The first one there was a guy that sounded like he had TB and it was so awful that everyone in the 3 rows surrounding managed to find masks to put on.  The second one was just so much sniffing.  The maskless woman next to me spent two hours stiffing, wiping her nose on the back of her hand, then sleeping on her husband until she finally blew through two kleenexes at the two hour mark.
  • The person behind me not only was constantly sniffing and occasionally coughing but also didn’t have headphones and played movies on his phone really loudly, including ones with phone rings, violence, and loud fights.  He also occasionally kicked the back of my chair, though that wasn’t so bad because it was in the lumbar support area for me and was a bit massage-like.
  • Anyhow, this whole selfishness and not caring about others thing is getting to be more pronounced.
  • Also I’d forgotten just how BAD it sounds when people have colds.
  • Prediction:  Jen Doleac is going to be at University of Michigan next year or the year after that.  (Though I also think Brown would be a great fit for her and they are also hiring.)  I think Justin Wolfers has been signaling that they’re going to target her for a potential hire.  It sounds like Texas A&M econ is imploding a little (via Friends of Friends).
  • I spent some time catching up with a friend on a recent trip and her pandemic experience was much worse than ours was, including loss of a sibling on top of everything else.  So awful.
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Dream job not happening

Everything went great until my last meeting. The dean was late as is his usual, apparently.

Then he made a small amount of small talk about his son going to the school. Then he asked me if I wanted to work there and why. Then he was basically like, you do not currently have an R01, therefore I will veto anybody that wants to hire you.

And I’m like, NIH doesn’t fund the work I do. Does it have to be NIH? I’m between grants right now, but I’ve been getting NSF funding more recently. And he said NSF was fine, but it had to be government funding, foundation funding doesn’t count. But the next two grants I’m scheduled to submit are both foundation (and he’d never HEARD of one of them, which, dear readers, many of you have likely heard of because there are celebrities involved with the larger organization). But he said, no, overhead is important and he wants 67% overhead, not 15%. (My colleague who works there says the majority of her funding comes from this specific foundation so the dean has definitely heard of it.)

Then he said that he’d decided not to do a targeted hire and there would be a job posted with a search committee and I was welcome to apply and the search committee was welcome to do what they wanted, but he was going to veto anybody who was not bringing in government funding with the appropriate overhead rate. It’s an equity issue, he said.

NSF deadline is in January, they say what is being funded sometime in the summer. It usually takes two tries. This is not going to happen.

Also he said, this is probably illegal for me to ask, but what does your husband do? When I was on the job market the first time I told off two guys at Berkeley (for a post-doc that I did not get) who asked me that. He’s not a coal miner, there are jobs for anybody in Silicon Valley.  (And yes, they only asked women with rings that, and they did stop the next year.) This time I answered, but I HATE it when people do that. It’s not a state school, where doing that actually would be illegal in this state, but I’m willing to bet they have guidance that they’re not supposed to ask.

Unless I move over into health, it would be very difficult for me to keep up a steady stream of government funding and also get publications out. My work is of strong interest to foundations right now and they are much faster to fund. But they don’t allow more than 10-15% overhead. Even though this job is hard money, I just don’t think it is a good fit for me. I can think of a couple of people it would be a good fit for, but they’ve recently just moved to other jobs that are hard money without the additional funding expectations.

So, a nice visit, but I shouldn’t have spent so much time looking at housing and schooling in the area. It’s not going to happen.

Link love

Before I forget– early voting has started a lot of places!  VOTE!  Make a plan to vote.  Tell your friends to vote.  And tell your friends to vote against fascists.  Find out what the local candidate positions are and vote against any school board candidate who is in favor of banning books or who hates LGBT people or thinks if we just don’t talk about racism it will go away (or even worse, wants to people to be encouraged to be openly racist).

Hey!  Have you requested your federal financial aid debt relief?  Everyone says it is super simple and easy to do/easy to see if you’re eligible.

Maybe intensive parenting has benefits?

Soliciting more Ask the Grumpies!

Ask the grumpies is a feature we run almost every Friday. You ask, we answer, or we punt and ask the grumpy nation to answer. In any case, you get the benefit of not only our wisdom but the collective wisdom of the far wiser grumpy nation.

If you’ve asked one that we didn’t answer, we deeply apologize because we must have lost it.  Please ask it again and we will do better!

What questions do you have for us? What can we bring clarity or further confusion to? What can the grumpy nation ponder and discuss on your behalf? Ask in the comments below or email us at grumpyrumblings at gmail dot com.

p.s.  You can ask the grumpies a question at any time, not during these annual-ish question drives, but without these drives we wouldn’t be able to run Ask the Grumpies every week.


Sadly the Patricia Wentworth Miss Silver Book 18 has the n-word in it, completely unnecessarily, using a phrase that is one of Christie’s favorites, though oddly attributing it as an American phrase (maybe it is? but I’ve never read it in literature written by Americans and I have seen it in several Agatha Christie novels set in England… Wikipedia suggests it is from the US, and based on the use of woodpiles to smuggle enslaved people out of the South, as if that is a bad thing).  It seems to have been an aberration though– I only have the last three two Miss Silvers left to read and so far no slurs.  Lots of rich people not being careful about their wills and lots of stupid people trying to blackmail murderers though.  [Update:  Have finished all the Miss Silvers– the last one wasn’t that great, but the second to last one was pretty Gothic.]

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall was tight and funny and just lovely– until near the end where I think he couldn’t figure out how to end it and put in a completely unnecessary kidnapping.  At least it wasn’t a carriage accident, I guess.  But I do think he could have come up with a better way for the Duke to realize the solution to their problem.  There’s plenty of crimes that aren’t kidnapping, which is such a cheap trope.  (I particularly dislike it because it takes away a woman’s agency and usually is treated like no big deal when in reality it’s probably pretty traumatic for most random people.  I’m fine when it’s like a spy or detective being kidnapped– that’s part of what they signed up for and they’ve had training to deal with it.  Debutantes, not so much.)

I enjoyed the latest Jayne Castle, Sweetwater and the Witch though I wish it could have been longer.  No new ground here– all the Harmony tropes plus a fake boyfriend plot.

Dealing with People You Can’t Stand started out really useless seeming but actually turns out to have some decent advice in it.  Lots and lots of extra words though.  Tons of stuff you can skip.  I’d like a pamphlet version!

DNF By Any Other Name.  Just couldn’t get into it.

Skipped big chunks of The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann.  If you’re going to read it, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the end turns out to have one of my least favorite tropes where if people had just talked to each other the book wouldn’t have existed.

Men are Frogs by Saranna DeWylde was light and fun.  I will have to get the first and third books!  Not 100% sold on the morals, mind you (the lesson the hero/heroine learn about love doesn’t seem like it would be that great IRL), but I can let that go.

Really enjoyed the Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennett and rewatching the Lizzie Bennett Diaries with the book as background material.  I think I found even more linked content than I did last time though some of the pictures and tumbler posts are no longer accessible a decadish later.  Also I still wear a couple of the tops Lizzie must have gotten from Loft (hers in green, mine in magenta) which concerns me a bit given how outdated Lydia’s slang has become…

Enjoyed Husband Material by Alexis Hall.  Not as good as Boyfriend Material, but that’s just regression to the mean.  Still an excellent book.  Definitely disappointed that Oliver’s friends didn’t really show up, and there was too much angst and miscommunication.  The author talks in the back about the decisions he made that I didn’t like and why he made those choices, so he was aware.  I think it would have been a better book if he hadn’t been going for a message and a metaphor and a bow and if he’d just not been so confined by the 4 Weddings and a Funeral backdrop.  Definitely worth reading and I hope we get to spend more time with Oliver’s friends at some book in the future.

There were a couple of parts of the last schoolmance book, The Golden Enclaves, by Naomi Novak that I didn’t like, and there were a couple parts where the editing could have been tighter. BUT otherwise a very satisfying book and very satisfying end to the trilogy.  I don’t think it would hold up very well as a solo book– it really is the end of a trilogy.  Also it resolves the cliffhangers from the first TWO books in the first chapter.

Now that I’m done with all the Miss Silver series, maybe there will be some more variety!

Ponderings on college costs and savings (t-1)

  • As of this writing (which is a month or two before the posting [update: the stock market has dropped more since then]), DC1 has $237,800 in hir 529.  This is a drop from a high of $275,000 last November (and a drop from $258,000 the last time I posted about it), but also it’s the same amount that zie had in there last February, so it’s only market gains that got lost.
  • It’s so weird thinking about “real” vs. not “real” money.  Like, it’s real money when I put it in there because we earned it.  And it’s real money when it comes out, because I can like, use it and stuff.  But while it’s in there… not real.  That’s the only way to stay sane with the stock market I think.
  • I’ll have to think about how to withdraw the money next year, if we get a choice about that.  Like it would make sense, I think, to withdraw from the stable income and let the stock market stuff float, maybe?  But I haven’t really given it much thought.  It will also matter if we’re planning to withdraw everything within 4 years or just a portion and leave the rest for DC2.  (Which will depend on what schools DC1 gets into.)
  • DC1 says it’s a requirement for high school for hir to fill out the FAFSA.  Which is a great idea and totally understandable, but there’s no way that we’re going to qualify for financial aid at any school.  We just have too much cash, on top of having a combined income that doesn’t qualify most places.  Maybe if we move to a blue coast and buy a 2 million dollar house (thus having a monthly mortgage and getting rid of our taxable money).  But not now.
  • Estimated cost of Harvey Mudd over 4 years:  $339,584.  Though that does include living expenses.
  • Huh, the deluxe meal plan only covers 16 meals a week.   I guess they assume people sleep through breakfast?  I feel like I was on a 19 meal plan when I was in college (3 meals/day M-F, Brunch and Dinner on weekends), but maybe I’m misremembering.
  • I’m already mentally planning nuts.com care packages for DC1.  I really hope zie ends up at a school with a good dining hall because I am not convinced zie can feed hirself otherwise.
  • Estimated total cost of state school over four years:  $120K (but probably actually less than that because living expenses seem pretty inflated in their estimates).  Not including living expenses it would be under $50K.

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