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Monday, December 31, 2007

Snow snow snow; the ring

I swear, it's never going to stop snowing this winter, LOL!

Chris has been snow blowing and shoveling like a madman. He's also been doing a lot of work on the Jeep - removing the old white paint to prime it and paint it red (not a bright red, a darker red - it's a nice color). The top and trim will be black. He's taking photos of the work he's doing to keep track of it, which I'll post soon.

We're staying home tonight after visiting a bartending friend at the local VFW this afternoon. A fire in the fireplace, watch a movie, scratch Bandit and Guin's bellies and ears and just relax and be together. It's nice.

Like I wrote before, my engagement ring is hard to describe - the two photos at the end of this don't do it complete justice, but you'll get the drift. The center stone is a dark green emerald; the top band is nine emeralds going from a dark green to a very light green; the bottom band is five diamonds. I plan on getting a plain gold band to fit over it - this ring already has enough stones on it.

I've had some people ask why I didn't go with a diamond. Why is it that a diamond *has* to be an engagement ring? I swear the jewelry retailers have people convinced a $10,000-$20,0000 diamond engagement ring is the only answer. A friend's son-in-law ended up paying what she said was the equivalent of a Hyundai for a ring for her daughter because the jewelry store told him he *had* to get a more expensive one for one reason or another.

Pfft. I don't buy into the hype.

Princess Diana had a sapphire surrounded by diamonds. I like different. This is different. It suits me and I love it.

What's weird is that it turns out emerald is Chris' birthstone. I chose it because I like green. Like my friend V2 said, "You're a green lady, LOL." Yes, I am.

So, here's the ring:



Monday, December 24, 2007

The moron wrote back

(read the previous post to see what's going on)

Not as nasty as I thought he would be, but refusing to reread the article I was interviewed for and realizing that the quotes he attributed to me were indeed wrong means he's still a dumbass. And the cutesy name for WHOA? Duh, buddy, look it up - it's Working to Halt Online Abuse = WHOA. Plus lumping me in with what the Fox reporter wrote claiming I was blaming the gaming industry, which I did not. . .oh WTF. What an idiot.

Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2007 10:14:56 -0800
From: Neal Feldman
To: JAH
Subject: Re: Incorrect quote used in your recent commentary

Where did I not 'use the right quotes'? I quoted what the article said. If you have an issue there I suggest you talk to Fox Newstainment.

As for the 'so-called' Fox Newstainment has a track record regarding who they call 'experts' that is even lower than abysmal... and since all they did was call you an 'expert' I used the 'consider the source' method. So in your case they actually messed up and quoted an actual expert. Good for them for once.

I do not doubt that there are scumbags out there but they proliferate everywhere. To just blame games is ludicrous. Either blame the perps (my preference) or blame those stupid enough to act irresponsibly (like women who get drunk in bars then wonder why they wake up naked somewhere or who leave their purse just lying around and wonder how it could possibly have been stolen etc. And men do dumb stuff too, it's not all women, don't get me wromg. IMHO the perps are primarily responsible in such cases but it is not like the victims exactly made it difficult, is it?

And that was the thrust of my article in case you missed it getting all huffed up.

That of personal responsibility and not blaming inanimate things and programs but protecting yourseklf by following the rules and warnings given (that if folks just would do would eliminate a large majority of cases you refer to.

True or not true?

Sorry if I got your hackles up... but when you lend your name to Fox Newstainment you should expect some to not consider you as legitimate as maybe they otherwise would. (also the cutesie name (WHOA) to me at least does not lend an air of scholarly expoertness... but lends more to the 'so-called- category. You might consider that in the future as well.)

Neal Feldman

I really hate stupid reporters

Grr.

It happened again. A stupid reporter from a small paper in Oregon decided to take a quote out of his ass and attribute it to me.

Good lord.

Here's the "commentary" this idiot wrote:

Logic Fleeting in Online Gaming Safety Debate

This is what he wrote about me:

One of their so-called 'experts', alleged cyber-stalking victim Jayne Hitchcock, president of Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA), makes the claim that games are at fault because they "can foster more vulnerability than there might be on other virtual meeting spaces such as dating and social networking sites".

Hogwash! The games always warn you to be aware of unscrupulous folks and to protect yourself accordingly... especially they warn you to NEVER give out account information, credit card information or any other personal information unless you are sure about who you are dealing with, and even then to do so warily. But they can only hold your hand and protect you from your own stupidity so much.


Hogwash is right, since I never said that.

I was so peeved this morning, I sent him the following email, cc'd to the president of the paper and guess what? He can't even write his first name correctly as his contact email address. He wrote it as "neil" instead of "neal." What a moron.

Mr. Feldman,

You read an awful lot into the article about online gaming that I was interviewed for. The quote you attributed to me was not made by me. Read the article again (Online Game Meetings Sometimes End Tragically, but Phenomenon Remains Rare).

I said (in the article):

"When you're in a social situation like that ­ playing a game, having fun ­ you're comfortable with the people you're playing with," said cyber-stalking victim Jayne Hitchcock, president of Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA). "People are just not very careful. They lose all sense of reality and themselves."

and

"You're going to see a lot more of these stories, unfortunately," predicted WHOA's Hitchcock. "Nothing surprises me anymore in terms of the ways the Internet can be used to harm people."

Also, I am not a "so-called 'expert,'" as you also wrote.

I *am* a cyber crime expert and have been since 1997. Yes, I was once a victim, but because of my situation and the fact that I have helped change many of the laws on the books in over 40 states to include cyberstalking, I travel the country training law enforcement from the local to federal levels. In fact, I'm a featured trainer at the DoD Cyber Crime Conference for the third year in St. Louis next month. I also speak at schools, conferences, to librarians, and others, and head up two online organizations that help victims of online harassment and stalking. Please do not denigrate the hard work I do at WHOA (our help is free, by the way, for victims). We are the only organization that has the most up to date cyberstalking statistics, and yes, we have had cases involving online games gone wrong.

In addition, I have written two books about Internet crimes, the latest is the 2nd edition of Net Crimes & Misdemeanors (see netcrimes.net). Video Professor bought the options to my book to make it a 3-CD tutorial coming out in a couple of weeks. And I freelance for magazines about Internet crimes and safety.

I think you do yourself and the paper you write for a great injustice when you can't even use the correct quotes.

I suggest that next time, contact the person you are quoting to make sure you get it right. As a reporter, you should know better.

J.A. Hitchcock


I'm sure I'll get a truly witty reply to this.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

America's Most Wanted; Prenup; misc

The segment I videotaped for America's Most Wanted finally aired last night. I was on for a split second on screen, although my voice was in the rest of the segment. I went to the AMW web site to see if they added the tips I'd talked about and instead of me as the expert, they listed another online safety organization, then mine as an afterthought at the very end. This other organization is run by a person who has not liked me from day one when I refused to merge my group into theirs. So they refuse to appear in any media interviews with me (I have emails from reporters stating this, so it IS a fact) and insist on being the only cyber crime expert. I'm surprised they let AMW even mention my group on the web site. Grr.

I just hope people who do online dating will take the info and tips I talked about to heart. The tips I talked about are on my blog at Fox Maine. There is also a chapter about online dating in my latest book, the second edition of Net Crimes & Misdemeanors, as well as other online safety tips and information.

---------------------

Chris and I went to my lawyer's office this past Tuesday to sign the prenup (official name: Premarital Agreement). Chris doesn't have a lawyer. When he got the first draft of the prenup in the mail from my lawyer, he didn't even open the envelope. I told him he should at least take a look at it. He told me he wanted to marry me, not what I have, and would sign anything put down in front of him. He asked me to call my lawyer for an appointment to sign it and I did. And he signed it.

Hmm. I forgot to tell him about how he has to wear a French maid outfit on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Ha ha ha.

Seriously, if this doesn't prove to anyone that he loves me for me, then this next part will.

We went ring shopping a few weeks ago and picked out an engagement ring for me. I didn't want a diamond this time. This is my 4th marriage and will be my last, dammit. I do not intend to keep up with Liz Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor. So I chose a 1.75 carat emerald, not really a pear shape but between a pear and diamond shape - it's hard to describe. I'll post a photo soon. On the top is a row of emeralds that go from dark green (the color of the center stone) to almost white; the bottom has a row of diamonds - all set in yellow gold. It's beautiful.

He had it wrapped up to give to me on Christmas Day. Along with another box that are earrings.

Friday night we went to a friend's Christmas party, then out for dinner and home. We sat on the couch and watched TV, then he asked if I could get him a t-shirt. He was warm. Sure. I went to the bedroom, got him a shirt and back to the couch. Settled down again. All of a sudden, he got down on one knee and pulled a jewelry box from behind the pillow on the couch. I told him he was supposed to wait until Christmas. He told me he couldn't wait - he wanted everyone to know he was going to marry me. Then he opened the box and asked me if I'd marry him (again). I almost burst into tears.

He put the ring on my finger. It is truly gorgeous. And he is truly romantic. He's always doing little things to make me pinch myself to make sure he is real. This morning he made pancakes for me in the shape of a heart. Everyone say awwwwwww.

No, you can't have him. He's mine! All mine!

-------------------------
So now for some odds and ends:

I start traveling again next month and the following video has made me rethink some things, such as not drinking from the hotel room glasses.

And now for something a bit cheerier:

Holiday Christmas Eating Tips - Let the Christmas Season Begin

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat step #3.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO HOO what a ride!'"


MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sometimes I really hate the media, Myspace needs to smarten up, Video Professor update, more

I was interviewed by many media outlets for the Myspace suicide story mentioned in an earlier post here. Fox News, Associated Press, local radio and newspaper, even the Dr. Phil Show called about possibly doing a show about it, but postponed it. What gets me is just about every major media outlet misquoted or quoted me out of context.

The AP Story quoted me as stating that the law passed in Dardenne Prairie outlawing cyberstalking was meaningless (this is the city where the girl lived). It is. But the reporter didn't add just WHY I stated it was meaningless, so I looked like a mean person who didn't give a damn about the girl who died. Oy.

The reason the law is meaningless is because the law can only be used if BOTH the victim and harasser are located in Dardenne Prairie, or just the harasser (a victim, if they have to pursue charges or sue their harasser, must do so where the harasser lives, not where they live. . .unless the police want to extradite the harasser, which rarely happens). Since over 70% of the cases my organization, WHOA works on shows that victims and harassers are not in the same state OR country, this law won't work.

I personally feel that Dardenne Prairie meant well, but did it more to appease the parents of the girl who committed suicide. Missouri DOES have a cyberstalking law, but what causes this girl to commit suicide was NOT cyberstalking or online harassment. Nor was it cyberbullying. It was because an adult was allowed to create a fake Myspace profile to use to lull the girl into a false sense of being wanted by a boy her age, then having that "boy" call her fat, among other mean things.

Cyberstalking is (this is the Department of Justice definition):

"the use of the Internet, e-mail, or other electronic communications devices to stalk another person. Stalking generally involves harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person's home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person's property."

Cyberstalkers frequently follow their targets around the net, in chat rooms, message boards, newsgroups or mailing lists in which the victim participates. At times they will also attempt to form relationships with those who are friendly with the target in order to get more information about the target. This is based upon the thousands of cases WHOA has worked on over the past 10 years, so I know what I am talking about. That is why I am a cyber crime *expert.*

This girl did not ask the "boy" to leave her alone. She kept asking "him" why he had turned on her and called her mean things. Writing mean things online is not a crime, or I'd have hundreds of people jailed because of the mean things written to me. It was awful, but not a crime. Period.

It's a crying shame what happened to that teenaged girl, but the blame needs to be put squarely on Myspace and other web sites that allow anyone to get a free profile without proving they are a real person. This goes for Yahoo, Livejournal, Hotmail, Gmail, Facebook (which should have stuck to being exclusive to educational institutions - what a stupid move they made when they opened up membership to everyone online. Their exclusivity made them stand out. Now they're just "another" Myspace), etc.

Paypal has a way to verify someone, so it's not a matter of *how* to verify if a person signing up for a profile is real or not. It's a matter of spending the money on employees and time to do the verification process. These other web sites are more interested in getting as many members as possible and not caring about keeping them safe online. It always comes down to money and it disgusts me. If a verification process had been in place at Myspace, I bet that girl would be alive today.

There. I've said my piece. Now it's in writing online and no one can misquote me.

On to other news in my life:

I had to go to a local TV station to film some segments for the upcoming Video Professor release of the 3-CD tutorial based on my book, Net Crimes & Misdemeanors 2nd edition. I basically answered a bunch of questions about staying safer online. What killed me was the producer taping the segments. At the end, I told him he should give me a call anytime he needed an expert on Internet safety and crimes. He told me he'd met someone this past spring who also did that. Hmm. That would be. . .ME!

He couldn't believe I was the same person. I've lost a lot of weight since then. Gone from a size 12 to between a 6 and 8 (if they made size 7 clothes, I'd fit in them, LOL). He told me I looked great and would call. Since they're an ABC affiliate, that would be good. We'll see.

The Video Professor release was pushed back to the first week in January, so as not to compete with the holidays and Christmas shopping rush. Which is fine with me.

My personal life is wonderful. The man in my life, Chris, is amazing in all ways - he's romantic, funny, handsome and treats me like a queen. I love the attention. And it shows. Everyone says I look so happy. Because I am.

He's been working on restoring a Jeep I won on eBay in the summer. It's a 1981 CJ7 - fun with the top and doors off. So he has been slowly replacing the rusted parts on it. Last Sunday, even though he wore safety glasses, a piece of metal got in his eye. We tried flushing it out with Visine, but by Monday night his eye swelled up. So off to York Hospital we went. I hate emergency rooms. It took for-ev-er. Finally, the doc on duty came in to remove the metal splinter - thank goodness it was on the left of his iris and not affecting his vision. Numbing drops were put in. I would have been freaking if it had been me. We got drops to put in and by now Chris' eye was really swollen. He got some pills to help him sleep. The next morning we went to my eye doctor's office so that he could remove the rust around the miniscule hole the sliver came out of. Yuck. Numbing drops were put on his eye again and it was done. He ended up with one huge dilated pupil (from the drops) and one regular size. He looked freaky, ha ha.

We had to go to western Massachusetts yesterday to bring presents to his kids for Christmas. When we got close to our destination, the snow started. Then it just hit like a blizzard. I couldn't believe how fast it hit. What you saw on TV was nothing like driving in it. A normally 2 1/2 hour ride home (we had to postpone the gift-giving because of the snowstorm and basically turned around to go home) took 8 hours. We had Bandit and Guin with us and Guin is a great little traveler. Bandit is not. Even with his medication to keep him calm, he wouldn't shut up the whole ride home. Chris and I took turns driving (average speed was 25-30 MPH) and we thought we'd never get home. We couldn't stay in a hotel because he has a job plowing driveways in a local condo complex, so we *had* to get home.

Needless to say, present giving has been postponed until next week.

We finally rolled in at 8 pm. Chris promptly went out to plow our driveway and walkway and we finally got to bed around 11 pm. Bandit got me up at 330 am, restless, and started to pee in the house. So I took him out, cleaned up, then couldn't get back to sleep. I ended up in the living room on the couch watching TV. I took an Execdrin PM to try to get some sleep, but it took forever to take effect. Chris got up at 5 am, worried I wasn't in bed. He got ready to go plow the condo driveways and by the time he came back to the couch, I was sleeping. He picked me up and carried me to bed, kissed my forehead, then let me sleep. I thought I dreamed him carrying me.

I got up at 830 am when the eye doctor called to reschedule Chris' followup appointment, then the heating guy showed up to do the yearly checkup on the burner in the basement. I am exhausted. So is Chris. I have to do a book event at the local library tonight and was hoping they'd cancel or reschedule. No such luck. Oh well. Hope I'm not "punchy" tonight, ha ha.

We got a small Christmas tree for the living room last Sunday and with everything that's been going on, we hope to finally decorate it tomorrow. Another snowstorm is on the way. Which means more work for Chris, but he needs it. So we are hoping for a very snowy winter (ha ha).

It's never a dull moment.

Friday, December 07, 2007

America's Most Wanted Appearance Changed

The segment I was interviewed for on America's Most Wanted was pushed back to either December 22 or the 29th. I can't get a better answer than that. Since it is a filler and not time-sensitive, I have to expect delays like this. So just tune in to Fox on Saturday those dates to see if the online dating segment is in the previews of what's going to be on the show. They don't list on their web site what is going to be on their upcoming shows.

Let's hope it airs before the end of the year!

Also, Video Professor's launch has been delayed until the first week of January.