marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

With a hat tip to [personal profile] andrewducker for including https://haveibeenpwned.com/ 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 water...by 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 because...like, *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 doing...buy 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)

Sometimes it's just fun to haul a small tree around: it builds muscle, burns calories, and counts as exercise, so what's not to like? Seriously, it's not just dudes: I didn't think this woman was carrying a purse, but maybe that's because I don't carry one, either.

The last time I did with any regularity might've been 2010 or '11, and at the stupid job I had (I've had a few of these) they made you stow them under the front counter - not locked up. The employees, not to mention the clientele, seemed a bit dicey to risk my purse with, but within a month or two I was out of there and never carried one again, except for the rare times I need to and don't have to risk leaving it anywhere stupid, like at that job.

Leave-purse-at-counter job was one of multiple places - not the last - where using the front counter (or at best, a stockroom with public restroom access) was your only option because there were no lockers, no breakrooms and it was that or leave your personal effects in your vehicle. But it was by far the seediest. And I haven't exactly spent my life working in five-star venues, so that might be saying something.

Not carrying a purse in general started when I was in my late 20s or early 30s, sometime after my mom and I agreed - likely not for the first time - that purses are just plain tremendously stupid. She stopped carrying one more or less the same day, but it took me another 10 or 15 years to pretty much ditch them, altogether - but I'm getting there.

Whew...

Nov. 6th, 2016 01:19 am
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Financial photo finish. Last night (which was well, a few hours ago) I logged into Opinion Outpost for the first time in...*checks survey history*...one year, one month and 10 days, then pushed from 4 points (what was left over after my last log-in) to 104 in a few hours (which is $5 an hour - admittedly not even minimum wage), cashed out, and am $10 flusher as we speak.

The amazing thing - maybe because I've been gone so long they're trying to entice me to stick around - is the surveys were interesting and related to things going on in my life - once I got through tons of pre-screeners, a few long, boring, no-reward profile-fillers and got DQed a few times.

As of last night, and just as I'd drank over predicted, we had $62 for next week after paying rent and putting aside for OP's phone. Then I sold something on CL ($40) and made another $64 online ($10 with Opinion Outpost, $12 in accumulated payments from Pinecone Research, $36 with eBay, but the eBay sale's pending because I'm two sales short - though $12 over - the requirements for PayPal to release the money immediately).

I have something like $150 worth of stuff still unsold on Craigslist, so without those sales it's not working out good enough to say, pay Comcast a token to reflect my eternal amusement, nor start putting aside for next month's rent or do much of anything except put it aside to combine with whatever comes in next, but it'll do, I guess.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

The roof was finally fixed. It took four days to get a one-day roofing job out of the way. Leave it to my landlord to get a lais·sez-faire crew with an excellent work ethic during the random times they appeared, but totally bohemian hours. Just whenever it gets done, ain't no biggie. The day something goes down the way it was supposed to I'll be handing out hundred dollar bills and bottles of wine to the lot of you just to help me celebrate. Obviously I can make that offer, knowing nothing will ever occur to force me to pay up.

A new roof being put on was four days of sheer terror for the cats and many sort of sleepless days and nights for yours truly. I mean, I actually went 36 hours without sleep the first day the roofing crew worked because I stayed up so late the night before and they started on the roof so early the next morning there was no point in going to sleep.

The cats spent every day from around 7 or 8 each morning (because it was a small, informal crew that tended to just show up, you know...whenever) under beds and crouching in the long, narrow pots and pans cabinet in our kitchen but even for them there was no escaping that noise. The work started and finished over our apartment (which is nestled in the middle between two others). The cats tend to get up between 4am (to play) and 6am (with Other Person) so they'd only get a few hours in before the ruckus began and then had to go run and hide.

And by "ruckus", I mean people walking on the roof, hammering, disassembling and dropping truckloads of roofing materials on it, re-laying and power-gun-nailing it, and driving us all pretty much fucking insane.

Except Other Person. They did the roofing on a Thursday and Friday, stopped for the weekend (OP's time off) then began again Monday and finished Tuesday. Most of the neighbors were away - unusual in itself, as a few of them are usually around for at least part of the day - so it was mostly me and the cats, or just me, since the cats were all "Nopecan'teven", so I didn't see too much of them.

The only good part was it forced me to flip to a day schedule. Normally (as you can see now) I'm a night owl, but this forced me to flip. My schedule stayed flipped for a few days but I've slowly drifted back to staying awake into the wee hours. What sucked was having to wear earplugs while wide awake just to block out some of the noise, and constantly falling asleep in that condition, sometimes while sitting up, as though my brain resorted to narcolepsy just to deal with it.

Speaking of which, I'm very slightly narcoleptic. I can usually fight it off so I guess from a medical standpoint it doesn't count as the real thing. But I do have sleep apnea so what happens is, when I get what I call a narcoleptic episode coming on, my eyes get heavy and I pretty much instantly stop breathing. Usually while walking down busy streets. No, I'm not a zombie. But I can't explain it. It's been going on for years, and while it freaks me out, there's not much I can do to stop it.

The daily mess in the house from people banging about on the roof was quite intense. There's another neat freak like me in the apartment to the right, a guy who's almost as gung-ho as I am (which means we might have the two cleanest apartments around; most of these places, by the time people move out, get pretty fucking bad without a new roof being put on).

Our ceilings are just wood beams with no insulation, so anything in the beams just came tumbling down onto floors, countertops, sinks, furniture, the bed, windowsills, the full-flight staircase, the closet, the toilet, onto our hanging clothes...everywhere. Mostly leaves and just fucktons of black dirt. The gung-ho-clean guy next door was almost crying he was so put out. Luckily, I clean stuff for a living, so it was no worse, and in fact much better in some ways, then cleaning up someone else's mess. That any of my cleaning jobs could be so easy.

I've waited some weeks, like you might before announcing a pregnancy, before writing about the new roof to make sure it wouldn't leak, blow off in the next wind, collapse in the next rain, or so on, but so far it's held up, which means the only still unfixed damage (besides monster tree stumps laying roots-up all over the place) is huge water stains on our bedroom carpet from the roof leaks. The landlord offered to have it cleaned by his carpet guy before our power was even restored but we're still waiting. Other Person has enough work going on with him right now that I don't want to make waves over something so minor, so I'm sitting on reminding him that he offered to have it done.

But he also offered us a bucket of raw oysters from his friend who owns a restaurant back in August which still hasn't turned up, so you can see what I'm up against here.

Before the roof got fixed, our entire county/region was declared a FEMA disaster area, but FEMA doesn't cover lost food or lost time at work, which were the two areas we got killed in. I think we'd have more food right now if we hadn't had to eventually dump what was a well-stocked freezer and fridge at the time - to the tune of hundreds of lost dollars. Food is extremely hard to budget for and we lost scads of time at work - and lost actual work - because of the storm, and there's been no making up for it, at least not yet.

The last round of flea medicine did not go well for Bowie or Good Calico. For some reason, though it was placed correctly between his shoulder blades, it ran down Bowie's left shoulder, then he kicked it with his back foot. Luckily I saw him do that, so I grabbed him and just scrubbed it off with Dawn. Yes, about $12 worth of medicine got rinsed down the drain. Then OP got all "waste of money" about it, so I was like, "Really? Fine, next time we'll just let this stuff kill him, that way we're not wasting money, right? Can't do that, you're so right."

Eventually a longish discussion ensued. He asked why I have to buy stuff that kills the cats so I explained I was exaggerating, that it doesn't, that Activyl is actually one of the safer brand names you can buy because it works solely through the skin, but the cats can't ingest it because it can cause serious neurological issues (like seizures, tremors and twitching) and that all flea medicines are pesticides - pure poison - so no matter which brand you buy, you'll always run the risk of poisoning or outright killing your animals, which is a sad state of affairs.

Then he worried that because Bowie lost his dose that he'd never stop having fleas. So I explained that because four cats managed not to have it run down their sides so much that it had to be scrubbed off to keep them from ingesting it, that the protection on them would probably keep Bowie from catching any fleas he didn't already have. I added that some of the medicine we applied soaked in before the rest got washed off, so he still had some protection left.

Bowie wasn't the only one to have problems; Good Calico developed a scabbed-up bald spot at the application site that's still visible even now, weeks later. And Tab and Pip...I don't know how it got to them, but Tab began drooling and Pip threw up right after it was put on. Bad Calico was the only cat who acted like nothing happened. She's the only one who always does.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
  • Comcast: done. No more phone calls or in-person visits for me. Saw the second credit in my account today, bringing the bill back to about where it was in July...

    A screencap of Comcast's website showing $75 and $50 credits given to me during 10-2016
  • Kittens: weighed. Last month Bowie weighed 7lbs, Pip was 6.5lbs, and Tab-Tab was 6lbs. Now Bowie and Pip weigh 9lbs and Tab-Tab is 8.5lbs.
  • Re-ordered flea medicine for all five cats. I thought I'd be able to use my Uni card (I take surveys through a university a few times a year that pay rather well) but due to the kitten's weights I was on the fence about whether to get the dose for under or over 9lbs. Bowie had a brief problem with tremors last time, so I figured if I did get the over 9lbs dose I'd buy in bulk and cut the pills down for Bowie and Tab-tab. That came out to just under $50 with one seller, but the card didn't go through for some reason, so I went back to my last seller and re-ordered what I got the last time. Two kittens will be slightly under-dosed (and buying both dose sizes for five cats actually cost more - too much to put on the Uni card) but I was going to under-dose Bowie anyhow to keep him safe, so oh, well.