Month: September 2018

Danger, Will Robinson!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I got a wake up call the other day.  In the form of spam.  Though I should have expected something like it at least by now.  And in retrospect, it’s probably a good thing it arrived, as it got me thinking about security, which I’ve been rather lax in for at least the last several months, and even years.

Suffice it to say, it was one of those emails that gets your attention when you’re scanning through the inbox.  In the subject line, all it said was ‘account was hacked’.  So I clicked on it, and the body of the email certainly got my attention, which of course it was designed to.  It revealed essentially the password to one of my email accounts (accurately), and said that whoever it was that had sent me this, has/had been monitoring my account for the last few months, not to mention they’d supposedly accessed my webcam (at this point I determined it was unlikely, since I’d received zero information from my computer security portal suggesting there was anything amiss) and had been recording my doings from both without and within.

After that info, there was the kicker.  Send $700 USD to their Bitcoin account within 48 hours and they’d ‘delete’ whatever information they had, and everything would be just fine.  (Of course, there was the implied threat that if I chose to ignore it, my ‘friends and family’ would get an email with compromising information in it.)  At this juncture, I was ready to call their bluff, since too many factors about the email were not adding up.  The only thing that concerned me was that indeed they had gotten the password correct for the email account they’d referenced, which meant there was a security problem, though it was one I was well aware of, I’d just been rather lazy about doing something about it.

Consequently, I spent the next hour upgrading my security, changing passwords and making them MUCH more secure.  Whereas a lot of the email passwords were easy to hack and quite basic, mostly for the ease of entering them in over the years.  I went the distance and changed them to complex alphanumeric ones, that are far and away more secure.  I went ahead and upgraded some other things as well, and talked to the people who host my domains, to make them aware of what had transpired.  I was assured by them that their security measures are definitely what I’m paying for, so things on their end are and have been good to go.

Looking back on this, what these people are doing is certainly unethical, mean (and certainly probably illegal) but in a way they did me a favor, opening my eyes to the fact that in some ways I was kidding myself in terms of what I was calling security for some of my online activities.  I’ll certainly be more aware and cognizant in the future!

Another week, another change

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Another twist, another turn in our relationship.  One thing that was mentioned in passing was my girl’s continued desire to remain dominant in one form or another, just not with me.  Now that she has a poly family as well as me (though I’m not involved with them, nor have I met them yet) she’s expressed interest in cultivating as well as exploring a D/s relationship with the male of the couple.  He apparently is switchy and defers to my girl, so they’re interested in going the route of Domme/male sub but required my permission to do so.

Which I gave.  Due to ongoing financial constraints, my girl and I are unable to get together in the ‘more often’ plan that we had after our meeting back in June.  So instead of her stagnating, I think she needs something to keep her interest piqued.  Of course, it would be nice if I could do the same, but as always, I think it’s best to not give into that temptation, just sate myself with my imagination, online smut and other forms of debauchery, just not corporeal ones.  As the Wicked Witch of the West said “I’ll bide my time…”

I hope it works out for them both.  It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

We Will Forget

Reading Time: 4 minutes
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Photo Credit: CyclonesHockey.com

For many years here in the United States, post 9/11 remembrances have been the norm. Moments of silence, people talking about ‘where they were when the towers fell‘ and so on. Over the last couple of years I’ve noticed a trend however. Fewer and fewer people (and even fewer businesses) are spending any time talking about it, much less causing others to remember and recall. It’s about the almighty dollar again, sentiment be damned.

I remember 2002, I was working at the company that’s now defunct before the one I’m currently working at. Corporate sent down copy that they wanted read over the intercom, they passed around a note that said (paraphrasing) “at 8:46 am, when the first WTC tower was hit by a jetliner, we wish to have a minute of silence in the store. All work will cease and please be respectful of the lives lost at that time one year ago.” The note went on to say that they wished the same to occur at 9:03 am, and then again at 10:30 to commemorate/remember when the North Tower collapsed. (Considering the timeline of events, they completely skipped over the times of the planes hitting the Pentagon and Shanksville, I think they wanted to get the point across without being too disruptive)

In the years that followed, the ritual continued, virtually identical. Then as the years passed, it went from 3 separate moments of silence to one, then finally none, as it was determined to be disruptive to the work day. Time marched on.

In my current job, there’s typically been no mention of a remembrance of the incident, as the time approached yesterday morning nothing unusual occurred to indicate this day was different from any other, no moment of silence, no mention of what happened, really no nothing.  When I mentioned the significance of the day to a guy that had come in to fix a piece of equipment in my department, he paused and said ‘Oh yeah‘, and then told me where he was on that day.  He was flying home from Las Vegas, and his plane was diverted to Texas. He didn’t get to where he was going until several days later.

Similarly, on television, one would see documentaries made about the attacks, timelines created, discussed, argued, conspiracy theories posited, debunked, argued and debated. These would be scheduled in the week prior to 9/11 and on some channels run near non-stop on the day.  News reports would have video shot at what was universally called ‘Ground Zero’ where the new 1 WTC building (the so-called Freedom Tower) now stands.

This year, paging through the channels, I was hard pressed to find one 9/11 documentary.  One.  Where in years past there were dozens, it seems time has dulled the memory of the event.  Certainly someone who was in high school when this happened is not encroaching on middle age.  Myself?  I was 36.  I recall the same thing happening with the Space Shuttle Challenger accident in 1986.  Time moves on, memories dull, priorities change and people find they have more important things to do.

I’m not advocating going back to overdoing the remembrances and spending thousands of hours commemorating and memorializing the event.  But watching the President of the United States (among others) being unable to afford the day the proper respect galls me.  I guess it mostly is an effect of me being a student of history.  I remember.  I recall.  I commemorate.  I guess I have the time.

My two cents.

The process of death

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Considering what my girl has been going through since last Friday, it’s got me thinking about the whole process of death, dying and what happens after. My own knowledge of it is more traditional, since I’ve endured four close deaths in my family (and several not so close) been involved in the planning, aftermath and details, so I, like most people have a fairly good understanding of what’s all involved in the process. Certainly not enough to be considered an expert mind you, but a sufficient amount to be able to guide a novice through the ebbs and flows, tribulations and pitfalls of it all.  Mostly.  Seeing it through her eyes is giving me a different perspective of what I’ve known and understood.

A lot has been written about ‘The Stages of Grief’, what they are, how to cope and so on, so I’m not going to touch upon them here.

When my parents died, I had a fair amount of support from my family to deal with the aftermath.  What I’m seeing in my girl’s family is quite the opposite.  There’s a lot of infighting going on, and very little in the way of ‘coming together‘ and supporting one another.  Each seems to be left to their own devices, and in my girl’s case, she has me (and her poly family), but I’m not physically close by, so all of our contact is somewhat impersonal.  Texts, phone calls and the like.  I can’t take her pulse, as it were, on how she’s doing moment to moment.  I get it in snippets, usually when her thoughts are going back to last week, and when she found out that her baby was gone.  Then a frantic text message, or something notifying me that I need to talk her down from where she’s at mentally. Dealing with that on a day-to-day basis can be very wearing, not just for her, but for myself as well.

We’ve been getting by, day by day.  As with all aftermath of death and dying, time is the great healer.  Too, if one can immerse themselves in something worthwhile (not necessarily work, but it has been known to help) that does make the time go by faster.  Without these things, one tends to get down into the dumps, dwell on what was, what happened and so on.  My girl has been off work since she found out, her workplace has been very understanding, and has been helpful to her in terms of giving her the time off in order to get affairs in order, get her head screwed back on straight so she can return to them better than she was last weekend.

In that vein, with my assistance, she’s set up a GoFundMe campaign.  The end of life costs exceed her budget and I’m only able to provide nominal assistance in this vein, so we’re hoping the kindness of strangers will assist in getting her daughter the rest she deserves, as well as funding some help for the surviving children.  I don’t normally truck with asking for help arbitrarily, but when you’re strapped, one tends to change their outlook a bit for the sake of the situation.

Every day is a new chance to do it right.  We’re making it together, little by little.  I have confidence she’s going to make it through.  Just have to be sure to convince her as well.  But as she has mentioned recently, I’m stubborn.  So we’ll make it through.

Death in the ‘family’

Reading Time: 2 minutes
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Picture Credit: OneFemaleCanuck.com

Yesterday was not a good day. For either my girl or myself. I was at work, and checked my messages at lunch, since I don’t carry my phone with me (probably one of the few employees that doesn’t since we’re not supposed to, we signed an agreement not to, and I can be a stickler for that sort of thing). My girl had messaged me around 9 am and it seemed quite urgent (‘Call me please, ASAP’). I called and the first thing I understood was, there’d been a death in her family. Sudden. Unexpected. Tragic. And to make matters worse, it was one of her children.

Everything sort of came to a standstill at that point. What to do? Death sometimes is unexpected, and it creates big problems, especially if you’re in a precarious financial situation. I’m reminded of the time my adoptive mother died, how the funeral home director, (quite callously mind you) directed my grieving father to the ‘high-end’ caskets, figuring he’d make a good sale.

There’s only so much one can do from a distance. If I could, I’d be there already. I’m providing what support I can, but I want to do more. Everything is still very much up in the air, and I don’t want her falling apart in this time of grief and need. Thankfully, she is not alone, she’s staying for the moment with her poly family.

It’s not going to be easy, but as I reassured her last night, we’re going to get through it together.

RIP, B.