computer “catfish”

English: Photo of Notre Dame linebacker Manti ...

English: Photo of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o taken in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Media coverage of the Manti Te’o brouhaha continues to dominate the news. It’s up there with President Obama’s cabinet appointments, the resurgence of the Egyptian uprising against the government, and Apple’s tumble from atop Wall Street’s pyramid.

I cringe whenever the pundits recycle the Notre Dame star football player’s romance with a fictitious, Internet girlfriend.

Being from another time, another generation, it’s difficult to comprehend a serious, romantic relationship where the parties have never met in person, let alone embrace one another.

Call me old-fashioned.

The Dating Game

The Dating Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just as I’d prefer to try something on for size before buying it, I’d like to spend some time with a guy before taking him home to meet the folks.

My husband and I dated for 3 years before we got engaged. Early on in our relationship, I broke off with him. For a week I vacillated between committing or quitting. I’m sure I drove him crazy, calling every day to explain my dilemma. Even as my best friend, he couldn’t counsel me as to what I should do.

Obviously, I stayed. Four decades later we’re still in love…and still best friends.

Computer dating can work. My daughter’s friend is a prime example. She struck gold on the first try. Her eharmony match is now her husband.

On the flip side, there’s catfishing. 

A malicious by product of the Internet, catfishing draws an unwary user into an intricately created web of deception. A mountain of lies ensures the victim’s entrapment. But like a house built of cards, the inevitable happens…it all comes tumbling down.

English: Native Hawaiian schoolchildren around...

English: Native Hawaiian schoolchildren around 1900. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being a native Hawaiian, I can’t help but wonder if native folks are more susceptible to being bushwhacked? Are we so gullible as to let others usurp our land…our hearts?

…manti te’o…in love with a computerized woman…daft? or dumb?

………hugmamma.

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what price…fame?

I’ve a love-hate relationship with the Internet.

I realize its many benefits to the information age, as well as social networking. But just as the opening of the proverbial Pandora’s Box unleashed the bad with the good, so too has the Internet. 

(Photo credit to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora’s_box )

Of course determining what’s bad, and what’s good for that matter, is subjective. Bad to me might be good to you, and vice versa.

Two recent incidents have prompted me to script this, post-haste. The book authored by a retired Navy Seal detailing his shooting  of Osama bin Laden, and the You Tube video by an American-Israeli, that evidently incited the mob protest in Libya in which U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed.

Matt Bissonnette, aka Mark Owen, authored No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy Seal. According to an article by The Huffington Post

Little more than a day after killing bin Laden, Owen found himself driving home in Virginia Beach, Va. His disorientation was acute. He pulled into a Taco Bell drive-thru and ordered two crispy tacos, a bean burrito and a Pepsi. The reality of the history he had helped create began to sink in.

“This was pretty cool. It was the kind of mission I’d read about in Alaska as a kid. It was history,” he writes. “But just as quickly as those thoughts crossed my mind, I forced them out. The second you stop and believe your own hype, you’ve lost.”

Owen says he just wanted some quiet. And in telling his story, all of it, it seems clear he got it.

The Internet has given Bissonnette access to millions and millions more people  than might have read his book, had it been relegated to bookshelves for much fewer to read…back in the good ‘ole days.

Sam Bacile, a 56-year-old California real-estate developer, created a YouTube video defaming the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to The Huffington Post…

The protests were sparked by an obscure, two-hour movie titled “Innocence of Muslims,” which came to attention in Egypt after its trailer was dubbed into Arabic and posted on California real estate developer, said he wrote, produced and directed the movie.

Bacile told The Associated Press he was an Israeli Jew and an American citizen.

Israeli officials said Wednesday they had not heard of Bacile and there was no record of him being a citizen. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to share personal information with the media.

Bacile said he had not anticipated such a furious reaction. Speaking by phone from an undisclosed location, Bacile, who went into hiding Tuesday, remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that he intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.

Bacile said he believes the movie will help his native land by exposing Islam’s flaws to the world. “Islam is a cancer, period,” he repeatedly said in a solemn, accented tone.

Israel, however, sought to distance itself from Bacile.

“It’s obvious we’ll have to be vigilant. Anything he did or said has nothing to do whatsoever with Israel. He may claim what he wants. This was not done with or for or through Israel.” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said on Wednesday.

Granted, both Bissonnette and Bacile are entitled to speak their minds. I only wonder if they are prepared for the consequences which may, or may not, personally befall them, and perhaps those about whom they care, as a result of having aired their thoughts.

Do they realize that Islamic terrorists will go to any extreme, even suicide, to avenge themselves against their enemies?

The world might have been ensconced in a bubble during the Victorian Age, but we’ve come a long, long way since. What remains, however, might still be the age-old adage…”an eye for an eye.”

Maybe my blogger friend earthriderjudy has the right idea after all…

…speak no evil…hear no evil…say no evil…

………hugmamma.

(Photo credit to  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_wise_monkeys )

housekeeping…don’t put off til tomorrow…

While I’m in the neighborhood of stuff to do with my laptop, the internet, and specifically Word Press, I thought I’d mention a couple of things.

Until just yesterday I’d been having blogging withdrawal, partially owing to the fact that my site, hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul, looked somehow different. I don’t mean what you the reader can see, but what I see while writing my posts. Or rather, what I wasn’t seeing anymore.

Having established in my previous post that I’m an “old dog learning new tricks,” or at least trying, when something, however subtle, changes…I’m flummoxed.

I’ll continue doing what I always do, for some time in fact, all the while feeling like there’s a mosquito buzzing around which I tend not to silence. Too busy. Can’t take the time. Maybe it’ll revert back…on its own.

Perhaps all the faldarall with not being able to download pictures from my camera finally got me thinking about the subtle, but disturbing, difference in the writing of my posts.

I’d asked Word Press Support about my concerns earlier. In fact I inquired a few times. Responses came quickly, always asking me to take some kind of picture so that they’d know exactly what I meant.

You must know me by now. I hadn’t a clue as to what they were asking me to do. So I gave up…and moved on.

What was no longer visible to me were the statistics to do with visitors to my blog, the list of my subscribers, or the pictures offered for my use by Zemanta. While none were essential to my blogging, they definitely enhanced the environment in which I did my writing. Like having “all my ducks in a row” before I started the process.

Some of you may already be smiling, knowing what I’m about to say. And you’re correct if you guessed that I’d not heeded the warning from Word Press to update my search engine status.

Of course I’d asked my husband every time the message blinked across my laptop screen. Since he has no clue about Word Press, he told me to ignore the icon. So like the dutiful wife that I am, I did.

Well, Word Press knew what they were saying.

Yesterday my husband finally agreed to help me upgrade my search engine status after I read another blogger’s comment elsewhere in the Word Press community. I wasn’t the only one having issues.

Logo used from the start of the Chrome project...

Logo used from the start of the Chrome project until March 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Upon the excellent recommendation of that fellow blogger I am now using the Google Chrome internet search engine. As promised, the visuals are far superior to what I’d experienced with EI, Internet Explorer. 

And as the lyrics  to the song go…I can see clearly now… 

The end result of all this being…I can once again view the statistics of visitors to hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul, as well as Zemanta’s pictorial offerings, and best of all…the subscribers for whom I am deeply grateful. I thought I’d never again know who you are.

Too many to list…

…heartfelt thanks…to each and every one of you…

………hugmamma.  (The only thing I still have to figure out is how to do “smiley faces” again. Any suggestions?)

balancing…life

An advertisement for a pneumatic vacuum cleaner

Image via Wikipedia

Readers of hurmamma’s mind, body, and soul have probably noticed that my keyboard’s been silent for awhile. I’d chores that needed doing which I’d put aside for far too long. So I pushed back from my laptop, and “switched hats.” I donned my housekeeper’s apron and wrapped my fingers around the vacuum cleaner handle instead.

Transitioning from one task, blogging, to another, which includes everything else, isn’t easy for me. As mentioned in task, reward…task, reward, https://hugmamma.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/task-reward-task-reward/blogging is addictive. I’d rather be writing than doing almost anything else. Once I’m in the groove, I find it difficult to extricate myself from the routine. I’m pretty certain most writers feel the same way.

However when papers accumulate on table tops and in drawers, and items for return remain on the dining room chair for weeks, and dusting has been put off for months, and toilets beckon to be scrubbed, I concluded the writer in me needed to go on hiatus. Getting my physical environment in order is essential to maintaining my mental equilibirum. That’s how I’ve always been. My daughter’s inherited that trait from me, which I think is fortunate. She agrees.

Balancing the various aspects of one’s life is good for optimum de-stressing. Having too many pile-ups, both physical and mental, can challenge anybody’s sanity.  Prioritizing tasks and accomplishing them without playing the blame game with oneself, is probably the healthiest way to proceed. Even if only a few are completed, that’s more than were done yesterday.

Cover of "I'd Rather Be Writing"

Cover of I'd Rather Be Writing

It may be that I wrote this post to myself as a kind of a rationale as to why I’d stopped writing. But perhaps I also sought to learn if I still had a passion for it. It seems I do. But with other “pots still simmering,” I may not return to blogging as voraciously as I once had. Only time will tell. However it isn’t just a matter of time, and effort, it’s also a question of reality vs. the Internet. I’ll write more of my concerns in that respect in a followup post. All I’ll say for now is that it has to do in part with…

abc’s 20/20 “the sixth sense”…and its revelations several nights ago that were hair raising…to say the least………hugmamma.

facebook…for teens…and their parents

An Issue of USA WEEKEND. The top blank bar fea...

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The following article ran in USA Weekend 8/5-7/11 and was written by Gregory Connolly. I thought it was important enough to post it on my blog in case any readers missed it the first time. The internet is a dominant force in our youngsters lives, Facebook being our stiffest competition for their time and attention. And then there’s the ever-present concern for safety and security, things against which our offspring seem to think they are impregnable. For those already in sync with their children’s internet activity, this should only confirm what you already know.

Your kids and FACEBOOK
What parents need to know

Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2005

Image via Wikipedia

IT SEEMS AS IF every kid has his or her own Facebook page–teens spend two to for hours a day online, research has found–and parents often feel, at best, shut out and, at worst, worried. Here are things parents should consider:
     DO talk. It may sound simplistic, but experts say regular talks help. Ask your teenager over dinner what he does online.
     DO explain some basics. Young people should never share their passwords, post anything that could damage their reputation or someone else’s (such as anything they wouldn’t want a parent, teacher or admissions officer to see), or accept “friend” requests from people they don’t know. (Note to parents: Kids must be at least 13 to create a Facebook profile.)
     DON’T be judgmental. Be open-minded and don’t criticize.
     DON’T be a “friend.” It can be more productive to talk to your teen instead of trying to “friend” him or her.
     DO learn Internet lingo. Web-speak is full of acronyms parents can learn by visiting websites such as commonsensemedia.org.

If you and your teen are like my daughter and me, we’re hardly on Facebook…

The Facebook Man. Facebook is celebrating its ...

Image via Wikipedia

…no time………hugmamma.

daily post challenge #220: why do i blog anonymously?

That’s a long story. The short version is…security, old-age, and camera-shy.

I began this blog because I wanted an outlet for my writing, and because I was tired of being lumped with the rest of America when news pundits proclaimed first-hand knowledge of how Americans felt, about everything. Who died and made them Rupert Murdock? But for a baby-boomer still in the semi-dark about technology, I believed what many my age felt about the internet…a scary place where the bad guys lie in wait to scam me out of my identity, my money, or both.

Cover of

Cover of WordPress For Dummies

As a middle-aged blogger I felt I’d always be operating behind the eight ball. I knew enough to get started, but wending my way through the magic and mystery of WordPress would be a challenge. But I plunged in wholeheartedly with the help of a couple of books, Blogging for Dummies and WordPress for Dummies. I also enrolled in a Blogging 101 class at the local college taught by writer-instructor Cat Rambo. She definitely relieved me of some anxiety, but not completely.

With upwards of 30,000 spams caught by Akismet, there’s a niggling uncertainty that remains about the safety of the Internet. And all I have to do is hear of someone hacking into a system, like what occurred here at WordPress in the not too distant past, and my qualms about exposure return full force.

My user name, hugmamma, was chosen on a whim. One day my daughter and I were reminiscing about a children’s sitcom she use to watch in the 90s. It depicted the lives of a family of dinosaurs in which the baby use to say “Hug the baby!” Laughingly, my daughter and I transformed the phrase into “hugga the mamma.” That, in fact, was my user name on my first blog at blogger.com. I eventually found my way to WordPress and hugmamma. Thereafter I ascribed an even more significant meaning to the name…a loving gesture to my mom’s memory. I use to call her “mama.”

When asked to choose a gravatar, there was no question that I’d not be putting a photo of me out in the blogosphere, again for security reasons, but also because I don’t like how I photograph. As a friend from exercise class explained it some time ago with regard to herself, “When I saw myself in my daughter’s wedding photos, I didn’t look like the me I pictured in my mind.” “How true,” I thought. I too am dumbstruck when I see a different version of me than I imagined when I look at a photo of myself. Only now that I’ve been blogging more than a year, do I feel comfortable releasing my photo likeness. I no longer grimace at the prospect.

Having grown accustom to my gravatar, floating water lilies, which reflects the inner calm I strive to maintain amidst life’s ups and downs, I’m not yet inclined to relinquish it in favor of the real deal.

The Wizard of Oz as pictured in The Wonderful ...

Image via Wikipedia

I can’t say that I’m blogging in total anonymity, since there are images of me sprinkled throughout my posts, with my name having been the topic of one, what’s in a name…someone’s life, is all.  Let’s say that like the hobbit with whom I’ve often compared myself, I step out of my cave now and then. The child in me still likes to play games, I think. Of course if I decide to author a book or some literary piece, I may have to step out from behind the curtain of Oz once and for all. Until then, however, I’m still up to my old tricks of…now you see me…

now you don’t………hugmamma. 😉

comcast’s “secret weapon”

Comcast Center, the headquarters of Comcast - ...

Image via Wikipedia

I can’t say enough about the quality of service extended by Mark Casem of Comcast Corp’s National Customer Operations. In my professional life I had worked several positions in the service sector, first as a store salesperson and department manager, then as a health insurance customer service rep, and then in the airline industry in personnel as benefits supervisor. While the jobs could be tiresome and tedious some days, what job isn’t, the gratitude of those I helped gave me satisfaction. And what remains with me to this day is the desire to make a difference in someone else’s day…for the better. I’m hopeful I’m succeeding, in small part, with hugmamma’s mind, body and soul.

Singapore Airlines flight attendants

Image via Wikipedia

My husband and I both worked in the airline industry, which also requires public service. Airline employees today will agree, especially in the current economy, that their job security is dependent upon great customer service. Of course the range of quality is across the board, running the gamut from heavenly, like Singapore Airlines, to almost nonexistent in some of the larger carriers. My personal preference is Southwest who’s somewhere in the middle. But because their air fares are usually favorable, and their boarding procedures are quick, I would rank them a little higher. As a result I’ve not traveled on Delta or American in many years, and I can’t remember when I last flew United. Customer service is as important a consideration for me, as are prices and product. Jerk me around long enough and I will go elsewhere. Not a threat, just a fact.

I meet a lot of great people who service the public in restaurants, retail shops, banks, medical establishments, and other businesses, but a gem like Mark Casem is the proverbial “needle in a haystack.” But once found, he remains on hand, desiring to serve “above and beyond.” Lucky Comcast. Lucky me.

One Response to and the award goes to…

  1. ComcastMark says:

    Hello Hugmamma! I am happy to come across your blog again! I am glad to know this was addressed with the help of Mike. Mike Cardone is on of my colleagues (he works the later shift after I leave).

    I will share your daughter’s experience again to my contacts to make sure that they are all addressed and resolved. I am sorry that your daughter’s request was not accommodated the first time she called. I agree with you, (we) should have tried harder in meeting your daughter’s request.

    As always, we are here to help if you need more help in the future.

    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations
    We_can_help@cable.comcast.com

guardian angels do exist…we just have to look for them…in each other…hugmamma. 😉

The New Guardian Angels

Image by ckaiserca via Flickr

 

 

new york cynicism

New York City

Image by kaysha via Flickr

At the risk of being called a cynic by my husband, and you, I must confess to being one. Can I at least blame it on having lived and worked in NYC for more than a decade?

Just before he went to bed, I spoke with my husband about my experience with Twitter today. Half asleep since it was almost midnight, I expected his eyes to grow bigger by the minute as my tale unfolded. Instead, tiny wrinkles formed at the corners of his eyes. I’m sure he delighted in telling me that I’d made the mistake, and that the brouhaha of which I posted earlier was another one of my lapses into New York cynicism.

I’d forgotten that I’d opened my Twitter account using my husband’s email address. Why, I don’t recall and neither could he. No wonder my email address and password didn’t work. Duh?!? So there! I admit to my egregious mistake, and may Twitter and Helah Chester @helahcobtendy forgive my trespasses. Mea culpa! Mea culpa!

Thank goodness my husband and I have funny bones. We had a good laugh, albeit at my expense.

New York City

Image by kaysha via Flickr

…you can stop laughing now…hugmamma. 

and the award goes to…

Comcast Corporate Customer Service!!! Yessir, they’ve done it again. Just as I’d done months ago (check my winter month archives), I sent an email off to my buddy Mark Casem at we_can_help@Comcast.com, this time asking for information regarding my daughter’s cable service. She was under the impression that because she was moving from one apartment to another, that there might be a promotion offering a discount of some sort. I wasn’t so certain. So she called her local Comcast, first as a current customer, and then, upon my husband’s advice, as a prospective one. In both cases, my daughter was treated as though she were engaged in the sidewalk scam, the shell game.” The guy shows you a pebble and directs you to watch it as he moves it from under one cup, to another, then another. After doing this a few times, the game ends with you selecting the  cup under which the pebble finally came to rest. Our family’s not the type to engage in mind games. We prefer to deal truthfully. Of course there are times when you’ve got to strategize. That’s code for confrontation…without being confrontational. Not my cup of tea. But hey! That’s life. If we have to…then bring it on.

Unable to decide whether she should simply transfer at the same rate she’d been paying, or disconnecting and trying for a better rate, my daughter pondered her options. With the clock ticking towards 6/28, tomorrow, when Comcast was scheduled to cut off her service, I told her I’d write headquarters to see if they were aware of anything that might help persuade my daughter one way or the other. My mantra continues to be “It never hurts to ask. All they can do is say no. It’s nothing personal, after all they don’t know me from Eve.” Of course I may not like their answer, but I can always opt out and go elsewhere. Not easy, for sure. But again, that’s life.

Mark Casem didn’t reply to my email, but a Michael Cardone did. He asked me to forward my daughter’s account number (telephone number) and her contact number, which I did. The next day my daughter received a confusing voice mail. Because I’d been one digit off in her account number, Comcast headquarters asked the local Comcast to call a Mr. Collins about his query. Of course my daughter felt the call had been misdirected, but when another voice mail was left, she decided to call the local rep back. 

Customer Service

Image by RW PhotoBug via Flickr

Happily, my daughter indicated the Comcast rep couldn’t have been nicer, and offered my daughter the same deal she received when she moved to her old apartment 4 1/2 years ago, $99/month for all three services, phone, internet and TV, for an entire year!!! Normally the package costs $160 monthly. Satisfied, my daughter decided to take the offer.

It’s been my experience that local Comcast stations aren’t as diligent about customer service as the corporate office. I suppose as with any operation, the further afield one gets from headquarters, the less “corporate” the mentality. Rules have a way of becoming more localized, perhaps to suit the surrounding population. Dealings with our local rep here are a whole lot better than when I lived with my daughter for a couple of years in Atlanta. Service there was “hit or miss.” My feeling now is if I can’t beat them at their own game, I’ll just call out the big guns…Comcast Corporate Customer Service.   

I will always be grateful for having lived and worked in NYC. I learned to speak up rather than always hold my tongue; try very hard not to take things personally; and celebrate the small things… for therein lie our biggest accomplishments. I think my daughter’s becoming New York savvy. 

Comcast Building

Image via Wikipedia

…another win…for david and his slingshot…hugmamma. 

 

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...

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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 - ...

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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. 

new age billionaires…how so?

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google...

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I’m clueless as to how these young whippersnappers dream up these seemingly intangible internet schemes that make them overnight billionaires! How do they do it? Have they significantly huge brains, the machinations of which normal folks like us can’t fathom? Of course you know of whom I speak…Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Facebook‘s Mark Zuckerberg, and Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page. But then there are the foot soldiers. You know the littler men who make inroads into lesser, but no less lucrative, territories. One that comes to mind is Bob Parsons, Ceo and founder of Godaddy.com.

Many of you have probably not heard of the man. Well I’d kind of heard of his “goose that laid the golden egg,” godaddy.com. Where I can’t remember, which is usually the case with me. I’ve so much minutiae spilling out of my mental vault. Perhaps it was on Aol.com. The jist of the story was that a couple was suing godaddy.com for the return of their website’s domain name. Having decided at one point to cease working at their business, which if I remember correctly was in home furnishings, their website’s name hung out in Limbo. It seems godaddy.com came along and swooped it up, adding it to their ever-growing inventory of domain names for sale. What’s the point you ask? What’s in a domain name?

It seems domain names are like the goose of golden egg fame. The traffic that has been generated during the course of the domain’s existence can be like money in the bank for someone enterprising enough to cash in on it. Whatever the source of my information, according to it, godaddy.com’s Bob Parsons was the entrepeneur with the brainiac idea. Voile! The man is rich, rich, rich. Bob Parsons® 16 Rules Poster

Why do I care about such things? Because I just made WordPress.com richer by buying into its “domain for sale” gimmick. To the tune of $17 a year, and another $8 to keep my personal information private, I now own hugmamma.com. In the world of internet space I’ve just bought my own little planet. I should say I’ve leased my own little planet, since I have to keep up the annual payments. No other internet-gallactic planet can have my domain name. Big deal, you say? You’re right. I’ve yet to see what the big deal is all about. 

As far as I can surmise the big deal is that the traffic I’ve generated, and will continue to generate, cannot be stolen by would-be robbers. Except that there’s a whole bunch of other ways one can configure hugmamma, although mine is the most common. My husband thinks I got it cheap. Cheap to me is free. Who sells the internet? It’s mind-boggling! Blows me away to think the unseen can be bought and sold like tangible, manufactured goods. Boy, am I a dinosaur from prehistoric times! But you know someone actually bought a domain name from godaddy.com for $60,000? Evidently there are those who attach themselves to certain names, like a favorite stuffed animal or something. If someone wants to buy hugmamma.com, come see me, I’ll sell it to you for half the price. 

…we’ll just have to see what that price is…hmmm…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!!!

tenant must pay for bed bug treatment…???

Adult bed bug, Cimex lectularius

Image via Wikipedia

You read correctly. In the continuing struggle to rid her apartment of bed bugs my daughter was advised that of the $600 charged by All America Pest Control, she had to pay $400, the apartment management would pay $200. That was the proverbial “last straw” as far as we were concerned.

A cat at the Seattle Animal Shelter

Image via Wikipedia

Trying to carry on with her life as best she could, my daughter attended the final performances of her ballet company, cheering on her fellow dancers from the wings. In addition to that she partook of their annual choreographic project, WIP (Works in Progress), in which she choreographed a solo upon one of the trainees. My daughter also helped with administrative details like marketing the show, coordinating photo sessions with the dancers involved, distributing advertising fliers, and making contact with the animal shelter for whom donations were being requested as entrance fee for the show. All this while battling bedbugs and sleeping with one eye open, or not going home to sleep at all. Oh yes, she still had use of only one hand. Luckily, she’s left-handed so she could still drive, and write, and eat, and bathe and dress herself, however awkwardly. Within days of honoring her final commitments, my daughter came home for some much needed R and R.

Having seen to it that All America Pest Control treated her furnishings first, albeit minimally, my daughter approved our emailing the apartment complex‘s assistant manager detailing our disdain for how the bedbug situation had been handled. To be told by her that there was no plan in place to combat the critters once discovered, that our daughter’s case was the first, was unbelievable. The problem with bedbugs had been covered by local and national broadcasts beginning a year ago. That management didn’t take preliminary steps to deal with them since infestations were being reported to occur weekly, if not daily, in hotels and other public places seemed irresponsible. A worst case, best case scenario should’ve been worked out with Orkin, rather than subjecting my daughter to being the test case, the guinea pig. But matters went from bad to worse when my daughter was told that bed bugs weren’t covered by Orkin’s treatment plan, that they were lumped in with “general insects” for which there was no coverage. And so my daughter was being charged for treatment decided upon by management, which was less than satisfactory when compared with what Orkin’s rep said her company would’ve done. And never mind that my daughtered’d already spent almost $300 in following Orkin’s instructions.

As fate would have it, our family had already decided to move my daughter into a smaller, one-bedroom apartment. Of course we were prepared to honor her lease at the old one which didn’t expire until the end of July. But with the bedbug incident occurring the beginning of May, and my daughter not occupying the premises because of the bugs, we requested the lease be terminated the end of June. We felt the situation had been mishandled from the start: no formal treatment plan in place, allowing the Orkin rep to speak for the apartment complex, and then not following through with what she’d outlined to my daughter as the course of action, effectively telling her she shouldn’t have spent the several hundred dollars she did in compliance. We also asked that management pay for treatment because of their failure to point out that erradicating bedbugs would be my daughter’s responsibility, at the time she signed the lease.

What recourse did we have if the apartment’s management didn’t honor our requests? Social media, of course. While I explained in our email that we were just seeking recompense for the wrong done my daughter and no more, I went on to say that if she was not recused from her lease a month early and if she had to pay for treatment, we would have no choice but to broadcast the injustice to the world via the internet, and consumer advocates on TV. Thankfully the outcome was predictable, but only because the regional manager realized their mistake in not having a management rep present when the Orkin woman met with my daughter. It became a case of “she said – she said.” As it turns out, Orkin’s rep denied her entire conversation with my daughter, giving a signed affidavit that she lied about everything. Can you imagine?!? Why she would put herself through hell moving everything into storage, first having to find and rent a unit at the last minute, buy and load up huge plastic bins into her car with a broken hand in a cast, and sleep on her couch, and then on an air mattress is beyond comprehension, except for the fact that she was obviously complying with the advice of an expert in erradicating bedbugs, the Orkin rep! Did I want to nail that woman’s hide to the wall? You betcha! It’s a good thing I live 3,000 miles away.

In her email response the regional manager of the apartment complex apologized profusely for the distress my daughter experienced, but faulted her with not speaking up about it earlier. My email reply explained that my daughter handled the situation in a very grown up, rational manner. It wasn’t until the treatment went from happening 3 days after her conversation with Orkin’s rep, to 2 weeks later, that my daughter became anxious. Who wouldn’t in an apartment completely torn apart, with furnishings in and out of storage, having to board her cat at the vet’s in anticipation of the bedbug treatment (costing another $200 because of the delay), sleeping on the couch and then an air mattress and on friends’ couches, all with a broken hand?!?

Having put all our family’s frustrations into writing was very therapeutic. And it got us what we asked for as a result. The regional manager bore the complete burden of fault since management didn’t accompany Orkin’s rep in her visit with my daughter. In compensation, she bore no responsibility for payment for the bedbug treatment; her account was credited with $750; and she was allowed to exit her lease whenever she chose. In response to the regional manager’s generosity, I refrained from publicly denigrating their facility and its management.

My daughter was able to secure her new apartment on May 3rd, a month earlier than originally intended. And she was allowed out of her lease on the old apartment, without penalty, and compensated for her out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the treatment of the bedbugs. Lessons learned? Before signing on the dotted line, ask if bedbug treatment is included in lease. Make sure someone from management is present when advised how to proceed by a pest control rep. Ask questions, register complaints, and seek retribution if warranted. But always remember…you get more with honey, than you do with vinegar. But if you don’t succeed, get out your cannons…and blast away!!!

One foot shown en pointe.

Image via Wikipedia

the end? no way…the fun (ha!)only begins as the “saga of the bedbugs” continues…so stay tuned for the next episode…hugmamma.  😉 

for letting me “overflow,” huge thanks

It’s been awhile since I’ve reached out to thank faithful readers of hugmamma’s mind, body and soul. Views have surpassed any number I would have imagined possible for me, a 61-year old wannabee writer wanting to give voice to my thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Any blogger will tell you, as any author of books would, that readers are an important part of the equation. I take that back, they’re actually an essential element for any blogger or writer’s success. At least that’s my opinion. Others may feel they do just fine in isolation.

In July I’ll have been blogging a year. If I felt my readers were done with listening to what I say, I might decide to take it down a notch and pursue other avenues for my passion. My WordPress experience has been the best by far, having started on Blogger.com with  no comments to the 35 posts I wrote, after which I was on Oprah.com where I felt well received, and where joining community discussions was easily accomplished. But with her transition to OWN TV, Oprah‘s blog became more like a stepchild. Hence my transition to WordPress.com.

I want to thank all those who have subscribed to my blog, whether by email or rss feed or any other avenue with which I’m technologically unfamiliar. Following are those who I know for sure who subscribe.

The WordPress bloggers include:

frizztext  
OneAngryBytch  
easylifestyles  
littlenavyfish  
dogear6  
carloscollazo06  
Redneckprincess  
Marion Driessen  
Beneath The Tin Foil Hat  
HaleyWhitehall  
sagechronicles  
jeanne  
Jackie Paulson Author  
CMSmith  
literaryescape  
My English Thoughts  
hakea  
Steph  
Northwestgimp  
Keith Kamisugi  
mecwrites25  
fussymissy  
 

I congratulate all of these bloggers who are also following their own voices. Family and friends have also subscribed, but where I once knew who you all were, I no longer seem able to identify you as that capacity seems to have been removed from my blog. But you know who you are, and I thank you all for supporting me all this time…from the bottom of my hearts. The same applies to all, and there are many, who have subscribed by rss feed who are not within the WordPress community. I thank you as well, for wanting to stay connected.

I hope I’ve kept you entertained while I’ve satisfied my need to unload all these words which would otherwise have exploded like magma from a volcano.

mahalo for letting me overflow into your lives…and let’s see where life takes us…hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: heads

venetian masks to glamorize the fronts of…………………………………. our heads.

did i miss mardi gras?……………………………………………………………hugmamma.