Cyber Security Theater: PayPal Edition

I’ve been trying to remove a now-closed checking account from my PayPal wallet for about 6 months now. Every time I’ve tried to do it myself, their site says there’s a pending transaction and won’t remove the account.

Never mind that there’s not a pending anything anywhere.

Today I had a few extra minutes and decided to call and make them produce evidence of this mysterious pending transaction and remove the stupid account and the debit card associated with it.

Once I finally got a real human person on the phone (no small feat), “Melody” needed to verify my identity by asking me five SOOPER SECURR questions.

Multiple choice questions, because it’s very very important that I, and only I, can know the answers.

Question 1: “Which of these cities is associated with you?”

A) City You Used to Work in
B) City That May Not Even Exist
C) CIty You Used to Live in

Well, City A is associated with me, but so is City C. When in doubt, pick C. Correct!

Question 2: “Which of these streets is associated with you?”

A) A Street
B) A Street You Used to Live on
C) Another Street

Woo hoo! I think I might pass this after all. The answer is B for Bring on all the questions!

Question 3: “Margaret Maidenname was born in what month?”

A) March
B) November
C) Sept–

Me: “Wait, who?!”

Melody: “Margaret Maidenname.”


Melody: gasp, awkward laughing “Oh, my” titter titter “uhh…”

Me: “I think she’s about 11, but even SHE doesn’t know what month she was born. How the hell do YOU know?”

Melody: “Ha ha, I’ll just choose ‘none of the above.’ Next question…”

Security Theater Game Over.  Exeunt Omnes.

Tl;dr: PayPal never could produce a “pending transaction” on my account, related to these payment sources or any other, but they did finally manually remove them probably. I’ll check back in a day or two to make sure.

My nagging Instagram improvements wishlist

I couldn’t find an offical place (in the Instagram app or online) to offer these humble suggestions, so I’m committing them here in an attempt to move on with my life.

BTW, I’m synapsecracklep0p on iG (yes, that “0” is a zero). My feed is 85% baby photos, 10% things I saw while thrifting, and 5% my Tysabri infusions count-up. Tl;dr MUST SEE TV.

Allow limited hyperlinks. Nobody wants Instagram (hereafter referred to as IG) to get all spammed up. We see enough sneaky pitches for body wraps, Romanian porn, and “get 363 new followers” (and I hope you’re reporting them, too).

But there are times when linking would really help broaden the conversations we have on IG. I would like to see the ability to link to images from my IG archive (most restrictive) or to other people’s IG archives (less restrictive).

Of course, they could blow the lid off and make links to any website clickable (unrestricted), but that’s not where I’d want to start.

Alternatively, it seems like IG could offer to make whatever-kind-of-links clickable when they’re from people you follow (most restrictive) or when they’re from people who follow you (less restrictive).

Make our past photos more findable. Every day, it gets harder to find past pics. Don’t make us feel like we’re sharing into a black hole! Surely there’s some way to shortcut back in time — by month? by year? by x00th pic? — when scrolling through our own (or others’) pics.

Make it easier to follow hashtags. This would be so useful for photo challenges or to learn about new topics. You could reinstate RSS for hashtags — I’d be okay with that, because NewsBlur makes it so easy to keep a finger on the pulse. But it would be lovely, too, for the IG app to offer a native way to do this as well.

Make it possible to group the people I follow It would nifty if I could group my follows by the affinities they naturally fall into, such as my twomom families, my MS family, my meatspace friends, my family-family.

Finally, and most importantly, make our pics and info portable. Most of us don’t have any plans to pick up and leave, but we also don’t want to lose all the time, effort, and heart we’ve put into sharing our memories. Offer us an easy way to download our pics with their captions and basic metadata, like when they were posted. Bonus points for even richer data, like number of likes.

Are you an IG user? What improvements are on your wish list?

About that Anthem data breach

Those who are at risk are customers of Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Amerigroup, Caremore, Unicare, Healthlink, and DeCare.

Lovely! I’ve been customers of 2 of these. (But I guess the hackers already know that.)

Time to ruin my credit so nobody will want to steal it? Mall’s open until 9pm!!!

via Anthem data breach: Steps you need to take – CBS News.

Working it out

Benefits of moving to another county

KK will be able to second-parent-adopt the babies, so they’ll have the two legally-recognized parents that they deserve. That we deserve.

Closer to friends and family

Closer to all my healthcare providers and the hospital we’ll deliver at

Closer to friends and family

Opportunity to find a house/apartment without stairs, so I wouldn’t have to worry so much about my future mobility or lack thereof

Closer to the farmer’s markets

Closer to the airport

Closer to friends and family

Potential for using public transport at least occasionally

Closer to a few bakeries that offer gluten-free goodies

Closer to more alternative families (there are some everywhere, I know, but there’s a greater concentration intown)

Closer to free/lowcost cultural events and field trips

Closer to friends and family


Benefits of staying where we are


Not having to come up with a $20,000 cash ransom before we’ll be allowed to leave?

We get to continue working on our cooperation skills by sharing a single bathroom sink? Even though KK sticks her elbows out like Peter Pan when she’s brushing her teeth?


This makes my head hurt.