Tough Love Crime Prevention #1

Along with my diverse mixture of rants I would like to present these posts as a mini series.

Disclaimer: I’m not a cop, but I’ve worked with cops for the past 18 years. If I haven’t learned nuf-fin by now (fill in the blank space). . . . . .

This story is simple and can it happen to anyone.

Ms. X leaves her back pack containing her laptop computer and identifications (DMV-Department of Motor Vehicle license, passport, credit/debit cards) in her locked office and goes out to lunch. Upon return, much to her horror, she finds the door to her office open and guess what’s missing? She simply shrugs it off and goes about her business.

Huh? You ask. It gets worse.

Two weeks later she starts getting calls from her credit card companies and banks. Obviously someone(s) had been making a heap of unauthorized transactions on her credit cards and withdrawing money from her accounts. In other words, they were having a ball going on shopping sprees masquerading as her, since they had all of her credentials.

NOW, Ms X runs to the police to file a report! Why? Because she would have to pay back all of that money unless she can prove she’s been a victim of a crime. Which of course she never did. . . . .

Would you like to bet which question the cops and detectives will ask Ms. X first? HOW COME YOU DIDN’T FILE A POLICE REPORT IMMEDIATELY WHEN YOUR BACKPACK WAS FIRST STOLEN?

There are a number of reasons why. First, people are simply clueless as to what to do when a crime is perpetrated against them. They spend days commiserating with relatives and friends who eventually tell them, “Hey, you’d better go to the cops.” Another reason, the stolen laptop may have been workplace issued property, and was immediately replaced. With the computer replaced, Ms. X really wasn’t worried anything until she needed her identification. In New York City and State, you must have a police report in order to have stolen documents and id’s replaced. That means yep, ya gotta go to the cops and file a report.

The most perplexing excuse I’ve heard was “I was too busy to file a report.” or “I had to leave town on business or vacation.” To that I say. Priorities people! Priorities!

The last reason why people refuse to report crimes to the cops is because they themselves “suspect”. The so-called crime perpetrated against them was obviously “payback” for something they did to someone else. . . . . . Hey, what goes around, comes around.

Here are some Tough Love Crime Tips. I say tough because I’m not gonna pull punches. . . . . .

1.     Never, never, never (I can’t say NEVER enough) carry your passport or social security card with you unless you are going to a specific agency which requires that you have them! This means places like, Immigration, Unemployment, The DMV, Court, etc. If you must carry these documents, keep them ON YOUR PERSON, and do not leave them UNATTENDED AT ANYTIME! If necessary purchase one of those special passport wallets that you can wear like a money belt. Women: If need be, wrap it in some tissue and firmly tuck it into your bra! Passports are a GOLDMINE for identity thieves! Once they have that, you are (eh-hem) screwed!

2.     If you carry you computer (laptop, I-pad, Galaxy Pad, etc) in public, do not, I repeat DO NOT keep any personal information on it! Names, addresses, phone numbers, bank account, credit card information should NOT be on there! Use that brain God gave you and memorize your passwords! REFUSE your browsers option to autofill your passwords and codes for you! Why? If your computer autofills it for you, it will autofill it for the identity thief and hacker who is specifically looking for this kind of treasure trove! Stop him or her in their tracks! After all computers are inanimate objects and cannot tell the good guys from the bad. You must think for it, not it for you.

3.     If your devise is made by Apple (I-phone, I-pad, MacBook, MacBook Pro, etc) pony up the money and register it for I-Cloud like YESTERDAY! Why? I-Cloud is a GPS like application which can be used to track down stolen Apple property. This will assist the police in tracking down your stolen item.

4.     Last but not least if you are a victim of a theft like this, report it to the police ASAP (as soon as possible). Why? To prevent what I call the “domino affect”. First the backpack was stolen, now the credit cards are being used, money withdrawn from bank accounts, and websites being accessed. With the American passport stolen, no telling who bought it and is using it to enter the country illegally. . . Yes, I’ve even heard of cases where the identity thieves filed the victim’s tax returns to get the victim’s refund. . . . .

Obviously, the criminals will go to any means to get what they want. We as law abiding citizens must combat them with the same savvy and tenacity!

Remember reporting a crime to the police in a timely fashion helps aid in the investigation and possible quick arrest of the perpetrator(s). It also keeps others from becoming victims of the same person(s) and crimes.

Conclusion: As you can see from the above story, one’s workplace is no longer safe haven from acts of crime. Unfortunately, your own co-workers may be suspect(s).

This means you must be responsible to safeguard your own property. That means taking your property with you when you go out for lunch or take a break(s). Why? Most workplaces will not guarantee it’s safety, and only will send you to the cops, after it’s been stolen.

Along with my diverse mixture of rants I would like to present these posts as a mini series.

Disclaimer: I’m not a cop, but I’ve worked with cops for the past 18 years. If I haven’t learned nuf-fin by now (fill in the blank space). . . . . .

This story is simple and can it happen to anyone.

Ms. X leaves her back pack containing her laptop computer and identifications (DMV-Department of Motor Vehicle license, passport, credit/debit cards) in her locked office and goes out to lunch. Upon return, much to her horror, she finds the door to her office open and guess what’s missing? She simply shrugs it off and goes about her business.

Huh? You ask. It gets worse.

Two weeks later she starts getting calls from her credit card companies and banks. Obviously someone(s) had been making a heap of unauthorized transactions on her credit cards and withdrawing money from her accounts. In other words, they were having a ball going on shopping sprees masquerading as her, since they had all of her credentials.

NOW, Ms X runs to the police to file a report! Why? Because she would have to pay back all of that money unless she can prove she’s been a victim of a crime. Which of course she never did. . . . .

Would you like to bet which question the cops and detectives will ask Ms. X first? HOW COME YOU DIDN’T FILE A POLICE REPORT IMMEDIATELY WHEN YOUR BACKPACK WAS FIRST STOLEN?

There are a number of reasons why. First, people are simply clueless as to what to do when a crime is perpetrated against them. They spend days commiserating with relatives and friends who eventually tell them, “Hey, you’d better go to the cops.” Another reason, the stolen laptop may have been workplace issued property, and was immediately replaced. With the computer replaced, Ms. X really wasn’t worried anything until she needed her identification. In New York City and State, you must have a police report in order to have stolen documents and id’s replaced. That means yep, ya gotta go to the cops and file a report.

The most perplexing excuse I’ve heard was “I was too busy to file a report.” or “I had to leave town on business or vacation.” To that I say. Priorities people! Priorities!

The last reason why people refuse to report crimes to the cops is because they themselves “suspect”. The so-called crime perpetrated against them was obviously “payback” for something they did to someone else. . . . . . Hey, what goes around, comes around.

Here are some Tough Love Crime Tips. I say tough because I’m not gonna pull punches. . . . . .

1.     Never, never, never (I can’t say NEVER enough) carry your passport or social security card with you unless you are going to a specific agency which requires that you have them! This means places like, Immigration, Unemployment, The DMV, Court, etc. If you must carry these documents, keep them ON YOUR PERSON, and do not leave them UNATTENDED AT ANYTIME! If necessary purchase one of those special passport wallets that you can wear like a money belt. Women: If need be, wrap it in some tissue and firmly tuck it into your bra! Passports are a GOLDMINE for identity thieves! Once they have that, you are (eh-hem) screwed!

2.     If you carry you computer (laptop, I-pad, Galaxy Pad, etc) in public, do not, I repeat DO NOT keep any personal information on it! Names, addresses, phone numbers, bank account, credit card information should NOT be on there! Use that brain God gave you and memorize your passwords! REFUSE your browsers option to autofill your passwords and codes for you! Why? If your computer autofills it for you, it will autofill it for the identity thief and hacker who is specifically looking for this kind of treasure trove! Stop him or her in their tracks! After all computers are inanimate objects and cannot tell the good guys from the bad. You must think for it, not it for you.

3.     If your devise is made by Apple (I-phone, I-pad, MacBook, MacBook Pro, etc) pony up the money and register it for I-Cloud like YESTERDAY! Why? I-Cloud is a GPS like application which can be used to track down stolen Apple property. This will assist the police in tracking down your stolen item.

4.     Last but not least if you are a victim of a theft like this, report it to the police ASAP (as soon as possible). Why? To prevent what I call the “domino affect”. First the backpack was stolen, now the credit cards are being used, money withdrawn from bank accounts, and websites being accessed. With the American passport stolen, no telling who bought it and is using it to enter the country illegally. . . Yes, I’ve even heard of cases where the identity thieves filed the victim’s tax returns to get the victim’s refund. . . . .

Obviously, the criminals will go to any means to get what they want. We as law abiding citizens must combat them with the same savvy and tenacity!

Remember reporting a crime to the police in a timely fashion helps aid in the investigation and possible quick arrest of the perpetrator(s). It also keeps others from becoming victims of the same person(s) and crimes.

Conclusion: As you can see from the above story, one’s workplace is no longer safe haven from acts of crime. Unfortunately, your own co-workers may be suspect(s).

This means you must be responsible to safeguard your own property. That means taking your property with you when you go out for lunch or take a break(s). Why? Most workplaces will not guarantee it’s safety, and only will send you to the cops, after it’s been stolen.

Officer “Tuff Luv”


 


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MK Blog Tour Guest: Ed Griffin

The old saying is:  “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  I’m having a great time on MasterKoda’s Blog tour!  


My next guest has written and published several books, thus he is no stranger to writing.  So, what is he reading now?  Come on in, have a seat and let him tell you.  Let’s have a hearty round of applause for Ed Griffin!  




This is the story of a book.

In early July of 1984, we were ready to go on our annual vacation. My wife and I owned a commercial greenhouse in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We’d had a very busy season, selling flowers and vegetable plants to our customers. We’d worked very hard since January, no days off, planting, transplanting, watering, growing and finally selling. Everybody had worked, our son who was eleven, our daughter who was nine and even Grandma. We were ready for a vacation.

This year we’d decided to take our kids to Great America, an amusement park half way to Chicago. We would stay in a Howard Johnson’s with a pool.

Kathy and the kids looked forward to this trip.

Before going, I stopped in the bookstore and spied on the rack, Professional Fiction Writing by Jean Owen. Perfect. I had decided that making money was great and everything, but my brain was atrophying. I wanted to learn to write. I bought the book.

The first morning on the vacation, I got up before everyone, and went to the walkway outside our room. I could smell the chlorine in the pool and I knew the kids would be excited.

I started on the book. Wow. The table of contents. Character, dialogue, plot. Just what I was looking for. The first chapter was Becoming a Professional Writer. I didn’t have a pen, so I went to the car, but all I could find was an orange crayon to mark good sections. I was just about finished with Chapter One when the door to our unit opened. A sleepy Kathy said, “Can you get us some coffee?”

I hauled two coffees from the lobby to our unit. The kids were up, so it was a dip in the pool, then Great America, then a late afternoon swim, then dinner and then bed. Everyone was tired by nine o’clock, but not me. As soon as everyone was in bed, I was back on the chair in front of our unit and into my book. Writing Habits, Story Material, Theme and Plot. Luckily there was an outdoor light just outside our unit.

At 11:30 Kathy opened the door. “When are you coming to bed?”

I closed the book. I hadn’t realized it was so late. I lay in bed and thought about what I had read. So that was how it was done. It was like a mystery revealed, like the time I knew I could ride a bike.

The next day was the same. I really wanted to do nothing but read that book, but I had to keep my priorities straight. Around nine that night, I was back out under the light, reading about viewpoint, and that critical opening chapter and the opening sentence. I was in the middle of ‘Painless Flashbacks’ when Kathy opened the door. “It’s a quarter after twelve. When are you coming to bed? Can’t you put that book away?” I could tell by her tone that she was upset.

I went to bed, thinking about what I had read. A whole world had opened to me. I could do it. I could write a novel.

The next night I quit early, around ten, with Chapter Fifteen, Narration and Exposition. I don’t know where my energy was coming from. I swam with the kids and took them on rides, drove back and forth from the motel to Great America, but another part of me was walking in a whole new world. It was exciting. The book already looked a bit dog-eared.

I tried to tell Kathy what it was all about, but I don’t think she understood.

After the trip, I signed up for a course in creative writing in my local school district. I read Jean Owen’s book again and a third time.

It’s twenty-eight years later now. Professional Fiction Writing is out of print with only second-hand copies for sale. I go back to it often and I show it to my writing students. I urge them to find a book like it for themselves. It was my start on the wonderful career of being a writer. The best hours of my day are when I’m writing.

Ed Griffin

What books are your personal favorites?  What books are you re-reading now?  Will you continue to re-read them, and why?

Find Ed online at
Personal Blog http://edgriffin.net/
Writer’s Write Daily Blog http://writerswritedaily.wordpress.com/


— 

Ed Griffin
13573 113th Ave.
Surrey, British Columbia
V3R 6S9   Canada
Read Ed’s Prison Reform Blog: Prison Uncensored
Ed’s Writing TipsWriters Write Daily
Follow Ed on Twitter
Follow Ed on Facebook
My books are available at
All my books are available as
E-books for $2.99. Visit the Kindle store atAmazon.com.

Thanks so much Ed for stopping by!



Please visit Dominique Watersinger-Goodall’s Blog to read my guest post for the week.
http://dominiquegoodall.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/fifth-stop-on-the-mk-tour-adami-kyymm/

Watch Out For That. . . . . . . . .

     It’s Summer time and I’m annoyed. You see, I have this love/hate relationship with running/power walking. Why? When it’s really cold out, I have to suit up properly or I’ll freeze something I need off, or when it’s raining, ugh. The bones get stiff and I need a BenGay bath. . . . .

     But, most of the time, I love running because it gets me out of the house, away from the computer, away from the job, and the clamoring and hubbub. It’s my own special quiet time to meditate or work out plot lines for my stories. So, imagine my chagrin when I found the hubbub has even encroached upon my personal training time. Yes, it gets much worse during the Summer. . . .

     How can that be, you ask. Here a few examples.

     I’ve noticed an increasing number of runners/joggers running with their cellphones. If that wasn’t bad enough, they are either running and talking on their cellphones, or they (the silly fools) have stopped dead smack in the middle of the roadway to pontificate on the cellphone or text! Sometimes you don’t notice them until almost the last second. . . . . Eeeeeeeep! Splat!

     My question is, couldn’t you spend at least one hour alone in the sunshine and the fresh air without that confounded contraption? What in heavens name are you going to miss if you leave the thing home or OFF? After all, you are not POTUS (the President Of The United States).

     Another distraction is those what I call “running buggies”. They are special strollers that have been designed for mothers (and occasionally fathers) to run/jog and push their little ones along in front of them. Most of them are going at a decent clip too.

     I’m such an awful klutz. I can just see myself tripping, falling, then both me and my poor legacy lying in the roadway somewhere.

    Actually, those strollers used to be all the rage about two years ago, but I barely see them now. I guess some mothers/fathers have come to the same conclusion. Hey, these darned things are DANGEROUS. . . . . .

     The running trail has clearly defined areas marked out for runners/joggers/power walkers/pedestrians on one side and bicyclists on the other. Why? You wouldn’t want people to be flattened by bicyclists. Naturally no one pays attention to the markings and there are near misses all the time. Especially when you have cyclists sailing through the park like Lance Armstrong on the Tour De France. . . . . .

     Next up, the Touristas. That’s what I call the “tourists” which come to my area. They come by the charter bus load, to off load and snap multiple photos of the Brooklyn Bridge, and pictures of them standing near the bridge. If I happen to run by, I’m part of the native fauna and they grab a shot of me too. Is it any wonder I wear Snookie-like sunglasses when I run . . .

     What shall I say about the sidewalk surfers? What are those you ask? They are the hoards of teens and young adults who are of the skateboarding set. For some reason they just love our park. Perhaps it’s the smooth surface, but they turn up in groups of twenty to thirty. As always in a group that large, there is a videographer or two filming the events for posterity or to post on You-Tube.

     Movie and or model shoots. You’d be surprised. The Brooklyn Bridge is the hottest backdrop ever. I just love (said snarkily) when movie companies come in and close off whole sections of the park. With nowhere to run, you are forced to share the Roosevelt Drive with the cars . . . . . . .

     The most memorable intrusion was when Will Smith filmed “I Am Legend” at our park, and he had all of the benches removed! I, like most runners, use the benches to do my stretches and my pushups, and it was like. “Wait a minute, there is something missing here. . . .” It was like that for three months. Ever hear of someone being elated that the benches were re-installed in the park?? I was!

     The Ghetto Barbeque. Oh no, what the dickens. . . .? This is the Lower East Side version of having a back yard barbeque without the backyard, grass and trees. Instead they merely set up shop in the park and use the benches as seating. Imagine running by and espying portable tables laden with barbeque chicken, ribs, cole slaw, potato salad, mac and cheese, and even more stuff on the grill. . . . . . Hey, fix me up a plate of that to go please?

    This is a great distraction when one is trying to maintain ones DIET. Not fun at all having to go home to tuna fish, whole grain bread, and bean sprouts. . . . . . . .

     Construction is the next bane of my existence. All Winter there were problems with the storm gutters in the park, and nothing was done. Last week they set up multiple construction barriers, brought out the back hoes and started digging. Imagine my utter and sheer delight that I must now run an obstacle course around said barriers and equipment. No telling when this will be finished. . . . . .

     This last distraction is not so bad. In fact it’s not bad at all. I live in Chinatown so if you are up really early in the morning you’d witness a cultural phoneme. Hundreds of Chinese women and men come out to do their Tia-Chi. They do it in groups of ten, twenty or more and it’s all synchronized. Some do it either to music, or they have a leader.

     I love to watch when the women either use the giant red fans or the swords. Though Tia-Chi looks so calm and relaxing that it doesn’t look like exercise, but I’ve been told by friends, don’t be fooled. It is considered to be a whole body exercise. You may breeze through it, but you will definitely feel it later. One of these days I’d like to learn Tia-Chi.

     With all of the hubbub, you don’t have to wonder why sometimes I love running during the Winter.

Ding Dong The Witch is Dead

The real title was:  “Another One Bites The Dust.”  But, it seems like I’m always using that title.  As a writer, I’ve simply got to be more original, so I changed it to  “Ding Dong The Witch is Dead.”. . . . . . .  


You know the rest of that song . . . .


Like that was original. . . . . . . . .


Well, it’s been two weeks since I took down the so called “mystery website”.  Because, I was ill and had to stay home a week, then ZaZa took off a couple of days, we didn’t see each other for two weeks.


When I did see her this weekend, she didn’t speak to me for the entire morning.  Some of you may read this and be greatly disturbed, but I was not.  I was able to do my work in peace without being harassed.  After all, I was hired to do my work, not to get mixed up in a whole lot of “manufactured” non-work related drama.  


Now that I look back upon “the incident” admittedly it was a horrible experience, but I learned some very valuable lessons from it.  It seems that we as human beings have a tendency to learn the best lessons when things like this occur. 


I learned that from now on I must keep things strictly on a professional basis with ZaZa.  


Oh don’t get me wrong.  It’s nice to be friendly with your co-workers and (during the down time) kick back and discuss family, hobbies, and the like.  However, when a co-worker goes out of their way to use your personal information to destroy you, that’s when you set up the Road Block/Check Point Charlie (a military checkpoint – to those who are not in the know)!  That is also when you give the person the “heave ho” (you don’t belong here, so get out, and stay out!) and put your life on lock down when it comes to them. 


So the “silent treatment” is not going to move me.  It may because I’m a writer, but I’m totally in my element working in silence and by myself.  That also comes from working the midnight shift for the past 18 years.  There are times where “nobody’s” there, and I find that’s when I work best.  


Unfortunately, I don’t believe ZaZa will keep her silence for long.  If and when she does approach me I will let her know that I prefer to keep our relationship on a professional level. From that point on I couldn’t care less if she never speaks to me again.  I’m not there to make friends or win a popularity contest.  I’m there to work, period. 


This may sound cold, but I have a friend who is a manager of a well-known bank who told me that I am doing the right thing.  “This is how you keep “is-am and schism” out of the workplace.” they said.  


According to my friend 90% of the crap that happens in the workplace is due to “familiarity”.  In the military the term would be “fraternization”.  The bottom line is it affects the workplace and productivity.  Now you have security issues and legal issues, sexual harassment, violation of EEO laws, etc.  All kinds of crap is going on when in reality, people are supposed to be doing the jobs they were hired for, not bein’ up in otha people’s biss-niz.”


In the Bible (1 Corinthians 11:22-26 – “The Message” Version), the last three words are “Familiarity breeds contempt.”  Which means you have become so comfortable or so friendly with the person or circumstances that you no longer have any respect for them or it. In this passage Paul was talking about the Lord’s Supper becoming a drunk fest and gluttony contest.


When familiarity happens, you think it’s alright to treat people (or circumstances) any old way you want to.  This attitude is the main source of insubordination in the workplace.  And let us not forget the reverse where supervisors are inhumane to and do not respect their subordinates. . . . .


My friend also advised me to document if and when I inform ZaZa of my request, and from then on each time she violates it.  Why? To C.Y.B. should an even larger issue arise and I need documentation.  


It’s amazing how this post started out light hearted and wound up being as serious as a heart attack. . . . . . .





MK Blog Tour Guest: Peggy Browning

This is the fourth week of the MasterKoda Blog Tour, boy did that month just fly by!  So far I’ve met some wonderful people.  


Introducing my next guest who wants to share her special insight about her reading habits.  Let’s give a round of applause for, Peggy Browning!





So many books…so little time! I feel rushed to read everything I possibly can in the short time I have here on Earth. There’s such a big variety of subjects that I want to read about and such a plethora of great writers that I find I’m unable to choose just one as my favorite author.

What and who I read is dictated by my mood. I am always in search of a good story, well told. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something light and funny while other times I can go to a dark place, knowing that I’ll emerge on the side of good winning over evil.

Sometimes I just want to visit with my favorite characters from previous books and see what they’ve been up to since the last time we met.

My favorite authors are good story tellers who can make me care about the characters, make me laugh or cry, make me identify with the emotions the characters experience be it fear or joy. They make me turn page after page to find out what happens next.

I return time and again to these authors:
• Stephen King, for good vs. evil
• John Grisham, for believable action
• Sue Grafton, for a good mystery
• Maeve Binchy, for a happy ending well wrapped
• Jan Karon, for reunions with returning characters
• Fannie Flagg, for lovable Southern characters
• Elizabeth Berg, for exploration of emotions

I hope there’s library access in the afterlife and that I don’t forget my library card. I’m pretty sure that I could continue reading through Eternity and never read everything on my reading list.



Biography:

Peggy Browning is a writer looking at her life after age 50 through rose-colored bifocals. She writes about issues facing the boomer crowd with humor and wit. She has reinvented herself many times through life’s exciting adventures, varied jobs and diverse careers.


She’s been a special education teacher, social worker, waitress, newspaper carrier, newspaper correspondent, fruit stand owner, nurse’s aide, janitor and writer/entrepreneur. And that’s just a few of the jobs she’s been paid to do during her first 5 decades…


Catch her musings about life after 50 on her blog at her website, http://fiftyodd.com/,
her opinion column and feature news stories at
http://pioneer-sentinel.com/,
and blogs at http://galtime.com/
and http://zestnow.com/.
Visit her Facebook page at
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fifty-Odd/327132190645107.Peggy Browning, Writer.jpg



Thanks so much for stopping by, and voicing the same opinions I have!  My books (especially well-written ones) are my friends to be revisited over and over again!


Do you have a favorite or favorite books/authors?  Do you go back and re-read those books over again? 








Also, please stop by to read my guest post on Jennifer Don’s Blog:  “Ravishing Thoughts”.


http://thoughtsgowild.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/guest-amadi-kyym.html 

A Rose Is A Rose


To quote Shakespeare’s  Romeo and Juliet: ” What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose.  By any other name would smell as sweet.”  


Which begs a question:  If I change my pen name, am I still me?  Of course I am.


Yesterday (06/12/2012) I made the decision to change my nom de plume.  For the record it used to be:  N. Alexandria Cornelius.  Even though that is a nice name for a writer and possible author, in reality it’s too long.  


Too long for people (possible fans) to say, too long for people (possible fans) to remember.  Let’s face it, even I had a problem recalling the thing!  It too darned long to put on the front of a book cover.  Unless said book cover happens to be one of the wrap around kind which folds out like a paper map…….


I now can look back I wonder, what was I smoking or drinking when I concocted that name?  Even though I don’t smoke or imbibe, I still went off the rails with that one!  I must have thought I was either naming a ship, or a prized race horse.


So in order to come up something easy to remember and a lot easier to place on the front of my book(s), off I went to the online name sites and……… drum roll please……


Amadi Kyymm.  The first name Amadi (Ah-MA-Dee) is African/Ghanaian for “beautiful”.  It also has a very deep alternate meaning “child predicted to die at birth”, which has special meaning to me.  I was born prematurely and the doctors had predicted to my Mom that I wouldn’t live. But, here I sit……..


Why do I have a pen name in the first place?  Please check out the following interesting and informative article.  


Five Good Reasons To Use A Pen Name


#4.   Can be easily adapted to what I’d previously mentioned.  If your pen name is not easy to pronounce, no one will remember you.


#5.   Privacy is tantamount for me.   Not that I will become famous or anything.  But, I’m ever so blessed, I don’t care to be mobbed in the streets, the supermarket, or the subways.  I’d also like to maintain a measure of privacy at work too. 


Thank You
Amadi Kyymm





MK Blog Tour Guest – Penelope Price

It is week three of the MasterKoda Blog Tour and I want to welcome my “Words With Friends” partner and Guest:
Penelope Price!

Let’s all give her a hearty round of applause!



                                       

Lean On Me  by  Penelope Price

Friendship is… *

…laughing until you can’t breathe.
…shared memories.
…strength when you feel weak.
…light in the darkness.
…singing embarassing old songs in the car.
…phone calls at any hour.
…better support than a good bra.
…permission to indulge.
….more than mere words.

Everyone’s experience of friendship is a little different. And it changes as we age, as our personalities and priorities shift, as we learn more about the world and ourselves. But at its core – I think – the concept of what makes a friend is always the same. I could be wrong. Nonetheless, here’s what I think.

Friendship is caring about another person’s well-being. It’s about giving a damn. It’s about taking a moment to exist outside your own bubble and share the experience of life with someone else.

It is easy to lose sight of true friends in this digital age when we rack up hundreds (or thousands?!) of so-called friends in the social media realm. Old friends from High School who “like” your status from time-to-time, former co-workers who send you game request by the dozen, neighbors past and present, relatives you haven’t seen in years…sure, they are friended you, but are they real ‘friends’?

If you were stranded on a lonely road at two a.m., would they crawl out of bed and come to your rescue? Okay – maybe that’s a bad example. But really – when you need them, how likely is it that the girl you had a study group with one semester in college will be there to pick you up, brush you off, and set you back up on your feet again?

People are a vast and frequently surprising set of variables that appear upon the line graph of life. Sometimes, they pop in, change your whole world, and pop out again just as quickly. There are those with less influence, and those who affect a broad spectrum of factors in your world. Others are there for the whole tumultous ride; be they caught up in your gravity and propelled along passively or actively hanging on and making the effort.

It is this final type that I strive to be and to recognize in my own life. It is that type which we should celebrate and cleave to be they living in the next room or thousands of miles away. Those who provide support and positivity. Those who are more than just “likes” on a Facebook page. Those who build you up when life has you low, those who celebrate your highs as if they were their own.

Those who care. Those who give a damn. Those who matter.

Friendship is one of the crowning jewels in life. It is something to be cherished and kept close. Its something I think a lot of us take for granted and like the art of letter writing, cursive penmanship, and conversation – it is something that is being overshadowed in this increasingly digital age; something that is in danger of being lost.

I’m guilty of not always treasuring my real friends as I should. I don’t call as often as I ought; I rely on text messages and Facebook comments to keep in touch. But I think acknowledging a flaw is the only way to start correcting it. Because friendship is…

…vital to mental & spiritual well-being.
…worth making the effort.
…walking toward a person when everyone else is walking away.
…the best gift under the Christmas tree.
…sun on your face after a cold, wintry night.
…life.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.




                     
P.S. What does friendship mean to you? What do you think I got right – or wrong – in my little rant today? Have you been guilty of not being the greatest friend? How did you work to be a better one?

* = The caveat is that this is just how I see friendship. Because like I said, everyone’s experience is different.

Bio:

Penelope Price: author, gamer, nerd. Though she has been writing since she learned to read, P.P. did not emerge from her coccoon to join the writing circuit until the year of Tangerine Tango. She is the crazy chick behind this summer’s Incandescence and its sequel, Inferno and can usually be found plotting projects with her partner-in-crime, Jack Morgan of PunchJackMorgan.com. Get updates, gossip and geekery by following P.P. on: 

Facebook: http://facebook.com/PP_TheWriter
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/PP_TheWriter  
and at her blog:   http://www.penelopeprice.net

Thanks so much, Penelope Price for stopping by!

Please click the link below to stop by Ed Griffin’s blog: “Writers Write Daily”  and read my guest post!
http://writerswritedaily.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/the-lionness-speaks/





The Download Boogie

Computers!


Just as a carpenter wouldn’t be caught dead working without a hammer and nails, today’s writer would not be similarly caught without a computer.  Like the writers of old, who’s writing staple was the typewriter, and further back the quill and parchment, the computer has become an essential piece of equipment to the modern day writer in this digital age.


Oh yes, we can write things longhand in notebooks and journals, but we submit completed manuscripts via PDF files, instead of shipping boxes filled with paper manuscripts.  This is much easier and more convenient to all parties involved.  


We writers have a tendency to wear many hats, when not writing, and I found that my main hat happens to be GEEK.   Quite simply I found that these days if I have to use a computer extensively the way I do, I must have either a trusted friend who is an IT person, pay to keep someone who is an IT person on retainer, or become a amateur one myself.  Guess which one I am?  


Introducing Zena the Geek Warrior Princess!  Why?  Because I’m always fighting with my computers!  Downloads, uploads, spyware, malware, cookies, memory, defrag, backups, updates, you name it, I’m my only go to person.


Take yesterday as typical example.  I stopped by Staples (The Office Superstore) to purchase a copy of Microsoft Office 2010.  One of the sales reps showed me where to get a copy and I took the cardboard coupon holder up to the register.  


I thought I was going to pick up “physical software” at the counter after I had paid.  You know these large box stores must have strict security measures in place in order to discourage the criminal element. . . . .


But no, I was informed by the sales rep that there was new procedure.  First, they scanned the card while you pay.  You go home, go on line to the Microsoft site, open the card, enter the code, click and download.  Voila, your software has been downloaded from on high. . . .  


Now, this sounded so Easy Peasy and Cheesey. . . . .  


HOWEVER


It took me all night (06/09/2012) and all of this morning  (06/10/2012) to discover that Microsoft Office 10 was not going to download and open my computer!  I don’t know if it’s The Old Grey Lady’s (my laptop) age (six years old) or what.  Either the software downloaded and would lock up/crash my entire system, or it failed because there is some sort of er-ror.  


I don’t say this lightly because since I’m a geek, I tried all avenues.  I used three different browsers (Opera, Chrome, and Fire Fox) to download and got the same result.  Yes, I know, banging one’s head against the wall in the same place gets the same result, a headache. . .  The only browser I did not try is Internet Explorer, and I HATE that browser.  Most Geeks do.  Not secure.


I tried signing back into my account on the site and trying to do a back up.  I was kindly told I’ve already used my code so I could not.  Now, I have NOTHING!


Gaaahhhh!  One hundred and thirty bucks down the proverbial drain!  Perhaps later after I cooled down (I felt like throwing my laptop out of the 15th floor window – what an ignoble end to 6 faithful years of service) I will call Mircosoft and rattle their cage about sending me a back up disc.


Why didn’t Microsoft provide a disc in the first place?  Like I mentioned earlier folks would steal them, so, companies switched to online downloads. So you go from people swiping discs to big named companies swiping your money for defective downloads?  


Of course this puts a damper in my writing.  I’ve got some heavy duty editing to do and I wanted to use Microsoft Word.  I have a . . . . .eh-hem. . . .  cough. . . . . . .  bootlegged copy of it on MiniMe (my netbook) which will have to suffice until this whole mess is straightened out.


For now, I’m putting up my Excalibur and I’m going for a run.  My personal version of running and screaming into the night.


Yes, I have to do that sometimes, or I’d go quite mad.  As if I have not already. . . . . .  





The FaceBook Nightmare

Ak!  It has happened again!  What?  More Facebook hijackings!  Please click the following link to see what I mean.


Facebook Hacking & God Awful Gold Lame Sneakers


Unfortunately as society becomes more dependent upon computers, people have “gotten stuck on stupid”. No one uses common sense anymore. With the internet (and most of life) there is no such thing as just “set it and forget it”. Yes, Facebook does have a certain amount of safeguards (nod, nod, wink, wink) but you as a user must be responsible for the upkeep of your pages.

This means regularly checking your security parameters. For some strange and inexplicable reason, Facebook is constantly changing them in order to (in my scathing opinion) LET hackers into the system. So, we the users must be just as savvy in keeping a lockdown on our accounts. The only way to do that is to be vigilant.

1. The most important is your password. It should NOT be anything related to your name, address, social security number, phone numbers, birthday, etc. Why? That’s too easy for the hackers to figure out.

Your password/code should be as random as possible using upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Some sites don’t allow symbols as part of passwords so you should have a selection of them without symbols ready just in case.

If you simply cannot concoct a random password, you can Google a password generator and let the computer generate one or several for you.

If you don’t want to do that, or don’t feel you will remember those passwords, I have another suggestion. Use Shakespeare! Othello Act 1 Scene 2. ex: OTHact12

Note: This was merely an example and not meant to be used.

My personal favorite is the Bible. Unless the hackers are mind readers they will never know which verse I’m using for my password/code.

2. Another hint, change your password often. At my place of employ there is an automatic program which forces everyone to change their codes every three months. Annoying yes, but needful. Remember while you are at work and/or asleep, hackers are at work. And because the internet is global said hackers don’t even have to reside in the United States!

3. At least once a month do a system sweep of your FaceBook account settings and privacy. Review all of the applications that you have allowed to have access to your account. These are called “third party apps” and you usually have to give them access to your account, your Facebook friends, and permission to auto post on your wall. If you don’t want a particular app to do that, DELETE or DENY them permission.

A warning about Facebook games.

4. Facebook games are a sure way for your account to be hacked. As mentioned above they must have permission in order to have access to all of your friends, your personal info, and post on your wall. If you are a strict privacy buff like me, do not give them permission. Technically, you should ask all of your Facebook friends if THEY WANT their information given out in order to play Mafia Wars, or Sim City, etc. Some may not and you’ve gotta respect that.

If your friends send you invites to join games, tell them nicely that you don’t use them because they are a security risk. Period. You’re not being mean or anti-social, you are just using common sense.

5. Along with checking your Facebook security, don’t forget to check which devices have access to your account. In addition to your desktop or laptop at home, do you also use an I-Pad? A smartphone? Those addresses (and names) will be plainly listed for you to see.


Now, lets put on the thinking cap. If you look at your list and see ten devises hooked up to your account and you know you only have three. . . . It’s time to do a couple of mouse clicks and kill / DELETE those devises and “sessions” you don’t recognize.  What’s this mean?  Someone else is hanging out and lurking on your account.   Like the baby bear said in “The Three Bears”, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed.”  


THROW THEIR BUTTS OUT!

For safety’s sake if you prefer, do a “clean sweep” and shut everything down or deny access to them all. This will require you to sign back in with each of your devises, one at a time.  This way you will be secure in the fact that it is only YOU using your account. Not a hacker or a spy/lurker/stalker. . . . . .

6. EXTRA! EXTRA! You don’t have to LIKE everything on Facebook! As a matter of fact, you should not! You should only LIKE legit organizations and trusted pages and stay away from advertisements!  Especially those which redirect you to weird sites which are way off the Facebook grid. That goes doubly for the ones who LURE you with FREE STUFF!

Except for rare cases, free stuff has a tendency to come with strings attached. In this case the strings can be viruses, trojans, cookies, worms, bots, and all kinds of nasty things to steal your personal information, and destroy your computer to boot.

7. Facebook is all about connecting with family, friends, people with like interests, and recently business and business networking. You want to be honest and transparent with people, but you must beware you may giving away vital information to hackers and identity thieves. All they need is your name, date of birth and city/country of residence, to move in on your bank accounts, social security and even file income tax returns in your stead.

So ladies, (and some men. . . . .) here is your opportunity to either lie about your age, or leave just it blank!  Keep the hackers on their toes and guessing.  For gender, you could enter the total opposite and add a photo of some androgynous cartoon character you like for your avatar. 


For those who really want to “go to ground”,  you might even consider using a pen name, or nome de plume.  I’ve done it for the past two years. Why? Because I literally had stalkers on Facebook. 



Huh?  What’d you say, Nanci?

Alas, that is a subject for another blog post……..

I hope this post was helpful. Comments are most welcome.

Thank you.









Taking Stock

For the longest time I’d been crowing about a story I had written named “The Knight Riders”.  Well, I took the step and let someone read it.  


I sent a couple of chapters and waited on pins and needles for the outcome.  When it came, it was like a brick upside the head.  In essence, I would have to start all over again.  Not from scratch, but with a fine tooth comb.  


I sat on the side on my bed and wondered “Why bother?  Just put it away and forget it.  You’ve got your blogs, forget about writing a book for a while.  At least until after you retire.”  


Then I went out for a run, which greatly improved my outlook.  While pounding the pavement, I had the opportunity to talk to God about it.  I didn’t get an answer right then.  But, after I completed my run I decided to do some push ups.  


I used to be able to bang out 20 military style push ups at a pop.  Today I could hardly do two…….


“OMG!  Am I really that out of shape?”  I wondered.  All the while my mind is spinning and thinking of steps to build myself back up…….   Right then I had my answer, I will take similar steps to finish what I had started when I wrote “The Knight Riders”.  


It’s gonna be rough going.  But if others have made it through the editing process, so can I.  


After all:


Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.
Douglas MacArthur



And I don’t want a wrinkled soul………..