Molting Wings OR What Religion Meant to Me

The halos hang around their necks,

rings of virtue, now chains of impurity.

The solid spheres are limp with discontent

and hang with heavy insecurity.

Hymns sung with joy have undertones of hate.

“HAIL MARY FUll of grace” dissipates to a whisper

as a disgruntles priest shouts a homily of premeditated

thought to a deaf congregation desperate

to listen.  The pews shook after the Bible hit the floor.

A cloud of dust escaped the pages and rose above their heads

while the blank-faced congregation pays attention no more.

The altar boys go home and pray by their beds

as feathers molt from dead angel wings

all is silent while the bell tower rings.


Lend Me A Hand. Or an …. Arm?

It was the kind of bar that I liked going to.  And is probably part of the reason I’m single to this day.   It’s the kind of place people my age would go because it was easy on the wallet.   It was the kind of place the baby boomers and older went because the girls who went there were easy on the eyes.

Or maybe just easy.

Either way, it was an easy kind of evening.

I was dressed in a skirt and going through my fishnets are cool with everything phase; one that lived well past its expiration date, but brought me joy so I went with it.

I’d just started wearing heels… walking everywhere like a velociraptor. (I would continue this fashion faux pas for many years until I learned that I just can’t get the hang of it.  Stop already). After traipsing up to the vinyl swivel seat at the bar, I sat – ordered my classic Jack Daniels & Coke – and sat.

I’m pretty sure something was playing on the jukebox that resembled Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry, followed by Sweet Home Alabama, but that exact detail escapes me.   But at least you get the idea of what kind of place this actually was.

Passing time between cigarettes and juke box selections, I gained more confidence. Call it liquid courage or an internal spark of feisty self-confidence, but I was bored and needed some entertainment. And entertainment that night took on the form of a square-jawed, ball capped man sitting on my right, looking at me sporadically out of the corner of his eye.

Naturally, I bought him a shot and slid it over to him.   Conversation was struck.  The clock struck 1am.  This was my companion for the remainder of the evening.   Or for the next several hours anyway.
I don’t remember much else about him, other than his hair was very short – clean cut almost – his face was freakishly smooth and a foreign change of pace from the scraggle muffins I was used to playing face Olympics with, and he had on white K-Swiss shoes.    OHHHHH , the white K-Swisses.
– sigh—

The next 35 minutes progressed in the pace of a 3 hour date, or a 10 minute phone interview… I can’t really remember.   Things  were getting fuzzy and still are.    We decided to leave, in my car – he didn’t have one.   (This detail, also, seems to be some sort of metaphor for my dating life, or lack thereof).

He was a vet.   Or a discharged military man.  Or whatever you wanna call them nowadays.  He’d been sent home from Iraq with permanent damage to his ear from an IUD that went off unexpectedly.   A fact that we bonded over, as I’m deaf in my right ear.   But that wasn’t the only body quirk we discussed –  or discovered.

Upon arriving at my house, the makeout session was on.   The waffle colored couch, furry, enveloped our bodies as the springs gave way while we laid down to laugh and cuddle in a boozy stupor.  It was leading to more.  It was going to for sure.

We took it to the bedroom …   started to strip…    my shirt was over my head, revealing my chest, when I heard    “STOP!  I have to do something quick”

–sigh —
“Okay”.

What I was really thinking was oh, wow.  This dude came prepared.   And I kinda had respect for him.   I pulled my shirt from over my head so I could see and the streetlight was shining through the window.  Just perfectly displaying what shocked the shit outta me.

An arm.    Laying on my dresser.    With a hook.

Now, I should probably explain.   We were mid-makeout and he wanted to adjust… which involved him removing the Velcro strap that was holding his prosthetic hook-hand arm on over his “good” shoulder.  I couldn’t stop staring at the arm.   It was taunting me while we were making out.   I kept one eye open, wondering how he was going to maneuver my 197 pound body with one arm.  But I figured, hey he’s capable.  He was a soldier.

Eventually, I got bored.   There was no beard.   There was no sex.   There was only an arm, taunting me.   I pretended to fall asleep and he eventually left.

I haven’t worn fishnets since that day.  They tend to lure in men with hooks.


Sticking to my Committments – Or the Day I Decided to Bake

So – I’m not a regular writer by any means – I think we’re all aware of that now. This blog has become some type of hybrid between required postings for school and random thoughts I’ve had over the years. But I felt like today was a day I should note. A day that would be possibly the first of many to come.

I’ve never been a “domestic goddess” so to speak. Household duties have always made me yawn. Learn how to scrub your dishpans using a scouring pad & Dawn? Nope. Use soda can tabs as a way to expand closet space on your hangers? Meh. (Although the older I get the more I think this might be a good idea!) I just never really have had the domestic gene. Cooking I learned at a very early age and LOVE trying new recipes. I’ve become a border line food snob, leaving behind a plain hot dog for apple & chicken smoked sausage. I still buy generic, but that’s just because I’m broke half the time. I’m generally a whiz with mixing random ingredients in my cupboard and creating a tolerable meal for the next few days, but the one thing… the one thing that has always been a thorn in my side (and maybe the deciding factor in a breakup of one relationship) is the fact that I’m terrible at baking.

Not like – Oh-this-lit-on-fire-and-now-my-house-smells-like-smoke-all-the-time – but more like the one time I tried to make thin mint cookies they turned out looking like a dirty chalkey chocolate turd with an Andes mint on top. (seriously, I have pictures).

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But last week I was determined to take my baking to a new level: actually bake on my own without the help from any friends. And I did very successfully! I found a recipe from a great blog, Iowa Girl Eats, for Soft Batch Apple Cider Ginger cookies. They are fabulous AND gluten free! They even turned out well and my co-workers ate them right up. You know if you leave work with an empty plate, you’ve done your job well.

What I learned through this process is that baking takes a lot of time. The entire process for my cookies probably took about 3.5 hours, but 2 of that was chilling the dough. Still… My patience level almost always runs on empty so that was pushing my boundaries. Another thing I learned was when I get determined enough, I can achieve my goals and leave with a finished product that isn’t too shabby.

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Now if I can just remember to apply that determination to many other areas of my life… but that’s another post all together.


The Day the Digital Died – OR My Great Experiment with (at LEAST 24 hours!) of Digital Detox

Ohhhhhhh my silly professor – Karla Carter.  She’s an innovator, that’s for sure.    Good thing I have her for a class this term where we talk about innovation a lot: Emerging Technologies. We were given a short 2.5 week break from classes in this winter term, for the holidays and really whatever else we wanted to do.  Image I used mine to completely disconnect from everything that wasn’t work or watching TV, but part of that was a “digital detox”.

I’m sure some of you have heard the term before.  But for those that haven’t, I highly recommend exploring it.  We were given the rules of “at least 24 to 48 hours”.   SIMPLE!   Or so I thought.     I truly realized exactly how addicted I am to technology and how it can create stress and unnecessary anxiety.  There are so many examples of digital detoxing in the world and even a movement called National Day of Unplugging – a movement to get people to step away from all technology and learn how to get back to basics and the simple things in life.

I am completely behind a movement like this, however, the fact that we have to have a day like this disturbs me.  It means we are too connected.  We are too into feeling connected and have a drive to exist in the world. In my personal opinion, I find this movement has been spawned by the growth of social media, which has also caused the need to always be connected. Image

The Huffington Post has a great article written by Tanya Schevitz called “Missed Connection: Take a Digital Detox”. Schevitz discusses ideas about how connected we are – including interesting stats like 47% of us are addicted to email, 59% check it while in the bathroom (-raises hand – I’M GUILTY!) and 60% check their email while on vacation. After some reflection, I have discovered that I was part of those statistics – that its very hard for me to truly let go and forget my technology.    So I knew this assignment would be a challenge. 

I chose 10am Jan 1 – 10am Jan 2, 2014. That gave me enough time to recover from my New Year’s celebrations, enjoy some football and just relax.    And it actually worked!   The challenging parts were resisting my new phone that I got for Christmas, along with my gadget gear watch.  (Yes, I got the Samsung s4 with watch – and it’s rad, but that’ll be for a different post).  I found myself, during my detox, actually knowing what happened during the football games, instead of updating my feelings on Facebook.    I found myself reading for enjoyment. I found myself giving more attention to my cats – who eventually ran to hide in a chair from overstimulation!  

I did find myself bending the rules a little bit – by choosing which technology I was going to give up.   For me, that was physcially using my iPad, computer or any social media sites.    It was very difficult mostly because, I don’t find myself getting time off work very often and I want to use any vacation or national holiday as a chance to get my digital life in order  – including updating and cleaning up my hard drive.   I literally did have to plan out my day ahead of time to do this detox. 

The next one is coming up on March 7 – 8, 2014 and I plan to attempt it again.   I don’t believe that overlaps with finals, week, but we will see!   Maybe I’ll have to do it the week between terms.   But what I do know –  I will be implementing this rule in my life at some point again soon and it’ll be for longer than just 24 hours.


My First Term as an MIS Grad Student – A Blog Retrospective

Well, this is my last week of my first term of graduate school and my first time back in school in over 8 years. I’d have to say, I think it went pretty well.  And its nice to know that I’m back for a major that I’m passionate about and that will offer a lot of job opportunity in the future.

Throughout the course, we’ve kept a blog about different topics, as you may already know if you’ve been a “loyal” reader and follower of mine. (and if so, to you I say THANK YOU!)  🙂  We were given a list of potential blog sources to read & use for information sources and topics for our own blog posts.  I became and instant fan of Naked Security, as nearly every post I provided in my own blog this term was spawned and inspired from something they wrote about.  I really enjoy their blog because I find it relates to “normal” people well – an audience that is both techie and not so techie.  I did use a few other sources outside of them, but Naked Security definitely dominated as my source provider.

My topics of discussion ranged from iPhone protection to credit card hackers, but it definitely focused mostly around security protection, hacking and how to prevent/protect from those potential attackers.  Through this blog, however, I did learn about social media attacks and new viruses that are causing issues in modern technology.

I do think my blog will provide some type of use to information security professionals or new students, but only on a very basic level.  I have much more to learn and grow from. I have, however, gotten a lot more followers on my blog since I started writing about these topics and have even forged some “digital friendships” through comments and discussion on a few of my posts.  That’s the part I like the most!

To future students who are writing blogs, I would say this:

Don’t limit yourself to one source, but if you do, make sure its a really good one that offers lots of variety.  That’s why I REALLY liked Naked Security.

Do put thought into your posts.  What you’re writing is going on the internet and you never know who will come across it, who you will potentially help in the future or in other classes around the globe and what you will discover about yourself and your potential new career through blogging.

Overall, this was a very fun term long project to do!


iPhone chargers: The new Hackers of 2013?

In my weekly news readings I was scrolling through some stories…  and just like normal, I came across a particularly interesting article on Naked Security. This one might interest a lot of you to read about, especially if you’re an iPhone user.

The article was talking about malicious viruses invading iPhones from using a charger that has a virus installed in it.  Crazy, right?!   Or clever, perhaps, to the hacker minded readers out there!  😉

The “infested” charger is being called “Mactans” – which in laymans terms basically means the charger was custom built with a tiny computer inside of it designed to transmit a virus onto your iPhone. The information on your iPhone can be compromised within seconds and the virus allows it to access your information without any of your security credentials or passwords.

What does Mactans do though?   Well, it basically allows your phone to become a “spying device” of sorts, allowing the hacker to obtain screen captures of banking information, social security numbers, credit card numbers, texts, emails, etc. Basically any private and personal information and business that is conducted via your iPhone.

I am a firm believer in limiting the amount of private information you share on your mobile phone and this story just reaffirms that belief.  What are your thoughts?  Do you conduct private business on your mobile phone?  What safeguards do you have in place to prevent a situation like this? 


Security professionals vs. System Administrators: Is there really a fight?

By now you know, I’m a huge fan of Naked Security’s blog.  I just think its a really simple and easy blog to read, understand and relate to.  They keep up on current topics, relate to younger generations and are usually very topical.  Earlier this week they shared a blog post about security professionals and system administrators and ways to find common ground between the two roles in an organization.

I’d never heard of this issue before and it got me wondering: is there really an issue? Are these two titles ones that will continuously butt heads ?  I guess I never really thought about it, but the list is long for areas that could create conflict.

SysAdmins want to have proper testing for systems; security professionals want passwords that have 8-16 characters!  (which personally annoy me, but I get it!)

The Naked Security post gives great tips of easy ways for these two positions to get along.  I guess, what I’ve learned is this is something to look out for, when I do embark into the InfoSec world.  Especially in larger organizations, this type of “rivalry” could create kinks in the process and the chain of command.