<![CDATA[The Bristlee One - Main Blog]]>Mon, 31 Jul 2017 14:25:52 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Malware Makers, roast in hell]]>Wed, 16 Mar 2016 18:59:52 GMThttp://bristleeone.com/main-blog/malware-makers-roast-in-hell
Today's post was actually going to be a lemon chicken recipe but instead let's talk about malware.  That's right, that insufferable computer virus we all call malware. Why oh why does this seem to be legally allowed to exist? Why would someone write it? Do these companies think that I'm going to say "oh hey, I'm gonna buy their software now?"  Really? Really???  Let me tell you the tale of my weekend and how excruciatingly fun it was.
I have an almost fourteen year old who will admit that he is not computer savvy.  What he will say is that you can find how to do anything by using YouTube.  While I do agree with this statement in general, it is the case that you may not learn to do it right.  You can find millions of tutorials on anything and everything on YouTube.  It has also become my go to when I want to learn how to do something.  What I have learned though is that view count and the correct information do not go hand in hand.  Case in point,  what happened this past weekend.  My son had come to me last weekend telling me he wanted to "mod" his minecraft.  I said, ok let me know when you want to do it and we can walk through it.  Look it up I said, find how we need to go about it I said.  I didn't say to do it without me.  Saturday I had just come in from talking with Mom.  I had been sick the night before and was still feeling like squished road kill. Suddenly I hear "WhYYY?" What is happening........MMMMOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM".  I didn't hesitate but ran to the front room where his computer currently resides.  By the time I got there, at least 15 pop up windows were open and more opening.  Internet exploring was popping opening and closing as it downloaded more apps. First thing I tried to disconnect the internet, it wouldn't let me.  I had to pull the cable out forgetting that wifi exists.  It would not let me disconnect the wifi.  I next moved onto windows defender where it had already taken it over and became an admin of the computer system.  It took me almost 2 hours just to get it to the settings so that I could boot it up in safemode.  Really 2 hours.   During that time the malware was moving all the applications under the protection of the windows defender and therefore inaccessible to deleting.  Five hours later I was still trying to get it under control.  At hour six I had it down to 3 programs that were installed in the Apps "roaming" file that were causing all the problems.  I couldn't go on the internet either as it had blocked chrome and internet explorer.  I gave up for the night.  I should have shut the computer down.  Damn.
Sunday morning found almost all the stuff I had gotten rid of the night before back onto the computer. Putting it back into safe mode with no internet access I was able to delete the less malicious stuff.  All the others were already being "defended" by the system itself.  I couldn't delete it but what I could do was change the permissions and not let it get accessed by the system.  However about four applications in, the malware figured out what I was doing and started to block this also.  I was able to get to everything except one application.  I had been able to get Chrome going again but had to be careful how I searched for anything.  I could not use the words "malware", "windows defender", "remove", "delete", "virus" or any combination or it would block me altogether.  I also found that the malware removal software that Chrome suggested I use could not be downloaded as the malware just blocked it.  I was able to go on Microsoft and search there for "malware" without it being recognized.  Now supposedly Microsoft has a program that will search for malware outside of windows defender.  I was able to download and run it BUT what the malware did was go dormant and as I watch it, kept changing it's name.  What it did also though was move itself out of the windows defender.  Not sure why but maybe it would have been recognized there.  I was able to remove about half of the programs thinking that microsoft would recognize the rest.  I let it run for 4 hours. It found nothing.  Really!  Thank you Microsoft, why could the Chrome tools find it (couldn't remove it but could find it) but you couldn't?  Thanks.  So again in safemode I continued to remove files and they were hidden everywhere including in documents and in game files.  By that time I was sixteen hours in.  I finally went to my son and said the best thing to do was just wipe the hard drive and start over.  Since the malware had also infected his steam account files, everything had to go.  Needless to say he was very, very bummed.  Almost 2 years of game saves were going out the door, down the drain, erased.  He took it pretty well knowing and admitting that it was his fault.  So, that is exactly what I did.  Erased the entire hard drive and reformatted, reinstalled the operating system.  Now the arduous process of downloading all his games again.  We also changed all his passwords.
Now, during all of this I did call some of the "geek squad" type of computer people.  Once I told them what was going on the cheapest estimate I received was $550.  That was to take the computer to them.  I obviously went into the wrong field.  They also did not guarantee that the malware would be gone or that I wouldn't have to replace the hard drive.  This is a solid state hard drive.  The last guy said the same thing and basically said just replace the hard drive.  He could sell me a cheap one and install it for "just under a thousand dollars".  Ummm, no thanks I can buy a new gaming PC for that.  This brought me to some realizations.  I know very little about PC's.  I hate those people and companies that write and use malware.  One of them being Norton.  Norton was the main problem, it had taken over and would not let me do anything INCLUDING uninstall the program.  It would say "Really you want to uninstall?  Sure, here go ahead and try"  About half way through, nope sorry the uninstaller has quit, what would you like to do".  I called Norton, for a start of "$50 and giving them access to my computer, they would look at "removing" the software, if that's what I really wanted".  Really?  F. U. Norton.  While on the phone to them I decided to check on some settings and realized that the malware had opened up the "sharing" to allow outside control.  This is something I keep turned off.  I looked also at his Chrome settings and found that it had "added" a "person", really just a set of numbers as able to access his chrome.  That is when we got on his phone and reset his password to his Google account. What a nightmare.
Now that his computer is set up again, I wondered why is there so much Malware.  Aren't there laws?  Seems the answer is Yes and No.  Here in the United States there are Federal laws to knowingly write and sell software that can cause harm.  The big catch, most of this stuff comes from outside the US.  Loophole. There just is no way to prosecute for creating havoc in so many people's lives.  So what is malware? It is: Malware is short for malicious software. The term refers to any software that is designed to damage or secretly access a computer system without receiving the informed consent of the owner or user of the system. While there are laws to protect us consumers, don't expect any solution soon.  
<![CDATA[A few thoughts on unemployed, one year later]]>Fri, 18 Dec 2015 20:28:27 GMThttp://bristleeone.com/main-blog/a-few-thoughts-on-unemployed-one-year-later
I really debated on whether or not to write this post.  I whiffle waffled back and forth, started to write it. Deleted it. Wrote it again, saved it to drafts, deleted it and now rewriting it once again.  Probably this is more cathartic for me to write then it will be for you to read but they are just my thoughts.  A year full of thoughts.  I would say a year of discovery but it sounds so cliche though it is true.

It has been one year now that I was "dismissed" from my job.  Looking back I would like to say that I was sad to lose my job.  Yes and mostly no.  Yes because I miss the friends that I made there, I miss camaraderie on a daily basis and I miss the regular paycheck.  I don't miss the amount of stress, doing multiple people's jobs, the lack of support, the daily abuse among things.  I can remember driving home the day that I was let go.  Did I cry, was I sad?  No and not really.  Strange answers I know. The stress had been getting so bad at work. I was managing several "jobs" at one time, no increase in pay, no promotion. In fact, I had been told by HR the year before that if I wanted a promotion I needed to go work for another company.  There was "just no place to promote me".  What? Other people were getting manager levels I, II, III but not me.  Why?  Yes, I should have seen the writing on the wall.  Like most I turned a blind eye and thought if I just worked that much harder, did that much more that it wouldn't come to me leaving.  I think we get so comfortable where we are that even if the writing on the wall was 10 feet high and 20 feet wide it would still be ignored.  So, I spent that year thinking that out of some miraculous entertainment, the management would change their mind.  Nope, didn't happen.  I drove home that day and thought, I am so relieved.  I would get to sleep in, take my son to school, watch TV, laze about during the day, take some classes and just relax.  
I did some of the relaxing but mostly my days have been packed full of all kinds of stuff.  I actually decided to start this website which at first was just going to be a daily blog.  That didn't work.  However, I did start putting recipes, art, photography and lately the speed draws.  Stepping back, when I was a kid I had several dreams.  One of those being an artist.  I really wanted to grow up and just art.  When I started junior college I was a art major and was loving it.  Absolutely loving it. I even took a theatre class that I loved. Then I took a biology class and thought this was cool.  It was at that time that I let myself be talked out of being an artist.  It was the entire there is no money in it, no future.  I'm such a dumb ass.  With the advent of computers and computer games, what do you think is in demand?  Yep, artist, animators.  Great, just freaking great.  Is it too late. Nope, I don't think so.  Here is the thing, once I became a Biology major and after when I started my career, I had never stopped drawing.  I had laid down my camera and packed it away.  Never though did I pack away my pencils, my tablets or my pastels.  When my son came into my life and he began to draw I would draw with him.  It was an exercise that we did together because I wanted him to see how much fun it was. During my last six months at my job, I purchased a pretty good camera and lenses.  I had begun to experiment with them and was getting some tips and tricks from a woman at work.  Something was starting to reawaken in me.  I had started to carry my camera just about everywhere I went.  
Once my job was lost, I floundered for a week or so and then signed up for some online classes in Environmental Health and Safety (one of the things that I had been doing at my job) and decided that I would start a company.  However, in the meantime I was taking pictures as often as I could.  Going to the San Diego Safari Park at least once a week to get more pictures.  Taking hikes or just walking my property to get shots.  During this time we had our first art studio open in town.  I took my first class there about a month after being home.  Art, how I missed doing art with others.  I started drawing every night to get my art muscles back into shape.  I began posting more and more on this website but not the blog but recipes.  I had also rediscovered my joy of making recipes and cooking.  Mostly while working I would just throw stuff together for us to eat or we went out and got something.  Now, now I had time to create.  I have been going at it with gusto.  
The other joy this year has brought is the stay home mom aspect.  I wish I could have done this when my son was younger but no use crying over spilled milk.  We both have enjoyed the time that we have gotten to spend together but we are both realizing that he is now old enough that mom doesn't have to be home. He has his friends, his computer games and his after school gaming club. The time for the need of a stay home mom has passed, sadly.
The year slipped by.  I continued to take online classes in EHS and then also started to take Web Design classes.  I have continued to draw and now do speed draws and put them on YouTube.  Why? Because it makes me happy.  Yes, happy.  For the first time in a long long long time.  I am happy.  I'm not happy that I don't have money but I'm happy with me.  It is like finding a friend that you lost a long time ago and didn't even realize you lost them.  Now that they are back in your life, you wonder how you lived without them.  I love to art.  I love to find new things to draw, new avenues to explore. I want to learn how to animate, I want to get good on my digital art. I want to keep learning.
The year is over though. My year of freedom and discovery has just about come to a close and I know that I have to go back to a regular job.  Not that I am minding that either.  There have been times that even with all that I have been doing, I'm bored.  I miss the collective mind of a job.  I miss those daily challenges.  I miss having adults to talk with during the day.  I'm in a better place mentally then I was a year ago or even two years ago.  I know what I want.  I know what I want my future to hold.  
Will going back to work end my website?  No, I will keep doing it.  I love to art, I love to recipe, I love to photograph.
What will the new year hold?  I don't know but my hope, my wish is that it is a new time of discovery. A new beginning.  I'm excited.
<![CDATA[Indy PopCon--Day 1]]>Tue, 30 Jun 2015 05:48:06 GMThttp://bristleeone.com/main-blog/indy-popcon-day-1
This will be the second con that I have gone to this year and I have to say that it started off with a bang and I had hoped it continued that way.  In case you are wondering, Indy stands for Indiana and Pop, my guess is popular and Con is convention.  This is only the second year of this con and because of certain guests, it grew enormously this year.  There are the typical comics, artists and cosplay areas but they also have a Halo championship that is worth $50,000.  What?  I like Halo, maybe I should jump on this!  There are also panels with Podcasters.  Yes, that word is correct, podcasters.  These are people that have shows but are not live, they record and put them out on Apple iTunes and a number of other places.  Some podcasters do it live but none that I listen to.  Podcasters are like talk radio stations but without the commercials and these people get to talk about what they like.  Don't ask me how they make a living, not sure if it's like YouTube or not.  Hmmm, maybe something to look into.  
On to the meat on the bones.  I mentioned above that this con got quite a bit bigger this year was due to the YouTube Bros as the panel was called.  This was made up of Markiplier, Jacksepticeye, Lord Minion 777 and Muyskerm.  If you have never, ever heard these names before you might be reading the wrong blog.  If you would like to know more about them, look them up on YouTube, though Markiplier is going to be Markipliergames.  Be sure you are on the official channel (Mark has over 8 million subscribers, Jack has over 5 million, Lord Minion 777 (Wade) has over 500,000 and Muyskerm (Bob) has over 250,000).  The reason I say make sure you are on the official site is due to something that Google allows and I'm not sure why. Google allow others to use the same name.  People then steal big YouTubers videos, re-upload them and over ad the videos to make money.  Even constantly reporting these sites does about as much good as an ice cube in the desert. Don't ask why, I don't know. Rant over, I digress.  These 4 young men were able to more then triple the number of tickets sold last year for this con.  If you were lucky and purchased early, you could get a VIP ticket that pretty much was suppose to guarantee you a spot in the panel of your choice, jump the line for autographs once and jump the line for pics once.  I bought these so that having flown from San Diego to Indianapolis my son would not be disappointed!  I like guarantees being that the only one in life is death.  Wow, that just went to a dark place.
Now you are probably asking why fly to Indianapolis?  Well, we didn't get tickets to Comic Con which is in our home town.  Again you are saying Indianapolis?  You know, I thought the same thing at first.  Here's the thing.  This town freaking rocks.  I thought for sure there would not be much to do downtown other then the Con.  Boy was I wrong.  They have these bikes that you can rent, free if under 30 minutes.  There is no vendor that you have to deal with.  They are racked and locked into place, you go to a kiosk and sign in with a credit card, pull the bike out and go on your way.  We road these all over, oh and they have what I would call a bike road.  I didn't have to worry that my son was going to get squished by some random car.  We road to the State Museum, the Zoo, the Military Park, the State Volunteer Monument and a few other places.  Also, since we were downtown, no car required to go out to eat.  Everything is within walking distance and I mean walking distance.  Steps away.  No hills to worry about.  We ate someplace new everyday.  I'm sure we missed a few great things, one for sure.  Everyone told us to go to the Children's Museum.  We just didn't have time because the Con had started.

Indiana's Volunteers memorial. It has an observation tower up there at the top. You can walk up the 31 or so flights of narrow stairs or for $2 take the elevator. We walked. It was a climb! The building is absolutely beautiful. They are doing some renovations on it right now. In the basement is a museum that we spent over 2 hours in.
Wow, I've really rambled.  Let's get started with day one of IndyPopCon.  We were smart.  The day before you could pick up the badges, which we did.  Opening "ceremony" was to be from 1-1:30 where the floor would then open at 1:30 for the VIP people and 2 for the general ticket holders.  We went to the opening ceremony that really wasn't a ceremony more of an impromptu talk and 2 guests.  Carl, one of the organizers spoke for a bit about the Con and how much bigger it was from the year before.  Warning bells should have gone off. At 1:30 we went onto the floor and my son and I went our separate ways.  Not 10 minutes later I saw one of the YouTubers, Bob and asked if I could photograph him.  He said yes but he was in a hurry because he had a signing.  What?  What signing?  I didn't see anything about a signing.  I followed him over to the area, got in line and called my son to join me.  He made his way over and that's when we realized that it was now 3 of the four YouTubers.  I got out of line and swung over to the right side of the line and started taking some pictures and the 4th member (Jack) showed up.  I looked over at my son who shot over the moon at this point.  I have a very low key kid and when he gets a shit eating grin, I know he is up and over.  The line didn't seem that long and we were in about the 4th zigzag of the line.  Really, how long could this take?  I figured an hour or so.  Holy hell, 3 hours later, young girls sobbing, angry words as people jumped in front of the line, lots and lots of swearing and 4 guys that continued to smile, hug, sign autographs, take pictures, collect fan made presents and be just general all around nice guys. What?  No one is that nice.  I truly mean that.  Let me back track a moment and explain that I am not a creepy older gal stalking these younguns.  Well, I am but not like you think.  When my son began to be involved in the internet life, I made damn sure I knew what he was watching, what he was viewing and what he was listening to.  Any YouTube channels he subscribed to, so did I.  I checked his history on the computer and on his iPad.  Seem intrusive, bet your ass it is.  There were channels that I absolutely refused to let him watch.  There were channels that we watched together and then there were channels I deemed "safe".  In the beginning we watched Markiplier together.  That was late 2012.  By the beginning of 2013 I knew what his channel was about and deemed it "safe".  Yes, he swore, sometimes like a fish mongers wife but he was never derogatory towards another person.  He was positive and his vlogs were actually kind of up lifting. Not to say he wasn't annoying as hell and the reason that I bought my son a good gaming headset.  When he found Jacksepticeye, we went through the same motions.  Again, at first annoying as hell but he kind of grew on me after awhile.  So in the end, I became a fan of both these guys as much as my son, which brings us back to Indianapolis.  Three hours we stood in line and inched our way forward.  At some point I got out of line again to take some pictures and realized the horrible mistake the Con had made.  They did not regulate the length of the line at all.  We were in one corral that had maybe 8-10 switchbacks, it then came out and went through about 5 more switchbacks that were much longer and then straight to the edge of the building.  I think an OMG is appropriate here.  Someone really, really wasn't paying attention.  The signing had started around 2ish, we were done by a little after 5.  I took my son to get something to eat and then I headed back to the con as I had not gotten any pics of cosplayers.  The guys were still going strong. I left at 7:15, returned at 8 and they were still signing.  I left shortly after that. Not once did I ever see them falter with a fan.  It was absolutely incredible to watch.  If it had been me, I would have bitten the head off of a frog by then and run screaming mad out the doors, but that's just me.  Someone finally did get their act together and cut the line off.  The boys finally had to leave and from what I understand those that did not get to meet the YouTubers were given a ticket for the signing line for Saturday.  Hmmmmmm, I didn't see that in the agenda.

The YouTube Bros as they were called by the Con. Starting from the left Muyskerm (Bob), Markiplier (Mark), hidden in back a very good friend of the boys is Tyler, next Jacksepticeye (Jack) and to the far right kissing Jack's head is Lord Minion 777 (Wade).
Unfortunately this would not be the last mistake the Con admins made regarding these YouTubers and their fans.  Were the blunders malicious, no.  Were they deliberate, no.  Were they agonizing to the fans, yes. Were they done out of unanticipated actions, yes.  Should they have anticipated the actions, perhaps.  At this point I need to remind that we and many others had purchased VIP tickets.  These tickets clearly state that you are granted 1 front of the line for a signing, 1 front of the line for pictures and 3 panel line jumps. On the first day, in the main hall which was also the registration hall and the main thoroughfare into the Con, there was a VIP Jump line sign.  A kind of "here is where you stand" and we shall come get you and take you where you need to go.  That was the first day and a not very busy first day.  By a Con standard there weren't that many people there on Friday. Oh Boy, Saturday was going to be interesting.
<![CDATA[Adoption Day]]>Wed, 29 Apr 2015 03:40:06 GMThttp://bristleeone.com/main-blog/adoption-day
It's hard for me to fathom that as of 12 years ago today, a judge declared me a mom.  Life since then has radically changed, mostly for the best.  Some of you will read and declare with eye brows raised, mostly? Yes mostly.  There are things that I miss about being care free and not having to worry constantly about another human being other than myself.  The staying up all night and sleeping all day, drinking and taking off for the weekend.  You think that would have ended when my thirties went out the door but I was still doing it up until my son came into my life.  Would I trade and go back to a more carefree time, hell no. From the moment that I signed up for adoption I knew what I wanted to be.  I knew that my life would change but the difference of someone telling you that and the reality are far different.  

The question for me was not if I was going to adopt but when.  I knew from the age of 22 there would be no "biologically" born children for me.  I was sad at first and it kept me out of quite a few relationships. Perhaps it is why I got so wild in my 20's, I just didn't care enough about a single relationship if I couldn't produce anything from it.  Hmmm, food for fodder but not here, I can psychoanalyze that later.  My twenties was spent in bars, clubs and some pretty wild parties.  Finally in my mid to late twenties I started back to school by adding collage to the mix.  After a few years and speeding my way through as many dates as I could, I transferred to a four year university.  There I meet friends that I still have to this day.  Life was pretty good and had begun to slow down, I was thirty by then.  I still could not make any lasting relationships but didn't think anything about it.  After graduating from collage, getting a job at another university and working 12-17 hours per day, I knew there had to be more to life.  At 40 I decided on two things, I would run a marathon that year and I would start the adoption process.  I did both.  In June of that year I ran the Rock n' Roll marathon, one of the most painful experiences of my life!  Good lord, even with all the training, it felt like being hit by a train.  I swore to never do it again, that ended up being a lie but again that's another story.  I also started the adoption process  before my 40th birthday. A few months later I was on a two year waiting list for a child under 2 years old.  What??  Here is where the timeline gets fuzzy for me (give me a break it's been thirteen years and 2 computers).  Friends of mine also decided on adopting and were going to a country that at the time I had never heard of, Kazakhstan. They were adopting a little girl when I first heard from them about it (they ended up adopting a girl and a boy).  My friend talked to me about the process but at the time the university paid horribly (they still do) and there was no way I thought, that I could afford to do an international adoption.  Yes, I had looked into a domestic non county adoption and they were even more expensive.  Remember this was actually 13 years ago.  My friend encouraged me some more and I finally went to a meeting.  It was there the agency gave ideas on raising money, also that all the money would not be paid up front, you would pay as you go.  Less than a month later I had signed the initial papers and I was on my way.  

It was a year of highs and lows.  Going through the process of adoption besides the money stress, can be stressful and joyful.  The first 6 months were one of just getting the home study, paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork.  I think you get the picture.  Finally the day before Thanksgiving of that year, I turned in the entire notarized, apostilled and stamped giant pile of paperwork to my agency.  Please remember also that to that time I had not chosen or seen a child.  This was all prep work.  However that day, as I handed over the weight of at least 10 trees, there was a picture print out of a baby boy on the directors desk.  I told him what a handsome boy and the family getting him would be lucky.  The director raised his eyebrows and said "He will probably be your referral, the family that he was referred to now wants a girl".  Instant tears flooded my eyes.  The director said that he needed to wait a few days and would have the answer.  Two days later he called to offer the referral of the little baby that I had seen.  The picture was of a little guy looking wistfully at the camera and was perhaps 7 months old.  You cannot accept the referral right away as they want you to wait for the medical so that you can review it.  I had no doubt in my mind and knew that nothing in the medical report would change my mind, and it didn't.  He had been born a blue baby as the umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck but according to the report had begun to breath on his own.  It didn't matter.  I couldn't get his wistful little look out of my noggin.  On December 10th I accepted him as my referral.  Now the painful wait started.  I wouldn't travel until Mid April of the next year.

Traveling to Kazakhstan was actually quite easy if a long trip.  The travel went very smoothly and some 27 hours from take off we landed at 3 in the morning.  We, another woman was traveling with me as she was adopting from the same orphanage, were meet at the airport and whisked off to a hotel.  The next day we loaded onto a train and traveled to Taraz.  There we were once again met by our guides and whipped off to our hotel.  The next 2 1/2 weeks were spent meeting with our babies twice a day for playtime and cuddling. Between times we explored the town we were in, met with locals and were invited to eat with locals. The hotel was beautiful and the food was different but flavorful.  If it wasn't for the stress of why I was there it would have been a wonderful vacation.  Finally the day arrived to go to court.  We dressed in our best and went in to court to see the judge.  I wish that I could remember more but I was so nervous and all of the proceedings were in the Kazakh language.  Near the end the judge rose and speaking in broken English said that she would go out and deliberate on her choice.  It was about 5 minutes that seemed like an eternity, that she came back in the room and asked me to stand and come forward.  She then read a statement, that I cannot remember, but at the end she put out her hand and said "Let me be the first to congratulate you on being a new mom".  I broke into tears at that point and she just kept rubbing my back and asking if they were happy tears.  I could only nod my head yes.   That last year had weighed so heavy on me and the knowledge that I had finally reached motherhood was overwhelming.  I was a mom, holy crap.  It had finally happened.  The thought filled me with fear and extreme elation all at the same time.  Good God what if I screwed this up?  Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap I was a mom.  I wanted to run and hide to quiver under a rock and at the same time stand on the tallest building with my mom cape billowing behind me, hands on hips just to show the world that "I WAS MOM".  Luckily the I am mom won out though I never did get a cape. Ever once in a while the quiver still runs up my spine thinking that I could still screw this up really really badly.  

So far, he's a good kid.  Today is our Familyversary as we call it.  This year we celebrated early by spending it at the El Capitan Theatre watching 29 hours of Marvel movies which capped off with the new Age of Ultron.  Yes, I kept my son out of school for two days so that we could do this together and yes, we had a hell of a good time.  I look back now to that day, that wonderfully stressful, joy filled, anguish and love filled day, that a woman that I did not know, would never see again but granted me a whole new life.  I look back on that day and just to tell the story still brings tears to my eyes.  That day, April 28th, will always be one of the highest moments of my life, so far nothing else has come close.

No this is not sideways, this is how high he can swing, see the trees that are blurry under his bum.
Above all else, Enjoy life.

It's the one you have,
<![CDATA[Being in a funk]]>Wed, 15 Apr 2015 04:50:52 GMThttp://bristleeone.com/main-blog/being-in-a-funkI think I'm in a funk.  No, I know I am.  Since getting released from my job in late December, I've been home most of the time.  Quite a bit of that on the computer.  When I was working I thought how great it would be to be a stay at home mom.  It probably would be awesome, except for the fact that I am the bread winner (my son being much to young to send to work).  That's a joke people.  If it wasn't for the constant worry of finding a job, making money and not losing my house, staying home would be almost awesome.  I say almost since I miss, really miss, the interaction of adults.  I'm used to speaking with adults all day long and now I spend most of my time silently in front of a computer.  It has lead to a funk.  I find myself staring off into space really not thinking of anything or just no motivation and not wanting to get off my computer chair.  Not that I'm not doing things.  I've been studying, I've been building stuff, I've been looking for a job, but it doesn't seem as if it's enough.  I'm not depressed, let me get that right out there. When I mean funk, it is that lack of motivation, that ho hum feeling.  It can lead to depression and that is what I am going to nip in the bud right away.

I need defunking.  Today I decided to get out of the house and go someplace.  However, I didn't want to spend any money.  I grabbed my camera, some water, a hat and headed to the Wild Animal Park (Yes, I know it's called the Safari Park now).  I spent the day taking pictures and working on things like lighting and aperture and so on.  I did get to speak with others that had much, much better lenses then I.  We showed each other pictures we had taken, how we shot it, what we had intended and what could have worked better.  It was a glorious day.  Am I defunked though?  Probably not.  I don't think one day is going to work like some miracle drug.  It did give me time to think a bit though and shake out some of the cobwebs.  
Here is what I came up with:

1. Don't let yourself go into a funk in the first place!  How you ask?  Stay motivated, break up the monotony. Don't do the same thing day in and day out.  If you are looking for a job, limit the time you spend at the computer each time.  Get up, go do something, call someone.  Have an interaction.

2.  Get out of the house.  You don't have to spend money to get out.  Take a bag lunch and go for a walk in the park, at the bench or on a local trail.  I would say go to the mall but for me that would be depressing to know that I had no extra money to buy anything!

3.  Keep a journal.  I blog.  It's my outlet, if you don't blog, journal.  Write down your thoughts and feelings. What is troubling you, how can you make it better, what is the real problem.  Try to come up with solutions that work for you.  List out what you need to do and possible ways to make it happen.

4.  I have begun calling back the places that I have sent resumes to.  Is there a problem, could someone speak to me about their interview process etc.  Some of the companies have been very nice about it, others just simply say if you haven't been called then you did not meet the requirements.  That's ok.  I'm looking closer at all the job requirements now and answering it in the cover letter.  I'm not letting myself be too bothered over the fact that a company did not call me in for an interview.  

5.  Give yourself a treat at least once a week.  Go to a coffee shop or go get your favorite ice cream.  Do that little something that gives you a pick me up.  This is another way to break the routine.  If you have a laptop, or any type of device that gets WiFi or G3/4, you can sit at the library or coffee shop and look for a job. Have your resume preloaded on it.  It gets you out of the house and still looking for a job.

6.  Take an adult learner class at a local college.  Many of these are free. Take a free class on line that is fun.  Again, these can be taken on a laptop or tablet so that you can be out of the house.  Check your local paper for free classes.  Even our small town has quite a few each week.  We also have a new art studio that only charges $10 per person for an art class.  I'm already signed up for one.

I'm sure you can see by now there are all kinds of ways to keep out of a funk or defunk yourself!  You have probably come up with more ways then I did on my little stroll today.  If it gets really bad, talk to someone. A friend, a family member, a church member but someone you know who will listen and perhaps give you a little advice.  What ever you do, don't let it go on too long.  

Tomorrow I have a build to do for my son, his click out stand for his iPad broke and I'm going to make him a new one.  It's a quick build so that I can cycle between the garage and the computer but I have also made some time to go meet a friend for coffee in the morning.  Someone to chat with and perhaps shake out a few more cobwebs.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Enjoy life, it's the one you have,
<![CDATA[WonderCon, yep I went-Nerdtastic]]>Tue, 07 Apr 2015 22:48:49 GMThttp://bristleeone.com/main-blog/wondercon-yep-i-went-nerdtasticI did it, went to WonderCon this last weekend.  Oh how I wish now in hindsight that I had purchased tickets for the entire three days.  All I can say is that it was a hell of a good time to see the comic books, the artists, the illustrators, the writers, the cosplayers and the people like me who just geeked out.  

Years ago I used to go to ComicCon in San Diego.  I loved ComicCon but as the years went on, my vacation always seemed to be at the same time.  Our vacations always would take us out of state.  Sadly then to try and get tickets now for ComicCon is almost impossible.  I did try this year, as being out of a job currently there is no vacation for us this summer or rather not like in years past.  I sat in the ticket queue, it's all on line, for an hour before I was told that I did not get a ticket.  Well damn.  I knew that WonderCon was coming up and the joke is that the people who couldn't get tickets for ComicCon go to WonderCon. Well they should.  When I got on line to buy my ticket, I only purchased one for Friday which was opening day.  I thought, what the hell if I need one for the other days I can just purchase them.  Oh how wrong I was.

I showed up Friday at 10:00 am knowing that there would be a line for the badges.  You have to pick the badges up in person.  Luckily I had friends in line already and even better, near the front of the line. The badge pickup was for 10:30.  Perfect I thought.  At about 10:30 we were let into the building, a whoop when up when the line began to move. We moved in and were placed in more stalls to wait.  Here we waited for about 15 minutes and they let us through.  The badge pickup went very smoothly.  Strangely they did not ask for our ID but did ask for our name.  Hmmm, ok.  From there the excitement built.  We were going into the hall.  Nope.  We queued up into more lines.  What?  Here we waited and waited and waited. Finally near noon the cheer went up when it was announced that there was 5 minutes before we would be let in.  Much more than 5 minutes later the lines began to move.  Yeah.  Here is where ComicCon and WonderCon really diverge:  WonderCon is what ComicCon used to be.  All the stalls that we could see were for comic books, the artists, illustrators, writers and developers.  This is not a hollywood moment like ComicCon has become.  If you are a lover of comic books, art, and anime, this is the place to go.  Here is also what I noticed, took stock of and was excited about, many of the artist, illustrators and writers behind those booths were women.  Not just young women, but women in their thirties and forties.  I spent quite a bit of my day speaking with them, commiserating and simply enjoying an art form that used to be mostly for boys and men.   These were strong independent women, many who have given up professional jobs to put everything into making their dreams come true.  I had no idea that woman artist and illustrators had an impact on the comic book industry from the beginning.  Wikipedia has a wonderful list of comics that have been created by women.  I had no idea, really, none.  It was a pleasure to walk and talk with creative, successful woman who have followed what they wanted to do in life.  It was simply inspiring.

This was not the only thing to do at WonderCon though.  The cosplayers, those that come dressed as their favorite character.  Oh. My. Gosh.  Knowing there would be cosplayers, I took my camera and took over 500 pictures.  The cosplayers were simply awesome, all would stop if you asked and pose for you.  You could pose them if you asked.  Many of them I asked to move one way or another and all complied.  These people are doctors, lawyers, biologists, chemists, day traders and every other profession you could ask.  There are also the professional cosplayers.  I spoke to as many as I could.  They were all having so much fun it almost made me wish I had dressed up.  This also got me to thinking that if I did dress up, what would I be?  It would have to be Steam Punk.  I love the steam punk look, not sure why but I do.  If you don't know steampunk, Wikipedia's definition, "....refers to a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy—also in recent years a fashion and lifestyle movement—that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.[1][2]".  I mean I wouldn't wear the thing he has on his face but her outfit was gorgeous.  

A Couple at WonderCon dressed in Steampunk atire.
Friendly doesn't even begin to describe how outgoing and approachable everyone was.  Just making eye contact with someone would have them stop and pose for you.  It was incredible.  Oh how I wish I could have gotten tickets to ComicCon!!  Would it be the same?  Would everyone be as receptive?  Well there is one way to find out.  When ComicCon rolls into town, I plan on being downtown, taking pictures and speaking with as many of the costumed cosplayers as I can.  Who knows, maybe I will score a ticket after all!

All in all, if you ever get a chance to do something different, something that few can say they have done, go to a convention like this.  Take the time to speak with the people, look at the costumes, the makeup and the shear artistry of it.  It will amaze  you (or you will hate it and blame me, that's ok too, at least you did it.)

Enjoy Life,
It's the one you have

Captain Jack Sparrow
Doctor Who
<![CDATA[What's in an age?]]>Sun, 05 Apr 2015 23:48:05 GMThttp://bristleeone.com/main-blog/whats-in-an-ageIt was just the other day that someone told me to "act my age".  Instead of shooting back a sarcastic comment, which I am very good at,  it actually got me to thinking.  What is "acting my age" and who determines how I should act?  This year I turned, ugg, 54.  I don't feel 54 but then again how am I suppose to feel.  Here's the thing, I've never been 54 before so I'm not sure how I'm suppose to act.  I own my own home, have money in the bank and have been fired from my job (how that is relevant is a stretch). However, I still feel like the bank at any time is going to show up and tell me they made a horrible mistake that I'm not grown up enough to own a home.  See that's what I mean, when do I feel my age, when do I feel grown up?   If you said act 30 or 40, I might be able to rethink those times and recreate how I acted (really not that much different than today!).  To act my age now is just not something I know how to do.  Is there an age manual I don't know about?  A secret organization that keeps all that information available to a select few?  I do know that the other day I was in line at the market and there was a cover article that said something to the effect of "what's the proper skirt length for your age".  According to the article for someone my age, the skirt was almost to the ankles.  Really?  My legs aren't that freaking bad.  See, it's the secret society and they want to make us feel old.  If I shopped in the "appropriate" age section, it would be elastic waist pants and flower print shirts.  Not me not me not me!  I still wear my jeans, t-shirts, tank tops and flip flops.  When needed I can put on a dress, curl my hair, slap on some make up and look pretty damn good.  I'm not sure if you have read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books,  but there is a character with the name Grandma Mazur.  When I am 80 or 90, that is who I want to be.  I want to still be wearing spandex shorts, flip flops, tank tops, bleach blond hair and a wicked smile. Please understand that I am not the only one my age that thinks this way.  Last summer I took my son and nieces to play paintball. Yes, I love this game.  It's awesome.  I mean really, really awesome (Can you believe that I have a degree in science?).  There were men there that were my age if not older and a few woman also.  More and more I am seeing my age set breaking the rules, again not sure who set them, and continuing on with the things they enjoyed in their younger years.  I say why not.  Years ago before my son, I was an avid mountain bike rider. One time when we, friends and I, were riding at BigBear Mountain, I met a woman who was 71 years old who was bombing it down the mountain and on the straight runs.  She was incredible.  That is who I want to be, always.   I want my son to shake his head we we are much, much more advanced in years and I'm ogling the younger men, to understand that getting "old" is a state of mind.

I think one of the things that keeps me "young" is the fact that I have a 13 year old son.  I truly thought that when I had a child, that would be the time I would feel grown up.  Nope.  Instead that young man keeps me young.  Over the past twelve years I have swung on swings, put together an endless amount of Lego toys, run around with full abandonment, dug in the dirt, played board games, colored with crayons, sang songs at the top of my lungs, danced in public, run through amusement parks, played chase in the rain and simply did all the things that made us happy.  Though he is getting older and some things have dropped away, we still play board games, sing together in the car, dance, put together Legos and now we also game. No, not board games, game like in on line games.  I have found that I love to play on line games and xBox games.  I follow gamers on YouTube (I started watching to ensure that what he was watching was appropriate).  I find that the more I stay up with current trends, current events, current music, I find myself not falling into the "act your age".  I like singing to Maroon Five's new songs and dancing to Taylor Swift. The goofy humor of some of the YouTube gamers keeps me in stitches and now I follow and suggest some to my son.  He suggests games for me to try out.  Here is the thing though, I suck at gaming.  I mean I really, really suck.  It doesn't matter though.  My son and I do this together and he gets to comfort me when my character doesn't make it to the end.  We enjoy the time together.  Lately he has been explaining how to play a certain tank game to me.  At 13 he seems to know all about the different tanks used in different battles, the armament, types of ordinances and so on.  Me, I'm lucky if I can remember how to turn left and right.  Mostly I spin in circles and then get blown up.  We have a great time talking about the battle afterwards and what I did wrong.  He wants me to start recording some of my gaming sessions so that we can upload them to YouTube.  Hmmmmm, maybe I should title them "The Worst Gamer Ever" videos.  It's a thought.

In other words, if not "acting my age" brings my son and I together, keeps us talking and helps with our relationship, who cares if I don't "act my age"?  He certainly doesn't care (except if I dance in public).
One corner of my son's room of the Lego toys we have put together. All those boxes also have Lego's. Yes, and I made and built the shelf also.
This is the shelf you can see in the lower right hand corner of the first picture. There is another shelf to the left of this one with MORE Lego toys and the closet has them also, as does the family room.
Enjoy life (don't "act your age"),
It's the one you have,
<![CDATA[Strange things make me happy]]>Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:46:03 GMThttp://bristleeone.com/main-blog/strange-things-make-me-happyStrange title, I know but really it was because of a purchase at HomeDepot today that brought the thought on.  I went to the Depot today to buy wood for another project that I'm starting.  The problem was they needed to rip 21 12 x 12 pieces for me.  Normally they charge but the guy helping me was AWESOME and only charged me a total of  $0.40.  So I stood there waiting for him to cut all the pieces and noticed that they were not all to the specs that I wanted.  Sigh.  The only thing that I could think of was now I would have to cut it with the mitre saw and that is a major pain as these are 12" pieces and I would have to flip it to make two cuts.  Eeek.  Ok time to buy a Table saw.  I've wanted one for about 4 years now but it never seemed to be the right time to purchase one.  Well today was the day.  It made me giddy.  It was Christmas and my Birthday all wrapped up together.  
I'm thinking I might need a life (sheesh).  I do love all the projects that I have been doing but it really got me thinking about likes, dislikes, being a woman and other stuff that started to make my head hurt.  I do like getting dressed up and feeling all sexy but if you really want to see me happy, give me a power tool. Creepy? Strange? Normal? Who knows, it is just the way I am.  It's always been that way.  I like to create, build, make, though I've never been good at sewing and knitting.  I tried, I really did and I want to learn. Need to have another Stitch and Bitch with the ladies!  Other things that make me giddy....digging in the dirt and I don't mean digging in the garden.  Some of the best vacations that I have had with my son are the archeological digs we have gone on.  At the end of each day you are filthy, dirty and stinky, it was SPECTACULAR.  To this day when my son and I turn on the air conditioner in the little red Escape, the smell of the dust from the last dig still blows out and it immediately brings a smile to my face.  

I'm not sure if being different still causes the problems it did when I was young.  I'm sure it does.  We need to teach our young that different is good, different builds the world, different brings creativity.  Don't think in the box, break the box, kick it down the road and then drive over it.  Do things that make you giddy.  It's taken me a long time to realize that one tiny fact.  I want to spend the rest of my life doing that which makes me giddy, happy, excited.  I want that warm and fuzzy every day.  We all deserve that.

It's what I'm trying to do.

Enjoy life, 
It's the one you have!

<![CDATA[Don't call me an Adoptive Mom]]>Wed, 25 Mar 2015 22:43:19 GMThttp://bristleeone.com/main-blog/dont-call-me-an-adoptive-momI hear it all the time "Oh you're an adoptive mom", um no.  I'm a mom.  Short, simple and to the point.  I don't say to you, "Oh, you squirted one out your vajayjay, you're a biological mom".  Yes, I missed his birth, yes I missed his first birthday but really those in the long run don't matter.  I have been through the 5 childhood fevers and rashes, his ear infections, his surgeries, his skinned knees, his first steps, the shooting cheerios out his nose, his first day of school.  The dancing in the rain to catch rain drops on our tongues and the muddy shoe prints across the floor.  The first time he said “I love you mommamom (not a typo, that’s what he used to call me).  I will be there for his first time driving, his first love, his first loss.  I hold him when he cries and hug him when he's happy.  We play video games together even though I suck at it.  He knows it, he doesn't care.  I'm the one who is tough on homework and bedtime.   I make him clean his room and fumigate it at least once a month.  There is nothing “adoptive” about any of that.  Some of you might get angry and declare yourself an “adoptive parent” and that’s ok. I am only speaking about myself and my son.  To adopt is to acquire and yes that is how I come to have my son but it was only a moment in time.  The adoption process was only a process.  From the moment I saw his face, from the moment he was handed to me, from the moment he first smiled at me, he was my son and I his mom.

We hear it all the time in the media, "So and so is survived by his two biological children and his adoptive children".  What??  Why the need to differentiate?  Do you think Mister So and So sat at the head of the dinner table and said "You there, my biological children may begin eating, when they are done you the adoptive ones can finish up and then clean this place spick and span".  Can you tell this irritates me?  When my son was little, he didn't pay attention to such idiocy.  Now at 13 he pays attention to the news and is also irritated by it.  He too would like to know why it makes such a difference.  Who cares?  Is there someone out there secretly keeping count? Think how the children must feel when they are segregated out from the family.  I am disheartened everytime I hear it.  I have been lucky, most in my family were happy with me going through the adoption process.  I say most as there were a few dissenters.  When I brought him home however it was as though he was born to the family.  He is us and we are him.  He has his uncles tendency to get overly aggravated, he has his grandfathers wit, he has one of his grandmothers sense of right and his other grandmothers love of small things and he has his mothers sarcastic wit.  We are family which means we love each other no matter who they are or where they came from.  Family is not blood, family is bound by love, anger, passion, glee, joy, sadness, pain, and truth.

Another problem that I have are the questions that we get.  I mean really, stop and think before asking a question.  

When someone asks me “Oh when did you adopt?”  Nice question, no problem.  

Me, “I brought him home when he was 13 months old”.  

Them, “Oh really, does he still speak his native language”.   

Me, hmmmm, what?  

Them “I mean, it must be hard for him having to think about speaking english”.  

Me, hmmmm, what?  

How about one of my favorites  

Them, “He was born in a muslim country so what are you going to do when he wants to go over and fight with them?”  

Me, what?

Them, “How far behind in school is he?”

Me, “Excuse, why would you think that?”

Them, “Well english is not his first language”

Me, what?

I know that people are just curious. Please though stop, think and ask yourself if it was your child, what would you say.

So why write this now, two reasons.  One, there is a wonderful posting going around on Facebook about what a mother and her two daughters have been through and the stupid ass things that people say to them. Some of the questions were funny while others are just plain hurtful.  The second, is a video that I saw the other day that was actually quite good and made me laugh and think. The guys at Cyndago made a wonderful and humorous video starring Markiplier, but the message is really at the end of the video.  It was great to see (cough, cough) young people caring about and wanting to make a difference about adopting and attitudes towards adoption.  Attitudes do need to change.  If we can’t change the elders perhaps changing the younger ones will be more successful.  Ask yourself, what is family?  Do you like  yours?  How do you want your loved ones treated?  All I’m asking really is to consider the feelings of others.

Neither my son nor I ever think about what brought us together as a family.  Every once in a while, I will bring up where he was born and ask if he is curious.  His answer is always the same "No, I have a family".

He's right.  

We are family.

Enjoy life, it's the one you have.

(ps:  you may have read this before, I updated it so that it matched what I posted on BlogHer, 20Apr15)]]>
<![CDATA[Nope couldn't do it, not today]]>Sat, 21 Feb 2015 03:15:33 GMThttp://bristleeone.com/main-blog/nope-couldnt-do-it-not-todayDamn, only spent 1 hour studying today.  I had a project out in the garage that was just begging to get done.  Begging I'm telling you, begging.  So like a mook, I gave up and did it.  See my son really, really needs a side table for his room.  He's been using a TV tray that is too tall for his new bed and it has already fallen over once.  I just couldn't go another day with it like that, just couldn't.  So part, really most of the day was spent out there.  I love working out in the garage, though it still needs a fair amount of work.  This weekend, I am hoping to rectify that final problem.  All of the builds that I have done lately will be over on the DIY blog area soon.  I have a rough draft of today's build but it is still lacking the final photo.  The table will need to have a polyurethane coat added tomorrow and then it will be complete.  I love building but I can tell you that I do not look like any of the other women that I see posting builds.  They are all clean clothes, nice nails, beautifully coiffured hair.  Me, I look like I've just wrestled with a grizzle and it may have drooled black ichor on me.  My hands look like this, yes and that's clean.  Poor things, so dry and frazzled. Notice, no nail polish, no rings.  Safety first people.  I also wear safety googles, thick gloves when working with heavy pieces, face mask and hearing protection.  I am such a safety nerd.  I probably should clip my nails to work with the different tools, as you can see the little pinky one was kinda ripped off today.  It snagged on some wood and licky split it was gone.  I may have shed a small tear.  
Not to prograstinate more or anything, but I may go look at table saws tomorrow.  MMMMMmmmm, table saw.  It is about the only tool that I am lacking.  Ok gotta go.
I really am going to go study because that's how I roll on a Friday night.  Woot.

Enjoy Life!