Update and Errata

Okay, first an update on the …. not even identity theft, more of a stealing my phone number and using it for evil sh*t situation.

First let me reiterate that while I DO use hotmail, I’m not stupid. That’s my public email, not my FINANCIAL anything email. Even the buffered paypal (the account it’s linked to is used only for non-trusted web sites, okay?) goes through an email I never put out in public.

A lot of you also yelled at me about hotmail, but in fact the hotmail security is the same as all the others if you use two-factor authentication to your phone. They did in fact also break into my proton mail. It’s just since that’s encrypted, once you change the password, it “shreds” the contents.

I keep that hotmail account because it’s my longest, continuous account, which means I get uh… Let’s say my ping for a current job came through it, because it’s propagated through fan circuits and others. The footsy playing with the movie producer has also been conducted over that email. So, no, I’m not going to get rid of it, as I would lose potential work. Also, again, it’s my public email, and it’s everywhere. Its one defect is that it doesn’t show legitimate emails it decides are spam. But I guess I can deal with that, vs. spam traps. I also use outlook for the book pimping account, because it’s easy to establish and right there. Note that they didn’t break into that one, because no two factor authentication.

Anyway, so, that account is now secured (and off two-factor authentication.)

The phone…. The company is taking it very seriously. I think they had no idea I had any kind of platform, so they got a bit of a shock, stopped insisting it must have been me at the store, at ten pm my time, and are investigating it. And the police are involved.

We need to call today for an update, but they think — or did on Saturday — that the break-in was targeted for various reasons, starting with: they didn’t break into the email associated with the phone, but into an email listed nowhere on the phone, and continuing with they took the time to try to f*ck up what they thought were valuable relationships (well, they are, but not the way they thought, at least for two. Friends are valuable, but not lucrative) before moving on to breaking to dropbox (I guess they thought I might use it to store passwords? Weirdly, AFTER this sh*t I get a come on from Dropbox for their password storing system. NOT TODAY SATAN.) and coinbase (incomplete account because I screwed up something while setting it up, which is good, though to be honest I don’t remember why I wanted it, but it was probably to buy something stupid, like fabric from India. So I just gave up. But it was supposed to be something stupid and small, one time, which is why it was linked to hotmail.) And then devoted most of the effort to breaking into a chat program I mostly use to talk to family. Now that chat program I UNDERSTAND has salacious channels, and I think they thought that’s what it was. I kept wrestling it back, and they got it back 5 times, for a minute, before I finally changed the email for authenticating it (And we secured hotmail at about the same time.) Not that I have anything salacious there, but I also called family and asked them to kick me out of the chat room as soon as I got the compromise notice, because they don’t need to know who is moving, and who needs a job and–

Anyway, from their fascination with the chat program, I think they were mostly looking for ways to discredit me/screen capture…. I don’t know. My devoting time to Portuguese plans for world domination? (If there were any they would start with “reanimate Henry, the Navigator.” So, no.) Or perhaps my secret membership in Mediterranean People’s Uber Allas! (No, it doesn’t exist. And if it did it would be a big fight in a small room.)

So, right now everything is secure, except drop box, and the phone company, having figured out I’m a potential target, and they’re potentially in trouble if this happens again, have put in extraordinary measures to secure our account. Not that I’m using it for two factor authentication, anymore.

On things linked to the phone that held the line: Proton mail and Signal. So, if you want to communicate with me and there MUST be secrecy, use those. I advise a name on proton that has nothing to do with your name, too.

After the exciting Thursday/Friday, I was rather done in, and spent Saturday feeling lethargic, and yesterday painting gourds.

This has morphed into a story.

So, in the thirteenth century, there was the Benedictine Monastery (they work hard!) of St. Gourdamin. There is actually no evidence such a saint ever existed, and he might have been aggregated to the monastery because they did gourds. Anyway, it was believed that St. Gourdamin was buried in a giant gourd, and his followers honored him by growing various gourds, many of which were used for storing things.

During the excavation of the ruined part of the monastery (burned/destroyed under Henry VIII) they found gourds painted with snails, snails fighting knights, and snails fighting rabbits riding dogs, and all sorts of things. They also found fragments of chronicles, detailing the great Snail War of the 13th century, when giant space snails invaded. We’d have been in trouble and no mistake, if uplifted rabbits and dogs hadn’t also arrived — by time machine — to join the fight.

Eventually there will be a store and each painted gourd, cup made of gourds (not safe for food. pencil holder, maybe), and box made of gourds, and fragment of gourd shipped, painted with images of the great snail war, will also come with an appropriately charred and maltreated fragment of the chronicles. Because I’m not right in the head.

Anyway, taking a day to do something not writing seems to have helped, and now I have actual work to do.

Before I get to it, an Errata. Because I was kind of spacey and also because I’m absent minded, I listed the wrong Mackey Chandler book as a finalist for the Prometheus Award.

So: here is the updated listing.


From Mackey Chandler: Who Can Own The Stars?

The Kingdom of Central’s sovereign, Heather Anderson, set L1 as a limit for armed ships to respect, de-militarizing the Solar System. Now that the Earth nations are experimenting with star drives they want to challenge this limit anew. The USNA starship, Constitution is intercepted violating the L1 limit and brings them to the brink of war again. Will Peer Jeffrey Singh be able to negotiate a compromise? Do the Earthies mean to bargain in good faith? The Spacers need to buy time but things on Earth are always so complicated…

And so sorry about linking the wrong one. I’ve got excessive derpage. It was a strange week.

Okay, now return to your own massed confusion. Real post tomorrow.

227 thoughts on “Update and Errata

    1. Imagine the superheroine Errata. Things go mysteriously wrong for the villains, but she has to figure out how to translate that into a victory.

      1. Who was it who had the mil-sci-fi story about the soldier who was the Accident Prone – accidents happened to everyone around him? So the Powers That Be shipped him off to meet the enemy, and the enemy begged for surrender terms an hour after his arrival, or something to that effect. It was great for a short-story, not something you could expand well into a novel.

    2. Wit’ apologies to Lerner & Lowe …

      Away out here they’ve got a name for rain and wind and fire.
      The rain is Tess, the fire’s Joe. They call the wind Errata.
      Errata blows the stars around and sets the clouds a-flyin’.
      Errata makes the mountains sound like folks was out there dyin’.
      Errata. (Errata). Errata. (Errata). They call the wind Errata.

      Before I knew Errata’s name and heard her wail and whinin’,
      I had a gal. She had me and the sun was always shinin’.
      But then one day I left my gal. I left her far behind me
      and now I’m lost, so gol’ darn lost not even God can find me.
      Errata. (Errata). Errata. (Errata). They call the wind Errata.

  1. The phone…. The company is taking it very seriously. I think they had no idea I had any kind of platform, so they got a bit of a shock, stopped insisting it must have been me at the store, at ten pm my time, and are investigating it. And the police are involved.

    Oh thank goodness!

    1. Though as my husband says, it’s not good customer service if they only take you seriously when you seem “important.” (He works logistics for a major company, and really dislikes if he has to tell the company who he is to get good customer service at the retail level.)

      1. Aye, if a “nobody” with ‘no voice’ is treated well, a businesses is *GOLDEN*. Fail that… well, Joe Shmoe might not have a broadcast network, but it doesn’t take much poison to ruin the whole barrel of water of reputation. (There’s a tire company [brown-gray rabbit] I do NO business with… because they failed to honor the warranty on a bicycle tire… my father bought long, long ago. Poisoned the barrel themselves, they did.)

          1. It’s not that some get things wrong. All do. It’s what, if anything, they do about it. Ask Jay about the Ford Motor Company sometime. They did GREAT job of firing a customer by not honoring their own warranty AND lying about parts availability. Then ask about his experience with Toyota/Lexus.

        1. Our mechanic is an hour’s drive away.

          But Brandon bent over backwards to take care of us like we were very well connected locals, when EVERYTHING about us said we were driving through on vacation.

          And they’ve kept doing it, every time we come in.

        2. This is what “Do you know Who I Am?!”, i.e. offended-Oprah-in-Swiss-retail, is really about: A claim of aristo class membership, which should always be treated with the derision it deserves.

            1. Ronald Reagan told a variation of that on himself. He was visiting a nursing home and found himself chatting with an old lady who clearly didn’t know he was President. So he asked her if she knew who he was. Her reply: “No, dear, but if you go down to the nurses’ section I’m sure they can tell you.”
              Given his ultimate fate, there’s some sadness there.

              1. Aye. But I recall pointing out to trying-to-gloat Dems that were all “See! He really did have it!” with “And even with a degenerative, debilitating disease, he STILL beat you lot by making more sense.”

                1. I got a wry chuckle out of a left-wing rag I came upon back in the 90s. They were upset that Clinton had gone into Haiti…so they blamed it on Reagan’s Machiavellian justification for invading Grenada. Ok, so the guy you said was dumb and slow you say was also a brilliant, devious schemer. Uh huh. Right. Can you get your criticisms straight?

                  1. If you want an education in Haitian Creole, shall we say, colourful language, ask them about the Clintons.

          1. This is so common a complaint by airline passengers that they have an acronym for it on flyertalk.com: DYKWIA. A number of gate employees on that board have said that they would love to call for help by saying “We have a passenger who doesn’t know who he is”, but of course they can’t do that.

            1. Payton Manning when playing for Indy, was ranting at an Ops agent for SWA in NOLA (simple instructions are simple if you pay attention, son,) and stomped off, She looked at the crowd gathered and said “Guess he’s been hit in the head too much”.
              Everyone in NOLA who knows the Mannings all said the same thing upon hearing the story, “His Dad, Mom Or Brother weren’t there, huh?” because they thumped him to keep him in line when his head got the better of him.

        3. The rule of thumb I’ve seen: Happy customer, tells 10 people. Ticked off customer, 100 people. YMMV, and it depends on how good or bad the experience was.

          I’ve run across a few instances of businesses that got a “never again”. Many of them (not all, alas) folded. Most of the good ones are still around.

          1. When I read the Bennigan’s manager manual when I was bored once (for some reason it was just lying out in the kitchen), they used the same ratio with one addition: Someone who was pleased will tell one person, where someone who was angry will tell ten. Someone who had an issue, but then it was addressed to their satisfaction, will tell four. So, the manual continues, every customer issue can be seen as an opportunity in disguise!

            1. That is somewhat the consideration behind Beloved Spouse’s proclivity for gratuitous, unprovoked, complimenting of service people — it is sufficiently unusual to be memorable and welcomed.

              My view is that doing that entails risks that people will engage you in conversation or, worse, remember you on some later occasion. As I carry picture ID for the express purpose of checking who I am I find this risk of recollection especially coupled with conversation, highly threatening to my equanimity.

          2. This is even more apparent if your customer base is small and networked.

            The private process service firm I used to work at decided they were going to fire all their “underperforming” clients, ones that only paid the monthly retainer, generating paperwork to file but very little to serve. The powers that had come to the conclusion that it would be more lucrative to work for big collection firms, and maybe some personal injury lawyers.

            They announced this in a company meeting, and after I secured my eyes from where they’d rolled, I raised my hand to get attention. I then asked the COO and his flunky what they thought would happen, given the way legal support staff bounce around between firms, when the legal secretaries they pissed off by dumping the little firms they currently worked at went to work at the big firms they wanted to keep, and got the company bounced out of them? The COO dismissed this as a potential problem. I shook my head (having had worked in the field about 18 years longer than the COO) and plotted my escape to Old Tucson.

            Fast forward seven years, and I learned (coincidentally on the day the County shut Old Tucson down for COVIDiocy) that the process serving firm had ceased operations in Arizona. In seven years they’d gone from a 90% market share to not being able to stay in business in the city where the company was founded.

            All because they just had to fire those “non-producing clients.”

      2. It feels like the whole culture is moving in an unfortunate direction with regards to class. We clearly have a different justice systems for Dems and Republicans, and a lot of that is a matter of class. A lot of the people clinging to the woke bs is because they want to position themselves as “of the right class”. Sigh.

  2. St. Gourdamin? *snicker* I made up a mythical saint myself, for Luna City 7, St. Gigobertus of Bethany, an obscure late medieval saint said to be the patron saint of innkeepers and post-riders, from whom St. Joseph rented the horse for the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt. (The plot point was a search for a jeweled reliquary containing a tooth from that horse.)
    Honestly, I’m glad that the phone thing was sorted, and here’s hoping that the perps were malicious amateurs, and not professional smear agents looking for material.

    1. Rented the horse? They were broke; no wait: “gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” One of the movies (of recent vintage, more or less) depicted Joseph strewing jewelry over the countryside to bribe or distract guards on the Egyptian border (not sure why there’d be guard since Egypt was Roman, but plausible, I guess).

  3. > Mediterranean People’s Uber Allas

    “Is this the Libertarian National Convention?”

    “No, it’s the Mediterranean People’s Uber Alles Action Committee. But if you’re looking for anyone important they’re down at Paddy O’Leary’s Irish pub, drinking and ogling the redheads.”

    “Where are the Libertarian VIPs?”

    “Standing in the rain where McDonalds’ used to be, arguing about where to go next.”

    “Huh. I think I’ll mosey down to Paddy’s and check out the MPUA…”

    1. Right?
      We have a long running gag in this family about my being a Portuguese sleeper agent.
      IF I ever wake up and send in a report, the reception would be as follows:
      –Hey, Joao, we got a report from our agent in America.
      — We have an agent in America, Jaquim? Whatever the f*ck for?
      -I don’t know. She said she was and sent a report.
      -well, let’s look at the report, then.
      -It was on my desk, now I can’t find it. I guess Maria used it to wrap the prosciuto sandwiches.
      _oh. Well, it will be unreadable, and they probably threw it away after the picnic.
      -Yeah, never mind. I’m sure it was nothing important. Hey, wanna go for coffee?

      1. Now do that with the reincarnation of Henry the Navigator. Obviously there had to be a good reason to to wake you up to report in. Obviously.

        That jump point he’ll discover out by Pluto is calling…

        (Really glad to read that the phone hack imbroglio is sorted out. Now I have to go finish a cave and make the D.P. some pesto).

      2. Just watched the 1970 Pearl Harbor movie: “Toro, Toro, Toro.” Sunday morning, December 7th (Washington, DC time): Tell General Short (the Japanese are giving us an ultimatum at 1:00 PM, EST; 7:30 AM his time. {Because the US could decode their diplomatic messages faster than the Japanese embassy in DC could.})

        The main (phone?) line to Hawaii was out. [The atmospherics had the radio blocked.]
        Send a telegram. Telegram sent, commericial; gets to telegraph office in Hawaii.
        Is it marked urgent? No. Message gets put on shelf to wait

        Japan Navy attacks on schedule. {Japanese ambassadors were late with the ultimatum.}

        General Short gets message.

        1. The way I heard it, the Japanese government got the time zone wrong. When the Japanese ambassador walked into the State Department he found it in an uproar, and wondered why everybody was giving him the stink-eye.

          The attack had started twenty minutes before he got there.

          1. The generally accepted reason for why the Navy crypto folks translated, typed up, and delivered the entire intercepted ultimatum document to Hull and the rest of the State Department so much more quickly (hours ahead) than the Japanese Embassy staff was that the classification on the thing was set crazy high by the Japanese Army probably to jerk around the IJN, and the only cleared crypto kid on the embassy staff was a very slow typist.

            The whole thing is a red herring anyway – if the Japanese ambassador had been able to be standing there in Hulls office after handing over the ultimatum when the first wave arrived over Pearl Harbor, it’s not like the US would have said “Well, fair enough!”

        2. That’s “Tora, Tora, Tora” – “Tiger, Tiger, Tiger” in Japanese, the code word sent back to the carriers from the first attack wave for “we got here and there’s no opposition”, i.e. total surprise.

          “Toro, Toro, Toro” is a documentary about lawn care.

            1. For what it’s worth, I own zero Toro products. Nothing against them, just happened that way.

              We have someone else deal with the lawn, and the global-warming (aka snow) blower is a Cub Cadet.

          1. I’m old enough to remember the Toro Flymo. Might not have damaged the battleships, but the lawns would be perfect!

              1. Those things seemed like an extraordinarily bad idea. Large relatively heavy object keeping itself aloft by spinning a large sharp object (admittedly only SLIGHTLY different from any aircraft engine). What could possibly go wrong…

          2. And Totoro, Totoro, Totoro would be something totally different again. Though I think Totoro seem like relatively peaceful creatures.

              1. He’d probably just throw them under the Catbus… all those pointy clawed paws.

      3. That reminds me, I need to get back to my sci-fi/comedy novel about the X-Files Smoking Man conspiracy if it were run by the actual Federal Government…

        1. They’d still be trying to figure out who had jurisdiction over the Roswell wreckage today…
          Much less keeping it under wraps that an alien black ooze was taking over people…

          And hey! Did you apply the appropriate STIG checklists to that system?!? NO??? Fine, disconnect it and shut it down until you do!

            1. Most alien black ooze has far more self respect than that. It would have suicided by now unless it is some bizarre bio weapon…

              1. I’d say “Demons”, but pretty sure the demons would have called the Exorcist by now:

                Exorcist: “I’m here to get rid of the Demon!”
                Person: “I didn’t call for an exorcist.”
                Demon: “I did! Get me out of here!”

      4. Elaborate in-jokes are the best. Especially evolving ones that barely make sense with a ton of context.

        (Nearly thirty years ago, a friend tied a bunch of disparate details and a healthy amount of insanity together to “prove” that I was a KGB agent stranded by the collapse of the USSR. And upon that dubious foundation, an elaborate house of cards was erected over the next couple of years.)

        Your situation keeps me from feeling too badly about my phone dying in a puff of smoke shortly thereafter.

        1. Fluffy approves of this so much that he’s staging a BBQ. The sea serpent in the minion pool is doing a clam bake. And the aardvark brought out bonbons while we wait.

          1. That reminds me. Has anyone stumbled over the can of invisible paint? Someone spilled a little on the outside of the can when we were touching up the Door To The Room That Shall Not Be Opened and now I can’t find the can.

              1. But if they got hold of the invisible paint, can they still be said to be green? 😛

          2. Should I send some Traffic Control Gnomes? They don’t contribute much but they love BBQ and usually reciprocate by turning the traffic lights green when they see you coming.

            1. Sure! I’m even sure that the aardvark will manage to produce bonbons to their taste.

    2. Pretty sure the Libertarians would be ogling the redheads too. After all, unlike the other side, we’re not trying to erase them from pop culture.

    3. Mediterranean People’s Uber Allas

      Didn’t Rome/Italy try that from to time? And that last time… well that might have put them off it for a while.

  4. To Quote Alice “Curiouser and Curiouser”. That it was targeted makes sense (there were many other things they could have done that were more lucrative). The rest of it starts to wander into Twilight Zone levels of weird. I mean perhaps they were looking for Kompromat in the potentially salacious chat channel? Doing something that is potentially a serious crime to essentially sh*t stir? Cui Bono leads nowhere fast. Although the sheer stupidity seems to point to someone of the type that likes bizarre lefty conspiracy theories (perhaps about Male Mormons with great racks?!?). This is strange enough that even Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes would run screaming in the other direction should you present them with it.
    I have one theory I DEEPLY dislike but is about the only thing that makes sense. Somewhere there is a lefty stalker out there tracking you for heavens knows what reason. The total randomness (and direct intervention in the personal contacts) feels like that, this is not a rational attacker in any sense of the word.
    Please dear hostess take care…

    1. If it was someone targeting Sarah specifically then the field of suspects is narrowed considerably.

      1. Almuric it is what they did after they got into the account that argues for being directly targeted at Sarah then a general hack or theft kind of action.

        1. In agreement. My first thought when I heard of this was that someone is trying to get back at her. After all, the other side has not forgiven the Sad Puppies for existing and never will.

  5. The great snail war?
    I expect the story starts a bit slow.
    I’ve the image in head of a monk gored by an vicious snail but I’m trying to squash the thought.

        1. Some perspective issues with the knight on the branch. What’s holding up the shield? Why isn’t he tipping since only the right knee is supported? I can’t imagine that people didn’t notice these things; I assume no one cared.
          Not sure if an image link will work:

            1. That’s because he’s busy whispering something into the ear of the soon-to-be-severed head.

              Probably the password for Sarah’s hotmail account.

              Also note the sword looks like it was originally drawn as a standard knightly symmetrical sword (see the blue part), and was subsequently modified for some reason to look more curved and moorish.

              1. I don’t know the one I saw did in maybe half a dozen nights before they used high church high explosives to end it

          1. If the Bayeux Tapestry had been this entertaining I might have been able to struggle through the whole monstrous thing!

            1. There’s an intact StuG 3 (a German assault gun from World War 2) on display at a museum in Bayeaux. It’s called, unsurprisingly, the Bayeaux StuG.

              A while back, some joker on the internet drew it a StuG the same style as the Tapestry, and added this new “Bayeaux StuG” to a “reproduced” section of the famous wall-hanging.

              Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find now, since searching online for “Bayeaux StuG” produces lots of results with the museum-piece.

          1. That PBR box is so beautifully tumultuous, it almost makes me want to down a PBR.

        2. >> “I’ve been painting these on gourds (mostly because it was what I had to hand.)”

          Funny coincidence, but not long ago I learned that there’s a game called Inkulinati in development that’s about those drawings. The premise is that the Inkulinati were a secret order that was able to create living artwork, and those drawings in the margins of medieval manuscripts are the remnants of art-based ritual battles. Here’s the kickstarter promo video:

          Looks interesting and has a very unique concept, although flatulence seems to play a much greater role in the battles than I’d like.

      1. JP when Jiminalaska mention snails stabbing I thought of the cone snails, but couldn’t remember their name for love nor money. Thank you for finding that. And I think in many cases the stabby thing is seriously poisonous (like belongs on an animal from Australia poisonous).

    1. The war with the rabbits got off to a quicker start, but the tortoises beat them in the end.

    2. I used to have a button that I bought at a long-ago con:

      Invertebrate Punster.
      Spinelessly unable to resist a pun.
      (So slug me.)

      1. That is awful, verging on carp worthy. You wouldn’t happen to know where to get a shirt like that in mens 2x large t-shirt of that would you 🙂

        1. I bet if you went to Spreadshirt.com or some other website like them, you could have a shirt made with that on it. 😉

  6. Congratulations to Mackey– Write long and prosper.

    I’m glad you are getting the phone thief … it looks like you may actually get some justice since they were able to find out who dunnit. It is a horrible thought that some person can do this without consequence… I’m hoping they get smashed.

    1. A lot worse people are doing a lot worse things without consequences these days.

  7. I had a great uncle who bred his own line of gourds shaped like ducks or geese; he would add felt feet and some sort of bills. One year he sold the seed (at a loss because he forgot to include “plus shipping” in his advertisement). Then he moved to road runner shaped gourds.

        1. For reals; his were more duck-like that those, as I recall, and the color was a uniform buff. I think he usually painted them white.

          Maybe his daughter or granddaughter has some seeds.

            1. I would like to commission a Dragon-Gourd painting, please. For any time in the future that you feel like doing it.

  8. Very Interesting article this Is something I need to be aware of.
    Yeah I know I entered with a preposition so?

  9. The next Family Law book is out, too: Another Word for Magic. My only complaint: It only took five hours to read it. I won’t mention that in the review.

  10. On the “Do You Know Who I Am” quote: My wife had as a customer a Flight Attendant (woman) who was legendary in the industry – her last flight from Heathrow was celebrated by dual firetruck spraying an arch for the aircraft – at Heathrow, and the same at the destination, IAH. Anyway, as the story goes, she was working first class and quite busy with boarding when a male passenger came in, sat down and immediately ordered a scotch. She had an arm full of coats, it was winter at the time, and responded that she’d get him a drink as soon as possible. He proceeded to repeatedly press the call button, and when she responded, asked “Do you know who I am?” She motioned one moment, walked to the PA and announced, “Can someone help the man in seat 3A, he doesn’t know who he is!”

  11. They also may have been fishing for info they can use to dox people who comment on the blog, i.e. if they can tie actual identities to people who comment, they can use that info to try to get people “cancelled” for voicing politically incorrect thoughts.

    1. You’re overthinking this. They got in, searched for specific emails (which is a clue, I guess) and answered them.
      IF they’d been looking to dox people, there would be a lot more time involved in that, and they wouldn’t have sent swear words to four specific people. (Who btw don’t comment on the blog.)
      And having sent those four emails they were off to crack other things, particularly the chat program.
      I’ll note the whole breach was less than half an hour. Probably less than 20 minutes. And most of it was devoted to cracking the chat program.

      1. Odd coincidence. I got a spam email on my public account at protonmail (which gets nearly nothing, as I’m a privacy minded nobody) directed to “Hey Accordingtohoyt.com Owner,” from some rando gmail address recently. Happened while I was away dealing with lawyers, so I didn’t even see it until recently. The only things in there are early drafts where I am swapping between pcs and laptop, trying to keep up.

        I didn’t think a thing of it until I read this today. Weird, but probably not connected.

            1. I suspect it happens to those of us with publicly available addresses in the websites linked to our usernames. Create a wordpress site and put an email in the “contact me” portion of it, and you, too, can get slightly-above-low quality spam as well! *grin*

            2. #MeEither Welcome to the unappreciated club … OTOH I have everything tied down tight. It might have bypassed mail and gone straight to spam. Who knows?

          1. Especially considering that e-mail doesn’t connect to the one I use to comment here, but is publicly available. That’s a layer of complexity that implies the wordpress linked address is not being targeted, but perhaps those of us with websites linked to our usernames here are. Which would make the first email sent to the site address (other than internal drafts and proton news) deliberate spam that someone somehow decided was worthy of the few seconds of attention to create it, unless it was just bot harvesting (and if it was, that’s still a layer of complexity above the standard spray-n-pray spamming).

            I choose to find that chain of semi-plausible supposition amusing. *grin*

  12. Antifa attacked ICE in Portland yet again, this time setting the building on fire after trapping ICE personnel inside; i.e. they attempted to murder them.


    Needless to say, this violent attack on a Federal facility by leftists who are part of the Democratic Party paramilitary is NOT being denounced by the Democrats as insurrection or treason, even as the attackers openly proclaim their desire to destroy the USA.

    Compare how the Feds will treat these Antifa criminals and the people they are still holding without bail from January 6 2021.

    1. Bunch of levels of “What the Hell?”

      Why in the world is opposition to ICE so important to the folks permitting/directing this?

      I understand a little of the thinking on immigration, but why this particular degree and manifestation?

      I guess I’m just in denial about the level of crazy that We Will Be Made To Care (TM) about.

      1. Bob I think they view ICE agents as they do every other law enforcement agent no matter local, state or federal. They’re the enemy and to be driven away or killed if possible. Antifa is basically anarchists with murderous tendencies as far as I can tell.

        1. They are revolutionary Marxists. They have the express goal of overthrowing the constitutional republic and ending the USA. There is a reason they chant “no borders, no walls, no USA at all”. They attack ICE specifically to try to intimidate ICE officials to not enforce immigration laws and in support of the Democratic Party’s efforts to eliminate the nation’s borders.

          1. Sure, and so are the Dem leadership.

            But the Dem leadership is also apparently relying on Federal LEOs for goonery.

            I understand that ICE doesn’t even really detain illegals much, relatively.

            Aren’t they worried about panicking other Federals into doing something drastic against them?

            Am I over thinking, or not thinking enough?

            1. They’re supposed to pick them up off the street, and were doing so when Trump was in the White House.

              Of course, the thing to remember is that generally ICE doesn’t bother going after random illegals. ICE doesn’t have the resources or manpower to do a sweep of neighborhoods, or things like that. Instead, they focus on the ones that went and got themselves arrested by local law enforcement. Get picked up, and law enforcement will mention to ICE that you’re up for release on such and such a day. And the ICE agents will greet you on the way out of the jail or prison, and take you away.

              Or, at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Sanctuary states such as California passed laws banning any sort of cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE, which caused ICE to find alternate methods of catching the same individuals.

              But since Trump is no longer in the White House, that’s all gone now.

              1. It is a significantly fair and lenient system: breaking the law entering the country we can overlook – but break it once in the country and out you go. It is a simple rule: if you want to stay, break no more laws.

                We shall leave the “Three Felonies A Day” principle for another discussion.

            2. Am I over thinking, or not thinking enough?

              As Antifa does not operate primarily by thought, your answer would be “Yes.”

        2. Nah, ICE would be worse to them: they have enough control over most of the Federal and big city local cops to merely hate them. ICE or rural local? Perfect rage.

          1. Sounds plausible.

            I was suspecting I was just stressed, extremely tired, and having busy issues with deadlines.

  13. Gourds, though they make me giggle to say the word, have a place of honor at a hula. The old-style kind. Sarah could paint a great, fat one with deadly rabbits and snails and knights in trees. They’d love it.

    And Sarah, it makes me so mad you’ve had to go through this. It’s just shite and wrong. And unsatisfying because none of us can chase after whoever did it and make them pay. I’m so sorry. Glad the police are involved.

    1. The person is sleaze, but the problem is that the phone company did not have systems in place to prevent ANYONE from doing this. Think about it, Any minimum wage kid in your phone store can do this to you and the company will protect them afterwards.

      1. Any customer service drone has to be able to switch the SIM number attached to your phone number or else they can’t activate a new phone on the account when you lose your old one. I did it an awful lot when I worked customer service.

        The second part is the issue. They always said misusing information would get us prosecuted, and of course your fingerprints were on anything you touched (assuming you didn’t wait for a coworker to go on break and forget to lock their computer), but, well, I can’t really say for certain if it ever happened that way or not. We’ll have to see how it goes here.

        1. At the very least they could require two employees to sign off on anything like that, and I mean sign off electronically before the system will accept the order. This is not rocket science, this is basic accounting. They re not this slipshod about cash (I hope) and having a store’s worth of cash disappear is less damaging to them than this incident was even if Sarah did not have a blog.

          1. …there’s really a limit to how much you can insulate yourself from your own employees and still expect them to do anything.

            I mean, let’s say someone called me to dispute one of those mandatory surcharges that they add every so often. I notice their phones are all out of contract and decide to order a new phone, one for every line, shipped to my own address and billed to their account. I can do that, because *part of my job is to sell people phones,* and if I couldn’t manage a sale by myself everything would drag to a grinding halt–moreso than it is already. (I haven’t worked customer service since 2015, but I’m assuming the wait times haven’t improved?)

            There are balances against this–there’s a pre-employment check, they told us all we’d be fired and prosecuted if we misused anything, calls were randomly checked to make sure we were doing what we ought, and everything we did left an audit trail–but it’s hard to get around the fact that employees are in a position of trust, legally act as the company’s agents, and are paid to resolve problems. Ballooning the number of people involved in this–in higher positions of trust, presuming you’d need management as the sign-off–doesn’t remove the possibility of bad actors, but *does* explode the cost of service, time required to solve any issue, and frankly also exposure (more people with access to even the most basic information and functions equals more risk).

            This person was an unusual level of evil, and I’m suspecting an unusual amount of dumb. (Short of using your buddy’s log-in, I’m not seeing how they’re going to avoid the audit-trail on these shenanigans.) I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have occurred as a possibility to most of the people I worked with; better to secretly record one of the credit card numbers people would still try to pay their bills through us with no matter how much management tried to insist we put them through the automated system. (We weren’t allowed to have pens or paper on the call floor, but… well, we weren’t allowed to have cell phones either, but somehow people seemed to have them on break without bothering to get to their lockers.) Or use their name, address and last five digits needed for verification for nefarious purposes. Or…

            Heck, I don’t know; I did my time in customer service and tried to stay on the straight and narrow throughout. But the idea that you can keep everyone safe just by making sure customer service drones can’t do anything strikes me as naive.

            Just hoping they drop a piano on this one as an example to others.

              1. If you post through the WordPress page, it wrings all the whitespace out of what it shows you when you click the button and the page updates. Reload the page and it shows what you actually posted. The WordPress Stupid strikes again.

                It’s not as bad as Hollywood Stupid, but it’s plenty annoying.
                Please try to remain calm. You can panic if you want to, but it won’t help.

            1. Heck. We had NO oversight at any of the jobs I’ve had, except the USFS and that is because we worked as a crew under supervisor at different locations in the National Forest District. My last job the boss wasn’t even onsite probably 90% of the time. The phone system was so old that there was no tracking except which client we called back for billing purposes. Plus we worked with live data, regular current snapshots uploaded and installed on our servers to solve problems, or even VPN into client servers and looking at live data. Not every client had employee SS#’s …. We definitely could lookup the pay structures … guessing since all government agencies, published somewhere anyway, but not necessarily who had which pay level. Should I wanted to I could have looked up the Claim process to pay the bill our company sent out every year. I worked a LOT with the claim process and custom forms, would have been a legit test. Never bothered. Good thing I’m not evil or malicious. I had a job to do. Nothing could entice me to violate the trust.

  14. Speaking of the snoopy nature of cellphones…


    Appeals Court Hearing: Pelosi/Schiff Argue Congress Can Secretly Subpoena Phone Records of Citizens

    “Congressman Schiff secretly subpoenaed the phone records of a number of private citizens from telephone companies. He did not provide notice to these individuals in advance that their phone records were being sought. He did not subpoena the phone records directly from the citizens. Instead, he subpoenaed the phone companies for the records, preventing any opportunity for the private citizens to seek court review, as would happen in any other case in where the government is seeking this kind of information about any citizen.”

    1. And then they wonder why their collective approval rating is lower than used-car salescritters, and no one trusts Congress farther than a toddler can through the US Capitol building?

        1. No, no, no. Through. Crawling through Congress, bawling to be changed… their new mascot.

          (Such a weird image…)

      1. They simply don’t care because they think that they will be able to fix things going forward with things like HR1 in order to remain in perpetual power. They intend to fundamentally transform America and they don’t care how many eggs they have to break in order to make their totalitarian socialist omelette.

        1. They got blindsided by their own idiocy about the border… don’t think they expected half of Latin America to instantly take ’em up on it, and now some of ’em are howling to finish the wall! (Then watch ’em take credit for it.)

          And why would a socialist worry about breaking eggs when they can just wring the chicken’s neck??

            1. Yeah, and then it’ll be “we finished the wall that Trump couldn’t do” or something on that order.

          1. When their own radical left (D) politicians from the border districts are screaming bloody murder about the tsunami of woe crashing in, then perhaps, just perhaps, the decision was poorly thought out. Perhaps.

            1. The only thought-out that happened was “Is it the opposite of Trump? Let’s do that.”

              I submit that we should name it “Chesteron’s Wall”.

              1. I submit that we should name it “Chesteron’s Wall”.

                To go along with “Chesterton’s Pipeline” and “Chesterton’s Foreign Policy”?

                I swear sometimes, the only strategy they’ve got is being ‘not Donald Trump’.

                1. I swear sometimes, the only strategy they’ve got is being ‘not Donald Trump’.

                  In their defense, they couldn’t be Trump no matter how hard they tried.

                  There’s a joke here about not even being a third rate Elvis at a Vegas Quickie Marriage establishment but I’m too tired today to find it. Two days running I’ve had to be up and about some four hours earlier than my usual wont at I haven’t managed getting too bed two, much less four, hours earlier, rendering the customary sparkle is all kle and no spark.

  15. “My devoting time to Portuguese plans for world domination? (If there were any they would start with “reanimate Henry, the Navigator.” So, no.”

    Why not do this? It wouldn’t be worse than the current timeline where the Babylon Bee is giving you “Tomorrow’s news, today!”

    1. The CEO of the Babylon Bee was on one of the cable opinion shows (“The Benny Report”?) saying that the Democrats were making his life miserable by being so insane that he has had trouble keeping ahead of them.

      1. Akshully, in Fate…

        (Yeah, I’m perhaps more into Fate than most here, and /I/ can’t keep up with additions to the franchise, or what canon and fanon are claiming about folks.)

        1. Did the add him (or her… this is FATE we’re talking about) to the FATE franchise?

          I haven’t played FGO in quite a while. And every time I feel inclined to start, I just remember that I’d need to get admin support to start playing again (since my last transfer code expired over a year ago), and the inclination goes away.

      1. Insty is up for me, but Legal Insurrection is screwy, with the server there serving the template frame but no blog content whatsoever.

        1. I’m not saying it is the cause of the attack, but Sarah is a regular contributor to Insty and some damned fool might think dream that by hacking Sarah it would be possible to invade the Blogfather.

          1. Well, it certainly expands her visibility, and I’d agree based on the pattern of the attack her visibility led to her being targeted.

                1. On the other hand, it’s more likely to have been the Russians given the slapdash and pretty much directionless and inept attack pattern. The level of tradecraft at FSB has fallen quite far from the glory days of the KGB.

                  Or perhaps you have finally come to the attention of the SIRP – since you outed “Portugal” as a giant hoax, the “Portuguese Government” which has been successfully collecting taxes from supposed citizens all these many years has decided to attempt to discredit you, lest the people living in “Portugal” realize they’ve been scammed.

  16. “Gourd.” Southern for “purple martin birdhouse.” I used to help my dad make them; we had a great big brace-and-bit for drilling the hole – er, I mean “front door.”

  17. OT — additional vocabulary:

    “Do you support the Republicans or the Aristocrats?”

    1. There’s a movie producer who shows on again off again interest — with like 2 years of hiatus between times of interest. Meh. It’s Hollywood. Not counting on anything.

      1. I knew a guy who more or less lived off the options payments (25 grand each time) for his book that never did get made into a movie. And that was 20-some years ago.

        1. I know several in that position. We haven’t got to that point. You see, my politics….
          Things will have to change before they come calling. But he likes my writing, so he keeps coming back, then shying away then…
          Meh. I’m not counting on it, but I’m also not closing the email that is out there in the wild. I just don’t use it for anything they might hack.

          1. It’s good to have worthless targets like that. Lets the jerks aim at something that does you no real harm (other than the irritation factor). It’s like why I keep a GMail, even tho it’s secure as wet toilet paper… good place to keep all the stuff that’s overly snoopy or public anyway.

            Good luck on sucking some money out of the Hollywood machine.

  18. Thanks for the announcement. I nominated it in the first place after seeing your mention of it last year, taking a look, and deciding it was worth reading; perhaps the nomination will attract more readers.

    1. well, Mackey has been a friend ever since he posted a cover in my conference on FB and I said “Mackey, why are you putting a picture of trees on your scifi that people have recommended to me?”
      So, I bashed a cover together.
      Meh. It’s getting about the time to replace his other covers. We’ve been doing this for 8 years, and styles have changed. I’ve been hesitant because when I do it, he’s going to tell me it isn’t needed, etc. And then he’ll change them and the books will sell even better (I wish I had his numbers.)
      Anyway…. Mackey is good people and a good writer.

      1. You bashed together a darned good cover for “My Dear Cousin” (a WWII novel) which is selling gangbusters, so … yeah. You got skills, you got game… coverwise!

        1. Hopefully writing wise, too.
          But when I started doing Mackey’s I was in the “render something, throw it up” and my render skills SUCKED. So did my graphics card, which means positioning the characters was difficult.
          Also the field is moving away from “frankly rendered” so …. I’ll go back and redo them. NOT this month, though.

  19. They did in fact also break into my proton mail. It’s just since that’s encrypted, once you change the password, it “shreds” the contents.

    As I understand it, if you change the password, the previous contents are no longer accessible because they were encrypted by a different password. But if you then change the password back to what it used to be, can you get the old contents back? Or are the old contents “shredded” in the sense that ProtonMail automatically deletes them when the password is changed?

    In other words, was the attacker able to lock you out of your old protonmail emails? Or was it just that they were inaccessible to him (and to you) while the password was changed, but you got them back when you asked them to reset the password to what it used to be? I thought that the way it works is that if you change the password back to what it used to be you can see your old emails again, but you’re the first person I’ve had the opportunity to ask whether that’s how it works.

      1. That makes sense: when you change your password, it would ask you for the old password and the new password, and then it would decrypt the mail with the old password and re-encrypt with the new one. A password reset doesn’t require typing in the old password, so their system (which does NOT know your password) can’t decrypt the old emails when you do a password reset. But if you can later supply the old password, you can get the emails decrypted under the old password and then (if you choose) re-encrypted under the new password, so that you have access to them again. Yep, that all fits with how I thought their system works. Thanks.

  20. I’ll no honest, everything right now feels like just waiting for shoes to fall.

    I feel like a blind cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

    1. We’re in the chapter of the history books titled “Contributing Factors” right before all the maps sprout flags and arrows.

        1. I’ve taken a new position as a gallows salesman at this awesome start up.

          It’s pretty easy, all I have to do is talk to people, and ask them about their comfort level with me walking around free.

          The first customers have taken delivery, and we are ironing out the bugs of set up.

          June is about the right time frame for operations to really kick into gear.

          Anyway, our competitors, who sell electric bleachers, have very nice equipment, but the capacity is much higher than it makes sense to have in a single location. Body disposal is actually very expensive, and the infrastructure you need to service the bleachers means permanent capacity well in excess of what there is a sustainable need for.

          Just kidding; There is no way I could ever be a successful salesman.

          I really have no clue, but am certainly uncomfortable enough that I can believe that what you say is true.

          1. Probably end of June, and my feel is “it depends on where you live” because it will be first very slow, then fast.
            Which is good, since if we’re lucky this house goes up end of June….
            I’d count on a year?

      1. I just imagined a living map. Thanks. 🙂 Escher is now living on my painting desk.

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