Saturday, June 03, 2006


I thought I'd provide a testimonial regarding my experiences with an online bookseller named

In my opinion, they are a fraud.

If you look at their textbook prices, they seem to have AMAZING prices, about 50% of what you can get from Amazon used sellers or just about anything else on the web. So how do they do it? Well, here is their apparent scam.

I ordered two books from these people. Both technical textbooks, US street value about $150 (Microwave Engineering by Pozar and Signals and Systems by Oppenheim for those who need the deets. I know who you are). For these two books, "" was selling them for a total of $75 for BOTH. Not bad, since textbooks are waaaay overpriced anyways.

I ordered the books, and received the confirmation mail (twice, actually - they screwed up the order by perhaps trying to bill me twice, but after a quick and responsive email exchange, they cancelled the redundant order). I waited for the 2-week ship time, and as expected, a package arrived. It had a return address from Kolkata (aka Calcutta) India!

NOWHERE on the web site, to the best of my knowledge - perhaps it is very obscurely buried somehwere - NOWHERE do they declare they are based in India. Which is fine, but it would have been nice to know. I opened up the package, and it is indeed one of the two books I ordered, but unexpectedly, it was the foreign Indian-market version, and not the US version, with the price magic markered away. It's a paperback, and it has the very very inexpensive and fragile thin paper that you can see through. No sign of the second book, however. I talked to a friend of mine who graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, and he said that I paid way way way too much for that copy of the book, and that this is not an uncommon scam these days.

I waited a few days for the second book, but nothing arrived. I sent them multiple queries and email, NOTHING. It wasn't until I started a complaint process with PayPal before I got any response - they claimed there was an error, and they would ship the second book or if I desired, they would credit me for the book. I asked for the credit. No response. More queries, nothing.

So the deal with PayPal is they do not track this kind of apparent fraud (they would if there were no shipment, but in the case of a partial shipment of an apparently misrepresented item) not so. Even if they were to track fraud, it has to be done within 90 days, and unfortunately, because I trusted bookstation's lying asses, it exceeded the 90 days. ARGH.
In my opinion, is fraudulent. I believe they are: crooks.

It turns out that at the time, they had a link to Geniuses! I go to the site, and noticed that there were maybe half a dozen of more reviews of bookstation that were all 1 or zero stars out of 5. I was, apparently, not the only person burned by these lying motherfuckers. So I posted my experiences with them and my description of their apparent business model, and gave them the lowest possible rating.

A week or two later, I noticed that (aka the people who seem to have RIPPED ME OFF) were no longer linking to this consumer review site. Heck, if I were a lying, piece of crap swindler, I sure wouldn't link to a site where people could post their experiences.

So, I got burned. I went for the cheap price and ended up paying, essentially, full price for the super low-cost version of a book that I could have bought new with much better quality and longevity in the states for the same price.

You have been warned.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

OK, I am the world's lamest blogger. In fact, it's reasonable to ask the question: am I a blogger at all?

For those who answer yes, I must ask: whaaaaa???? are you nuts? I've made maybe two posts here, one of which is of the "tap tap is this thing on" variety. You must have a liberal definition of what is considered a blogger. To you, I ask: are bloggers journalists? And, if you were to apply the laws of transitivity, does that then make me a journalist as well?

For those who answer no, I must ask: whaaaaaaaa???? Are you nuts? I have maybe 2, 3 no, sometimes FOUR views of this site EVERY WEEK. I'm guessing that YOU, you UNFAITHFUL DOUBTER, are probably among those who come back week after week (all four of you), saying to yourself, what the fuck: doesn't this lameass person ever update their blog? I wonder if he is among the living? Well fuck you and your monkey. I live, I breathe, I blog. OK, well, I sort of blog. Come back in 6 months, and you'll see: I might even have another post.

Until then: entertain yourself with this.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Pop quiz: why are you such a Pussy? A Moment of Silence

Back in the early 2000's, there was a wonderful tool called the Burn Maker. It was a sophisticated text filter. The Timid You would enter some benign text into a form, and hit the "Oh Yeah?" button, and your mild mannered text would be transformed into a wonderfully ribald, obscenity-laced version, revealing the Fucker Inside.
For example, here is a Burn Maker version of a friend's business letter to her bank, converted by the Burn Maker to reveal her inner fucker. The letter dates from 2001, I believe.


I received a motherfucking letter from you and your hand-job today to fuckin' confirm our phone conversation regarding direct deposit, along with the fucking letter for my stupid ass to sign agreeing to that shit.

Unfortunately, fucking what you and your sluts refer to in the fucking letter is a "wire transfer" which is not fucking what I requested. Fucking what I requested was direct deposit, and I would still like that piece of shit to be done that way. Savor the brimstone. I presume this bullshit can be done through ACH. I also (in addition to the fact that you're a shit) imagine this bullshit would save us the fucking "wire transfer" fee.

I do not want a wire transfer. Pop Quiz, why are you such a pussy? Please set that bastard up as direct deposit as we requested. Are you ready to burn? I'll follow this bullshit up with a fuckin' paper letter with a motherfucking signature so god-damn you can go ahead and proceed with this bullshit.

Also (in addition to the fact that you're a bastard), the fucking letter I received today was addressed to fuckin' Madam "Little pussy" B--- L---. For the fucking record, my fucking name is Ms. "Has-been fuckmonster" B--- L---.

You are a fuckmonster.
Thank you,
B--- L---

The Burn Maker was put together by the founders of what is now SparkNotes, Chris Coyne (and Justin Kester?), then undergraduates at Harvard. The Spark was quite a fun site - there was the "Date My Sister Project" and a variety of quizzes and personality tests. Very humorous. What was nice about the Burn Maker is that it was more than a text filter like "jive" or the Swedish Chef filter (bork bork bork), but it actually had a relatively sophisticated algorithm to parse the grammatical structure of the source text and substitute/insert appropriate (or inappropriate, if you will) phrases.

In 2004, tragedy struck. OK, not necessarily tragedy for the founders - the mission of The Spark was apparently always to have an educational component - but at some point in that annus horriblus The Spark was acquired by Barnes and Noble and it became SparkNotes, a purely educational site, for teens, and other young impressionables, who, I'm sure, had never ever had their sensibilities assaulted by the obviously damaging language that the toxic Burn Maker was built from. The language of the Burn Maker could obviously lead to the eventual decline of America into some subservient colony beneath the heel of a prurient gutter in today's developing world (AKA the nation states of tomorrow's Great Overlords).

As far as I can tell, the Burn Maker intellectual property is completely owned by Barnes and Noble, and not for sale. I can only hope that somehow, somewhere, a new Burn Maker can arise from the ashes. But frankly, unless somehow someone can take a huge number of Fucker Inside texts and reverse-engineer the conversion algorithm, I'm afraid we will have to be content with our fading memories of this brilliantly important web tool, snuffed out before its time. The graphics can be found at, but like an online Terry Schiavo, the brains of the Burn Maker are no more.

Rest in Peace, Burn Maker, I ought to slam you and your monkey's ass.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Here we go.

OK, making some progress here. I suppose my obsessions will begin tomorrow. This is my first blog! I kept asking myself, what should I blog about? The things that happen to me every day? Good gosh, I can't imagine anyone would be able to stay awake after the first couple of posts. I could blog about the things that go on in my workplace, but I'm sure HR would come by with a hard copy of my posts, so NO.

One idea I had, was a blog about the RING OF FIRE. Yes, about the Johnny Cash song and all of its covers. But also about, well, how should we say, the after effects of eating food that's way way way too spicy. I'm not talking about the heat when you eat, I'm talking about the BURN several hours later. You know what I mean, and if you don't, it's probably better that way.

But jeez, how much can anyone write on that one subject? So instead, I'm just going to write about whatever my latest obsession turns out to be. If you don't like my current obsession? Wait 10 minutes.
Testing testing. I haven't figure out what I'm doing here yet. Stay tuned.