You can’t spell “Personal Identity Theft” without “iPod.”

So here’s the thing:

My mother is eternally at war with any technology more advanced than an 8-track. We bought her an iPod for her last birthday, an act akin to giving a nitrogen-cooled-Cray to someone looking to play Internet cribbage. Ever since then, the calls have been pretty steady:

<RING, RING> (because I apparently have a Bakelite phone, circa 1954)

Yours Truly: “Hello?”

Ma: “Hi, honey. I think someone is trying to steal my identity.”

YT: “Why?”

Ma: “Well, I had to put my credit card in for that eTunes Podstore thing, and now there’s a dollar charge on my statement.”

YT: “Ma, they just do that to verify that your account is valid. The charge won’t be processed, they just want to make sure it works for when you DO purchase something.”

Ma: “Well, nobody’s stealing MY identity. I saw it on the news. Those hackers can get in and steal anything they want! I took that credit card right out of there!”

YT: “OK, Ma, that’s fine. You’ll just have to re-enter it before you can buy anything.”

Ma: “Well, they’d better not try to do anything fishy with my card! I know my rights! What if they try to buy a bunch of drugs?”

YT: “I’m pretty sure that drug dealers stick to cash, Ma, but if you see a charge for “Cucuy’s Cocaine Cartel” on your statement, we’ll talk to the bank.”

My mother views the Internet with suspicion and dread. This is not necessarily a bad thing –  she has a point about identity theft – but her terror is such that the slightest interaction with it becomes a trial. Over a year after receiving her laptop, my mother uses it for exactly two things: playing Mr. Do, a circa-1982 video game most vibrantly remembered from the ColecoVision, and making snowflakes on the Internet.

Snowflakes.

And, the thing is, she’s REALLY into it. She’s apparently the best of the bunch in her little gaggle of Snowflake Friends…everyone compliments her on her structure and symmetry. She’s the glittering silver queen of the (ahem) flakes.

The scary thing is, I see in her the same rabid enthusiasm I have for, say, Guild Wars, and I am forced to ask myself, “am I really conquering evil here, or am I just one more flake in the storm? Am I really more advanced than my technophobe mother, or am I just making fancier snowflakes?”

These are questions destined to remain unanswered, at least if I want to keep my therapy visits to once every two weeks.

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CDL Blogoversary, Day Two: Adam Lambert’s Loss is Our Gain

We’re celebrating Claire De Lunacy’s First Blogoversary, and I’ve invited some very gracious and awesome friends to contribute to this mess, sharing their words with you, my beloved readers. Through June 10th, there will be a new post from a different guest each day, culminating with a new, full-length short story by yours truly. I hope you enjoy my guests’ work as much as I do, and I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens during the NEXT year.

[Today’s Guest Blog is by Blanca Meneses, a friend I met on “The Twitter.”  Blanca is Cuban American and has lived in the US since 1969. She has an MBA in International Business, a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and a Paralegal Certificate. She currently works as an in-house paralegal at a Fortune 500 company. When not working, Blanca focuses on her photography. She resides in Miami with her partner and their Goldendoodle, Cocker Spaniel and two cats. Visit her online at http://www.blancameneses.com]

I sit here today still dumbfounded by the results of American Idol. I still feel confusion and disbelief when I think about the results. I mean, Adam Lambert should have won, right? Right? He’s multitalented and the best contestant ever to compete on American Idol. But for some reason, or reasons, he did not win. We all know that now.

I remember that on that Wednesday evening, May 20, 2009, I was sitting in front of my big flat screen tv with my partner and our two dogs watching American Idol with the Bose stereo system blasting away just waiting for the results. Finally, after all the artists sang, some better than others, and after they dimmed the lights, my heart began to race. I was nervous but optimistic and hopeful. I was so confident, as I”m sure were many other Adam fans, that Adam would win. But when Ryan Seacrest announced Kris Allen as the winner I was in utter shock and disbelief and felt mentally and emotionally stiff. I couldn’t move! The phone rang. It was my partner’s mother. I’m screaming saying that this is BS! What?! What?! What?! What????!!!! The unthinkable had happened! Kris Allen won.

I was enraged. I went on Facebook to tell the whole world how I felt. My status was not pretty. In fact, I was fuming! I went on Twitter to tell the whole world how I felt. My 140 characters were not pretty. In fact, I was still fuming! Why didn’t Adam win? How did this happen? I was perplexed and upset! I was so enraged I even shedded a few tears.

Tears? Why yes, tears. Tears because I took his loss personal. Tears because I believe Adam Lambert lost because he’s “different” and obviously more colorful than the conservative Kris Allen, who, in my belief, didn’t win on talent alone. Adam Lambert has not really admitted he’s gay, but he is quite flamboyant. His black fingernails, his heavy eyeliner, his walk, his thick make-up, and at times his clothing, all gave way for people to think that he was over the top in every which way. But more important than anything, he is unbelievably talented.

Did Kris Allen win because of the conservative vote? Did Adam Lambert lose because he’s “different”? We might never know; however, there is wide speculation and much talk that the reason Adam lost and Kris won was because the conservative vote pushed Kris over the edge. So now, all of a sudden, we have conservatism vs liberalism and red states vs blue states in an American Idol competition. And here I was thinking that the election was over.

The bottom line here is that this country, although some states are making progress with LGBT issues and we have a Democratic president and a Democratic congress, is still quite conservative. It is the fight of the religious right vs those that are to the left of the religious right. I do believe that more and more people are becoming more accepting of LGBT people, but I also believe that homophonia is still alive and kicking in the good old USA.

So, in the end, I had to accept that Adam had lost this year’s American Idol crown. But, I do believe that he is well on his way to having an abundance of success. As a matter of fact, he might just be on his way to becoming the lead singer for Queen. Sweet and at the same time ironic, isn’t it?

Here’s to you Adam and to your undeniable talent!

[It’s me again. Regardless of American Idol‘s role as, ahem, “entertainment,” I do believe that Adam’s decision to be open about his homosexuality adversely affected his shot at the crown. As Blanca said, his loss will ultimately be America’s gain, especially since the runners-up from Idol seem to make a bigger splash more often than their crown-winning counterparts.

Special thanks to Blanca for sharing her views! Be sure to stop by her site to say “hola!”

Tune in tomorrow for some short fiction!]