Narrow sight

Today I was having a quiet bout with my conscience when, rahter unexpectedly, even for myself, I argued:

      "What have you done for me lately?"

A bit calloes, perhaps. I apologised, but my conscience had decided to sulk and threw the match, as it were. However, I was left wondering that, in retrospect, my would-be winning argument was inheritantely flawed. However much or little a conscience does, one is invariably left never knowing of it, for even if one can plainly see the effects of the options he's taken, one can never see an iota of the effects which any other option pertaining to the same decision would have had.

So now I wonder:

What good is having a conscience?
How much do you think it would go for on eBay?

Just wondering...

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark wonders what the voices of your respective consciences sound like. Mine sounds rather like... strawberries. You know, with cream.

Masquerade Magic & Stephen Holland

Alright, so here's something new. Usually I come here to complain, muse or glorify something. Today, I'll mix things up a bit.

I'll start this off by making a clear distinction. While it may look like all I'm trying to accomplish with this entry is a bit more whining (there'll be a bit of that too), I'd like this to serve as a bit of a warning to you all. Also, I'll stick to the facts, so you can draw your own conclusions.

Late last year I was under the influence from Assassin's Creed II (non-fact alert), which is, in shoer, bloody awesome. It features, among other things, doctors who you can pay to have your wounds healed. Now, since the game takes place in the 1400s, the doctors depicted don't exactly wear lab coats or canes and stubbles, but rather black cloaks and a distinctive mask. This mask is plainly made of leather, with large round eyeholes and a long bird-like beak shaped protusion. You see, in the 1400s (certainly not the whole century, but I'm not really that good with dates... or history, for that matter) Europe was taken by the plague, and these doctors sought to shield themselves from inhaling the plague airs by stuffing the beaks of those masks with pungent herbs, so as to counter the effects of the smell of plague. Incidentally, some of the herbs used were able to neutralise the pathogen in some measure, but I digress.

My mother's birthday is in mid-December. She also happens to be a doctor and a mask enthusiast. Naturally, I thought I'd give her one said mask for her birthday. So I began searching. I managed to find a few plague doctor masks, but the vast majority of them were kept in the US by American traders. Jest though I may, I have nothing against shopping from American traders, but the toll costs are real killers, so I was quite pleased when I managed to find a masks dealer based in the UK.

Masquerade Magic is a commercial site that deals in venetian and dress-up masks. It is run by Stephen Holland, who can be reached at This e-mail address is also used to identify him in PayPal land. And now you've met the villian of our story.

I ordered the mask in early December. Mr. Holland and I spoke via e-mail many times while I waited for the mask. In said conversations, he demonstrated chronical incompetence, which I suppose my be misconstrued as shameless thievery (or the other way around). Over six months after I ordered and paid for the mask to be delivered, I am still yet to see it. For some time, he tried to blame it on the Royal Mail, caliming that they had lost or delayed the package, but he never told me the tracking number for the parcel. Because I waited for too long to complain to the people who run PayPal (sorry to take you from the story for a minute, but let me just say the people I dealt with at PayPal were absolutely impeccable. Though I certainly hope I never have to go through this vicious cabaret again, I wouldn't mind having to deal with them), there was nothing they could do. I kept trying to talk to Holland, but, when (speculation alert) he ran out of excuses (done speculating, thank you for your patience), he simply began to ignore me.

Enter a good friend of mine, whom I won't name, who realised I was feeling a bit blue. I always get retrospective after my birthday, and this year I couldn't shake the thought that if I hadn't been swindled out of nearly 90 quid, I wouldn't have had to go through some financial hardship earlier in the year. When I told him about my dealings with Holland (not the country, but you don't need to be told that), he took it upon himself to impersionate a potential buyer and badger Stephen on my behalf. He got less than 5 e-mails out of him, but that was enough for what he quallified broadly as "bollocks, the lot of it". Having been privy to the conversation, I can tell you that Stephen claimed it was not his fault, as he only claimed ownership of the site after my order had been placed, but before he "ran out of excuses", as it were. He claimed the previous owner used his name because he knew he was going to sell his business.

Now, here's where the fact ends and the questioning begins, so correct me if I'm wrong, but when this Stephen knave bought the company (assuming he bought the company after I was swindled, which, for some reason, I find unlikely. I just have a hard time taking his word), didn't he acquire all of the company's debt? Isn't it his responsability to refund me? Seeing as I paid directly to his PayPal account (see, here's where I think this gets tricky: the PayPal account I paid to didn't belong to "Masquerade Magic" or whoever the previous owner was; it was Stephen Holland's), doesn't that make him directly responsible for seeing that I either get my goods and/or services or my money back?

If any of my readers would like to tell me I'm wong and why, I'd love to know about it. All my other readers, please beware of this crook. It's a bit cliché that a conman would run a mask business (O, the irony), but it didn't stop the wretched Stephen Holland from picking my pocket with this scam of him. Additionally, I will personaly give a one free internet voucher to anyone who can prove to me that he or she has insulted this prick Holland and told him to return my money*.

And now that I have addressed my human readers, here's something for my asian flavoured spambots (you know who you are...):

- needs herbal pills for larger breasts;
- needs cheap V14GR4 (or however you spell Viagra theses days);
- needs his penis enlarged. By a factor of 10^5. Just so he can see it;
- needs nude pictures of underage boys;
- would like to buy replica Rolex watches (but he doesn't care about receiving them, just pocket the money and carry on);
- needs to be sent staggering amounts of e-mails in non-roman writing, just so his mailbox is thoroughly jammed up;
- ArabianShark has never deleted any of your scantly-clad women filled comments and hopes you'll be nice to him in turn.

Right, now to address the Cylons. Oh, right...

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

* ArabianShark would like to remind you that "a one free Internet voucher" refers to a single voucher, good for one free Internet, which is a token of appreciation and cannot be cashed in or redeemed anywhere, as there is only one Internet that I know of and a great many people are using it, so you can't have it, least of all for free (sorry about that). ArabianShark would also like to remind you that this is not in fine print as there is no fine print to be found at all, as ArabianShark, unlike some cowardly cutpurses out there, is most unwilling to deceive you.