I've Got Writes!

Teacher, Writer, Proofreader

Archive for the tag “single life”

Working On Me!

Since the whole Tinder-scammer fiasco last year (see posts below), I have had some pleasant dates with actual, real non-scamming dudes. However, I’m still trying to figure out this whole dating gig, even after being single for {cough}, let’s just say, a while now.

I’ve been on another dating site that has been a little less scammy, but I’m finding out more and more about myself as I trek along.

I don’t remember exactly how, but last summer, I stumbled upon multiple YouTube channels of these guys who provide dating and relationship advice to women. I’m a teacher, so that whole lifelong learner mantra stands true with me. I’m a sponge for information, especially when it’s secret intelligence that promises to enlighten me about the male psyche and how the hell I can avoid the emotional peril and perplexities I’ve encountered throughout my not-so-impressive dating life. So, I subscribed to a few of these guys’ YouTube channels.

Now, these experts charge for classes, webinars, downloads, and videos because these are their businesses. But, they also offer free tid-bits, to lure you in. I don’t mean that negatively, though. Truly, the only reason I haven’t already purchased one or more of their programs is because I’m an Oklahoma teacher, and I HAVE. NO. MONEY.

Let me tell you what their videos have done for me thus far.

  • They have encouraged me.
  • They have reminded me that I’m valuable, and that I need to act like it.
  • They have made me more aware of times when my behavior or attitude exudes insecurities instead of confidence.
  • They have shown me that I sometimes allow the negative and hurtful things from past relationships (dating or platonic) to dictate how I perceive the world, my circumstances, and men.
The main takeaway for me is this: Work on me. Make sure I’m happy within myself before I add a long-term relationship to the mix.

Now, I’ve known this in my head for a long time, and I thought just knowing it to be true was all that was necessary. But it’s not. I have to work on it, apply it, keep learning about myself and adjusting accordingly as I go. It’s not an overnight thing. It’s not a I’ve got it, I’ve arrived thing, either. It’s a growing, cultivating work of art. Yep, I’m a work of art and God is the artist. I know that analogy is overused, but it’s true. And I like it, so there. 😉

Does this mean I’m not allowing myself to meet and talk to guys? Nope! I’m just doing it with incremental confidence. Baby steps. Keep learning, keep trying, keep enjoying.

Tell me in the comment sections what you’ve learned about relationships and yourself lately.

Below are the aforementioned Tinder posts, in case you missed them. Know someone on Tinder? Share these posts!
  1. My Tinder Mission
  2. Tinder BS-O-Meter Sounds Again
  3. Actual Tinder Scamming Profile
  4. Tinder Photo Swiping
  5. Bye Tinder, I’m Swiped Out!

My First Letter to Oklahoma Legislators

Instead of joining educators at Oklahoma’s state capitol Thursday, I composed a letter to my local officials, for the first time. It took me much longer than I care to admit, and was sent late last night to my district senator and representative. As I reread it, my editing brain was wishing I would’ve started writing the letter before yesterday to give myself more time to polish it. Ha! Oh, and the next time educators invade the capitol, I plan to be there.

Today, the proposed state budget passed. From what I understand, meeting after the normal session could have produced a less detrimental budget, regardless of the extra money it would have cost taxpayers. But, it is what it is, for now anyway.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that our upcoming presidential election is truly the most ridiculous and infuriating political show I’ve ever seen. I’ve also realized that I need to get my butt in gear and make better efforts to educate myself about my local government and get involved in the process. Maybe, just maybe, I can have a voice in my state.

Here’s the body of what I emailed last night.

My name is Amanda and I just finished my 10th year of teaching middle schoolers. The entire 10 years have been a struggle, but this year has been the one in which we educators have felt enough is enough. 

Due to budget cuts, I had to leave my current position because all core reading classes at my school were eliminated~~reading classes where I taught reading comprehension strategies and skills that students need in order to be successful in EVERY class and EVERY subject.

Additionally, my team of teachers who worked extremely well together has been completely dismantled. When a group of teachers can collaborate successfully together, the students benefit, the teachers benefit, the administration benefits, and the parents benefit~~what happened to “Don’t mess with success“?

 

Below is a snapshot of a letter that one of my sixth graders wrote to our principal last Friday, the last day of school. My principal shared it with me and the other teacher mentioned, and now I’m sharing it with you. I’ll let her words speak for themselves. 

 

2016-05-20-13.41.11.jpg.jpeg

 

Thankfully, my principal recommended me to another principal in the district, so I do have a job for next year; however, I know great teachers who don’t. And that’s unacceptable.

I don’t know all of the inner workings of the government and politics, but I’m trying to learn and listen to people who know. I can’t tell you how to do your job any more than you can tell me how to do mine. But, your decisions do affect my job, my livelihood, my co-workers, and my students. So, please listen to educators and encourage your colleagues to listen. REALLY listen.

We cannot take any more cuts. Period. I’m in debt because my paycheck only goes so far and things tend to break. Like, hot water heaters, fan motors on the air conditioner, car stuff. I drive an ’02 Honda Civic with an oil leak, a beat-up back end and 207,000 miles on the odometer. I live in a 950-square-foot house built in 1946. I don’t subscribe to cable or Netflix because that’s an unnecessary expense that I can’t afford. I wish my college degree would pay off more than I paid in. 

I’m not trying to lay out a sob story for you, I’m just being honest and trying to do what we teachers teach our students to do: think critically, problem solve, fight for what is just, contribute to society instead of sucking it dry, and be a person of integrity.

 

So, that’s what I’m asking of you. Please use your political power to do what’s right for all of us. Do not pass the budget as it is. Rework it. Use the rainy day funds to calm this storm for our state. Or please explain to me why that wouldn’t be a good idea. I’m teachable!

One other item I’d like to address: We do NOT need standardized testing companies making profits off of our kids. We do NOT need to spend millions of dollars on standardized tests. These tests do NOT facilitate learning, nor do they assess and measure all types of learning. They steal ridiculous amounts of instruction time and cause unnecessary stress. For what? We teachers can’t look at the tests to see where our students had trouble. The students can’t even see what items they missed in order to figure out what they’re not understanding. Don’t you think eliminating standardized tests would make more sense than eliminating teachers?

Thank you for your time and service! Have a blessed day.

I’m sharing this in order to encourage those of you who have been like me for way too long. We are disconnected from those who are making decisions for us. We take for granted that those decisions will be right and will allow us to go about our daily grind as usual. But, I realize I have to take more responsibility for what’s going on in my state. I can’t allow myself to be disengaged any longer with my go-to excuse, “I don’t like politics.” (I really don’t, though.)

I’m tired of sitting on the sideline and just accepting that nobody’s going to listen to me. That the powers that be are going to do what they want and we just have to roll with it, make the best of it, etc.

Though, I do believe these mottos have their places, I’m tired of teachers (and others) cowering and feeling defeated because they’re afraid of losing their jobs if they stir up trouble. Irony glares at us when we teach our students to think critically and to actively spark positive changes in their worlds while teachers walk on eggshells and jump through illogical hoops in order to appease mandates that only hinder the learning process. ARRGGGG!!! It makes me feel like a hypocrite!

But, I’m encouraged.

Educators are running for state offices!

I’ve connected with a group of Oklahomans who are, like me, absolutely fed up and ready to do something about it. Finally!! Check it out if you are so inclined.

Thanks for taking the time to read my “writes”! It’s late and my eyes are crossing. G’nite.

Bye, Tinder, I’m Swiped Out!

No more swiping for me, thanks.

Profile deleted. App uninstalled. Done.

Too time-consuming.

Too many scammers, and by the way, I’ve added screen shots of the latest and final encounters for your entertainment. Take a second to read their captivating bios and text messages.

REMEMBER: These photos have been snatched and attached to fake profiles.

 

 

 

 

How do I know that the third profile is a fraud? Well, first, the mileage is showing 6556 miles away. Close to the same mileage I saw on umpteen other fraudulent profiles. When I searched the distance between Oklahoma City and Lagos, Nigeria, it calculated 6541.9 miles. Coincidence?? I don’t think so.

Additionally, when I searched the first sentence,

I want someone who is upfront and honest, and I will do the same,”

I found it verbatim on a totally separate profile on a separate site. Basically, the entire bio is a copy and paste of romance buzzwords. Just pick a phrase and Google it. You’ll see.

After reflecting upon my 6 1/2-month Tinder journey, I’ve composed the following list of pros and cons of said journey:

  • I’ve sharpened my research skills, specifically, how to reverse search an image on Google and tineye. [PRO]
  • I’ve developed painful tendonitis in my right arm, due to incessent swiping. (At least that’s my official Google-searched medical diagnosis; I’ve not yet gone to the actual doctor.) [CON]
  • I’ve increased disdain for low-life assholes who steal photos, lie about who they are, and prey upon decent people. [PRO? CON? You decide.]
  • I’ve accumulated an ass-load of blog-fodder. [PRO]
  • I’ve gone on a few dates with three attractive, considerate guys. [PRO]
  • I’ve experienced a boost of self-confidence as a result of the aforementioned dates. [PRO]
  • I’ve gained one friend–another positive outcome of the aforementioned dates. [PRO]
  • I’ve missed out on sleep, writing time, sleep, time with friends and family, and did I mention, sleep? [CON]

My Tinder Mission is over. I’m ready to move along. If I never meet a real guy to spend the rest of my life with, that’s fine. If I run into my Romeo, Prince Charming, Mr. Right, or Iron Man while selecting my favorite Greek yogurt or waiting my turn at the pharmacy, even better. I know that I gave it my best shot, and I don’t want to waste another minute swiping left, right, up, or down on a dating app. For now, I have laundry to attend to. And possibly a nap.

Feel free to leave your comments! Thanks for reading!  

Tinder Photo Swiping

I’ve lost count of the number of profiles I’ve reported as spam or Nigerian scammers this past week. These are only some of them. If you know the guys in these pics, let them know their photos have been “swiped” (pun intended). See a previous post for another stolen profile pic.

 

Warri is in Nigeria.

screenshot_2016-01-10-12-50-52.png

 

Ado Ekiti is also in Nigeria.

screenshot_2016-01-07-12-11-28.png

I want to find out how the blue airplane icon with “swiping in ______” shows up. Anyone know? I’m sure they can fake it somehow. Inquiring minds . . . 

Scammers commonly say this: “I’m here for something serious, not here for games.” (See below profile).

 

screenshot_2016-01-05-16-14-24.png

(See profile below). Notice the mileage, where he says he’s from, the recurring schpiel that he’s deployed for “peace keeping”, and the omission of certain words that are indicative of a person whose first language is NOT English.

(See the text messages below). This one immediately asked to switch to another chat app, and he’s also deployed for peace keeping in Africa–SHOCKING, right? 

 

 

I’m not sure how long I can keep up this scammer-reporting mission because it’s certainly time-consuming. Who knows if these photos will even reach the right people, and even then, what can they do about the scum-suckers taking advantage of them and their service to our country? Not to mention those who fall prey to the low-lifes’ schemes. However, maybe something magical can come out of heeding my BS-O-Meter!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share this info and to add your expertise or thoughts in the comment section. 

Actual Tinder Scammer Profile

So, if anyone recognizes these guys, take a minute to inform them that their photos have been hijacked. This is a perfect example of a “typical” Nigerian scammer Tinder profile. (See my previous post).

 

screenshot_2016-01-09-21-25-30.png

My Tinder Mission

It began as a mission to find the right person to spend the rest of my life with, or at least to find an enjoyable date. (I’ve had a few.) However, it has morphed into a mission to deter Nigerian scammers from messing with the emotions of compassionate women and their money.

We all know they are out there, but when we are honest, good-hearted people, do we really see the warning signs?

Here’s my story:

In my six months on Tinder, I’ve matched with many alleged U.S. soldiers that are deployed for “peace keeping” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, etc. After texting with several of them, I noticed patterns in the conversations. So, I did what any inquiring teacher would do. I “got on the Google”, as my mom would say, and did some research. I Googled something like, “scammers posing as soldiers on Tinder”. Bada-bing, bada-bang! I realized my bull-shit radar was correct.

Just a few of the sites that came up:

http://www.military.com/spouse/relationships/can-you-spot-the-scammer.html

http://spousebuzz.com/blog/2015/12/she-said-my-soldier-found-her-on-tinder.html

https://www.facebook.com/MilitaryRomances/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3162240/Fake-soldier-pretended-Army-Captain-Afghanistan-online-dating-site-trick-lonely-women-400-000.html

These “soldiers” have similar tragic stories, like both parents had been killed in a car accident or the wife had died of cancer. One of which said he was a “widow” instead of a “widower”.

They each ask very early in the conversation to switch to another texting app to make it easier to talk.

Sometimes the app shows their location as near Akure, Ado-Ekiti, Ikare, or some other unfamiliar place. Google Maps will show you that these are located in southwestern Nigeria. (A flashing red light after reading the above sites.)

All of these guys’ texts are consistent with grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors you would see from a second language learner. I’ve taught English for more than 10 years. Most of my students have been second language learners, so I’m familiar with common errors that occur with non-native speakers.

Actual texts I received that show what I mean:

“I’m going for work now.”

“is there any luck for your match?”

“I will like to know you better.”

“What month are you I’m Febuary”

Within about two hours of texting, these “soldiers” start calling me “babe” and express that they are falling for me or that I am everything they’ve been looking for in a woman. The second day of texting, one said that he told his kids about me. Really?? That’s ridiculous.

“i would like to have you as my soulmate”

“I told my kids about you last night They can’t wait to met with you”

“its nothing……..distance is just a name……….wet time we will get to see we just have to give more time to know ourselves”

(What the hell does that even mean??)

One had the username of Williams Jones. Yes, Williams, with an “s”, but as a first name, not a surname. When I zoomed in on one of his photos, I noticed the name embroidered on his work jacket was Travis McQueen. When I asked the guy about why the name on his jacket was different, communication ceased and within a few minutes, that photo had been replaced with a different one.

So, I thought I would try to find the real Travis McQueen. Took me about 30 minutes or so, but I found him. The photos from Tinder and the one on the guy’s work site were definitely of the same dude. His brief bio showed he had been honorably discharged from the military several years ago. Thus, definitely not “currently deployed for peace keeping.” I tried emailing him to alert him about someone using his photos on Tinder, but never received a reply. At least I tried, right?

Now, my bull-shit radar is always on high alert. If I detect something suspicious, I report it as “feels like spam” and move on. I know I won’t stop scammers from posing as U.S. soldiers, from stealing photos, or from duping people out of their money, but maybe I can slow one or two of them down a bit and piss ’em off in the process. And, perhaps, I will unwittingly match with the love of my life.

If you have a similar experience, please share it in the comments. Thanks for reading!! 🙂

DIY or Just Ignore It

I’m a single girl. Lived alone for 10 years. I set my own mousetraps, dispose of them when full (using rubber gloves and two plastic shopping bags), mow my lawn fairly frequently [coughsortof], spray organic bug spray around the house, check the oil in my car, wield a hammer and nails to put a shelf up in my bedroom, put together TV stands and other sorts of “assembly required” furniture . . . all by myself. Because I’m a big girl.

Do I like it? NO. I do it because I have to and so that I can prove to myself that I’m not totally helpless. I have a brother and cousin who graciously help me out when I ask. I just don’t like to ask too often, so I find myself in “situations” every now and then. I decided at the very least, that writing about my abilities or inabilities to do things around the house myself might cause a chuckle or two and maybe connect me to others who share in my single life conundrums.

So here goes the first of many . . .

Just do it yourself! Yep, I’m working on it. I’ve watched Youtube tutorials on how to change the insides of my toilet, you know, that big floater ball thingy and all its appendages. It looks fairly easy. So, I bought the

The hardest part might be breaking into the package.

The hardest part might be breaking into the package.

kit to replace it. Four weeks ago. It’s still sitting obediently on top of the toilet, still in the plastic package.

And, I’m still using a beer bottle cap to keep the toilet from running. (Yes, I come from a long line of rednecks.) Why a beer bottle cap? Because it worked more efficiently than duct tape for a quick, temporary fix.

Who knew?

           Who knew?

Don’t worry, I’ll get to it. Right after I stop fearing that I’ll get into the middle of it, something will go wrong, and I’ll suddenly have to evacuate my bladder or colon and won’t have a working toilet. Nightmare!

I will certainly follow up with a post describing the completion of the project, but I can’t promise it will be soon. The goal is within the next week before I have company coming from Ecuador. Hmmmm. How long will that bottle cap do its job?

Post Navigation