About That Weird Twitter Email

Back in January I—and probably every Twitter user ever—received a very odd email from our favorite microblogging service. (Is Twitter considered microblogging? I’m going to assume it is, but I’m not actually sure which services qualify as microblogging services…) Here’s the email in its entirety.

Dear Natalie K.,

As part of our recent work to understand Russian-linked activities on Twitter during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, we identified and suspended a number of accounts that were potentially connected to a propaganda effort by a Russian government-linked organization known as the Internet Research Agency.

Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we are emailing you because we have reason to believe that you either followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked content from these accounts during the election period. This is purely for your own information purposes, and is not related to a security concern for your account.

We are sharing this information so that you can learn more about these accounts and the nature of the Russian propaganda effort. You can see examples of content from these suspended accounts on our blog if you’re interested.
Continue reading “About That Weird Twitter Email”

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A Rainy Weekend

It’s been a dreadfully rainy weekend here u Natashi (at Natasha’s), which means outside activity (i.e. walking) has been impossible. Therefore, I’ve mainly been inside reading, writing, and making macaroni and cheese.

The reading material has consisted mainly of nonfiction. In fact, I’ve read nonfiction almost exclusively this year thus far, but more on that in a later post. The most recent book I finished was Albert Speer’s Spandau: The Secret Diaries.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read that book. I think I read it a few in high school, but it’s been over ten years since I read it. I think I remembered the book as better than it actually is. Don’t be me wrong, it’s fascinating as a historical document, but I’d forgotten how miserable and depressed Speer was at times, which makes those sections difficult to read.

As for writing, I didn’t write at all yesterday, but I’ve done 2,000 words so far today. My book is rapidly approaching the end, so things are getting very exciting and dramatic. I love writing epic confrontation scenes between characters and my poor protagonist is about to have the biggest confrontation of her life. (Granted, she’s only seventeen, so she hasn’t exactly had that many confrontations before, but there are some nasty surprises awaiting her.)

I have to work tomorrow, but I wish I had another day off to write fiction and write more blog entries… and to spend some time walking since I couldn’t go on a walk this weekend. Too bad I couldn’t have worked today during all the rain so that I could have tomorrow, which is supposed to be nice and sunny, off!

Where Does The Weekend Go?!

If there’s one complaint I have about most weekends, it’s that they’re too short. Seriously, I have so much to blog about, but no time to do it. It’s not like I was sitting around wasting time online this weekend (that’s definitely something I have been known to do…). I was out and about, running errands, walking around in the freezing cold (for exercise, not the errands), and listening to my audiobook. And now it’s Sunday night and I feel like I didn’t get anything done! Well, I did make a ton of progress on my photos organization project today, so that’s a good thing. But I didn’t blog or write fiction or even read very much.

When are three-day weekends going to become a thing?! I, for one, eagerly await such a development.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! Shortly after I wrote my prior post,* I went to the Balmy Tropics. It… wasn’t the best trip to the Balmy Tropics. The weather was great but the certain events continue. At least my mom and I went shopping and out to eat multiple times when I was there.

I wanted to start the year off right, so I wrote over a thousand words today. I still need to post my 2017 writing report—it probably will be lackluster, but I’m just trying to push forward and keep working on my writing. I’m planning to finish the draft I’ve been working on and I have a couple of short stories to edit.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a good New Year’s Day. It’s back to work tomorrow, which I’m not looking forward to because I haven’t gone to work in over a week! It’s going to be a rude awakening tomorrow…

*In my prior post, I mentioned a book I’m excited for later this year. In fact, I’m so excited that I put a countdown in the sidebar of this blog! It’ll be in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page, depending on what device you’re using to read this blog. If you’re reading via RSS or email, I think you have to click through to the blog.

Why I Canceled My Free Hulu Trial

The last time my mom visited me, I signed up for a free trial with Hulu. I wanted to watch the BBC adaptation of War and Peace, which came out in early 2016 when I was at the tail end of the job search that brought me to my current job. Needless to say, I was a bit preoccupied back then, so I missed all the news of this adaptation. I created an account on Hulu, provided my credit card, and had a free month to watch whatever I wanted—with no commercials.

Two weeks into my free trial, I canceled it.

Russians? I think not!

Why did I cancel it, you ask? First off all, I didn’t like the War and Peace adaptation. Before I started watching it, I never considered that I wouldn’t like it—it’s a costume drama based on great Russian literature, so what could I not like?!—but I didn’t. My mom watched it with me and when we finished the first episode, we both agreed that it just wasn’t that good. We couldn’t picture the actors actually being these Russian characters. The acting, at least to me, seemed very flat.

Since we were so unmoved by War and Peace, we tried 12 Monkeys, which, as you may have guessed, left us equally unmoved. We watched the recent Star Trek movie (Star Trek Beyond) and enjoyed it, but that was the only movie we found that we wanted to watch. There were some other decent movies on Hulu, but I’d seen them all already. The remaining movies were just plain bad.

So there you have it. There was no point to keeping my Hulu trial—I didn’t want to forget to cancel and then owe $11.99 for something I didn’t like anyway. I’m still baffled at how many people watch TV. I know a lot of people with Hulu and I thought I was missing something, but apparently not. For now, I’ll stick to my Russian news clips and shows—and books when I don’t feel like watching something because in general, reading beats watching TV any time.

The Great Digital Photos Organization Project

I wrote a lot early last week, then paused in my writing (yet again). This time, though, I wasn’t reading or feeling sad and unable to write. I was doing something else: I decided to embark on a project to organize my digital photos once and for all.

I have a lot of pictures. A lot. My mom bought me a digital camera in 2006 and I used it for years. (I still have it, actually.) Then, the iPhone came out and I took pictures with my phone, too.

All this to say that I’ve accumulated a rather large photo collection over the years. I used to do a good job of going through and deleting bad pictures and renaming the ones I kept so that I could actually find what I’d taken pictures of. (It’s pretty hard to tell which pictures are of your family and friends and which are of your cat when they’re all named “IMG_1001” and such.)

Somewhere along the line, I’d sort of given up organizing my photos. I kept taking pictures, though, and my collection ballooned. One reason why I don’t post a ton of pictures, either on this blog or on my social media, is I can never find anything I want! Sometimes I’ll know I have a good picture of a flower that I’d like to use, but good luck finding it. I have almost ten years’ (!) worth of photos on my computer. I haven’t checked to see how many photos in total I have, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s ten thousand, minimum.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to organize this mass of digital imagery once and for all. After much thought and research, I’ve decided to use the Mac Photos application with a referenced library. (A managed library is the default.) That way, I can preserve my file structure, but will still be able to browse my photos in chronological order. Best of all, the Photo application will scan my photos for faces (it found my cat’s face in addition to human faces!) and will index everything so I can search for a topic (like “cactus” or “snow”).

I made a lot of progress on my photo organization project last week. It’s going to take a while to go through and delete what I don’t want and move everything I do want to keep into the right place. But I’m hoping to have a completely organized catalog of photos by early next year, which will be amazing.

Yarn Bomb!

This weekend, I decided to organize my yarn collection, once and for all. I don’t have a ton of yarn… but I don’t exactly have a paltry amount, either.

This was the result when I had all of my yarn out in my living room.

Click to see larger.

Now, I know this isn’t a yarn bomb per se, but it does look like part of a yarn shop exploded there.

So yes, I did organize my yarn. I allocated some of it to patterns I want to make. (I have a bad habit of buying random yarn I like without a specific pattern in mind, which leads to the yarn just sitting around and accumulating without being made into something.)

I also made something last night. Yes, this cowl can be made in an entire evening, it goes so quickly. It’s crocheted, which helps. I crochet a lot faster than I knit!

It reminds me of the desert!

We had off from work on Friday due to snow. The snow was so beautiful that I went outside to admire it. We had a good 3-4 inches, from what I’ve heard. Of course, it’s almost all melted now, but it was gorgeous on Friday.