Monthly Archives: February 2016

Security in 2016

So here I am at o-dark-fuck you am, awake because some fucking dipshit just tried – and is still trying – to hack my WordPress accounts – both the one I use to comment and the one I use to write on my blog, as well as Aff’s account. To the tune of several million password attempts per second. Whoever it is is routing it through China, because that’s what the IP logs on my admin side says, but I highly doubt that I’ve pissed anyone off in China.

So I would advise everyone to use two-step authentication linked to your cellphone on your account, because that’s what 2016 security is going to require, it seems. And believe me, I hate that because nowadays smartphones do not have that oh-so-convenient cellphone strap attachment that used to let me put a lanyard on my phone and hang it around my neck.

I would advise using either the Verify Using SMS or the App.

It’s an extra pain in the neck, but honestly, in this VS the SocJusBullies war, it was probably inevitable since the loss of your online IDs and methods of communication is one of the many ways to silence opinions not approved by the New Totalitarian Howler Monkeys.

 

edited as of before lunchtime: Two Factor Authentication has been activated on my site; I am unsure how this affects users other than myself. I apologise for the inconvenience, but it is an unfortunate side effect of necessary security upgrades.

 

But sheesh, there’s nothing to gain from hacking my little blog. Whoever did this has no life, and frankly, has a pitifully empty existence that revolves around this blog and site.

 

less important edit: Related to my vast annoyance of not being able to attach wrist/neck lanyards / decorative things to my goddamn phone, it looks like I’m not the only one, but it’s an iPhone so that’s a bit easier. Still, most of the folks seeing this probably have an iPhone so I included it here for you crafty awesome folks out there. Yeah, I’m aware there are wrist straps for the ones that make you look like you’re holding a dainty little purse, but those annoy me because you have a book-like cover that flops over the camera most of the time. You’d THINK though they’d put in a strap hole, considering that there’s so much free space at the corners for cases and phones – which is where they USED TO PUT THE STRAP HOLES.

So How Do I Find My Author and Brutally Murder Him Or Her

This post from Mad Genius Club by the ever-brilliant Sarah Hoyt kind of required a more lengthy, serious* response.

1- Nothing is ever easy, nor simple.  Say you are walking across the street to get a gallon of milk.  A rare make of car will almost run you down.  The store that sells the milk will be out of milk. You’ll have to walk across the most dangerous area of town to get to the next store.

This means someone is making you terminally interesting.

It’s not quite that bad, but my household has learned to live by this maxim: “Nothing will ever be simple, because it’s us we’re talking about, and if everything is turning out great, wonder what new unexpected disaster will spring up and hit us, and when?”

Because life likes to go ‘fuck you, that’s why.’

2- You remember more near-death experiences than a character in iZombie.

This is probably just background infodumps.  The author is trying to show how resilient you are.

Not really near death experiences, but apparently life hasn’t broken me yet and every time it fails to do so, it comes up with increasingly creative and more annoyingly timed ways to try.

 

3- All or your friends are terminally interesting and can be counted on for either an explosion or comic relief when needed.

This is good for keeping the plot moving when you’re tired/recovering/ill.

…This describes most of my friends. It’s never really boring around them. And David’s attempts to blow up FrankenPCs have consistently failed, so…

 

4- You have one or more catch phrases.

This is very useful for delineating a character when the author doesn’t have particularly good character skills.

Nine Hells, this does not bode well for me does it?

 

5- You consistently get interrupted when you try to tell people the most important part of any story.

This is an attempt to create suspense.  Not a very clever one.  BUT, you know, sooner or later your author might find a good writers’ group.

There’s kind of a reason why I prefer text-based communication.

6- You have almost lost a friendship to a huge misunderstanding which would have been cleared up if you’d just paid attention.

‘Almost’?

7- People are insanely attracted to you, despite age/body type/lack of interest.

A fortune teller told my mother once that there will be two types of people who linger in my life: People who cherish me; true companions or otherwise, or people who will despise me with every cell of their being. In fairness, I’m apparently not the only person in the house, or family, with this particular checkbox tick.

8- You have one or more unlikely abilities, which comes in handy in circumstances that should never strike.  Say you are a camel whisperer.  It will turn out the only way to escape a traffic jam is on camel back. If you’re this well foreshadowed, you might want to consider you only exist within pages of a novel.

I don’t think ‘cursed with rather extraordinary bad luck’ is a helpful ability, and since I can’t actively control or redirect it, I’d like to trade it for something more useful, like telekinesis.

9- You never cry.  You’ve tried to, but you just can’t cry.  You can REMEMBER crying, but that’s probably back history.  Main characters don’t cry, because then the reader will have to.

This doesn’t apply to me; I cry because crying has the biological function of getting stress hormones out of your system. I forget where I read that, but it works, at least in my case. Now if only I didn’t end up being unable to breathe through a clogged nose, so I could have a good proper cry, that would be rather appreciated, but see point 1.

10 – You don’t remember some of the more exciting episodes in your life, or not in detail, particularly if they involve more than three people.  This is because crowd scenes are very hard to write, but easier to summarize.

Also doesn’t apply. And, while I don’t know if this is true for other folks, bullet time is apparently a biological adaptation on perception.

BONUS: if you keep finding people who were murdered in bizarre ways, you’re not the main character of a novel.  You’re an amnesiac mass murderer.

Apparently I found a dead body floating in Manila Bay when I was three years old, and reported this to my father in the way only a three-year old addicted to watching documentaries could: in a disturbingly calm fashion, and pointing out that the guy wasn’t breathing or moving to boot. I’ve been around a few too many human dead bodies; at least for a homebound suburban housewife in Australia who hasn’t been in an active war zone.

 

That’s a rather disturbing amount of tickboxes there. Yee.

 

*No, not really serious. At times though we do wonder who the fuck is writing the plot, and how the hell do we find that person so we can introduce said being to the joys of irukanji syndrome.

Uprooted and Rerooting

Vast disapproval

The post here is me complaining about my ongoing moving into a house and getting things ready again. Also, wrenched muscles. If you’d like to skip that, here’s a better post for you to read. Really, it’s worth it; if only to restore your faith in humanity even a little.

Continue reading

Little finds

On occasion, we’ll go to the bottle shop to buy liquor – fruit or sweet wines, or vodka mixers are my thing, and sometimes a meal just isn’t complete without something that’s a little stronger than Coca Cola, especially if I’ve cooked up a heavy stew. I particularly enjoy Brown Brothers’ moscato, and they have a new low-alcohol content drink called Grape Tree, which is a fruit cider – grape cider- ‘inspired by apple cider.’ They have a variation that’s made of berries, which is quite yummy.

During our last trip out we spotted this interesting label, and I had to take a photo of it.

I don’t think Larry Correia drinks, and I don’t know if Jim Butcher or Jason Cordova do, but I figure this is something that might amuse them.

I also ran across this while sorting through books; this is one of the books my Dad bought, and from the date he scribbled in one of the pages, it was while we were in Europe. While we lived in Paris, I think.

My parents were voracious readers, and my habit of keeping a library comes from them. I wonder what my Dad would think, that I keep (virtual) company and call friends authors who are published by the house Jim Baen established, and that those authors, wonderful people all, are encouraging me to write? Certainly, I’m still get the awestruck ‘pinch me I’m dreaming,’ moment now and again, but nevertheless, I’m incredibly glad to know that these awesome authors are also wonderful, down to earth people who I can also get along with (and who don’t mind my brand of crazy, it seems!) I think Dad would have got along with them.

 

Dad’s death anniversary was on the 17th, and talking to Mom, the tenor of our missing him has changed. It’s not that painful “I wish he hadn’t died” but “I wish he were here to enjoy this too,” and “I wonder what he would say/think?” Mom and I are quite amused that his work as an Ambassador is still talked about, and praised, when he’s been dead for 9 years, and glad at the same time that his legacy of service to the Filipino people is not  yet forgotten.

 

Official Minionhood

One of the lovely, lovely folks who frequently visits Larry Correia’s site, Julaire, surprised me with a gift of a full set of the last batch of Challenge Coins. They arrived yesterday. I persuaded myself to wait until Rhys got home to open it, since it was only a half hour to wait.

Seriously, that Hi makes me grin every time

My Minionhood is now official! And with the provisional PUFF exemption, I won’t need to worry about how much a role-playing dark elf’s PUFF bounty is.

I want a Wendell plushie

Wendell looks so cuddly! Hooooooon! I don’t suppose there’ll be a Wendell plush in the swag-shop at some point, but if there is the next baby’s getting one.

High explosives for the rest!

My hubby especially liked the Milo coin. I’ll have to try get him one if they reissue those. The Grimm Berlin one made me rather nostalgic.

Wonder what Aff is

“Is that bulletproof? Let’s find out” made Rhys laugh.

Surprisingly heavy gorgeous coins

The center challenge coin looks like I could have it put on a chain; but I’d have to find a strong one because the coins were surprisingly very heavy.

Really beautifully detailed

One thing we were really surprised about was how finely detailed the coins were. The pictures really don’t do them justice.

These have a surprise

The enamel layers for the coins here were really nicely done, and I didn’t notice the pattern in the blue at first. The Grimnoir coin really looks like something you’d have to prove you’re a member of a secret society.

They glow in the dark!

The Grimm Berlin coin made me remember these coins I have, which are souvenirs of the time we lived in East Berlin. The little Berlin bears and the 750 Jahre coin were from the 750th Anniversary celebration of Berlin’s founding; souvenirs thrown from the floats on parade, which we were fortunate enough to get at the risk of trampled fingers. The coin with the eagle is a West German coin, and the rest are from East Germany.

750 Jahre Anniversary of Berlin souvenirs

The coins below are much older, obviously, since they’re coins issued during the Nazi regine; 1 pfennig coins. There’s a bit of a story behind these; but summary of that is, we got them in trade for a bag of Milky Way and Mars  chocolates (and a few other things I’m sure,but the chocolates are what I remember the most) from a family very eager to get rid of them.

Old coins

I’ll have to see about making a display case for the coins; at the moment they’re in a little box that’s shaped like a book and stashed safely by.

 

I’m very happy by the gift of challenge coins, and I’m even happier by the fact that I’ve made a good friend over the last few months. Thank you, Juliaire! big, big hugs!

Canaries in the Coal Mines

I popped over to Larry Correia’s site today; having had a little time for a change, and ran into this blogpost, which talked about how a conservative science fiction writer has found his career effectively threatened for advancing a concept in a book.

http://monsterhunternation.com/2016/02/10/left-wing-bias-in-publishing-your-wrongthink-will-be-punished/

The blogpost by the author himself, Nick Cole, is found here.

I won’t write about the freedom of speech issues and the effective censoring being done, nor the reasons that Harper Collins’ has shut down a writer under contract here, as Larry and Nick have done excellent jobs of that; Larry in his inimitable way as usual. No, I’m going to write about something that Nick said in his post, that resulted in a realization.

I am a writer.
A writer is often the last defense in a society collapsing into a one-mind totalitarian state where the rights of people are trodden upon by the ruling elite in the name of the “greater good.” Where freedom of speech and independent thinking are also curtailed in the name of the “greater good.” Where writers and other artists disappear either by blacklisting or “disappearing” because they say, or write, something that the intellectual elite hates. I am a writer. It is my job to stand up and say what cannot be said. It is my job to play with unpopular ideas. I would not deny anyone from doing so, and I expect not to be denied. I expect the same courtesy others are being extended. I expect not to be discriminated against merely because I am different. Better people than myself have written the truth at the cost of their lives. Many dead writers have paid for the freedom of others with the truth, and their lives. Writers are often the last flame of freedom on the flickering candle of civilization in the darkness of a world going mad.

There is often a vocal defense that Science Fiction editors do not have a liberal bias. Well, here’s your proof. They do. So you may not agree with me on the idea I advanced. But what happens the next time when some potentate decides they don’t like your idea? There is no place in publishing for this kind of Censorship. This is an issue, regardless of the idea, that affects all of us and our freedom.

It is quite de rigeur these days to encounter the disease called Social Justice bullies and CHORFs everywhere one turns. The majority of people seem to think that they’re a fad that will go away, the latest version of ‘teenage rebellion’ – if it weren’t for the fact that the folks engaging in such shrill, rabid denunciations range from their teens to their late sixties.

Simply put, for those of us who actually recognize them for what they are, they are people who would have been the Useful Idiots of the Cold War era (which, I submit, never really ended – the battlefield simply shifted.)

The people who advance that a totalitarian regime, that the suppression of freedom of speech, human rights, etc are the pampered children who have never lived under such a regime. This is especially true of modern day Europeans, and especially true of Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians.

Take note, this is not a sneer at the abovementioned nations’ people – you are all incredibly lucky to not remember what it was like. Americans especially have had a freedom that is, in my opinion, very unlike the experience of any other group of people on this planet. On one hand, for hundreds of years, you have refused to bow down and stayed guarded against overt attempts at conquest. On the other, it makes for a great emotional and intellectual cultural vulnerability – because such oppression has never been experienced, to some extent that same precious freedom and opportunity is taken for granted. Too easily do people think “surely, that can never happen here / they couldn’t possibly be that stupid/gullible etc.”

I’ve lived on the other side of the Berlin Wall, and one of the more common frustrations that the people whose homes we were invited to voiced discreetly to my parents (in the safety of their sprawling gardens, away from potential bugs in their homes) was that they were unhappy with how their government treated them like children, incapable of making up their own minds. They missed their relatives from whom they were separated by the Wall, and simply wanted to meet with them again, visit them on occasion. “After all,” our hosts would tell our parents, “we are so much better off than they are in the Capitalist world. Why wouldn’t we want to return?”

Looking back on the differences, with an adult’s eyes, I understand now that the Socialist government could not have maintained the illusion that they’d hoodwinked their people with if those people had been free to travel to the West, instead of only select groups being allowed to pay short visits. As it was, such was the shock to the psyche of a number of people after the Wall fell, that they wished it had never happened, that they could return to the comfortable illusions they had, comfortable, old and worn, like familiar habits and old woolen sweaters.

A great number of the most vicious and fanatic social justice attack hounds come from the countries that have not experienced being under a totalitarian ruler. The immature belief that ‘if we did it, then we’d do it better, in a non-evil way’ of good-intentions backed magic thinking echoes one of the favorite sins to damn a person to hell employed by the Devil in old folk tales: Pride. Pride that ‘we know better’ and the certainty that ‘it’s not evil when we do it,’ or, the ever so insidious ‘for the greater good’ without ever checking if it actually results in good things. I’ve even seen the illogical concept that ‘good intentions are enough reason for us to employ horrible methods.’ That’s just a more complicated way of saying “The ends justify the means.”

The useful idiots and the quislings are useful exactly because they secure in the belief that when this dreadful, nightmarish regime that they work for comes, they are spared, or rewarded, or benefit in some way.

They don’t remember that they could just as easily be rewarded as a traitor deserves.

I sometimes wish my father were still alive, so I could ask him for stories about what it was like to be a journalist under the Marcos regime. (On the other hand, I am glad he is not around to see that a Marcos is one of two possibly only GOOD candidates running for the Philippine Presidency! And on the third hand, I wonder what other good Dad might have accomplished. Apparently they’re still talking about the good things he did while he was the Philippine Ambassador to Israel; that my youngest brother was asked how he was related to ‘the Honorable Ambassador Antonio Modena.’ cackle! His turn now!)

My mom remembers some of the things my father was willing to share with her. Or there’d be a wife of one of his colleagues trying to find her husband. If they were lucky, they got the man in question back alive; or had something to bury.

I sometimes wonder, “Are they so desperate to experience this, that they import something that would do exactly this to everyone, if they got the chance?” Then, I shake my head and remember the SJWs think that they’ll be the ones in control, in power, instead of the ones who’ll first be up against the wall. By what means do they think they’ll cling to control? It is only through the trappings of civilization that they’re able to get away with what they do, but if they erode enough of it away, those fetters they rely on will be too weak to hold back the horrors they’ll experience.

Oh, and I got a copy of Alt Ctrl Revolt too. I wanted to know what happened beyond the ‘offensive’ concept – which really, was not offensive, and the logic-process tree is completely sound. I think Nick Cole succeeded in giving a reason that a reader who isn’t a mental eunuch can understand – and similarly, those readers can go from there and want to find out ‘what happened next?’

That’s good writing.