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Scam or not a Scam?

I just got off the phone with someone claiming to represent Microsoft. I say claim because this person wanted a lot of money to fix a problem that I am not sure is a problem.

It all started an hour ago when I was doing a credit check through the TurboTax people, who I hired to check my credit as a favor for doing business with them this past tax season. Suddenly, I get this alert telling me Microsoft is shutting down the system and I needded to call this 888 number to fix the problem.

On comes this fellow from India who runs me through a bunch of different programs and windows and anything else he could think of. I follow his instructions and after it is all said and done, he tells me the entire system has ben compromised. He told me he could fix the problem permamently, but it would cost over $260.

I told him I didn’t have that kind of money. He replied, like a good telemarketer, that this is preferable to losing all my data and having hackers compromise my accounts, which could cost me even more down the road.

That’s when I realized this guy was taking me for a ride and hung up on him. It might have been a scam, or it might have been legit. I won’t know until tomorrow when I talk to my IT friends at work, who can verify its authenticity. I personally felt this guy was scamming me just from all the stuff he was telling me to do and then telling me it isn’t a computerr problem, but a IP/network problem and only he could fix it from his cubicle in whereverville.

If this was a scam, then I’m giving everyone out there fair warning that these hackers know no bounds when it comes to taking your money and compromising your security. Continue reading “Scam or not a Scam?”

A Flag of Controversy

I’m sure after last Tuesday, Betsy Ross is spinning in her grave.  It all started when Nike turned out a new shoe that had on the back of the shoe the American flag with the original 13 stars. Colin Kaepernick took offense to the shoe citing, among other things, it promoted slavery and has recently been used by white nationalist groups such as the American Nazi Party.

While I applauded Kaepernick’s peaceful protest of kneeling while the American anthem was being played, I take an exception to this because he is wrongly criticizing the wrong flag and is dangerously ignorant of our history. Our flag, whether with thirteen stars or fifty, does not in any way represent the notion of slavery.

The flag of the Confederacy, on the other hand, has been used most frequently to symbolize a nostalgic time in our past. There are a number of other flags represented by various extremist groups throughout the United States and no where does the orignal American flag of thirteen stars appear.

In light of this latest example by the extreme left, I am feeling even more alienated by the Democratic Party that I have proudly been a part of since I was nine years old. It seems, they are taking a play book from the far right of the Republican Party and forcing me to take sides on something as silly as the American flag. I am first and foremost, a proud and patriotic American. I am not going to be bullied by extremists of both ends of the political spectrum to take a position that I truly believe I shouldn’t have to take.

This country is turning more schizophrenic in its extremism. The last time that happened to the extent it is now, the end result was a civil war that pitted brothers against each other. We need people of moderate temperament to cast doubt on extremism.

 

Vacation

I’m getting ready for work and figured I let you my loyal fans to read what I did this year. Since most of the people visited at my wife’s in laws and at my sister’s friends, I had to keep my political views to myself and let them discuss their conservative opinions, most of which I don’t agree with.

Last Saturday, my mother in law’s friend–common law husband is more like it, though I’m not sure that is recognized in Idaho–called to inform my wife there was a problem and we needed to come down right away. As soon as we got there she seemed alright and proceeded to have wonderful time visiting, though she has some bouts of dizzy spells which pass. We all agreed she should see her doctor and see if her blood pressure is too low.

Tuesday night, on the way back, I decided to inform my sister I would drive to Bend, Oregon the next day. I awoke at 6:30 and was heading down the highway by seven. With the exception of road construction–it’s everywhere we drove–was quite uneventful until I got to Redmond and was swamped by a torrential downpour. There was zero power in Madras and we had to do four-way stops at each intersection where traffic signals normally have their red-amber-green lights operating like clockwork.

The visits with my sister was a post-wedding affair. Her stepdaughter had married the Saturday before and she showed me the photos taken. We also enjoyed each other’s company and her husband did some brake work on my car–I think I mentioned before that he’s a mechanic. On Friday we saw the largest Ponderosa Pine in Oregon, over by La Pine and entertained the two dogs they have by throwing sticks in the Deschutes River. Then it rained again.

Yesterday, I drove my Dodge Charger back, doing some joyriding with other similar Chargers along the way—nothing serious. We slowed down before the trooper on the overpass turned his radar on another SUV coming rapidly up my back. He got pulled over, much to the delight of my wife.

Ugliness, and beauty

Last night, while working on my shift, I spotted a couple playing the slots. I didn’t think anything of it until I saw the disfiguring features of this woman’s face and I had to admire the courage of both; her for coming out in public regardless what she appears, and him for his true devotion to her because love, after all does conquer even a grotesque disfigurement that she was cursed to possess.

In that same vein comes another ugliness; politics. Many years ago, when Joseph Biden was a junior Senator, he worked with a pair of southern senators who were unabashed racists. Regardless of Biden’s own feelings toward these two men and their archaic opinions, he found common ground in which to work in getting certain legislative pieces resolved and passed through committee and floor.

Fast forward to today and when this became public knowledge, some Democratic Presidential contenders criticized Biden for abandoning today’s party and its progressive principles. One, Corey Booker, demanded the vice president apologize for having worked together with these two senators. “Vice President Biden’s relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people.”

I’m sorry, Mr. Booker, but I have to agree with Vice President Biden on this one. The problem with our political climate right now is this I’m right, you are wrong mentality. No one wants to make sacrifices and compromise for the common good of the people. If you want to get something done, you have to swallow your righteous indignation, roll up your sleeves and work with the person who has a radically different opinion or ideology than yours.

Biden has nothing to apologize for. He is working to pass legislation. He is not standing on his pedestal demonizing his opponents as evil bigots or out of touch with today’s Democratic party.

Mr. Booker, if this is how you view the new Democratic Party; one of extremism, holding onto views so out of the mainstream that no one would vote for you, then I’m no longer a Democrat. I always believed in inclusiveness, treating everyone with civility, equality and respect. It doesn’t appear to me you hold those values. Instead you want to charge ahead with your radical agenda, and to hell with everyone else.

The beauty of our form of government, is compromise, or nothing would ever get done.

Even Stars Die

I watched an interesting episode last night on the PBS station I regularly watch having to do with something no one likes to talk about–death, mine, yours, everyone. I could only stay up for the first hour but found it quite fascinating how these people discussed this voodoo topic with such ease.

Until I was faced with my own death, or the prospect of it when I had my stroke, I didn’t like thinking about it either. Heck, I was in the Army National Guard and refused to think about it–let alone confront it. I experience my own sense of mortality November 21, 2002 when I laid in the ER and saw my mother come in to see how I was doing. I realized at that very moment it could possibly be the last and I cried out for her forgiveness because I refused to yield to her endearments to quit drinking and smoking.

The episode started with the citing of Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gently into that good night.” It is what we must strive to fight until there is no fight left in our souls. Rage against death like it’s a prize-fight and there could be only one winner. It is of course a mute testimony since the outcome is always death.

Growing up in East Wenatchee I saw more than my fair share of death. It mostly came in the guise of witnessing a dog get run over. I was four when I witnessed a labrador retriever get run over. Then, I loss my dog Herman, a Pointer. He was poisoned. My Kindergarten teacher told Mom that there was no afternoon session because the President was dead. That was November 22, 1963. Dad had gone to see Grandma down in San Francisco. She died from cancer on that day too.

I knew about death and for the longest time was scared to death by it. I wondered at night and couldn’t sleep, thinking what if I died? What would happen to me?

I never had any illusions as to what death was. It wasn’t make-believe, or Hollywood. Death is very much a final act. Yet, our society refuses to accept that which is inevitable. A mortician told how she was awakened to the concept of death as a young child, witnessing another young girl fall to her death from an escalator. She became so obsessed by it, she made it her passion and life work. She described in detail about the business of death, from her perspective, and how liberating it all is for her.

When my parents died in 2009, death was a mystery and with the rites associated with the process of mourning and acceptance, an alien practice not performed regularly, like I’m sure was back in the day some one hundred, two hundred, or more years ago. Then, people died from a common cold, war, and pesulance. People were buried on top of other people because there wasn’t room in the crypts or cemeteries. Crematorium were invented to take care of the overcrowding. Ashes, after all, you could dispose of them, honor their memories by placing inside an urn and showcasing them on a mantle or credenza, or placing them inside a mausoleum.

I’m more accepting of that final journey; the road not taken, as Robert Frost put it. But, I have miles to go before I sleep.

 

Promotion at Work

This week Arwin Tomska, a team member at Northern Quest Resort and Casino where I work did a display promotion for writers, musicians and artists for this month. Of course I was included in this and as you can see in the picture provided shows my mug and a writeup of my writing progression so far.

In it was my bio, the work I’ve done and what I plan to accomplish in the coming months and years forward. If you can’t read it, that is fine because most of what she put up was copied and pasted from Amazon’s Author Central where my information is. Plus, if you look for my book on the Amazon site, it is also where I have placed my bio and works I’ve accomplished so far.

Enjoy your day and have a great weekend

 

One Step forward…

I feel like I’m part of a Bruce Springsteen song when it comes to this direct publishing gig I’m doing. I got Edge of Darkness published in print format last week, as many of you will recall. But when I went to get promoted and advertising started, it turns out my book is ineligible. What a bunch of crock!

So, now I’m stuck in neutral trying to figure out a way to do this. So far all been able to do successfully is promote it through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. I don’t know what the numbers are, in terms of actual sales, but I am getting hits, which, I guess in the wacky world of Amazon marketing, is something notable.

I must now decide on using other services such as IngramSpark and Smash Works to publish the books from. My friend, self-published, and successful, author Erik Schubach told me doing so is perfectly fine, since I am a self-published author with my own copyright.

I sent IngramSpark interest, filling out a request and all but something weird is going on with the password that I’ve entered. For whatever reason, it’s not acceptable. I even used Google’s suggested password which is totally randomized alpha-numeric code, and that was too denied. Back two steps I go until I can figure this out too.

At least I have you my friends who I couldn’t thank enough for your continued support.