a little of this…a little of that…

Haven’t shared trivia with you in sometime. Thought you might be interested in the following regurgitated facts from experts in the field.

…from www.fsis.usda.gov: I was surprised to learn that what I thought would cause food poisoning insofar as perishable items are concerned, was incorrect. Mayonnaise may not be the culprit, but protein sources might. 

best egg salad sandwich ever, flying star, Alb...

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Can mayonnaise in egg salad make you sick when it’s warm out? Karen ( the virtual food safety rep) says people often think mayo is the cause of foodborne illness from chilled foods such as chicken, tuna and egg salad or on deli-styled sandwiches. But since mayonnaise is made with acid (vinegar or lemon juice), it tends to prevent bacterial growth. Usually it’s the meat, poultry, fish or eggs in a sandwich left unrefrigerated for more than two hours that becomes the medium for bacteria to grow.

What about leftover fried chicken? According to Karen, food left out of the fridge for more than two hours may not be safe to eat. At temperatures above 90 F, food shouldn’t be left out for more than an hour. If you have any doubts, throw it out.

When you’ll be in the great outdoors and a cooler chest isn’t an option, Karen suggests packing such items as fruits, vegetables, hard cheeses, dried meats, dried cereal, bread, peanut butter, crackers and bottled drinks. 

…from Jackie Keller (nutrition expert/licensed and certified wellness coach: Debunks popular myths.

My Weight Loss Coach

Image via Wikipedia

Myth: Detox diets jump-start weight loss. I advise against detox diets, as they can cause the body to go into starvation mode and slow down the metabolism. If you want to cleanse your body, eliminate bad-for-you, processed foods and replace them with nutrient-dense foods.

Myth: Cutting carbs will help the pounds come off. The weight loss that low-carb dieters achieve in the first two weeks of carbohhydrate deprivation is measurable and not surprising. Carb-cutting will cause the body to shed water weight, as carbohydrates are stored in the body with water. That water weight will come right back on, and such a yo-yo weight loss is counterproductive and bad for overall metabolism.

Myth: Fat is the enemy. Research shows that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats–which are found in foods such as fish, olive oil, avocados and walnuts–can actually improve levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce the risk of heart disease. These healthy fats can aid in weight loss and even delay hunger pangs when consumed in appropriate amounts.

…from David Horowitz (leading consumer advocate) @ www.fightback.com: Warns against scams. In my February 27, 2011 post, “ever have one of those years…?” I talked about the first one. So trust me! It can happen to you.

McAfee
Image by biggraham via Flickr

A message flashes on your computer screen: “Warning! Your system requires immediate anti-virus scan.” A free scan is offered. What do you do?
This incredibly common scam is almost guaranteed to occur as you use your PC. Upon first look, it would appear that clicking “No thanks” would be the right solution. Wrong. Clicking anywhere in the on-screen alert can open the program further or direct you to a website you have no interest in going to. Worse, clicking anywhere in the on-screen alert can instantly infect your computer with a virus that can be difficult or even impossible to remove. (It cost me $199 to have Tech Pros remove it.)

The solution is to hold down the Control and Alt keys and hit “Delete.” Once the application tab pops up, select “End Task,” then do a full scan of your computer with the anti-virus software you already have. (That’s exactly what the expert at Tech Pros told me…after I paid the $199.)

You are in financial trouble, and as a result your credit is suffering. You have been approached by a variety of services offering to repair your credit. What do you do?
Although many companies offer to repair damaged credit, it can be difficult to tell which are legitimate. The most common scam involves a company advising you to stop paying your creditors and deposit money into a special account instead. In reality, the debt-settlement company withdraws fees from your account for “services,” long before it negotiates with your creditors, if it negotiates at all.

If these companies send you an unsolicited email or advertise on the radio touting a stellar track record, it may be a scam. Stick with a legitimate nonprofit counseling outlet with an established track record, and always try to negotiate directly with your creditors first.

Ebay Explained 2006 (KLCC)

Image by liewcf via Flickr

You have made an online purchase and the item never arrives, or the item is not what you thought you were buying. What do you do? 
If you made the purchase from a reliable company, review the return policy and keep all receipts once you ship the items back. …However, if you made the purchase through a third-party entity on a website such as craigslist or eBay, the solution can be  bit more complicated.

Eiko's credit card

Image by eikootje via Flickr

Look for telltale signs of a scam before charging your credit card. For example, buying tickets can be risky, as scammers often change one digit in the theater address or the ticket number, tricking you into buying tickets you think are real, only to be told they are fake once you try to enter an event.

Beware of merchants who provide you with only a cellphone number; they do this because cellphones can’t always be tracked. Look out for sellers who ask you to wire money, retail websites that don’t list an address or a phone number, and companies that don’t have much of a presence or any reviews online. These likely are scams.

…more than enough…to contemplate…hugmamma.

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comcast…another go round

Internet Access Here Sign

Image by Steve Rhode via Flickr

Just wanted to warn you in case my internet connection goes on the fritz again for longer than I would wish. Knock wood, ever since my last 9 rounds in the ring with the cable giant, life has been cruising right along. I’ve been able to blog to my heart’s content with minimal, if any, interruption. Although my local service fixed the nuts and bolts, Mark Casem of Comcast‘s corporate customer service got the ball rolling. I will always be indebted to his good will on behalf of his employer. Casem was definitely cut from a different cloth, something vintage from a bygone era.

Egyptian magic wand. From the collection of th...

Image via Wikipedia

The last few days, our internet connection was operating in fits and starts. Yesterday was a real struggle trying to write and then publish my post. I kept having to restart my laptop in the hopes that the problem would go away. But no such luck. When a new screen opened up, the old message was still there explaining what I might do to resolve the issue. I almost reverted to the early days of my amateur computer skills…wanting to toss my laptop through the window. But I’m a “black belt” amateur now…so I refrained, grumbling under my breath instead. Of course hubby got an earful. But even his magic wand was no match.

Lo and behold, late, and I mean late, last night my internet connection graced me with its presence once more. So I tinkered on my post, finally publishing it in the wee hours of the morning. By the time I lay my weary head down on my pillow it was probably several hours into the new day. What I didn’t dare do was turn off my laptop. So through the night its light shone like a beacon in an empty room. But it worked! I was able to pick up right where I left off last night.

Comcast‘s repair man scheduled to make a visit today, called first to ask if I was still experiencing problems. No idiot, I indicated that the cable connection came and went. Which I was certain would occur if I turned off my laptop, or even signed off of Aol.com. So the man stopped by explaining that, in fact, others in the neighborhood have complained, and that only this morning did Comcast find that there is a huge disruption to service in our area. Tyler checked the wiring and finding it to be old, changed it. Why the repairman who changed our arcane modem didn’t do that the last time was incomprehensible to this rep, as it was to me. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Are things done in dribs and drabs as a ploy for job security?

Comcast truck

Image by scriptingnews via Flickr

Tyler left assuring me that things should be fine…kinda. He told me to wait a week, maybe more for Comcast to figure out what they’re doing with the bigger problem. He said they might do this, or they might do that, but that I should be patient. Just wondering? Can I hold off payment of my bill until Comcast figures things out? No. I guess that’s not an option.

What frustrates me is being at the mercy of a monopoly like Comcast.

Comcast Center, the headquarters of Comcast - ...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s not like I can walk away and sign up with one of 7 other competitors. Or can I? My husband is researching the possibility of signing us up for the little stick thing he inserts into his company laptop. I think it’s through AT&T, but perhaps Verizon offers it as well. No harm in checking. We’ll have to weigh the pros and the cons. The con being…demasiado dinero. Spanish for…mega bucks!

…so i’m hanging loose…until whatever happens…happens…hugmamma. 

appreciate your loyalty…big time!!!

Almost a month has elapsed since I spent my days blogging away contentedly. I must admit my neck, back and shoulders got a much needed break from the long hours I’d spend hunched over my laptop keyboard. If your eyes have been glued to your computer screen in recent days trying to digest my thriller about bedbugs, then you’ll understand my long absence from hugmamma’s mind, body and soul. Let’s just say I was out making memories, however forgettable I wish they were. At my age you’d think I’d have enough life experiences not to need more to feel like an adult. I thought 61 years was a pretty solid foundation upon which to rest my laurels. But apparently not.

Since my daughter’s apartment, both of them actually, were in total disarray, and because  we were faced with the overwhelming task of moving her furnishings out of storage, and sanitizing everything before moving them into her new place, blogging was the furthest thing from my mind. Besides which we tried not to spend more time than was necessary where the bedbugs resided, the old apartment. Unfortunately, that’s also where the internet was still hooked up. Not until a new desk we’d purchased was assembled and in place, did my daughter want to relocate her computer and cable connection. All this to say I couldn’t blog even if I’d wanted to do so. I’m sure you’ll understand when I say…that was the last thing on my mind.

Cat Rambo

Image by Cat Sparx via Flickr

When I finally did sit down to log onto hugmamma’s mind, body and soul, I was very surprised, and very delighted, to find that my subscribers had remained loyal. I was certain the list would have dwindled alongside my dwindling posts. As other bloggers will confirm, “site stats” are an important indicator of a blog’s viability. While views declined as I expected, it was indeed humbling to see that I’d picked up another few subscribers, while hanging on to past subscribers. It reiterated, for me, the words of my Blogging 101 instructor, Cat Rambo. “Write something of value, and readers will come.”

So I thank each and every one of you who continue to make me feel my words are of value. I’m unable to publicly recognize all, for there are those who subscribe via particular posts, and friends and family who subscribe via email, neither of which I’m capable of reproducing below. But know that I include you, about 90, among the following WordPress subscribers whose gravatars I am able to show.

estherlou
http://estherlou.wordpress.com/
2 days, 20 hours ago
Blogging Blueprints
http://generatemasstraffic.blogspot.com/
1 month, 2 weeks ago
carvingoutavoice
http://carvingoutavoice.wordpress.com
1 month, 3 weeks ago
Blogging Blueprint
http://qtwt.us/2ift
1 month, 3 weeks ago
nuvofelt
http://chittlechattle.wordpress.com
1 month, 4 weeks ago
frizztext
http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com
2 months ago
OneAngryBytch
http://oneangrybytch.wordpress.com
2 months, 1 week ago
easylifestyles
http://easy-lifestyles.blogspot.com
2 months, 2 weeks ago
littlenavyfish
http://givemestories.wordpress.com
3 months ago
dogear6 3 months ago
carloscollazo06
http://carloscollazo06.wordpress.com
3 months ago
Redneckprincess
http://redneckprincess.wordpress.com
3 months, 1 week ago
Marion Driessen
http://mariondriessen.wordpress.com
3 months, 1 week ago
Beneath The Tin Foil Hat
http://tinfoilhatman45.wordpress.com
3 months, 1 week ago
HaleyWhitehall
http://haleywhitehall.wordpress.com
3 months, 2 weeks ago
sagechronicles
http://sagechronicles.wordpress.com/
3 months, 3 weeks ago
jeanne
http://nolagirlatheart.wordpress.com
3 months, 3 weeks ago
Jackie Paulson Author
http://postadaychallenge2011.wordpress.com/
3 months, 3 weeks ago
CMSmith
http://randomthoughtsfrommidlife.wordpress.com
3 months, 4 weeks ago
literaryescape
http://literaryescape.wordpress.com
4 months ago
Isabelle
http://myenglishthought.wordpress.com
4 months, 1 week ago
hakea
http://hakea.wordpress.com
4 months, 3 weeks ago
Steph
http://coolbluedudette.wordpress.com
4 months, 4 weeks ago
Northwestgimp
http://northwestgimp.wordpress.com
5 months, 1 week ago
Keith Kamisugi
http://keithpr.wordpress.com/
5 months, 2 weeks ago
mecwrites25
http://mecwrites25.wordpress.com
6 months, 2 weeks ago
fussymissy 7 months, 3 weeks ago

..how can i go wrong…with so many friends who…”have my back”…hugmamma. 🙂 …mahalo nui loa…aloha from the bottom of my heart!!!

is she talkin’ about me?

My friend Mary came by with another piece of senior humor. Sorry young ‘uns, sometimes we elderly citizens have to step “outside the box” for a belly laugh, or two.

MY LIVING WILL: 

Last night, my family stopped by and were sitting in the living room… I said to them, ‘I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.’

They got up, unplugged the Computer, and threw out my wine.

They are SO on my shit list …

 

…well, maybe not a belly laugh…but at least a toothless grin…hugmamma.

the “good old days”…in merry ole england

The following is from my English friend Sylvia, whom we’ve not heard from in a little bit. She’s been saving it up for this one. It’s kind of an in-your-face reminder that people of a certain age lived “on the edge,” by today’s standards,…and are still here to tell, or brag, about it. You have to admit, they’ve got a point. Enjoy, guvnah! As Sylvia would say.

CONGRATULATIONS to all my friends born in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s!

Tatto-Flavored Wine

Image by Joe Mud via Flickr

First, we survived being born to mothers who drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw eggs, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.

Our baby cots were covered with bright-colored, lead-based paints. We had no child-proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets. And when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes. We would ride in cars without seat belts or airbags. We drank water from a garden hose, not from a bottle.

Balmoral KFC workers and allies picketing the ...

Image via Wikipedia

Take away food was fish and chips. There were no pizza shops, McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, or Red Rooster. Even though all the shops closed at 6 p.m., and didn’t open on weekends, we didn’t starve to death.

We shared one soft drink with 4 friends, from ONE bottle, and no one ever died as a result. We collected old beverage bottles, and cashed them in at the corner store.Then we were able to buy toffees, gobstoppers, bubble gum and some bangers so we could blow up frogs.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter, and drank soft drinks that contained sugar. But we weren’t overweight because we were ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!!

We would leave home in the morning, and allowed to play until the street lamps were lit. No one could reach us all day, but we were okay.

We would spend hours building go-karts out of old prams. We would ride them downhill, forgetting that we had no brakes. We built tree houses and cubbies, and played in river beds with Matchbox cars.

Matchbox 1-75 models typical of the modern (Ma...

Image via Wikipedia

 

We didn’t have Play Stations, Nintendo Wii, W-boxes, video games, DVDs, 999 channels on SKY, mobile phones, personal computers, the Internet, and its chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS, and went outside in search of them.

We fell out of trees, got cuts, broke bones and teeth. But no lawsuits were filed because of these accidents.

Only girls had pierced ears.

We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms didn’t live in us forever.

Easter eggs // Ostereier

Image via Wikipedia

We could only buy Easter eggs and hot cross buns at Easter time. 

We received air guns and catapults on our 10th birthdays.

We rode bikes or walked to friends’ houses, knocking on their doors, or ringing the doorbells, or just yelling their names.

Mum didn’t have to go to work to help dad make ends meet.

Football and cricket had tryouts, and not everyone made the teams. Those who didn’t, learned to deal with disappointment. Imagine that! Making the team was based upon merit.

Our teachers used to hit us with straps and sand shoes. Bullies always ruled the school playground.

Parents never bailed us out if we broke the law; in fact, they sided with the law! They didn’t give us stupid names like Kiora, Blade, Ridge or Vanilla.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and learned to handle them all.

Congratulations! You’re one of us.

You might want to share this with others lucky enough to grow up as we did, before the lawyers and government regulated our lives for our own good. While you’re at it, you might email this to your kids too, so they’ll know what brave parents they have.

pip-pip…cheerio…and all that rot!…hugmamma.

never too late, “good manners”

The age of technology seems to have signaled an era where good manners have become extinct. Cell phone calls interrupt romantic dinners, cat naps on public transport, silence in a library. Text messaging is a never-ending, voiceless conversation. E-books and lap tops are all the companions some folks need. The latest gadgets and gizmos make it unnecessary for us to interact with one another.

Perhaps Mother Nature is encouraging us to get back to basics. Because in the final analysis, when all material things are washed away in a tsunami, or demolished in an earthquake, or engulfed in wildfires, people have to turn to each other for answers. We may do well to take a refresher course on good manners, on doing unto others as we would have them do unto us…before we find ourselves in need of their help.

The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown, Jr., offers some good advice on being neighborly. Our memories just need a little jogging, and dusting off, to get us back on track toward being more human in an environment that’s becoming less and less so.

  1. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the caller’s.
  2.  Don’t burn bridges.You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
  3. Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per
    Mother Teresa

    Image via Wikipedia

    day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

  4. Rekindle old friendships.
  5. Get your priorities straight. No one ever said on his death-bed, “Gee, if I’d only spent more time at the office.”
  6.  Don’t be afraid to say: “I don’t know,” “I made a mistake,” I need help,” “I’m sorry.”
  7. Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.
  8. Don’t rain on other people’s parades.
  9. Don’t interrupt.
  10. Never underestimate the power of words to heal and reconcile relationships.
  11. Be as friendly to the janitor as you are to the chairman of the board.
  12. Treat your employees with the same respect you give your clients.
  13. Remove your sunglasses when you talk to someone.
  14. Show extra respect for people whose jobs put dirt under their fingernails.
  15. Surprise an old friend with a phone call.
  16. Don’t be so concerned with your rights that you forget your manners.
  17. Act with courtesy and fairness regardless of how others treat you. Don’t let them determine your response.
  18. Spend your life lifting people up, not putting people down.
  19. Remember that everyone you meet wears an invisible sign. It reads, “Notice me. Make me feel important.”
  20. Encourage anyone who is trying to improve mentally, physically, or spiritually.
  21. Be especially courteous and patient with older people.
  22. Let your handshake be as binding as a signed contract.
  23. Love someone who doesn’t deserve it.
  24. Regardless of the situation, react with class.
  25. Become the kind of person who brightens a room just by entering it.
  26. Remember that a kind word goes a long way.
  27. Spend twice as much time praising as you do criticizing.
  28. Offer hope.
  29. When you need to apologize to someone, do it in person.
  30. When a friend is in need, help him without his having to ask
  31. Never be too busy to meet someone new.
  32. If it’s not a beautiful morning, let your cheerfulness make it one.
  33. Remember that cruel words hurt deeply, and loving words quickly heal.
  34. Before criticizing a new employee, remember your first days at work.
  35. Never call anybody stupid, even if you’re kidding.
  36. Offer your place in line at the grocery checkout if the person behind you has only two or three items.
  37. This year, buy an extra box of Girl Scout cookies.
    Boxes of the two most popular Girl Scout cooki...

    Image via Wikipedia

  38. After someone apologizes to you, don’t lecture them.
  39. Carry a couple of inexpensive umbrellas in your car that you can give to people caught in the rain.
  40. When you really like someone, tell them. Sometimes you only get one chance.
  41. Take more pictures of people than of places.
  42. Never make fun of people who speak broken English. It means they know another language.
  43. If you ask someone to do something for you, let them do it their way.
  44. Remember it’s not your job to get people to like you, it’s your job to like people.
  45. Write a thank-you note to your children’s teacher when you see your child learning new things.
  46. Never intentionally embarrass anyone.
  47. Don’t forget that your attitude is just as important as the facts.
  48. Remember that much truth is spoken in jest.
  49. Never resist a generous impulse.
  50. When in doubt, smile.

This list should keep us all busy for some time. In fact, just pondering them will probably occupy more than a few minutes. But we can take our time, for we’ve lots of time. Or have we?

practicing just one a day…will get us somewhere better than where we already are…hugmamma.

wordpress “woes”

Seems our host site has had its share of problems, which might be the reason I have mine. Not sure, of course. But possible. They did make the situation known, although if you’re like me, you don’t read everything they make available. So thought I’d help them out by reposting what was said.

Image representing Alexia Tsotsis as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

Alexia Tsotsis Mar 3, 2011

You have no idea how hard it was to get this post up, as WordPress.com, our blog host, is currently under a denial of service attack. It’s been almost impossible to access the TechCrunch backend for the past 10 minutes (everything seems to be stable now) and users have been receiving a “Writes to the service have been disabled, we will be bringing everything back online ASAP” error message.

From the VIP blog post:

WordPress.com is currently being targeted by a extremely large Distributed Denial of Service attack which is affecting connectivity in some cases. The size of the attack is multiple Gigabits per second and tens of millions of packets per second.

We are working to mitigate the attack, but because of the extreme size, it is proving rather difficult. At this time, everything should be back to normal as the attack has subsided, but we are actively working with our upstream providers on measures to prevent such attacks from affecting connectivity going forward.

We will be making our VIP sites a priority in this endeavor, and as always, you can contact us via xxxxx@wordpress.com for the latest update. We will also update this post with more information as it becomes available

 

Matt Mullenweg during the conference WordCamp ...

Image via Wikipedia

WordPress did not mention the origin of the attack (DDoS =! Anonymous) and I have contacted founder Matt Mullenweg for more information. WordPress.com currently serves 30 million publishers, including VIPs TED, CBS and TechCrunch, and is responsible for 10% of all websites in the world. WordPress.com itself sees about 300 million unique visits monthly. 

Update: Automattic and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg tells us that this is the largest attack WordPress.com has ever seen, and is likely to be politically motivated:

“There’s an ongoing DDoS attack that was large enough to impact all three of our datacenters in Chicago, San Antonio, and Dallas — it’s currently been neutralized but it’s possible it could flare up again later, which we’re taking proactive steps to implement.

This is the largest and most sustained attack we’ve seen in our 6 year history. We suspect it may have been politically motivated against one of our non-English blogs but we’re still investigating and have no definitive evidence yet.”

You can check here for the latest status updates.

Image via: blogohblog

Update 2: Looks like everything’s back to normal.

  
  
Wow! And I thought I had problems. Think I’ll crawl back into my cave.
 
…let me know when the “all clear” siren sounds…hugmamma.

“internet theft,” geotagging

Motorola L71

Image via Wikipedia

A good friend sent along a warning about geotagging.” The use of some cameras and cell phones, like the smart phone, to take pictures, can inadvertently track down your whereabouts. Posting them on the internet, gives computer-savvy thieves the opportunity to retrieve the tracking information imbedded in the photos. Jewelry pictured on Craig’s List can be targeted for theft, because the seller’s exact location can be determined with the use of a computer. The same applies when a child’s picture is posted, or the family pet, or household furnishings.

The obvious question we have to ask is which products are rigged for geotagging? I guess retailers would need to be asked that question. The second question owners of these devices must seriously consider is whether the risk of home invasion, or worse, is worth a few seconds of acclaim on the internet.

The Fortunes of a Street Waif, an illustration...

Image via Wikipedia

My final question, a rhetorical one, is why don’t these thieves get their own lives? The amount of time and energy they give to stealing another’s identity, or belongings, or both, would be better spent creating their own legacy. Given one brand new life to live at birth, why trash it for someone’s’ used life, used things? I guess the only viable answer is that the work is too hard, and gratification is a long-time coming.

If you’d like a word from the experts, click on the following link to view the video that was part of a TV channel’s news broadcast. It might be worth the few extra minutes.

FYI…Here’s a news clip about the geotagging capability on some phones/cameras:

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/video?id=7621105

definitely something to contemplate…hugmamma.   

a bad bout of “virus”

Am writing this to warn you that scammers hover nearby, even at the tips of one’s fingers. Long story short, my computer alerted me to a virus attack a couple of days ago. Not sure if you’ve ever witnessed flashing icons on your screen that silently scream “viruses, viruses, viruses!!!” I immediately felt I was physically under siege. My heart began palpitating. My brain went into lock down mode. My eyes bugged out of my head. Words were roiling around inside my head, none of which I could organize into thoughts that made sense.

Running my fingers across the computer keys, I finally ran the McAfee virus scan system that came with my 17″ Acer laptop, which I purchased at a great price on QVC. The scanning completed, I was asked if I wanted to remove the viruses that were detected, or did I want to leave them be. Yeah right, I thought. That’s like asking me if I wanted to let bedbugs live in my bed forever! I tried texting my husband for advice. When none was quickly forthcoming, I took action…and have regreted it.

One option offered was to activate the automatic removal system. The catch was that I needed a password. Hmmm… I couldn’t remember even discussing anti-viral security with my hubby. He normally buys Norton. But I didn’t recall him giving me a password. So I went for the second option, signing up for “System Tool.” Popping up on McAfee led me to believe it was part and parcel of the scan system.

Unable to reach my husband, and thinking the viruses would gain a bigger stranglehold the longer I delayed, I tried to purchase “System Tool.” Well try as I might, the transaction kept being declined. Customer service at Master Card’s 1-800 number kindly offered their assistance. But even they couldn’t complete the transaction. The whole thing was crazy. That should have signaled a “red flag.” Finally the credit card’s computer technician explained that I was probably locked out because of several failed attempts. He suggested I might want to try again later.

Thinking the viruses were gaining an increasingly greater foothold the more time I wasted, I tried a Visa credit card. Same thing, I kept being declined in trying to purchase “System Tool.” Giving up on the online option, I decided to seek technical help from someone in town. When I pulled up their website, there was an alert on the first page indicating that “System Tool” was a scam which would infiltrate with viruses, not remove them. I couldn’t drive to the computer tech’s office fast enough.

The good news is that my hardware was not affected. The bad news is my laptop had to be thoroughly cleaned and a new security system installed, all for $199. The pro also suggested emphatically that I cancel my credit cards because the scammers were probably after credit card information from the outset. Needless to say I’ve done as he recommended. 

Lesson learned? Even writers have to know something more than just banging away at the computer keyboard. And it’s true, seniors like me can learn new tricks. We might have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, by our gray hairs. But in the meantime, our brain cells are growing by leaps and bounds. This is never a bad thing, although too many growth spurts like this, and I might have a heart attack.

Something which concerned me was that QVC sold a product, Acer, which offered McAfee security, which in turn offered “System Tool” as a means of removing viruses, which is, in fact, a scam. This is probably an oversimplification, but the outcome is that I bought an Acer computer, which my husband and I’d never heard of before, because of its great deal on QVC. Like many, I consider the online retailer highly reputable. I wonder if it’s even aware of Acer’s link to McAfee, and its link to “System Tool?” That a scam could be furthered by a QVC backed product is mystifying. I’ll probably be expressing my concern to QVC in writing, unless they come calling on me via my blog, as Comcast has done in the past. We’ll see.  

What does hubby say about all this? I’ll have to wait and see when he returns from his European business trip this evening.

getting in and out of trouble…par for the course…hugmamma.  🙂

egyptians, no different

I haven’t as yet delved into what the media is printing about the current Egyptian uprising. I only know what I see and hear on TV. At the moment, until things resolve themselves one way or the other, it’s a lot of information to digest. Trying to decipher what I think of everything isn’t something I can wrap my brain around right now. The outcome of their fate ultimately rests in the hands of the Egyptians themselves, from the top politico to the peon in the street.

The one thought that runs through my mind is that because of technology, a combination of television, computers, mobile devices, the internet and its myriad of tools, people around the world, living in hovels or palaces, can witness what occurs in other countries. And like snapshots retained in our memories, what we see can fester in our subconsciences for a long time, until we decide to act upon them.

It’s my personal feeling that both President Obama and the Tea Party Movement have been catalysts in what we are now witnessing in Egypt and Tunisia. While there are those who disagree, I think the President has shown himself to be a champion of the middle and lower classes. From health care reform embracing 13,000,000 Americans without insurance to speaking up for better education for the less fortunate, he has shown himself to be the son of a woman who died of cancer while fighting for health insurance coverage.

The Tea-Partiers have successfully shown millions at home and abroad, that the masses can unite via the internet to unseat politicians, replace them with candidates of their choosing, and ultimately, influence government decisions. Heady stuff for a movement started by 2 Atlanta housewives, Amy Kremer and Jenny Beth Martin, strangers to one another, who were stewing over the economic downturn and its negative impact upon their lives. (My post of 11/3/10, “two housewives,”founders of tea party movement”.) Power to the people has never been more overwhelmingly proven than in what these 2 ordinary citizens initiated, to have it become the Tea Party Movement as we know it today, a force with which to be reckoned.

History has proven time and again, that people will rise up to challenge whom they perceive as their oppressors. We who enjoy the benefits of an American democracy can do so far more rationally than countries ruled by dictators. We can protest without provoking full-out civil war. I think we learned our lesson a long time ago under another president I admire, Abraham Lincoln. He too was not a favorite of all Americans, but he did the best he could, according to the principles in which he believed, one being that all people, including slaves, should live freely.

The Egyptians, and Tunisians, want to choose how to live their own lives. Like us they want to earn a living, provide for their families, take pleasure in small things, and give their children hope for a better future. Not so much to ask for really. In fact, they just want what we Americans already enjoy.

I may have oversimplified the unrest that rages in the Middle East. But sometimes the experts complicate matters by interjecting too much hyperbole. I’m not an expert, just an ordinary housewife who understands that people like me just want to make a decent life for our families. Not a big deal really, but, in fact, it is a really big deal when we’ve only got one chance to live our best lives.

people the world over want the same things…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…hugmamma.

please! and show your kids too…

Couldn’t help but repost what was contained previously in “magical and musical!!! but how???”

When I need a small lift, I click on the following. For a few minutes I’m immersed in fantasy and make-believe. As I sit watching the magic unfold before my eyes, it feels like a prayer without words. The accompanying music also holds me captive, keeping my spirit suspended if only for a moment, before reality releases me from my dream-state.

Come see what I’ve seen…

http://www.elion.ee/docs/joulukaart/eng/

wish there were more…even Misha agrees…hugmamma.

“and the beat goes on, la, de, da, de, day,” comcast

Comcast’s Mark  appeared from nowhere again, leaving me a comment! It’s like having a guardian angel. Maybe he’s trying to earn wings like Clarence, Jimmy Stewart’s sidekick on “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Love that show, just saw it last night, or was it the night before? Running between the computer downstairs and the laptop upstairs to see if they’re working is again taking its toll. Comcast is one topic I’d like to relegate to the archives, but of course it’s the first thing on my mind since I can’t even use my own computer to blog. Every time I sign on to my husband’s laptop, I must wend my way through a very lengthy process. It’s amazing how we take so much for granted, until we have to go through each and every step. No shortcuts here. This laptop only knows my husband; it treats me like an alien from outer space, or as the case may be, “internet space. But you know me, neither snow, nor sleet, nor rain, nor lack of internet service will stop me from blogging.

You may think I’m ludicrous, but I’m still hoping for a “happy-ending.” Do I have a choice? Well, maybe, but I’m an optimist, most of the time. Other times I’m a fatalist. Perhaps I’m a fatalistic optimist. Remember, I’m trying to help Mark earn his wings, while practicing compassion, and positivism. You can help by sending all the good karma you can spare. It’s the holidays after all, the season for giving…and forgiving. Do I sound like I’m trying to convince myself not to blow a gasket? You bet your sweet life!

Do you know about THE COMCAST CUSTOMER GUARANTEE? With our bill today, was a graphically appealing leaflet touting the company’s efforts on behalf of, well, us! Here’s how it reads, in full.

You spoke, we listened. At Comcast you can expect faster answers to your questions–24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A $20 account credit if we’re late to an appointment and a complimentary service if we don’t solve a routine problem in one visit. IT’S TIME TO EXPERIENCE WHAT GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE FEELS LIKE. comcast.com/guarantee 

hmmm???…breathing deeply…ahhh…hugmamma.

“going the way of the dinosaurs?,” books

I will be very sad if books are ever relegated to the burn-pile, as depicted in the 1966 film, Fahrenheit 451, starring Oskar Werner, Julie Christie and Cyril Cusak. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest you do. (A YouTube clip is below.) 

“Fahrenheit 451” is a haunting tale of a society overtaken by a robotic mentality. Books are condemned for they encourage independent thinking, which the ruling government decides is detrimental to man’s happiness. Of course, the comparison to replacing  books with e-books is not the same, but might it be the first step toward a technologically controlled society? Might those, like myself, who prefer to read the old-fashioned way, be marginalized by the majority who can order up a book in seconds? Worse, if in the future some evil force with total technological control decides to eradicate all sources for e-books, thus destroying mankind’s history, will we find ourselves in a “Fahrenheit 451” of our own making? I jest, I think, I hope.

The following editorial article in today’s Wall Street Journal reminded me of my passion for the printed book. Rather than try to paraphrase the words of the author, Dan Newman, I’m reprinting what he’s written, verbatim.

 A KINDLE FOR CHRISTMAS? SPARE ME

I should be the perfect candidate for an e-reader: I own thousands of books, lack space for more and often schlep several heavy volumes in my bag. So when I begged my family to refrain from getting me a Kindle for Christmas, they were confounded.

At first, they thought the problem was that I wanted another model, one that could be dropped without worry, read on my winter camping trips, and never run out of power. Then they realized I was describing an old-fashioned book–paper and binding!–and I lost them again.

E-books are not only better, my family claims, but inevitable. Retail giants tend to agree. Leonard Riggio, chairman of Barnes & Noble and its biggest shareholder, has said that, “Digital publishing and digital book-selling will soon become the most explosive development in the history of our industry and will sweep aside those who aren’t participating.” The physical book will soon be akin to the parchment scroll.

The numbers seem to support this view. Sales of e-books have more than doubled over the last year, to $340 million so far this year from $166 million in 2009. At Amazon.com, e-books now outpace bestselling hardcover editions. So why do I doubt that I’m being left behind?

First, while growth in e-books is impressive, it’s not overwhelming. E-book sales this year will account for 8.5% of all books, a smaller share than Apple commands in the computer market even after years of growth at a similar pace. Though e-books will surely continue to grow, for now about 90% of book sales remain in print form.

Online retailers, particularly Amazon.com, work hard to promote e-books. Kindle advertisements have topped Amazon’s home page–some of the most valuable real-estate on the Internet–for nearly three years. The Web pages for print editions always include links to Kindle equivalents when possible, but the Kindle versions never link back to print forms. Amazon wants you to buy a kindle.

And it should. Kindle sales compete primarily with bestselling hardcovers–the heaviest, most heavily discounted editions that Amazon sells. The Kindle will sweep them aside, its supporters say, because e-books are portable, include useful search functions, and can retrieve new titles within minutes. This last point hardly matters to me, given that I can have physical books delivered within days and already have hundreds of unread books waiting to be cracked. While a search function is useful, it also points to a flaw in the Kindle: All the pages are alike, to the extent that there are pages at all.

I remember passages by where they are in my books–this or that detail is two-thirds of the way through, on the bottom left. That physical memory runs deep.

University of Washington Book Arts Librarian Sandra Kroupa demonstrates as much with a party trick she’s developed. I’ve seen her set down a dozen stiff-backed Little Golden Books before a group of adults. They chatted with delight as they held old copies of “Dumbo,” “Little Toot the Tugboat” and other childhood favorites. “The physical book holds meaning,” says Ms. Kroupa. “If I were to bring a modern edition of ‘Dumbo,’ it wouldn’t elicit nearly the same response.”

Print editions enable shared experiences in ways unavailable to electronic versions. I’m no snoop, but one of the first things I do when I enter a home is scan the bookshelves. As often as not, that sparks conversation about the interests of my hosts and about what they’ve read and hope to read. They invariably pull out other books, some inscribed, and hold them in their hands while we talk.

That experience simply can’t happen crouching over a hard-drive. Imagine entering a living room and saying: “Hey! Mind if I scroll through your Kindle?”

A book is more than a shell for words: It’s a box whose magic starts at its real-world dimensions. No other common item so lacks a standardized size, and that makes individual books memorable. I could tell with my eyes closed if you’ve handed me a copy of “The Great Gatsby” that isn’t mine.

I see e-books as a companion format that will always share space with printed volumes. Perhaps one day, I’ll even travel with a Kindle. 

Until then, I’m content with my hefty volume of “Don Quixote,” my tattered grade-school dictionary and my wood-cut illustrated “Moby Dick.” Maybe I’m a Luddite because I feel sorry for children who read “Good-night Moon” on a phone. And perhaps I’m a softie for hoarding my torn copy of “Huck Finn,” a gift from my grandfather, with an inscription that still makes my eyes water.

I could tell you what it says. But it’s best to read with the book held in your own hands.

Mr. Newman is a writer at work on his first novel.

Mr. Newman and I may be a dying breed, especially since we’re not products of the technological age. While I agree that print books are still very much in evidence, only time will tell if they’re here to stay. Recent generations, and those to come, have a different reference point. Hand-writing has been replaced by typing at a computer keyboard. I can’t see that our children, their children, and so on, ever reverting back to practicing their penmanship. Even I prefer to type up a letter on Word Process, than put pen to paper. And my hand-writing has suffered as a result.

I’m passionate about details, small things that make something unique. I’ve taught my daughter to decide which of 2 or 3 items to purchase, by the attention to detail each has. The words in a book are certainly its substance, but its packaging is part and parcel of its attraction. Perhaps an impoverished childhood taught me to cherish the few material things I had, whether I borrowed them or owned them. Library books were especially valuable, for they were my escape from the reality of my surroundings. So collecting them because I can now afford them, seems only natural. They are, after all, still a wonderful avenue for living outside my “box,” since I can’t afford to travel the world over, or back in time, or forward into the future, or into imaginary realms. I admit to being more discerning than Mr. Newman, for I’m sure my books don’t number in the thousands. If they did, we’d have to sell our current home for one larger.    

 I’m hoping there are many like me, one foot in the past, the other in the future. I love blogging, but I love holding a book in my hands as I settle in for the night.

for not letting this “dinosaur” go the way of the others, hugs…hugmamma.

blogging, still mind-boggling

With our recent spate of inclement weather, blogging has not been smooth. My Comcast connection has been operating in “fits and starts.” Is that the right cliché? I can never nail those. One minute I’m typing away, churning out the words, then “poof,” I get kicked off the internet.

Lately I’ve been running between my laptop upstairs, and the household computer down here in the “bowels of the earth.” You’d think the exercise up and down stairs would’ve lost me a few pounds. But no luck, with the holidays comfortably ensconced upon me, there’s no let up in shoveling tasty morsels into my eager mouth throughout the day. Frustration only increases the number of times, and the portion sizes.

I’m writing to forewarn you about the regularity with which my posts may appear. I’m still here, but most of the time I seem to be blogging in isolation, that is until Comcast gets me back out into cyberspace. I do plan to call them today, and ask if there might be a problem. I wonder how many buttons I’ll have to press to get through their programmed customer service menu, to actually ask my question? I just wish the darned computer would work without any hitches. At times like this is when I feel like flinging it through the nearest window.

The other item I wanted to mention is the modification in my blog’s title. For regular readers who know that my site was known as “Hugmamma’s Attention to Detail,” you might have wondered “Whaaas up?” My lovely daughter and I put our pretty, little heads together is “whaaa happened.”

Maintaining a blog is an ongoing challenge, especially if I want to continue attracting readers. All bloggers face this dilemma. While remaining true to its core message, I must tweak my site every now and then, until it finally evolves into a product with which I’m fully satisfied.  I’m not there yet. Much of it is to do with my limited computer skills, like uploading photos and videos. Yes, I can learn; but no, I haven’t the patience. I simply want to write. So as soon as I established the basic platform from which to launch my passion, I stopped wanting to learn. And so it’s my fault that all the “neat stuff” still eludes me.

While I do congratulate myself for coming this far in 4 short months, I’m itching to go farther. Long story short, I felt that the previous title of my blog was not helping to get my “voice” further out into the internet community. The title needed words which were more likely to be “clicked on.” But I didn’t think too hard upon the subject, only mentioning it to my daughter in passing.

As if waving a magic wand, my daughter immediately proclaimed that the title of my blog should be “Hugmamma’s Mind, Body and Soul.” She explained, very eloquently, that my posts already fell under these 3 categories. Pet topics like Alzheimer’s and bananagrams involve the mind; food, and all its subcategories, as well as alternative health practices involve the body; and my travel commentaries and philosophical ramblings are “food” for the soul.

Like me, “Hugmamma’s Mind, Body and Soul,” continues to evolve. I hope you’ll stay with me as I continue sharing my thoughts and feelings about the minutiae of every day life, mine…and hopefully, yours. 

huge hugs as we head toward 2011, when we’ll all bloom…hugmamma.