Lesson Learned?

I was working on my home computer Monday when my screen turned bright red and froze: this horrible event was accompanied by a flashing message that said my computer had been compromised and that I needed to call the number on the screen; a Microsoft help team would then help save my computer. I called.  A man named “Alex” assured that all would be well, that I just needed to follow a few steps with him.  First I needed to give him control of my computer.  That sounded weird, but then, what do I know, so I did.  MISTAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!  I know that everyone who is reading this is thinking to themselves “What a dummy!”  Me, too.

I thought I was so smart, so savvy in the ways of computers,  internet scams, etc.  But this operation was smooth as silk!  I had been taken before I even knew what had happened.  He showed me passwords and account numbers and had me in tears.  I was absolutely panicked.  He wanted me to buy extra protection for my computer, which he laid out for me in a very systematic manner–for 15 years of protection I need only pay $900.00.  for 10 years, I would pay the low, low price of $800.00, and so on.  As I listened, my red flags finally began to pop up.  “Call your expert!”  which happens to be, lucky for me, my husband.

I told “Alex” that my husband needed to be in on this conversation before I made any decisions about extra internet protection, so he called him!  I couldn’t believe that, actually.  I told Mike to get home as quickly as possible.  When he got here, he quickly deduced the situation, made me aware of my egregious error (no yelling involved, by the way–thank you, Mike), and confronted the thieves.  They ended up hanging up on us!


But here’s the thing: these guys just get more and more sophisticated.  They are good, really good.

I am writing this not to expose my stupidity–which I am doing, I realize–but as a warning to others.  Know thy enemy.  Know their tricks.  Study up on strategies.  I am going to.  They aren’t going to trap me again!

Stay safe out there in Cyber-space, my friends.  The Upside-Down?  Yes, I think so!  (see Stranger Things to get this reference!)


Today is a first for me–I will be “appearing” on a podcast hosted by a local guy in Tacoma, Jeff Richardson.  It is called “Everything is Awesome Podcast”–if you’re interested, check it out.  I don’t know what to expect, so I will post again later today to describe the experience.  It will be fun to talk about my music, maybe sing a few tunes, talk about my forthcoming book, and who knows what else.  Maybe I will make some new friends!  I know podcasts have been around for awhile, but I am just coming around to the concept.  It’s a great way to hear new stories, as well as–such as in the cast of NPR–a great way to gain insight on current events, sort of peeking behind the curtain.  I guess it’s a kind of radio broadcast, yes?

Here is a link to the site if you want to look around and take a listen.  All of the broadcasts are archived, so listen in and discover something new!

P. S.  Just got home from the podcast and it was awesome!  Turns out I taught Jeff at Gig Harbor High School in 1991! How cool is that?  Here we are 25 years later and I’m on his podcast!  The world is certainly an interesting place.  I also met KC, Jeff’s co-host, who set me at ease right away.  We had a great time.  See the selfie below:

podcast crew


Academic writing is fun!

I love to do research.  I love to write.

I also dread it.

I know many others will relate to this contradiction.  I get great personal satisfaction from working on a project and seeing it to completion.  Of course.  But it is also a pain in my side, an itch I can’t scratch, and a flat out compulsion.  Yikes.

When I found out about Academia.edu I was excited to begin posting my academic papers, none of which had been published before.  This morning, I went to that site for the first time in a while and noted that many people had downloaded my papers and not only that–many of them had left comments for me as to why they had found my papers useful.  It is not surprising that many of them are students, but I was pleased to see that many of them were from other countries.  That is just the coolest thing.  Here we are, thousands of miles apart, sharing information like we were in the same room, or at least on the same campus.  It is times like these that I love technology!

Here is the link to my Academia.edu page if you are so inclined.  I need to get back to work, or, is that FUN?