marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

ETA, 9-9-17 PLEASE READ FIRST: Things got hairy here real fast: a class action was recently filed against Equifax (which I didn't learn of until shortly after posting) and signing up at Equifax for credit protection (or even entering your name to check if you were affected by this breach) using the steps below could legally prevent you from becoming a member.

I'd signed up before writing this, but because I don't hold Equifax responsible (hackers gonna hack, and they're getting sort of good at it, lemme tell you!) I'm not worried about joining. It would be nice if I could, especially if this breach winds up costing me money and/or my privacy down the road, but if I can't I can't.

I just wish I'd known of the lawsuit before signing up for protection. In light of that, I want others to be aware of any possible trade-offs they'll be making.

The Verge reports on what to do if you've already entered your name or signed up for protection (emphasis mine):

For now, the one existing loophole is Equifax’s opt-out provision — another common element of arbitration clauses. Within 30 days of agreeing to the terms of the enrollment, you can deliver a written notice to this address:

Equifax Consumer Services LLC, Attn.: Arbitration Opt-Out P.O. Box 105496
Atlanta, GA 30348

It needs to include your name, address, and Equifax User ID, as well as “a clear statement that you do not wish to resolve disputes with Equifax through arbitration.”

ETA2: the above opt-out information is useless for anyone who isn't a paying Equifax customer, as the rest of us didn't get "Equifax User IDs" just by checking our names on the website or signing up for credit protection.

ETA3: More updates are in a separate post.

It's been a banner week for this sort of thing, hasn't it? And I'm in the affected users pile, so I'll be signing up for protection (they put you on a waiting list because apparently they wish to not imitate with a disastrous rollout, so signup looks to be ongoing in slow waves).

In five steps, because apparently they feel a bit awkward about putting us through all this

  • Read the blah blah blah
  • Click here, more blah blah blah. Now click the button (it takes you here: Check Potential Impact)
  • See if you were in the affected user pile by typing your last name and last six numbers of your Social Security number into boxes on this screen
  • Take the "I'm not a robot" vision tests (I hate these fucking things; anyone else?)
  • Sign up for protection

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

With a hat tip to [personal profile] andrewducker for including in a recent linklist

The results of my scan? Well, I've got seven email addresses (it's a not-putting-all-my-eggs-in-one-basket thing), and 6 out of 7 were good. Real good. The seventh - my most important - got pwned ("pwned", for anyone not familiar, is l33tsp3ak for "owned", pronounced "owned". It's an ancient term. I'm surprised the website owner uses it).

I haven't looked very hard into why I'm on the list but more or less, Russian hackers. I turned up on three exploits (with no pastes). If I were to guess, my mailing lists and at least one of the survey websites I use (I have a strong hunch it's Opinion Outpost and/or sister sites, but just a hunch) got hacked and because of that, my info got scraped into various database dumps that were published/sold/given away online/stolen.

I'm able to guess this because all four GMail accounts came up clear and only one Outlook account was compromised. That account was tripling as my Spam Me and survey-taking account.

And surveys...I don't know if you all know this, but sites like OpinionOutpost and Pinecone Research (in it's new incarnation) farm you out from dozens (Pinecone) to hundreds (OpinionOutpost) of survey sites per session, and those websites could've been compromised. The amount of cookie tossing and redirects that goes on in one survey-taking session (sometimes over less than secure pipes, to this day) is a bit hair-raising.

But like I said, that was my most important account, and I can't afford to share it with Russia nor with hackers in general, so I binned it. Goodbye four-year old (or maybe even older) email address.

That made a fun night of getting a new email address (the name-picking alone took me an hour), changing my address across all heavily used websites - and on my computer, which uses the same address to sign me in and out and sync my files to the cloud - and my phone, which again, is hooked into the same ecosystem using the same email address (and which refused to cooperate; it was actually using both email address at once, so eventually I had to hard-reset it, not the easiest or fastest thing to do on my Nokia), then exporting/importing my contact list, letting others know of my new address, and all those other not-so-fun related tasks.

There are still companies I have to call and write (that is, email(!)) because functionality to change your email address is literally MIA from their interfaces. In 2017. Go figure.

One of them is my bank (in case [personal profile] darkoshi asks, not BOA, the other one. But still!)

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

My area...*rolls eyes*

As you might know, my area might or might not be in the path of an oncoming storm. The crap that's going on, not just in my town or county, but in the entire bi-state area, is perfectly unreal: all the stores from here to Georgia were sold out on MONDAY. Generators are going for well over $1,000 for just ~1000-4000 watts (many of which do not/cannot power a fridge).

A few kind souls had listed used 4000-6000 watt generators for $150-500 but until later on today I didn't have the money for even the lower end. By this afternoon they were gone. I've been on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Facebook (scrounging every local swap-n-shop and garage sale) and can't find anything I'd actually buy. There are a few 3000-4000 watt models still available on Amazon in my price range ($100-300) but now Amazon's tacked on a message: "May take an extra 1-2 days to ship" in grass-green letters below the price, so even with Prime, that means 4-5 days goes to 6-7 days to await shipping, and I think we might need it (if we do, at all) by Monday, but my thought is if conditions turn bad enough delivery services won't be out risking their lives by then just to deliver people's goods.

I mean, I wouldn't go out in a hellacious storm if I didn't have to, but who's to say if UPS/FedEx/USPS would or not...

But that's not the end of the price gouging, oh not by any means. A few examples: a manual for some generator is listed at over $200 on Amazon that still costs just $12 on the manufacturer's website. Some UPS battery backups are going for over $300. I have the identical UPS to one I saw at that price on Amazon - just a different brand - sitting on the back corner of my kitchen counter running our kitchen laptop, a lamp, some of our phone and tablet chargers, and I know the damn thing's not worth more than $50 (got it for free off the curb, because as I've said under lock, my neighbors throw away stuff, *in a high-pitched voice*, "It's Tuesday, Harold - time to toss the UPS!". I don't know what's wrong with these people, but I'm not complaining).

But I'm desperate for a generator. I threw away at least $300 worth of food last fall with Hurricane Motherfucking Still Cannot Say Its Name, and spent another $150-200 just so we could buy more during the extended power outage - that's upward of $500 - and between that and the storm putting us out of work for over a week, that turned into such a spiral there was no getting out of it. So I want a generator at least powerful enough to run the fridge so I can keep the food, which will pretty much help it pay for itself, especially if it comes in at or under my $300ish-max budget. But because I can't guarantee we'll even need it, I don't want to spend more than that.

Then again, I could just do like so many people are one for $400, then flip it to someone desperate for $1,200 before the next big storm... *eyeroll*

I'm sort of regretful I didn't look sooner, but I didn't have money sooner, and couldn't know I needed it until it finally hit me in the middle of the night that we've got to get a generator. A lot of people had the same thought I did, to judge by Facebook where everything more affordable was marked sold by today.

I just...*gggrrrrrrrrr*

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

We have our own fake news, you know. It's just not as profitable* as the other side's. :/

*Because our fake news is/has always been such a crashing bore. All the gonzo Hunter S. Thompsoning is going on exclusively for the right.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

It's do that or drink. You're welcome to flip a coin to help me decide which in the future.

  • China remains defiant and disrespectful to the US
  • Trump ends trade with China* (maybe not so much other nations, and def not with his precious Rossia) sometime this week
  • Russia sides with North Korea, whether we drop trade with Russia or not
  • North Korea lobs something at us by Wednesday
  • Irma hits US mainland by Sunday - or else harmlessly breaks up at sea
  • As I write this, I predict it's dark out on the East Coast

*Too bad we didn't have infrastructure in place years ago, at the ready as we speak, to drop trade with China. Building it after the fact will be like playing catch-up for the next 20 years, all while prices fast approach something like banana republic of Venezuela inflationary levels. But China takes most of our manufacturing and many of our blue collar jobs, tons of our money, chips away at the well-being of millions of our people and give us almost nothing in return (the 900,000 jobs the media frantically panics about us losing are surely mostly tied up in poorly paying port and trucking jobs with fantastically horrible conditions), not even assurance of protection from a little stain the size of Pennsylvania.

The thing with North Korea is if we hit them we take South Korea out - if somehow we precision target the North and don't hit the South, if any useful part of the North is left standing then they'll use it to take out the South - and S. Korea has no nukes to threaten or actually go after the North with, just to spare us the fucking agony. That's because our policy has been completely bereft of rhyme or reason in that we prohibit the South - our long-term ally - from even possessing nukes, while the North is all like BOMBS AWAY MOTHERFUCKERS. Doesn't make much sense.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

As some of you may recall, I adopted three male kittens from the parking lot in front of our place last summer. We love all three, and two have worked out great, but the one called Tab-Tab sadly has not. He probably has a different father; the others are twins with just a coat color difference, while he's a tuxedo/tabby with the same unusual (and really gorgeous) smoke brown color and tabby markings of the feral tabby roaming our neighborhood.

The difference might matter, because he's (literally) tearing our twins apart, apparently because there's a territory issue he thinks can't be resolved in any other way.

And it's not just his brothers. A while back we had two calicos, and they were so territorial that between them and Tab-Tab the house was a chaotic mess 24 hours a day...the calicos were constantly hiding, spitting, biting, and chasing down the kittens (even when they were just tiny, sweet, friendly babies) and Tab-tab in particular was getting his "revenge" (even when he was still just a tiny, sweet, friendly baby) by lying in wait and attacking and chasing them in return.

When one of the calicos began repeatedly peeing the bed earlier this year we decided to re-home them. I made it clear to their new owner that they're great cats as long as you don't let them live with any others (which I said only because they were even quite mean to my last adult cat, Stuie, right up until the day he died).

With the calicos re-homed things calmed down, but only for a month or so; in the last three or four months Tab turned vicious on his brothers. I don't mean "too rough" nor "too energetic". Vicious. He actually tears the fur out them, leaving huge wounds full of blood all over their necks, heads, faces, chins and upper backs that take weeks to heal, and doesn't stop until they're cornered, screaming in pain and terror and I chase him down with the water bottle.

My place is too small to deal with Tab-Tab separately; it's got an upstairs and a downstairs and is not cramped, but there's only one room with a door on it (the bathroom, which only locks from the inside); the rest is an open floor plan. There is no walk-in closet or any other closed space to hold (or even raise) Tab in by himself.

So, here are the good parts: he's fit and healthy, to judge by his clean, clear, very big bright eyes, his healthy teeth and gums, clean nose, thick, shiny fur and his tremendous energy, is entirely flea-free, has no other pests or worms, and he doesn't shed much. He has a good appetite, drinks just enough water, uses the litter box religiously, has no litter-output issues, loves to play with his toys, loves our 7-foot tall cat tree, will pick a spot and sleep in it and nowhere else, loves to talk to people, and is exceedingly sweet and gentle with all of us bipedalists.

He just can't be around other cats. I don't know if he can be around dogs; if the dog's small enough, maybe not.

If you're into indoor/outdoor cats, he's your guy: I keep him strictly indoors, but he's an escape artist and likes to go (and stay) outside. In one of his escapes a few months ago, he got badly injured, either by a wild animal or another cat. He almost died of infection before he went for surgery: his fever was touching 106 degrees, which is pretty much the beginning of the end, but the doctor brought it down with antibiotics and his leg healed so you can't even tell anything happened. Thanks to that he has his rabies shot but still needs all the others, and will need fixing as well.

If you take him I can give you his vet papers and whatever supplies you need to get started: I have an extra cat carrier you can take and keep for yourself. I'll send him along with his favorite food, treats, toys, and whatever else you can think of to help his new life get off to a good start. I just ask that you don't have other cats around this little guy. His brothers are not having it: they avoid him entirely now; one of them actually comes to me crying and howling after every attack and can barely be calmed down because it upsets him so much, and my nerves are about shot.

At one year old, if I put him in the shelter they'll probably put him down, especially if I own up to how bad he is around other cats, which in all fairness I'd be compelled to do to prevent his next owner from getting quite a nasty surprise. The Humane Society is complaining it's kitten season (which it is, though we're at the tail end of it) so they're full, and while I do intend to ask around the 'hood and run local ads, if necessary, I just figure I should try my luck here.