Simply Security Questions

I was registering for an online points service with one of the grocery store chains here in Ontario. Part of the process was choosing a security question and then typing in your (unique and individual) answer. Well, I have a problem with the new security questions which pop up. I was just fine with the old standard Mother’s maiden name or Father’s middle name. I knew those, they had a simple and definite answer. 

Maybe they became too standard, maybe they were less secure as they became over used or maybe not everyone knows this information about their parents. Some how there are now new security questions and I usually can’t find a simple answer for any of them. I don’t remember enough, I don’t have strict enough opinions or I just don’t have a preference and this leaves me with no security questions and answers, too often. It’s frustrating. 

Here are the security questions from my recent adventure with them:

If you could be any historical figure who would you be?

Where did you go on your best vacation?

What is the name of your best friend from childhood?

What was the first concert you attended?

What is the name of your favourite teacher?

Do you have answers for all of them? An answer you are sure of enough to be able to remember and have the same answer months from now? Not me. I can think of a lot of historical figures, none I’d really want to be. My best vacation…. I can’t pick one. My best friend from childhood… too many options, we moved a lot when I was a younger child and then I never really was great at keeping friends or making them. Another memory game… the name of my favourite teacher, I can’t pick one from among the faces I remember and I’m not sure how to spell the names I can remember. First concert was Cher, or Sonny and Cher, I guess. Or was there something else I’ve forgotten. Likely so. I picked the concert question because it was the only one I might answer the same way twice. 

The problem with most of these questions is still that they do not come with simple, definite answers. Different spellings, different abbreviations, different ways of writing them (like short forms versus long forms). Even if you give the same answer it might be wrong because you typed it with capital letters or without any spaces the first time you gave the security question answer. 

This is why the old standards of Mother’s maiden name worked. Just type in a last name, with the first letter as a capital because (of course) it is a proper name. I miss the old, simple security questions. Security seems to be pulling us farther and farther away from the very things we are supposed to be accessing. I think it will be easier for someone else to guess my security answer than for me to remember it. 

What would you use as a great security question? Can you think up a few? 

You are in a Halloween Horror Movie…

This came from one of my nephew’s friends on Facebook.

You are in a horror movie on Halloween, the first ten people in your chat are: (No cheating!!)

Cries like a baby:
The one who trips while running in the woods:
First to go missing:
Murdered saving you:
Survives by faking death:
Has a solid survival plan nobody listens to:
Spends all the time looking for Twinkies:
Turns into a zombie:
Everyone suspects is the killer:
Is really the killer:

Think of peopel you have read or written (characters of your own creation) where would each fit on the options provided?

How to Behave Like a True Princess

princessOriginally written for HubPages sometime in 2013. What does the idea of being a princess mean to you? Have you written about a princess (in a fantasy world or the modern world) before?

If you want to be treated like a Princess begin by acting like a Princess with poise, grace and pleasant manners.

The word Princess comes with so many labels, from a spoiled brat to a graceful lady. Assuming the Princess you want to be isn’t the spoiled brat, how do you become the lovely fairytale Princess admired by so many?

A real Princess isn’t a dainty little thing. She stands on her own feet and makes the world (or at least her own local world) a better place. Contribute an example of how to behave better so others will see and do the same themselves. Keep your poise, don’t get flustered or impatient too easily. Use your best manners and be polite – treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.

Still, a Princess is not a doormat. She stands a little above, on her pedestal. Not so high that she can’t join in and be apart of everything going on in her kingdom but still, she holds herself to high standards and she is proud of what she is and what she does.

Don’t rest on your laurels or think you know all you need to know. Take lessons in etiquette manners and ballroom dancing too.

A Princess with some education can make a career out of being a Princess. Become an etiquette consultant, a protocol specialist or even someone working with the Embassy of your own country or in a foreign country (if you enjoy the travel).

How to be a True Princess (or at Least Feel Like One)

  • Decide on your kingdom. Your room, home, or your neighbourhood?
  • Who are your subjects? Your friends and family?
  • Communicate well. Don’t speak too quickly and use a smooth, calm tone of voice.
  • Dress like a Princess. Be proud to look pretty and elegant.
  • Resist buying cheap, wait until you can buy quality clothing, furniture and accessories rather than finding yourself with something which doesn’t suit you.
  • Wear nightgowns to bed so you can sleep like a Princess too.
  • Design your bedroom, your most personal space, to be your Princess oasis.
  • Find an especially beautiful mirror which lets you see your whole Princess self: a refined, classy woman.
  • Enjoy flowers, even if they are artificial, they will brighten up your space.
  • Take care of your hygiene, keep cleaned, trimmed and well groomed.
  • Work hard, do your best to set a good example and show how wonderful a Princess can be.
  • Work to keep a good attitude, be happy and your kingdom and subjects will be happy too.
  • Keep your standards high when it comes to your own decorum and good behaviour.
  • Keep your mind open, be tolerant of other opinions, view points and ideas.
  • Be generous with your time and energy – give to charity when you can and volunteer to help.
  • A Princess attends functions, dances and balls. Make sure you are out to see movies, go ice skating and other events you enjoy.
  • Practice good posture, standing straight and tall with your shoulders slightly back.
  • Practice making an entrance and exit, not just from the room but vehicles too.
  • Practice how you sit. A Princess keeps her knees and feet together, especially when she’s wearing a skirt.
  • Walk with a light step rather than clumping around or dragging your feet.
  • Don’t hold onto negative things and emotions for too long.
  • Do things that make you happy, follow your bliss as they say.
  • Love yourself. Be kind to yourself.
  • Be grateful for what you have and thank people who help you. Show appreciation.
  • Create your own Princess crown (or tiara).
  • Learn how to gracefully curtsy.
  • Experiment and develop a Princess laugh.
  • Learn how to give a royal wave when you are on parade.
  • Host a Royal Event to show off your beautiful gown, your crown and your graciousness.
  • Read fairy tales. Write and draw your own story about your kingdom.
  • Be kind and generous to others and be true to yourself.
  • Have a fancy tea party and invite friends and other Princesses too.
  • Smile, bestow your smile generously for your subjects and others, even those who are not in your kingdom.
  • A Princess can be excited, exuberant even, but she does it graciously and with poise.
  • A Princess is never a poor loser or a gloating winner.
  • Sometimes being a Princess is all in the details: watch your fingernails for dirt and make sure your shoes are not scuffed.
  • Princesses respect the Earth. Don’t litter.

Be a classy Princess, never become snobby or act as if you’re better than everyone else. Don’t expect special favours but be thankful when you get them.

How to Curtsy

Begin by respectfully lowering your head.

Hold your skirt out sideways just enough to give you room to bend your knees.

Slowly lift your right foot and place it behind your left foot.

With one foot forward, and your upper body straight, bend your knees. Lower your eyes.

Rise up smoothly and slowly.

Princess Links

Daisy Yellow’s Creative Experiments

Daisy Yellow is an art journalist with regular posts with Creative Experiments, Kick Start your Art Journal and Art Journalling 101.

Use familiar stuff in a new environment

This is easy. Take your show on the road. If you draw mandalas at night before bed, draw at a cafe. If you mostly shoot photos of your kids, photograph iron gates or weathered doors. If guitar is your thing, get friends together to play at your house.

Use new stuff in a familiar way

Build on something you know how to do. If you paint flowers with watercolors, paint the same subject with acrylics. Shoot a roll of black + white film instead of digitals. Sketch with thick markers rather than a black pen. Make orange-spiced pecan muffins instead of blueberry-walnut.

Use familiar stuff in a new way

This means playing with your materials! If you know do mono-printing with a rubber brayer, use a brayer to make an art journal background. If you embroider on aprons, try stitching on an art journal page.

Explore completely new stuff

What sparks your curiosity? What would you try if failure was irrelevant, just to try it? If knitting is your passion, experiment by making a bracelet with FIMO polymer clay. If you design digital graphics, try pottery or learn to knit a scarf. If you usually play guitar, try painting with watercolors. For me, freestyle embroidery was intriguing yet out of my comfort zone. You can also pursue this idea by taking a class ~ you can find a course (web or live) in hand dying fiber, photography, photoshop, watercolor, ceramics, jewelry making, sewing, guitar, sculpturing recycled junk, making bread.

Read all the posts from past Creative Experiments on Daisy Yellow.

Facebook Games Stopped Being Fun

Facebook Games are Addictive, Not Fun

I’m not playing any Facebook games now. I stopped. I got tired of the limited game play (being allowed only a few turns before I had to request more from friends). I got tired of having people I don’t know on my Facebook account (people I had added just for the Facebook games). I got tired of my Facebook feed being cluttered with game posts. I got tired of being pushed in subtle and not so subtle ways to pay (more) for the games when they gave me so little in return. Mostly, I had enough of feeling like a mouse in a wheel – putting so much effort into winning nothing. (Those little image files are even copyrighted, no matter how many you win you can not ‘own’ them or take them home or anything).

One day I realized I wasn’t having fun any more. I had a deadline to cook hundreds of dishes for Cafe World and not enough friends to help me get there. I could nag my real friends, who had stopped playing the game, to send me gifts. Or, I could buy my way there, with real money I needed for real things. I had already spent some money on the game, why not spend bit more? If I spent $20 I could have those cakes baked and get ahead another level up so I could cook new things.

Get back to the part where it wasn’t fun any more.

The graphics were cute, I liked my cafe (my farm, my island and my train station too) but I felt pressured to perform for the game, to collect items that were worthless in reality. My friends and family were not pleased with the amount of game requests in my Facebook feed. Even if you only send out one request to one friend on one day, the games now have unlimited access to your feed on Facebook and they can post whatever they like, as often as they choose – to everyone on your friend list (whether they play the game or not).

Also, when you allow a Facebook game/ application to access your account in any way, you are giving them all your information. Even beyond your Facebook account itself, they can find your account on other sites like Twitter, Blogspot, WordPress, etc. Each time you allow a Facebook game to access your information you are giving away a lot of information to someone you know nothing about. Facebook does NOT guarantee your privacy, security or safety.

You can join groups for fans of each game, They will become your instant friends and add to you database of gift givers. You can quickly end up with a list of a few hundred Facebook friends, all just for playing these games. These addicting games that want your money and will pull every cheap move they can think of to make you feel like staying and paying to play. You feel the goals they set you are worth working for, but they offer nothing in reality. When you walk away from the game your hands are always empty but your time has gone, with nothing really accomplished.

It took me a couple of false starts to finally break away from the Facebook games. There were a couple I hung onto. There were people I had met through the games who I felt I was letting down. Then there was the feeling of wanting to keep that city, farm, cafe open and growing. Also, the special plus of having the latest seasonal tree on my farm, the one I had to nag all my friends about just to be able to have it! One day it just didn’t seem any of that was really worthwhile any more.

Just Say No

So I fully and finally quit them all, just to the last train, farm, city and cafe. This weekend my niece asked me if I was still playing any of the games. It wasn’t easy, she’s just a kid, but I told her no. Instead we played another game, online.

I still like online games. I like having something simple and fun to play when I don’t have anything else I really have to do. So, I began looking at the sites where my nephew, Zack, plays online games. He has quite a few which he goes to regularly. The games range from simple to complicated. You can play board games, role playing games or strategy games, most of the sites have the games sorted into categories. I like the simple games where I just move the mouse around the screen. I may yet get into some of the free role playing games which have you create a character and then travel around the game world. I’m not quite there yet. I’m enjoying not being addicted to anything on Facebook. I find myself not using the site nearly as much, for any reason, now.

Kongregate is my favourite online game site now. You can open an account and move up levels as you play the games there. It gives you goals but doesn’t leave you feeling you’re working towards winning nothing. There are no fake prizes offered, just the goal of achieving another level for the sake of levelling up itself.

Know the Risks of Using Facebook

Do You Have an Online Shopping Addiction?

Buyer Beware

I love online shopping. If I had the money I’d be sending myself little gifts every day. No wonder people are addicted to it. It’s like buying yourself a present. But when it actually arrives it feels like someone sent you a present. The odd time I have bought something online the best part was looking forward to the day it actually arrives, then unpacking it and seeing what extras they sent along with my purchase. (Usually nothing more than a free sample of something, a coupon for more spending, brochures or other sales related stuff).

They say it’s retail therapy when you go shopping to make yourself feel better. It’s almost cute if that’s all it is. However, when the credit cards are filling up and you have to choose which bills to pay and plan how you will have enough for groceries but still you’re out there buying more stuff for retail therapy… something is broken. It’s not cute when it becomes an addiction and it doesn’t really make you feel better. Also, with a shopping addiction there is the problem of what to do with all that stuff, where does it all go inside the available living space?

My best advice to anyone who is getting too involved with online shopping is to go ahead and shop, but stop at actually purchasing anything. Become an online window shopper instead. All the fun of looking for the bargain, or the right thing but none of the financial burden. You don’t even have to worry about sizes, colours or whether shipping is an extra charge.

I also love to spend time shopping for freeware, open source or gadgets like addons for my web browser, plugins for my WordPress blog, etc. I do stick to things I will actually use and anything I don’t care for I delete right away rather than having it hanging around.

These are all free shopping, no download required if you just look for the latest interesting thing and don’t choose any of them. But, even if you end up downloading and installing a mass of freebie stuff – it’s pretty easy to delete it all later. One thing to be careful about – don’t download from risky sites which might be free but come with extras you don’t want. Do some research and find the best sites to shop, just as you would for any other online shopping.

Signs of Online Shopping Addiction

Jobs, families and friends are neglected.

Financially they are over extended, credit cards are loaded and they may be borrowing money from family and friends to pay for ordinary things.

They plan their day around waiting for the mail to be delivered.

Even if you get them away from it they can’t get shopping off their mind.

Feeling lost or out of control when credit cards are unavailable for use.

They have a lot of stuff they don’t need and don’t really have a place for.

They have clothes, cosmetics, books, etc. never used and yet they are still shopping and buying more.

They lie and make excuses for the things they buy.

Feeling happy and good while shopping, then let down and upset after the shopping high wears off.

Repetitively doing the same things far more than necessary. Checking prices, comparing prices on items you just looked at the day (or hour) before and expecting or feeling let down when nothing has changed.

Help for Online Shopping Addiction

Consider what triggers the shopping: boredom, anger, disappointment, fear, nervousness, or habit.

Begin setting limits on how much you will spend. Stick to your limits.

Remove your financial information from all the shopping sites. That way, you at least have to take the time to input the information all over again and this will give you time to reconsider making the purchase.

Have a list of things you could do instead of giving into the temptation to shop online.

Set limits on your time spent online. Put the Internet on holiday service to give yourself time to recover and become less dependent on it.

Keep a journal of your online habits, let yourself see how much time and money you are actually spending on this.

Get a shopping buddy so you can both work on getting your habit/ addiction in better control. Be accountable to each other and keep in touch daily.

Try to take a digital sabbatical, see how long you can last without going online and find other things to do with your time instead.

Become an online window shopping instead. Don’t buy anything, just enjoy the shopping part.

Have a goal in mind, a reason for cutting your online shopping. What is the most important reason for you to kick the habit or get your shopping under control? What is the benefit which you are most looking forward to?

Getting Compulsive Online Shopping Under Control

What to do with your Old Books

It’s very hard to part with an old book, or a book you mean to read, someday. But, there comes a time for every book lover when the amount of books is a bit overwhelming and we need to narrow down the stacks of books just a little…

It is TOO easy to pile up an assortment of books. I confess, I’m a book hoarder. Once they stop being tidy, displayed on a bookshelf, you stray from being a book collector to being a book hoarder. That’s how I feel about it, for myself at the very least. I have books on my shelves. But, I have books in two large-sized storage containers too. Then there are a few stragglers on a dresser, in the dresser of another room… etc. There are more books than I can read.

For me the fiction books are not hard to deal with. I don’t keep any of them once I have read them. I used to keep some, favourites and those I wanted to read as part of a series. Now, I read them and remove them from my home. Otherwise, they just pile up – all too literally.

  • Could you Sell Your Old Books?
    Are you a book lover in need of some space? The best way to make space for more books is to let some of your old books depart for other homes. It’s not easy. But, you can sell your own books.

Get Rid of Your Unwanted Books (Make Space for More)

  • Recycle and repurpose old books into book art.
  • Donate your books to the local library or a charity.
  • Take your books to the thrift store or the Salvation Army to find new readers.
  • Trade your books at the second hand book store.
  • Exchange books with friends, relatives and co-workers.
  • Leave books for someone to find. (Like BookCrossing).

 Trading/ Selling Books to a Second Hand Book Store

One simple way to sell your old books is to find a second hand book store and trade them in for store credits. This is my first choice. I like knowing the book will be read again, recycled and reused. I also like being able to choose new books and getting a discount on them when I have brought in old books. This is budget friendly.

Some second hand book stores will not buy books. They will only trade for store credit. This is great for me because I love having a little credit left for the next book shopping spree I go on. Not everyone wants to buy more books though. So, check with the bookstore before you bring in a sack of books expecting to come out of the store with cash for them.

Also, if you want to sell books the store will only give about an eighth of the original cover price. If you are trading for store credit you can get a quarter of the original cover price.

Let Someone Else Find your Books

Keep Track of your Books Online (Don’t Buy Doubles)

 

WordPress Resources for New Bloggers

wordpressWe tend to learn how to use WordPress through our own trials and errors. It’s an adventure.

Now and then you need help with something in particular. Or, you want to improve on what you already know. Or, you want to take your WordPress site in another direction and make big changes. There are books in print, there are friends too. I usually find all the help I need online, on blogs and sites about WordPress and user forums.

 

Start by Spelling WordPress the Right Way

WordPress Themes I Like

Free WordPress Themes:

Themes from Automattic: CoralineDuster, and Pilcrow.

WordPress.org: Twenty Eleven

Right now most of my blogs are running on the Clear Line WordPress theme. It’s a free theme with some flexibility for tweaking. Fairly easy to use and free to use.

Premium WordPress Themes:

Bavotasan (Free and premium)

Catalyst

Headway

Thesis 

Genesis

How to Install a WordPress Theme

  • How to install a new WordPress theme
  • Free WordPress Themes

The WordPress Plugins I Like to Use

Clean Contact – A contact form for WordPress. You don’t have to give away your email address but you can have the form direct any messages to your email account.

Contextual Related Posts – This will show posts related (by content) to the current post your blog reader has read. This is a long time favourite plugin for me.

Scheduled Posts – Any post you schedule for the future will be displayed in the admin of your blog, separate from the drafts or posts already on the blog.

Link Library – Sort your links. It’s like having your own web directory made from your blogroll.

Time Machine – Show your old blog posts again. Works really nice for my old blog, takes me down memory lane every day.

Where did they go from here? – An also viewed plugin. Shows your readers other posts people read after the current post.

WPTouch – Make your blog available to mobile readers. I use the free version.

WordPress Development Geared to Beginners

WordPress Resources (Once you Know Your Way Around)

 

People of the Book

“We are the people of the book. We love our books. We fill our houses with books. We treasure books we inherit from our parents, and we cherish the idea of passing those books on to our children. Indeed, how many of us started reading with a beloved book that belonged to one of our parents? We force worthy books on our friends, and we insist that they read them. We even feel a weird kinship for the people we see on buses or airplanes reading our books, the books that we claim. If anyone tries to take away our books—some oppressive government, some censor gone off the rails—we would defend them with everything that we have. We know our tribespeople when we visit their homes because every wall is lined with books. There are teetering piles of books beside the bed and on the floor; there are masses of swollen paperbacks in the bathroom. Our books are us. They are our outboard memory banks and they contain the moral, intellectual, and imaginative influences that make us the people we are today.”
— Cory Doctorow