Sunday, November 29, 2020

More on the Facebook page hack, plus another NaNoWriMo win.

As this is ostensibly a blog about my writing, I'll put the writing news upfront: I have won NaNoWriMo once again. Go me! 

This makes ten times I've attempted a NaNo event, either NaNo or CampNaNo, and ten times I've won. NaNo gave my avatar a cute laurel wreath to commemorate my tenth win. (The halo is for being a donor to NaNo.) I've had the wreath previously, and it has been growing bigger with each win; the info on the winner's page this time seemed to indicate I'd maxed it out.

Oh, you want to hear about the book? Well! It's a standalone (at this point) that I've been calling Janis, but the title is definitely going to change. When November started, I thought I would be writing a thriller, but no -- several curve balls later, it appears to be either a straight fantasy or a paranormal romance. Probably straight fantasy, as there are no shapeshifters. It's still about a couple of middle-aged folks who get together, after many decades apart, to act against an authority figure who hurt them both when they were kids. One of the themes of the book is that the choices we make have consequences.

Anyway, it needs a ton of editing, as well as a cover and a new title. I'm hoping to publish it this spring, but probably not right at the equinox, as the temp job will be wrapping up at that point. So I'll shoot for publication in April and hope I don't have to push it back.


So about the hackers.

First, I have control of my Facebook page again, so yay for that. The IP people pointed me toward the "I think I've been hacked" people; their Help Center info on the subject talks a lot about how you should just talk to your fellow admins about why they booted you, like I was buddies with these people. There's a link for filing a report if you actually were hacked, but it's not obvious; I probably overlooked it four or five times. Anyway, once I filed my report, Facebook promptly booted the hackers and gave me back my page.

I have now asked them twice about getting the charges reversed for the boosted posts that the hackers took out without my authorization, and I have not received a useful response. I suppose that means I'll have to go spelunking at their Help Center again. UPDATE: I asked Mama Google just now about where to request an ad refund from Facebook, found the proper place to make a report, and... Facebook doesn't think I have an ad account. Which I guess means I won't be charged for those boosts? Stay tuned!

My third concern is the slew of emails I've received over the past few months, each with a bogus account recovery code that I supposedly requested. Here's an example:

I get these nearly every day. Facebook's Help Center says someone probably typed their account name in wrong. Somebody's doing it every day? Really? 

Another thing: While getting my page back, Facebook had me reset my password. I noticed the email I received from them -- from the same email account -- provided me with a six-digit password recovery code. The bogus codes I've been receiving have all been eight-digit codes.

Clearly something's dodgy here, but Facebook doesn't seem inclined to do anything about it. Which brings me to the other thing that bugs me: This whole misadventure started because the hackers sent me a Notification from within Facebook. I gave away my personal info because nobody but a legitimate Facebook department had ever reached me that way before. I was so spooked by the situation that when Facebook logged me out and made me change my password to log back in, I didn't want to do it. How did I know the hackers hadn't gotten control of my account again?

Anyway, I have my author page back and all is well. My message to you guys, though, is to be very, very careful if you receive a message from Facebook -- either in an email or on their platform -- because it might not be Facebook trying to reach you.


These moments of anxious blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Social distance! Wash your hands! Don't become a COVID statistic! 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Another knitting post, but first: I've been hacked!

lollok |

I promised you guys another knitting post this week, and I'm going to get to that in a sec. But first I wanted to let y'all know that my Facebook author page has been hacked.

A couple of weeks ago, in a moment of inattention, I responded to a notification within Facebook that looked like it came directly from Facebook. It said someone had complained about the content of one of my posts and could I verify some stuff for them. Again, without thinking, I gave away some info that would allow somebody to get into my personal Facebook account. And somebody did.

By the time I realized what was going on, a business entity called Ivo Fidriyani had claimed ownership of my page and installed someone named Linda Chhay as an admin. I played cat-and-mouse with these people (and a couple of other names that never showed up as admins on my page at all) until they bumped me down to Analyst -- the lowest possible permission setting, which doesn't allow me to change anything on my page at all.

I tried deleting the page, but there's a 14-day grace period. Every time I'd set it for deletion, the hackers would undelete it.

In addition to all that, any Facebook ads purchased for my author page are charged to the banking info attached to my personal Facebook account. And the hackers have already started to boost some of my old posts. I've set my budget to $1.00. That ought to slow them down.

I think you can understand how freaked out I've been about this. I've reported the intrusion to Facebook as a violation of my intellectual property rights. Hopefully they will do something about it ASAP. 

In the meantime, if you, Dear Reader, happen to see something posted on Facebook from my page (in my author photo, I'm wearing a lavender t-shirt, if that helps), please report it to Facebook as...whatever you think will get their attention. Fraud, if you can. Bullying or harassment will also work. If you get an option to report it for an intellectual property violation, that would be ideal. And thanks in advance.

I'll write more about all this later. Maybe next week, if I'm not crashing on NaNo then -- which I may be, given the amount of heartburn this whole mess has given me this week.


Okay. On to happier topics, a.k.a. knitting.

I completed a couple of projects while I was on sabbatical last spring. One of them was this variation on the Vortex shawl. I made it smaller than called for because I intended it to use it this winter as a table-topper for my altar. 

Of course, I have the altar set up on one of the built-in bookshelves in the new place, so now I have a lovely tablecloth with nowhere to put it. Maybe I'll use it to hide the washing machine.

Next up is my well-traveled Traveling Companion shawl. I bought the yarn a few years back at a yarn shop in Boulder, CO, that has since closed. It sat in my stash until I decided to use it for this pattern. A lot of the knitting got done on my Amtrak trip out here in June to find an apartment. I'm sure I'll find somewhere to wear it eventually.

On one of my last days in Virginia, I stopped by my favorite yarn shop, fibre space in Old Town Alexandria, to pick up something for Amy -- and found a cotton yarn that I knew would be perfect for this vest. I finished the knitting after I moved in here. It's called the Brookdale. I like the bottom-of-the-armhole detail.

And finally: Back when I was a fairly new knitter, I made a shawl called the TGV. It was stupid easy -- crescent-shaped, with garter stitch for the crescent part and three or four inches of knit-2-purl-2 ribbing on the long edge. The pattern designer released a variation this year called the TGV Smooth Ride, with stockinette (stocking stitch, for you Europeans) in place of the garter stitch. I had some copper yarn left over from the Level shawl that went fabulously with a variegated skein (a blend of wool, yak, and I forget what else). The point was to use up the yarn, so the shawl is bigger than the pattern called for. but I think it turned out really well.

All knitting photos copyright Lynne Cantwell 2020

In other crafty pursuits, I took a Zoom class yesterday on spinning and tapestry weaving. I learned a couple of tips on Navajo-style weaving and I reacquainted myself with how to use a drop spindle. Here's hoping I won't lose this newfound knowledge before I get around to picking up a drop spindle again, because I have a NaNo novel to finish. In all the times I have signed up for NaNo, I have never not won, and I don't intend to lose this year, either.


These moments of stress-relieving blogginess (and boy, do I need it!) have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Mask up, wash your hands, and save the big holiday celebrations for next year, mmkay?

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Knitting in color.

How about a knitting post?

It looks like I haven't done one since April. On my personal timeline, that would have been early sabbatical,  pre-retirement, pre-relocation, and definitely post-virus shutdown. (That is, post-virus shutdown #1. Here in New Mexico, shutdown #2 starts tomorrow. But only for two weeks, hopefully. We'll see how the infection numbers play out.) I did finish several projects over the past several months, but I think I'll write about those next week. (Two knitting posts in a row! The world is going mad...)

This week, I'd like to talk about my work in progress, which is a pullover sweater called the Community Tunic by Joji Locatelli. (That link will take you to a yarn manufacturer's page where you could buy a kit to make your own version if they weren't sold out. Here's a link to the sweater on Ravelry -- I'm including both because non-Rav folks have had trouble getting to Rav from my posts in the past.) This sweater features a Fair Isle or stranded colorwork yoke, which means in that section, you're knitting with two colors at once. 

Alert hearth/myth readers may recall the post I did on my last stranded knitting project -- the Endless Colorwork Shawl of WTF Was I Thinking -- in which I said I'd never do anything like that again. (Apparently "never" is about three-and-a-half years long.) The reason I said that was because I always have trouble with tension in stranded knitting. Usually I knit Continental style, with the working yarn in my left hand; in English style, you hold the yarn in your right hand. Here is a video that explains the difference. (Apologies -- the video is by Red Heart.) The way I learned stranded knitting is to knit Continental style with one color and English style with the other. But the tension on my English style stitches is always lousy. 

Then I ran across a gizmo called a Norwegian knitting thimble. It allows you to hold both yarns in the left hand. Here's what it looks like in action:

It definitely solved the tension issue, so yay! But it was a little fiddly to get it going, particularly when it comes to catching floats. 

What is a float, you ask? In stranded knitting, you carry the yarn you're not knitting with on the back side of the work. That's fine if you're switching colors every two or three stitches. But as I got closer to  the diamonds, I realized I'd be carrying the purple for, oh, 17 stitches. Not only can such long floats cause your work to pucker, but barrettes and jewelry can get caught on them when you're taking the sweater on and off. So I had to figure out how to catch the floats while holding both yarns in the same hand. That took some trial and error. 

Here's the back side of my sweater. You can see here the difference between doing floats (toward the top) and catching them (at the bottom):

Oh - you want to see what the front side looks like? Sure! 
All photos copyright Lynne Cantwell 2020
That yellow-green, frankly, is a problem. You can see how it blends in with the gray, and trust me, it's even worse in person. I am probably going to go over it with a darker green. I am definitely not ripping it out.

Anyway, the Norwegian knitting thimble gets a thumbs-up from me. Someday I may even do my own YouTube video for how to use it. The ones I found all seemed to be 30 minutes long because they included instructions on how to knit Fair Isle. Yo, I already know how to do that -- I just want to see the gizmo in action! 

I'm now past the yoke and need to knit the rest of the sweater. I'll post a photo or two when it's done.

NaNo update: We are at the halfway point today. Once I publish this blog post, I'll dive in and write my word count today for today; that will bring me to 25,000 words. I'd be done with today's words already, but I spent the entire freaking afternoon sleying the reed on the ginormous loom. At least that's done now and I can start the actual weaving, which should take nowhere near as long as warping the loom has...

These moments of knitting blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Stay home and stay safe!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

How not to heal a wounded America.

(Stolen from a Facebook post. Happy to credit the artist 
if someone can tell me who it is.)

Our longest Tuesday ever finally ended yesterday, when major news organizations called the 2020 Presidential election for Joe Biden. We here at hearth/myth are pleased with the outcome. We're super grateful that millions more Americans voted for Biden than for President Trump, and that Biden's Electoral College lead looks solid. And to be honest, we'd be okay if President Trump spent the rest of his term rage-tweeting and golfing, as both activities can be easily ignored.

As the election is over, I plan to go back to vagueposting about politics -- starting right now.

This post-election world is very new for all of us, and now that the euphoria has worn off, a lot of folks are sort of feeling around the edges about how to proceed. This past four years has been an eye-opener for many of us, particularly when it comes to how far down the rabbit hole our conservative-media-obsessed friends and family have gone. It's not so bad when senile Uncle Ern goes off on a Breitbart-fueled rant at Thanksgiving dinner -- you only see the old codger once a year, after all. It's much harder to ignore when Uncle Ern friends you on Facebook and then starts shitposting false conspiracy memes on his own timeline and insulting your friends on yours. 

But he's still your Uncle Ern. So maybe you should forgive him his belief that Pizzagate was a real thing and gays shouldn't be allowed to get married and the virus is a Democrat hoax and All Lives Matter. In fact, you'll probably run into folks who will tell you that you'll be sorry if you don't forgive him. 

If you're looking for permission to tell those well-meaning folks to take a hike, here you go: Tell 'em to take a hike.

We've already been over my views on forgiveness. To recap: As a Pagan, I see no moral value in forgiving someone who has neither asked for it nor atoned for the hurt they caused. Anger is a legitimate emotion. It's okay to be mad at someone. In fact, you can continue to be mad at them for as long as you need to be. You don't have to forgive anyone who doesn't deserve it.

Moreover, if Uncle Ern rants about All Lives Matter in front of your biracial children, or if he spouts off on gays when he knows (or should know) that you're gay, or if gives you a hard time for wearing a mask, do not shrug it off. That's verbal abuse. He's hurting you with his words.

We have all spent the past four years being gaslit by the President. He has told us lie after lie after lie -- more than 20,000 lies by mid-July, and tons more since. Hello, that's abusive behavior! It has taken a toll on every last American -- even those of us who haven't yet figured out they've been abused. 

Yes, America is horribly divided. Yes, our country needs to heal. But healing doesn't equate to sweeping bad behavior under the rug. Don't do it. Don't let people who behave badly get away with it in the name of forgiveness. And for the love of the gods, don't listen to anyone who tells you our best path forward is to turn the other cheek.

NaNo and stuff: As of last night, I was right where I need to be on the new book -- which is kind of a miracle, considering I spent all day yesterday on social media. I haven't written anything yet today because I spent more than four hours this afternoon warping the ginormous loom, and it's not done yet. This project is going to be nearly the whole width of the loom -- 360 thread ends, in case you know anything about weaving -- and each end has to be threaded through two parts of the loom: once through a heddle and once through the reed. (On a rigid heddle loom, the heddle and reed are one thing.) I finished threading the heddles this afternoon. Because I'm doing NaNo, sleying the reed (that's what it's called -- don't ask me why) will have to wait for another day.

These moments of advisory bloginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Wash your hands! Social distance! Wear a mask and do it right! And thanks for voting!

Sunday, November 1, 2020

A hodgepodge for our scattered times.

It feels early to me. Does it feel early to you? (For those across the pond, Daylight Time ended for North America last night. Nearly all of us set our clocks back an hour -- as if any of us need another hour of 2020.)

There's a lot going on this week at La Casa Cantwell: 

For starters, NaNoWriMo began today. I kicked off the month with about 2,400 brand-new words in a brand-new book that's tentatively titled Janis after one of the two protagonists. It's definitely going to be a fantasy and maybe a paranormal thriller, depending on how things shake out. For sure, I'll be aiming for readers who say they like reading Young Adult books but would love to read a fantasy with a kickass old woman as the main character. 

In the part I wrote today, Janis is joined by a man from her past. Each of them has a paranormal ability that complements the other -- she can view past events and see why people behave the way they do, and he can see the future in all its complex and probabilistic glory. They'll be teaming up against a shadowy organization they were once a part of. And the future of the world is at stake, of course, because that's how I always roll.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes. I've always won NaNo and I expect to win again this year, although for the first time I'll be writing while starting a new job. Yes, I know, I just retired. But I've picked up a temp job as a proofreader for the New Mexico state legislature, and training starts tomorrow. I expect 7:00 am will come awfully early tomorrow morning -- but at least I gained an hour last night, right?

The other big thing happening this week -- you might call it the elephant and donkey in the room -- is, of course, the US presidential election. I cast my ballot a couple of weeks ago and you already know who I've voted for (Joe Biden, for those just joining us), so now I'm at the nail-biting stage. Like a lot of Americans, I'm hoping for a big, blue blowout on Tuesday night, but expecting that the final results will take much longer. 

Assuming Biden wins, he's going to have a big job ahead of him. Regardless of how often he says he'll be president for all Americans, the fact is that our country is as divided as it's ever been. I'm left wondering how successful he'll be in bringing us together -- or even where to start. 

timbrk |

A couple of Louisiana State University researchers have been surveying Americans over the past four years. Mason and Nathan Kalmoe say we're in the throes of what they call "lethal partisanship." Forty percent of study participants see the other side as "truly evil," and a scary number on both sides think the country would be better off if a lot of folks on the other side of the political divide just up and died. However, the study also found that when participants heard a pacifying message from their presidential candidate of choice, their attitudes became less violent.

Which brings me to this week's episode of Star Trek: Discovery. If you haven't seen the episode, you might want to skip the rest of this paragraph. In this latest episode, Discovery returns to Earth and finds a lot of things have changed -- among them, Earth has dropped out of the United Federation of Planets and is now under attack by marauders. The two sides are at loggerheads. There has been no attempt at peace talks or any sort of truce. So Burnham and Saru force the leaders of the two factions to meet -- and lo and behold, once the two sides set aside their hatred for one another, they come to an agreement.

This is kind of a staple plot line for Star Trek: the Federation acting as peace broker between warring factions. And of course it's a lot easier to get people on either side of a dispute to meet when you can beam them in by main force. But still -- the key is getting people to stop talking past one another. I don't know if that's possible in today's America, but I hope we can get there soon.


I nearly forgot! We did get snow here in Santa Fe this week. It's all gone now, but it was pretty while it lasted. I promised photos. Here you go.

Snow on chile ristras at the Historic Plaza.
Emergence - Michael Naranjo
State Capitol, Santa Fe


These moments of scattered blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. We're all virus-weary, but keep wearing a mask and washing your hands anyway.