Over 50!!

(Followers that is. Personally, I’ve been over fifty for a while now…)

Thanks to all my followers. I broke the 50 follower mark today. Never thought I’d get any kind of following!

So here’s a video to celebrate.

Peace,
B

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7 Day B&W Challenge – Day 2

campbells house milesburg

I was challenged by Kirsten over at Once Upon A Spine to do the “7 Day Black and White Photo Challenge”, and I’m always up for a challenge.  The rules are simple: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.

Today I’ll nominate: Frozen Wings

Peace,
B

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7 Day B&W Photo Challenge – Day 1

matheson hammock

I was challenged by Kirsten over at Once Upon A Spine to do the “7 Day Black and White Photo Challenge”, and I’m always up for a challenge. The rules are simple: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.

Today I’ll nominate: BeautyBeyondBones

Peace,
B

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A Father’s Day Contemplation

So yesterday was Father’s Day. I hope all the fathers reading this had a wonderful day. I know I did. I spent the majority of the weekend smoking fish, ribs, and chicken. It was so hot (95° F according to the weather app on my phone) and time-consuming, my feet and ankles are so swollen I could barely get my shoes on this morning.

But it was worth it. And this is not what I came here to talk about today.

While I was checking on the smokers, I saw a pizza delivery guy go by. I was going to tweet a sarcastic remark about “who would order pizza on father’s day”? But then I thought about and grew troubled by that thought. Since son-the-younger did pizza delivery for many years, I’ve come to realize that for some folks pizza is the “world’s best food”. I don’t agree with that, especially not your average delivery pizza, but it’s not my call. If someone enjoys pizza that much, then go for it.

But then my thoughts went a bit deeper. What if father’s day doesn’t have the same connotation for that person as it does for me? Maybe the pizza was going to a single mother or a family that has lost a child, or a father? What then? I looked at all the food I had going on the smokers. What if they couldn’t afford anything more than a pizza? I wanted to follow the delivery guy and see if I could invite them over to eat with us.

And then it went deeper. What about those families that are torn apart by the draconian policy currently in force by our sham president and his evil Keebler elf? I cannot imagine the thoughts going through the minds of families seeking asylum in our country just to have their children forcibly taken from them. Seeking asylum is a human right. If you are running from a terrible situation in your home country, you don’t exactly have the time, nor the resources, to apply for entrance to a safer country. Asylum seekers are not entering this country illegally, they are running for their lives. If America will not accept them as they are, then we need to change our leadership. I’m pretty sure that it’s always been our policy to accept immigrants, especially those seeking asylum.

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But, unfortunately, this behavior by our administration doesn’t surprise me. This country is built on the bones of slaughtered indigenous people, the bones of families taken from their home country and forced to work as slaves, the bones of any and all marginalized people, women especially. We need to change this. We need to be better.

Sorry for such a morose post, it’s not like me. But it’s Monday, I’m a bit hungover, and my feet hurt.  So there!

Peace,
B

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The Trouble With Spam

(And no, I’m not talking about that bouncy, pink, pseudo-meat stuff..)

I’m talking about unsolicited, junk, probably virus & malware-laden, email. You get them, I get them, and to paraphrase Oprah, “everybody gets them!!”.

Combating SPAM, and it’s more evil cousin PHISH, emails is a major part of my job. I’ve talked about Phish emails before, so this time I want to concentrate on Spam.  I’ve given you a basic definition of just what Spam is in the opening of this post. So let’s talk a bit more about what the differences are between Spam and a Phish.

Spam may be benign. It doesn’t always have a malicious intent. It usually does, but not always. Phish emails, on the other hand, will always be malicious. The main job of a Phish email is to get you to click on a link or open an attachment with the express intent of infecting your PC (doesn’t matter if you have Windows, Mac, ChromeOS, or even Linux – you can be infected).

Most Spam you see are nothing more than advertisements trying to get you buy something. Consider an email from the retail giant Amazon. Now I do buy a lot, and I do mean A LOT, of stuff from Amazon. But, unless you specifically set your preferences not to send you marketing emails, you will get email after email from them with something similar to whatever you just bought or even just browsed. While this is not considered “Spam” outright, it very well could be. Did you ask Amazon to send you recommendations? Probably not. But if you didn’t opt-out of their marketing emails when you created an account, they are legitimate emails. However, any commercial emails that you didn’t ask for are completely Spam. Unfortunately, you cannot claim emails from your Grandmother with her award-winning Tuna Casserole recipe, that you didn’t ask for as Spam.  Or in my case, emails from family members asking computer questions. I’m usually the one sending them recipes. But not for Tuna Casserole. That stuff is vile, and if it’s not already outlawed by the Geneva Convention, it should be!

Now here’s a sticking point. Emails that you have not signed up for (Spam), but come from a “reputable” source, a store you frequent, or a website you visit regularly. Do you use the “unsubscribe” link or button in the email?  NO!  If you’ve never given this entity your email address NEVER click the unsubscribe link or button.  This only tells the scammer behind the Spam that this is a valid email address. Plus, since this is a directed email (it has now become a Phish, or even a SpearPhish, email), the link to unsubscribe most likely will take you to a malicious website or even go so far as to download something to your PC without your knowledge or permission!

Here’s an example for you. Last summer my family spent a week at Disney World. Since we did all the reservations and set up stuff via their website, I was added to many, many of Disney’s email lists. I expected it (although not quite as many as I ended up with – the sheer volume of unsolicited emails was staggering!). For those emails, it was safe to unsubscribe.

Now here’s a more troubling example. For this, I will use my work email. As I mentioned before, one of my main duties is PC Security. For this task, I have several tools at my disposal. I can Phish my end users with templates that are very realistic. But for the purpose of this post, let’s talk about the Spam I receive.

Every day I receive, on average, about 5 Spam emails. These are not any mailing lists that I’ve signed up for, nor are they any company I’ve ever had any dealings with (I think my email address was sold to some advertising/marketing company, sadly). It appears that the rest of the world seems to think that I am the compliance manager for the city I work for. Or at the very least, they hope I will forward on the constant emails about software and/or websites that can make my compliance work so much easier. Add to that, the emails from “LinkedIn” that somebody wants me to join their network (Hint: my work email, nor my personal email is not on LinkedIn!) and I could spend much of my day just adding folks to my junk sender list. Thankfully Outlook takes care of most of it for me. The ones that are not already added to my list just take a simple right click and blocked!

So, how can you avoid Spam emails? The easy answer is, you can’t. But you can cut out a lot of it. Think about all the emails you get every day. How many are from stores you visit? Do you really need to know what is on sale every damn day? They all have websites you can visit when you need or want a specific item. All these emails are trying to do is entice you to buy something you probably don’t need or really want, but they have too many in stock.  Mainly because nobody needs or wants it in the first place! Save your money and go buy a good book or go to the movies!

When you create an account on a website, hopefully for something important, look at each step of the creation.  There will be (or at least there will be IF the site is legitimate) boxes to check to either opt-in or opt-out of various offers, email lists, etc. This also is important if you ever download and install a program from the web. One great example of this is the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. This is a very good legitimate program, considered the “standard” for reading PDF (Portable Document Format) files. But, on the install page, there is always a bonus free program. Sometimes it’s Google Chrome (my favorite web browser), and sometimes it’s an anti-virus program (McAfee seems to be the favorite). While both of those examples are basically fine to download, there are somewhat more nefarious downloads that hide malicious programs, masquerading as something else, hoping to infect your system.  So, “Think Before You Click”!  That’s good advice for anything internet related.

And just so you know, Spam is not a new thing. This image shows a capture of a letter-to-the-editor from the May 30th, 1864 edition of The Times of London.

Victorian_Spam

Sir,—On my arrival home late yesterday evening a “telegram,” by “London District Telegraph,” addressed in full to me, was put into my hands. It was as follows:—”Messrs. Gabriel, dentists, 27, Harley-street, Cavendish-square. Until October Messrs. Gabriel’s professional attendance at 27, Harley-street, will be 10 till 5.” I have never had any dealings with Messrs. Gabriel, and beg to ask by what right do they disturb me by a telegram which is evidently simply the medium of advertisement? A word from you would, I feel sure, put a stop to this intolerable nuisance. I enclose the telegram, and am,  Your faithful servant, M.P.  Upper Grosvenor-street, May 30.
~ The Times Of London, 30 May 1864
Source: Stu Sjouwerman (@StuAllard) CEO KnowBe4 (@Knowbe4)

I think I’ve taken enough of your time with this post.  Please ask any questions or leave a comment below (not on the various social media sites this will be linked to). I will be happy to give any resources I have to help you be safe.

Thanks, and happy (and safe) interneting!!

 

Peace,
B

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Wasted Time

I have spent damn near 3 hours now browsing videos on YouTube. I went there specifically to find one video, and at about the 90-minute mark, I realized not only had I not found it, I couldn’t remember what the hell I was looking for in the first place! Part of the blame goes to my swiss cheese brain, but mostly the damnable list of similar videos that’s on the right side of the page.

But in all the videos I’ve watched today, I want to post this one. Not only is it a song from one of my now lost heroes, George Harrison, it features two other now lost musical heroes of mine, Tom Petty, and Prince.  It is easy to say the Prince “stole the show” with his guitar solo and stage presence.

But also, someone you might miss in the background is Dahnni Harrison, George’s son. It’s hard to miss him though, he looks very much like his dad. He’s the young “kid” to the right of Tom Petty.

But enough of my rambling.. here’s the video. I’m going back to browsing videos… (plus I’m out of #craftbeer, dammit!!)

Peace,
B

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Apologies

Seems the Russian Cialis bots have found this blog. To the tune of about 500 spam comments over the last week or so. Luckily the WordPress hosts blocked them all. But it has taken me about 3 days to adjust settings and clear them all out. But I didn’t want any of readers to inadvertently click on a link in a bogus comment and infect their PC/Smart Phone/what have you.

So if you left a comment in the last week or so, and it’s not posted, sorry, it probably got caught up in the mass deletions I’ve had to do.  Please repost your comment if you desire.

In the meantime, here’s a wonderful video for you to enjoy!

Peace,
B

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It Is Finished (For Now Anyway)

(This is part four of my “Home Repair as Therapy” series. Here are links to part one, part two, and part three. Go back and read them if want to get caught up. Don’t worry, this post will still be here.)

Once again Wifey® and I took a Friday off in conjunction with a holiday weekend (Memorial Day this time), to give us a four-day weekend and a chance to finish the floor work.  This is the job that we started way back in August of last year. And in reality, even several months before that, when we started tearing up the carpet before we any idea what we were going to replace the carpet with!

I won’t go into all the steps it takes to get everything ready. You can read all about that part of the “experience” in the earlier posts that I’ve linked to above.

So I’ll just post some pictures for you to enjoy and marvel over.

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The finished floor in the master bedroom.

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Son-the-younger and his girls putting the floor down in his room

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Measure twice and cut once? More like “I’ve cut this damn thing twice, and it’s still too short!”

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My team!  Without the help of these fine folks, this project would not have happened. I owe all of them so much!

There is still work to be done.  The quarter round molding needs to be replaced. But I’m hiring someone to do that. I do not have the tools, nor the skills to do miter cuts. (See the caption above).

Our next big project is painting the entire house. The girls are getting the murals they asked for. And don’t worry, I’ll overshare those pictures too.

And just in case you’re wondering, we are NOT for hire. There is not enough money in the world for me to this again. My feet are the size of picnic hams, I can barely walk, and just trying to get in and out of a chair is an adventure. As I’ve said before, “I’m too damn old for this shit!”

Peace,
B

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A Quick Thought On Memorial Day

While it’s never wrong to thank a veteran for his or her service, that is not what today is for. Save that for Veteran’s Day. Today we remember the ones who never got to take off the uniform, those that never came home, the ones that paid that ultimate sacrifice. So we do not “celebrate” Memorial Day, we respect what it stands for. Now granted I will have my cookout and drink several adult beverages, after all, it is an extra day off of work. But in the back of my mind, and hopefully yours too, we will remember our brothers and sisters of all branches of the military and hope that their sacrifice wasn’t in vain. As an Army retiree and the proud father of a soldier, today weighs heavily on me and my family, I am so very grateful for those that served before me and after me. So lift a glass of whatever beverage you choose, and thank those we can only remember, those who fell on the battlefields the world over. And pray that the wars will end, and peace will reign. Amen.

Peace,
B

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Retired Army

To Follow Up

This morning I tweeted this:

tweet

For those not here in Floriduh, basically, it’s rained something like 12 or 13 days straight. Here’s my other post on this nasty weather.

But this morning the sun came up so very, very bright. It was much like this…

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Walking in with a co-worker this morning from the parking lot, and she said “It was so bright when I was getting ready for work, I had to check what time it was. I thought I was late!”

But alas, it won’t stay.  My favorite weatherman Brian Shields over at WFTV says we can expect about four more inches of rain over the weekend. This won’t bother me so much, as my plan for the weekend is finishing the floor. (See here and here about the floor).  But I do worry that all the rain means that the little girls will have nothing to do and will be underfoot all weekend. </sigh>

But we’ll get through it. As of today, we are nowhere near the May record rainfall. Last I looked we are just under 6 inches of total rain this month. The record is almost 14 inches, set in 2009 I believe.

So, tell me, “How’s the weather where you are”?

And this song has nothing to do with the weather, but it is about “Sunshine”. And it’s one of my all-time favorite songs.

Peace,
B

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(I really should stop linking to my FB page. I never go there anymore…)