Monday, June 15, 2020

Spoofed and Slugged in the Same Week

Annamaria on Monday

Well, TGIM? (Thank God It’s Monday, I hope).

Last week, I posted a perfectly nice blog.  Considering the privations and outrage we New Yorkers have suffered over the past THREE FULL MONTHS, you would think that…

Interruption:  It is Saturday morning as I get to this point while writing this blog, I just discovered that the emails I thought I had sent over the past four days have not actually gone out.  I will keep writing the blog while I wait on hold for the third techie in four days to try to help me.  

…as I was saying: after THREE FULL MONTHS of suffering isolation and outrage, you would think the gods would give me a break, but the gods must be not only crazy, but sadistic.

Anyway, this week’s trouble started on Wednesday when I was spoofed.  I am old enough to remember when a spoof was enormous fun!  As in the songs of Weird Al Yankovich or movies like this:


Nowadays, “spoofing: means this:

So, someone managed to kidnap my personal email and start sending people messages that looked as if they came from me.  I discovered the problem on Wednesday morning when I received an email bounce-back saying that my message to an email address in Russia did not go through.  I don’t know anyone in Russia, and though I am loath to sound prejudiced, I don’t think I want to know anyone in Russia.  When I called tech support at my email hosting company, I found out the new definition of “to spoof.”  I liked the old one better. From the number of recent phony messages I have gotten from people that I know, it seems we are all dealing with two pandemics at the moment: Covid-19 and Hackattack-20.

Anyway, after a couple of hours first on hold and then speaking to a very sympathetic guy named Thomas, I thought I had the problem solved. I changed my personal email address and password and figured all was well with the world.  I gave Thomas top marks on the customer satisfaction survey, hung up on the call, had a coffee, entered all the new information into my phone and iPad, and finished up the little that was left of Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, I woke up to find that I could not use my phone.  All it would do was show me a pop-up that I was not recognized.  In a way, I was used to my phone not recognizing me, since it refused to unlock with facial recognition when I was wearing a mask.  And rightly so.


Because I did not want to live in isolation without a phone, I called tech support again.  After the now familiar conversation with the answering message, I was told that my approximate wait time was 103 minutes, or I could ask for a call back.  I did.  Eventually, Bret—a nice Canadian chap—called me from Vancouver.  In a mere two hours, we figured out the problem.  I had to change my Apple identity.  My terror that I would have to call Apple tech support (or wait for the Apple store in Grand Central Station to reopen sometime in July) was, blessedly, unfounded.  Bret helped me fix that problem.  My phone stopped refusing to know me.  Whew!

Screw the to-do list,…

Excuse me for a bit. After a long time on hold—tick-tock, tick-tock, James has answered.  I'll be back as soon as I can.


Forty-one minutes later, James is restarting the host software.  It will take four hours during which time I must not send an email or try to open one that comes to me.  In the meanwhile, I can go back to writing my blog.

  And now, back to Thursday.  Hurrah, my phone was working again.  Screw the to-do list.  I made myself a wonderful dinner and opened a bottle of Bourgogne Les Perrieres 2017 and settled down to watch the funniest movie I could find.

Except!   Now, my Apple TV did not recognize me.  (And no, I wasn’t wearing a mask.) Using, the tiny Apple remote, I was forced to employ a one-million-clicks method to enter my new username and old password (don’t ask).  I had to do it six times to get through the steps to acquire a film.

It took half a glass of the Bourgogne to pierce the layer of frustration that separated me from the pleasure centers in my own brain, but thanks to the movie I had a few laughs and went to sleep.

Friday dawned with all the best of June splendor in NYC.  I took myself to the WSQ market with the bounce back in my step.  Strawberries.  Microgreens.  Sugar snap peas.  Corn flowers.  Grey sole—fresh from the Atlantic.  And (Oh, wow!) Watercress.

I took my treasures home and put the watercress in the salad spinner and let the bowl fill up with cold water.  After putting the flowers in a vase and the other purchases in the fridge, I went back to fetch the watercress.


They were much smaller than some I have seen.  But the rinse water was full of them in all stages of development.  Never had I seen such specimens before.  Backburner naturalist that I am, I confess I took note of those stages from embryonic to fully developed before I washed them all down the drain.  One of them left a ghost in the sink.

I needed company, so I checked by email inbox.  It was then that I noticed that my mail server had downloaded into my desktop new copies of all of the emails received in the past six months, bringing my inbox total to 18+K.  Holy $#%^*.

See the total unread at the bottom.

I’ll deal with that tomorrow, I told myself.

It would be redundant to describe what it took to get Apple TV to give me some entertaining respite last evening.

Saturday morning, full of determination, I came to my computer and began this blog while intermittently doing as much as I could stomach of inbox clean-up.  In the process I discovered that the emails I had been trying to send for the past four days never went out. 

Deja-vu all over again.

I have been keeping you apprised of events since then with italic interruptions, searching for catharsis by telling you this tale.

I now have less than an hour to wait until 4PM when I can find out if the email problem is solved.  It will take another three hours before I will find out if Apple TV has learned to like the “new” me.

In the meanwhile, I will continue humming this tune to myself.


Wish me luck.    


  1. Oh gosh! I DO wish you luck. You're going to need it. The moral of the story is that's it's simpler just to make friends with people in Russia!

    1. Oh Michael, Maybe what I need is the Russian equivalent of the Geek Squad. Right now I am on hold, listening to the 21st Century equivalent of elevator music, while I wait for tech agent #4 to connect me with tech agent #5. I should have put in the YouTube of "The Beat Goes On" instead of "Gone at Last."

  2. Oy! The slugs were a crowning touch to that horror story.

    1. Thanks, Jim, the slugs were yucky, but easy to rinse down the drain. The email problem - not so simple. Today I was on the phone for two hours. Just now, Tech agent #5 took over my computer and in a few minutes found the special place were there was a missing password specifically for outgoing messages. So I can now say, at least of that specific pain--GONE AT LAST!

  3. Now I understand why "may you live in interesting times" is a curse. Good luck. Take a good slug of wine today. Oops!

    1. Thank you David, Wine is chilling, and the menu for dinner tonight is promising. The problem is fixed AT LAST. (I could have written three chapters in the time it took :(( ) WHEW!!

  4. As the saying goes, "To err is human, it takes a computer to REALLY f- things up." May your troubles disappear down the drain with the slugs!

    1. EvKa, I like that saying!! When Tech Agent #5 got into the act, with my cooperation, it took him about 35 minutes to log into my computer so he could take it over. In the next seven minutes, he found the little hidden screen that wanted a second copy of the my password. Once I typed it in, my outbox connected! So here's my conclusion: What Michael said above is right. If I could have asked a Russian's advice, he probably could have hacked in and solved the problem in seconds instead of having five people take eleven and half hours over a five day period. As Stan just said, "SIGH."

  5. I had to laugh at the slug story, Sis, as opposed to crying all all your other trials this past weekend. At the farm we have watercress growing everywhere there's relatively still fresh water. The downside is it comes with unexpected visitors of the sort you found. So, how was the watercress sans slugs?