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7 rules for picking the perfect password

Rule 1: 12345 and letmein are not passwords. Those are welcome mats. Cute animal motif optional.

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Welcome hackers!

Rule 2: Birthdays, anniversaries, and things like that are banners that read “Welcome, friends, family, and all who know me well”. (Translation: “Here, kids, run up my bill on Google Play.”)

Rule 3: A neverending wellspring of inspiration for passwords are your favorite things. (If you began imagining Julie Andrews whirling around and singing while reading that, then it is *entirely* your fault. But I love you anyway.) Don’t pick obvious favorites, like your favorite food or your favorite hobby. Pick favorites that you might not have even thought of, like your favorite day of the week, favorite word, or favorite color, using a word that’s not red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown, or pink. Oh, so you had your car colored your favorite color? Well, look up what the manufacturer calls that color, and use that as a password.

(Side tip on picking favorites: don’t pick just any random favorite thing. Yes, you may like the beef sandwiches at your local cafe, but if you only go there because your girlfriend is always dragging you to that place, and it’s the only dish there that you can stomach, it’s not exactly a passionate favorite. Try picking your favorite Jolly Rancher name, or that NPC in your favorite game- you know, the one that you wish they’d let you attack?)

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Rule 4: Spice up your password a little. For now, let’s say you’ve decided to go with your favorite word, puffin, as a password. It’s not common, and most people probably wouldn’t know your favorite word, but it feels a little…unsafe, all alone and small like that. Let’s throw some numbers on the end, and make it harder for you to remember- I mean, harder for others to guess. No, no, no- NO BIRTHDAYS OR ANNIVERSARIES! Then how are you to remember? Favorites! String up your favorite numbers in a row, and you’ve added length and a little security to your password. So now your tiny “puffin” password  has become “puffin538611”. (Hmm. I just realized I don’t like the number 8. Might change that on the edit.)

Rule 5: Don’t forget caps on the first letter! It can be a little bit of a pain to remember it all the time, but if you make that standard across all your passwords, then it’s less of an issue, and something most people trying to access your account are likely to forget. You can also randomly capitalize, though that’s harder to remember.

Rule 6: Lazy way to come up with passwords, without reusing them- pick 10 favorite, hard-to-guess words with a minimum length of 6 letters. Pick two sets of favorite 3 to 4 digit numbers. Mix and match.
Example

puffin                                            538                                            611
oleoresin                                      3662                                          418
quilty                                            1976                                           200

(Yes, I like the word “oleoresin”. It’s exotic and weird and keeps the oils I buy from becoming rancid.)

Rule 7: Make a master hard copy list for yourself. Yes, using ink and paper. Crayon will do nicely too. But if you don’t live alone, or are the paranoid type, encrypt it so that only you can understand what’s on it. So “Puffin538611” might look like “⬆Favorite bird/favorite 3 digit number/2nd favorite 3 digit number”. Or you can write out the numbers if you prefer. This may actually be necessary if you chose to go with random capitalization, like “pUfFIn538611”. (Wow. Why is it that looking at that makes me feel like my finger was randomly glued to the SHIFT key? Ouch!)

Okay, who am I kidding? You might still get hacked. But make ’em work for it, okay?

How do you come up with passwords? Leave a message in the comments!

Voice chats

It’s okay

It’s been a very very very long time since I’ve done one of these. (And yes, I hope that will be the last acknowledgement I make like that. Statements like that make me feel guilty.) But in a way, this also feels good to do. Maybe it’s like saying “Take that!” to my fears. Or, you know, maybe another wheel rotation. Either way’s good.

Lovely List

Lovely list: drinks (non-buzzy)

I had the pleasure of going to a novelty store in town the other day, and how happy I was to discover their selection of wonderful drinkables! It was ramune, mostly, but they did have quite the selection of teas, too. And wouldn’t you know it, the prettiest tea set in pale green, complete with cherry blossoms (though we’re coming out of season now). Here, take a look:

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I expect a tiny tea fairy to pop out of the top at any moment.

So pretty! One day I shall find a tea set with the offset handle (like this) that’s to my liking. But until then…

So this got me thinking about some of my favorite things to drink. Not just because of how they taste, but because the whole experience of consuming them. Then I thought, “Why not make a lovely list out of it?” And here we are. My favorite drinkables are:

-Chocolate milk: There is no better way to enjoy this drink than made with ice cold milk (actual ice in your glass is up to you), poured out in a tall glass, and sipped slowly from a purple straw. Trust me. The purple straw is the key to full chocolately bliss. An alternative to the purple straw is to sip it from the spoon used to stir the mixture, like soup. Truly. Just enjoy it slowly.

Rooibos tea: if you’re not a tea type, totally understand. I’d say perhaps it’s a bit of an acquired taste, but there are so many very delicious varieties out there. Strawberry chocolate is among my tops for rooibos. And it helps keep my allergies under control, so I love it for that.There is little that calms me quite like it, except for…

Matcha (powdered Japanese green tea): Ordinarily I like it hot and traditionally prepared, but I had a milk based version of it the other day. The comfort level it induced could only have been increased if I had been wearing my favorite (read: ratty) bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, rocking gently in a hammock on a mild spring afternoon. Oh the cozies…

-Coffee: my husband is coffee making king! Admittedly he makes it a little weaker than I do, but it’s always satisfying. When it’s my turn to make the coffee, something always seems…lacking. *meep* Coffee doesn’t buzz me, it relaxes me. Well, okay, it makes me sleepy, but that’s close to relaxing, right?

-Snapple mango madness: also something that requires a straw for full enjoyment (color is optional). Makes me think of happy things.

-Pineapple juice: happiness in tiny cans. Yeah, I’m kind of a sucker for those little 6 oz cans. Why does pineapple juice come in cans, anyway?

Rose lemonade: I discovered this at one of our local import stores, and sadly they don’t carry it anymore. I do understand how the flowery flavor might put some off, but really, it’s just light and elegant. Not overly sweet, and the lemon and ginger flavors compliment each other wonderfully (and I do not normally like ginger.) Drinking it is somehow reminiscent of sitting on a breezy deck watching the sun set over green hills.

-Vanilla milk: no, I’m not talking about the powdered stuff. I mean a couple of teaspoons of real vanilla extract in a cup of hot milk, along with a dash of sugar. That stuff is almost as bad as lavender in terms of how sleepy it makes me.

-Rose tea: it’s definitely got a much stronger kick of flowers when compared to the lemonade mentioned above, but it has mood stabilizing properties and goes beautifully unsweetened and paired with shortbread cookies!

-Just milk: is there anything like plain, cold (iceless) milk? Whole, of course. I know some folks just can’t stand drinking milk plain, but what else compliments a sweet baked dessert like cow juice? Soda? I think not.

-Water: a thirst quencher like no other. And it’s the only beverage I can drink more than 12 oz of at a time. Just…lovely.

Ahem! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to fish out my tea tins and help myself to a few hot cups. What are some of your favorite drinks! Be sure to let me know in the comments!

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Your school days

My last post was just shooting from the hip, as just getting started usually makes me want to keep going. But it did make me think of something I hadn’t thought on in a long time. All the little distractions and feelings of being in school. What was it like for you?

There are times I’m convinced that if I were a child going to school these days, I would have been diagnosed ADHD. I turned nearly everything into a toy and used whatever I could for a distraction. When I was a kid my mother had a policy of not buying anything for my sister and I that was too…”gimmicky”, like glittery sharpeners, or erasers in fun shapes, or folders with characters on them. Everything had to be plain colors, plain shapes, less we get distracted by them. Especially during those precious early weeks of school. Still remember the year that those mechanical pencil boxes came out- the ones with tons of little compartments, snap out sharpeners and erasers, and the funny smell of vinyl. When my best friend got one, I literally spent the first class that day doing nothing but pressing all the buttons and opening every drawer, putting pencils in and seeing how many would fit, hopelessly fascinated- until the teacher took it away from me. And that happened to me a lot.

Critters were always a welcome distraction in the classroom. Whenever we’d have a class pet, I’d spend most of the lesson looking over into the cage, wondering if the pet was listening and if he/she was as bored as I was. Or I’d imagine what school was like for them- you know, before they were sold to the pet store and made to go to human school. Was the pet a good student at his/her school?

Probably the only thing that got me to focus with all my ability was fairs and events. Book fairs, career week, science fair (my personal favorite), plays, parties- that was the stuff I lived for. Even now, the scent of a match still reignites the memories of helping my mother put away her students’ science fair projects, setting up the displays for the parents’ arrivals, skipping and sliding down the empty hallways when no one was watching. My sister and I, and the other staff kids would often get extra treats for having to stay in school for the science fair prep, and we made a lot of fun out of it- playing with board games from any classroom, messing with the gym equipment, being allowed in the kitchen (which was a strict no-no), and checking to see what kinds of books the older kids read (how sad I was to discover that younger kids generally had the better books).  My mind has done an excellent job of stripping the information I received from school away from the methods in which I learned it all (and, of course, that likely happens to most). But happily it allowed me to keep, rather intact, memories of the discoveries I made on my own, and thinking on it does give me something to smile about today.