What got me a week in Facebook Jail this time?

I got another week in the Griz Wing of the Zuckerberg Detention Center for Free Thinkers.

Why? what heinous content did I dare bring to the table?

well, it was this:

This little toaster it seems, promotes suicide or self harm. At least that it what the small minded staff of the the Zuck police force/prosecutors/jury/judge had to say.

I am kind of curious how one can be harmed by a fictitious character who not only is not plugged in, but seemingly has no cord. How could this tidbit of humor be a danger to the community?

Vape store D-Bag

I had a couple of requests asking for more about the encounter with the Vape Store D-Bag…

I have been vaping full time for about eight years or so. Before that it was just part time while I tried to cut cigarettes.

Besides being experienced with vaping, I make my own juice, so I know what flavor profile I am looking for.

Since my juice was temporarily lost in my luggage, I was a bit stressed as I sought juice to hold me over. There was a vape store seven tenths of a mile form my hotel. Even with the high humidity, it was an easy walk, so I hoofed it to the store. For most of my time in the store, I was the only client.

Paraphrasing as best as I can…

Me: My juice was lost by the airlines last night and I am out, so I need to find a bottle to hold me over for a day or two. I am looking for a bottle of 50/50 pg/vg with 12mg nicotine and menthol. The other flavors with it, I could work with.

D-Bag’s response: (all in a put out and better than I tone) we don’t have any 50/50.

Me: Well, what do you have?

DB: 70/30

Me: Beggars can’t be choosers…

DB: and we don’t have anything as high at 12mg

Me: Really, that is it? (keeping in mind, at home all the shops keep 0-12mg and some 18mg and higher.

DB: yeah, 0mg, 3mg, and some 6mg.

ME: Wow, well okay. At least it is something. What do you have in menthol?

DB: well, we have our flavors in a book over there. [points to a three ring binder at the other end of the counter] you will have to find what you want in there. [still put out].

Me: okay… let me see what I can find.

So as I fumble around their flavor selections, that seem to be like they wrote names on slips of paper, threw them on the sidewalk, hit them with a leaf blower for the neighborhood kids to retrieve, and wrote down as they returned. My clue to the flavor being menthol was their use of the word “ice”. At this point I am getting a bit annoyed, and not being local, nor able to go anywhere else without grabbing a Lyft/Uber. I bit my tongue and maintained MY customer service face and got my bottle and left.

I did have a nice chat with a homeless woman out front of the shop. Her son had recently died and he worked in that store. She shared a very sad story and I wished her well and headed back to the hotel.

Two or three days later one of my batteries failed. I knew that he would have them, but I tried every likely shop along the way in hopes of finding ANYONE else to give my money to. I did find a shop about two blocks short of D-bags shop. I quite happily gave him my 28 bucks or so, thankful that I did not have to see DB again.

Customer service is an important skill. Practice it, use it all the time to keep those skills sharp. I have shops near home that I will never enter again because they had a bad attitude, or tried to talk down to me, or about my vape gear.

They do not realize that I am a Google Guide until I excoriate them in my reviews. I have had one vendor reach out and make an issue right. After which I promptly amended my review. I do not take my review back, as it WAS my experience. I do feel that it is important to show that vendors will make efforts, but I am not sweeping crap under the rug like it didn’t happen.

Oh the trip that I had: An American Horror Story

So, there was a rant that I had mentioned being forthcoming.
Many know that I was traveling for a class dealing with my job.
The class was in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
While the training was by firehose (technical boot camp) it was quite enlightening.
To get there, obviously I flew.
Now I had scheduled my flights to let me arrive with a few hours to get a bite to eat, and unwind, and perhaps get some walking in before bed to help prepare my mind for the mental onslaught that I had expected the next morning.
My alarm clock went off at 0245 so that I could wake and get my CPAP, meds and toiletries ready for the flight. I had a 0545 flight on American.
I got to the airport, found a fair parking spot in the long term parking area. Lugged my stuff to the shuttle stop and on in to check in. Everything was going well, too well…
After boarding my flight and putting up with the always too slow shuffle down the aisle as if nobody has EVER flown before or knew how to put their stuff up (and some had too much stuff) so that it was stowed safely.
I get to my seat and settle in for the early flight, perhaps I might get to sleep (I do not often sleep on a commercial airline, private plane, sure).
We get an announcement that the pilot needs to run the engines for a five minute test. meh, okay whatever. The turbines start to whine up and the cabin fills with the distinct and oh so glorious aroma of… jet fuel. the engines spin back down and we are asked to disembark as there was a leaky fuel line and the plane needed maintenance. (No kidding? Au de petrol isn’t the latest fashion scent?!?)
I get the alert on my phone, the flight has been delayed until 10am. well crap! There goes my post flight rest time. Since it is such a pain in the ass for me to get through security, I am not heading outside of the security zone. I settle in by another boarding desk to wait it out.

After about 30 minutes, an announcement goes over the speaker (there were many announcements, flights being delayed/cancelled all over the eastern seaboard as air traffic control centers were having staffing issues and there was quite a few storms along the way), the flight to Dallas/Fort Worth has been cancelled. Well, better to be safe… than dead. Now I am in a prime position, the desk I was sitting next to became a re-booking desk. I tend to spot opportunities to keep my ass out of a sling. I step up and am the third customer in line.

They book me on a flight with Alaskan Airlines. That’s okay, I have never flow with them before. Nice craft, kind staff and while I would have liked more space, this is a modern airline so, no more room than needed. My flight takes me to DC National (I will not call it by it’s proper name as that bastard fired all of the air traffic controllers). Cool! I may get to see some sights that I have not seen in 30 years.

Due to my being on the wrong side of the plane and jammed in the middle seat, I could only get a view of the Washington Monument and the top of the Jefferson Memorial. That’s okay, it brings back memories and those are more vivid than the view of the moment.

A full plane takes just as long to get the hell off as it does to get on. In my case, I was supposed to have 34/38 minutes of layover, so I needed to hustle to get to the next hop. Oh due to the rough ride, the seat belt sign was on for most of the flight, and my bladder was really wanting my attention. Quick stop along the way, then back to my trek all the way around the airport to my flight. Now, here is the path that I covered in short order (follow the red line):

When I get to the desk, they have my boarding pass on their desk. It seems that I almost missed my flight. Shit!!! That was close. I am glad that I am not in a wheel chair or on a cane or I would not have made it. Since the flight was booked in a big rush, I guess I am just lucky to have gotten out of Portland.

Now I am on an American Airlines narrow bodied jet, BUT since I am sitting on the wing, I had more leg room than I knew what to do with. Hey, my seat won’t recline. darn, two flights in a row with that issue. That’s okay, I am 55 minutes from Norfolk and I can get out and breath.

Norfolk is a small airport, it is an international airport, but small. I easily make my way to the baggage claim area and take my position at the carrousel. The bell rings and bad start flowing. It is that anxious moment when you wait to see if it is your laundry that comes spitting out after having had your bag destroyed in the process. There was a child’s doll making laps around the belt in a lonely container, but not my bag. All bags had come out but mine. welllllll shit. It seems that the transfer was too fast for my bag to catch up. I got to meat a very kind lady who took my lost luggage claim. I wandered outside and found a cab to take me to my hotel. Ah, safely checked in! All of this time, I was in communication with a co-worker who had hist flight cancelled as he was driving to the airport. He was struggling with his American flights also. He got in at 0230-0430 something very early.

At some point, it occurred to me that my vape juice was all checked into my bag as I thought the container was too large that I could not carry it on. Now it is too late to get more and my tank is running out. In the morning, I found a shop .7 miles up the road that had juice. I just need a small bottle to get me through until my bag arrives. (skipping the tale of the d-bag at the vape shop)

Back to class and do my first day of boot camp. my bag arrives and I take it to my room. all is right with the world again.

I have a 5.5 day boot camp, learning TONS of information and even breaking a near lifelong hatred for Apple products.

Time to head to the airport. I grab a cab and we make our way. Getting checked in for my flight was a breeze, hardly anyone was there. I decided to grab a bite to eat (I normally don’t before a flight) and kill time outside until I have to face TSA and the manual processing I need to do.

I got a decent seat on the aisle near the tail. Oh that will be great to get to the rest room if needed. Yay! It was a short but very bumpy flight to Charlotte, North Carolina. I get off, again after a lengthy wait for people to get their stuff. Just like DC, I make a quick bladder stop and hoof it to the next flight. Nope! The airplane had just backed away form the gate without me. Those bastards!!! They new I was connecting right? wasn’t it in the system that passengers were headed their way? They USED to know that kind of thing. I start stressing hard. I go to the counter with the other eight or so people that were in the same boat. most of the others are military so they get priority treatment which I am all for, I remember being one of those guys trying to travel. Me… I am getting screwed, and without the courtesy of a reach around. The best that they can do is strand me in Seattle with no connecting flights or idea of how I was going to get home. I was starting to lose my cool, and remember all of my years in a customer facing role. I bit my tongue and reassured the agent that my frustration was not with him personally, but I was struggling to be civil. He seemed to understand but was going to turf me to his manager if I resisted accepting this situation any better.

I accepted the ticket, and started to really stress. I headed for the convenience shop across the way for some comfort food. A bottle of chocolate milk, pretzels and hummus, and a king size Resee’s cups. I could hear my phone ringing, and I knew it was my boss, one of the very few whose calls would ring on my phone. He and his partner helped keep me grounded and moving in a positive motion. I had to start moving to the gate to catch my replacement flight. All the while trying to book an additional flight on my own on another carrier to get me home.

My loving wife had offered to drive to Seattle to pick me up in the middle of the night. She is night blind and hates driving in heavy traffic. If you have been to Seattle is is ALL heavy traffic and discourteous drivers. Nope, I love you too much to put you through all of that. I clicked the book flight button… and it just sat there, spinning…. c’mon c’mon C”MON!!! there! I have a booking! get my ass on the plane.

The flight from Charlotte to Seattle was not too bad. I was able to keep in touch with my wife, and co-worker. His flight went through Denver but he was still having struggles of his own.

I land in SeaTac, knowing that I have to move quickly to catch this plane and I had never been inside SeaTac before. Frantically following signs this direction and that. I discovered that SeaTac has trams… cool and unexpected. whew made it before the tram left. A bit of luck in my favor.

I get to the Delta counter and the attendant is busy on a call and another customer was struggling with some detail with her flight. I was not able to figure out their system to get my boarding pass on my phone. stress group two boarding…. stress group three boarding. where the hell is this pass and the attendant is still busy… group 4 boarding. screw it, I bring up my receipt on my phone and approach the gate. she looks it over and hands me my pass. WHEW! I settle in for the 50 minute flight into Portland.

Since I was in the 5th or 6th row of a MUCH smaller craft, getting out was pretty quick after a sight impaired getting got himself and his guide dog off the plane.

Off to the carousel to wait for my bag… nope it did not make the flight either. So this begs the question, if the bags cannot get to the plane directly across the tarmac, how in the hell is a passenger supposed to make it. So the seemingly incompetent bastards lost my luggage both times that they touched it.

Imagine how this story would have come out if I did not take four days to cool off to tell it. Yes, I toned down the language because I know that some that normally do not come to my website may for this tale. (subtle hint, if you have sensitive eyes, do not read my other articles or pages.)

If I can help it, I will never board another American Airlines craft. It is a shame that they are a preferred carrier for my employer.

Data Breaches

We hear about data breaches all the time. It is happening left and right because companies are not willing to put into place the effort that needs to be applied. It costs too much… it eats into the profit that they are so happy to gobble up.

You know what? Fuck them! Oh sure they get bad press, oh my look XYZ got hacked and there goes our data.

What happens to them? not much. They cash in their data breach insurance and pay for the victims to have a year or two of credit protection. Pop-Flippen-Whistle. My data has been stolen a few times that I know of. Thankfully so far, fake identities have not been taken out using the data.

I am a military vet, China stole my shit years ago.

If you want to start applying pressure to these companies, make it hurt a bit.

Let’s say that the victim of the data loss is seeing this for the first time, okay, give them credit protection. If they already have credit protection, then PAY them a fair amount for their a) exposure, b) the vendor’s negligence, and c) the mental anguish that this may cause. Now if there are actual damages incurred say form a fake account being opened, the negligent vendor gets to pay for ALL of it.

I am a cyber security professional, and I take this work seriously. I have been helping people learn cyber security for over a decade.

Companies will not take this stuff seriously until they either they get more than a wrist slap, or people start going to prison. The first step, make it hurt their wallet, bonus, golden parachutes, etc.

Consumer Guilt To Make the Corporations Look Good

Do you get tired of all of the people that you buy form asking you to donate to whatever wonderful charity?

It sure sounds like a great thing, you know… “Would you like to round up to the nearest dollar for XXXX?” While these charities are wonderful and I am happy to give to them here and there.

Here is the rub, you, I , and everyone else that donates are giving what we want/can. The corporation that is collecting the money for the donations gets the credit for the donation. Yes, the charity may know that this is coming form the company’s clients, but the IRS…. they only see that Company X has donated 2.7 million to save the endangered spotted flea population of Antigua.

So we are putting money into the pockets of the company twice. once for our purchase, then again at tax time. We already have companies that do this that are subsidizing their poor payroll practice by not paying a living wage and suggesting that the employees seek food stamps or other forms of aid.

I will accept the guilt of being the bad guy in this equation, I am no longer going to donate in this way. I will make donations directly.

One of my other sites

While this site is my soap box and place for serious discussions or debate, I am developing another site for cyber security education.

If Cybersecurity is an interest for you, I do hope that you will give it a peek. The target audience ranges between consumer level education to those who want to know more about the career path.


Voluntary Lethal Injection

We have far too many people serving lengthy stints in prison. There are also many who have no hope of getting out.

Those within the prison walls, need to be able to opt in for lethal injection.

If a convict completes three counselling sessions with a licensed mental health professional to become eligible. The professional is not really there to determine sanity, but to ensure that the convict is making this choice of their own free will and is mentally fit to make such a decision.

This would allow them to stop being a burden on their families, society, and themselves. This would leave more funding available for those that want it and where it may be more beneficial.

Why not bring back dueling?

Dueling needs to make a come back.

Not just meeting at sunrise or at the spur of the moment on the streets, but a more formal and considered duel.

If two consenting adults, wish to meet at a licensed dueling site when they attest before a state/local official that they are taking this action willingly and without coercion, why not? They could even sign up as an organ donor for any organs that are still viable after the event.

Dueling would require a nominal fee, at least one person needs to act as a dueler’s second, and a safely shielded area for witnesses to observe from.

The dueling fee could be waivable if they consent to allowing the event to be aired on pay per view. The proceeds would be one third to the to the location, and a third each to the estates of the two parties.

Pro Choice Extreme

As the nation once again rips the divide between the two main scams… err parties further apart, the Pro-Choice Anti-Choice fights resume.

Yes, since I do not have a vagina, uterus, ovaries etc. so I am not really in the race, other than to support those that do, to be able to decide for themselves what is right for themselves and their bodies.

My position on choice, is far more extreme than the current debate.

I believe that a person has the right over their body to the extent that they may choose to end their own life at any time that they wish.

If it were legal to do do, they could seek professional assistance when they are facing terminal illnesses or other situations. By having a professional help with this, it would avoid loved ones having to stumble onto gruesome scenes and be horrible traumatized for the remainder of their days. People would not have to fling themselves off of buildings, endangering those below, both physically, or mentally.

Why do we put so much effort into forcing people to continue lives that they do not wish to? Well, money is one factor. Corpses do not generate much money. Sure there is the funeral industry and the crematoriums along with the urn manufacturers etc. Dead bodies do not need pharmaceuticals, or ongoing medical costs, nor are they generating much revenue for the various accounts at the US Treasury.

Let people die, if they wish. Help it be humane and with more dignity.

We already struggle with resources on this planet anyway.

The FAA needs to put the flaps down on the telecom industry

So I was watching the news this morning and seeing a bunch of finger pointing over the 5G roll out.
The airline industry is jumping up and down about the telecom industry and vice versa. What a joke.
What is it all about? In a nut shell the telecoms are rolling out their new 5g equipment. They are lighting up towers on new frequencies and the equipment in the airplanes has a sensitivity to those frequencies.
The aviation industry is up in arms over these frequencies and they do not want to fly the affected aircraft into areas where those towers are sitting. It is for our safety. For those aboard the craft as well as those below.
The telecoms in their normal our shit is more important than yours fashion says that the airlines need to take corrective action as a couple of other countries have done.
Well… who is correct? Whose fault is this? Well, I have a thought… how about there being two parties at fault.
The telecoms bought at auction, frequencies that were too close those used by the aviation equipment. Specifically the radio altimeter. This is a technology that has roots well before 5g. They failed to do their homework. understanding wavelengths and propagation is a pretty big part of their business for them to ignore it. I think that they figured that their wallets were more important than people lives.
Who is the other party I am pinning blame on? The FCC. I have not heard anything about them in this today. Of course I have been pretty busy working, so perhaps I missed that conversation. I was only seeing the two sides pointing at one another. Did they not see the potential for hazardous conditions? Is this the same (politicized) FCC leadership that sold us out to stop net neutrality?
The FAA should do whatever it can to protect their equipment, but in the end, it is the transmitting stations responsibility to play nicely with their neighbors. Their harmful interference needs to be curtailed. The telecom providers need to seek a different range of frequencies to deploy their network on. Oh… the equipment that they bought is not build for different frequencies? Well shit, that sucks then. Lives still do not outweigh dollars in a civilized society. Suck it telecoms find new frequencies. Break out your slide rules and figure it out.
Shame on the FCC for allowing this all to fall into place.

Do you have a different take on this? Fire up a comment and let’s discuss it.