FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com

Saturday, May 27, 2006

This is genius

eBay scammer exposed by the victim. Victim ended up finding loads of info on the hard drive and lo and behold. . .the web site.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The rest of my DC trip, but first. . .

. . .this has happened too many times to just be a coincidence. I had a Fox TV producer from a Dallas, Texas station call me about doing a story on cyberstalking. He was hot to trot and wanted to set up an in-person interview at my house or at a Fox affiliate near me. I told him I had a couple of Dallas victims who would be willing to speak on camera. I then mentioned that I'd been trying to get on Fox News in NYC on any of their shows for some time and haven't had any luck. He was surprised and said he used to work in NYC and would talk to the booking agent there. I thanked him. He said he'd call within the next couple of days to set up the interview.

That was on May 10th. I called and left three voicemail messages, the latest was yesterday asking him to let me know one way or the other if he needed me for the story; I emailed him three times as well. No reply.

This has happened before, because a certain person who is head of another online safety organization has basically been blacklisting me to major media outlets. She tells them she refuses to be interviewed if I am going to be on the show or in the same article. Seriously. She throws her weight around (literally and figuratively) that she's a lawyer. You know what? Just because you have a law degree does not make you a cyber crime expert. I've not only been a victim, but I train law enforcement and I work with victims all the time. I am truly a cyber crime expert and I do not exploit victims like she does. She actually told a victim that was in a news article I was interviewed for that she "owned" the victim for any media stories. Again, I am serious.

I wish something could be done, but I keep hoping she'll fall on her face one of these days. My mom always said that what goes around, comes around, and the bad people will get it in the end. The sooner that happens, in this case, the better.

Now on to the rest of my D.C. trip:

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

Did some running around in the morning, after I had to check out, then check back in. The hotel had the nerve to charge over $100 more for the same damned room because it hadn't been booked at the same time as the previous two nights. Grrrr.

Bought a ticket for the Lil' Red Trolley Tour that allowed me to jump on and off anywhere on the route. Took the trolley to Ford's Theatre, where President Lincoln was assassinated. Although the theatre was closed, the museum was open. It was interesting, but when I saw a pillow with Lincoln's bloodstains on it, that made me uneasy, but made it all the more real. Went across the street to the Peterson's Boarding House, where Lincoln died. Although the bed he died in wasn't there, a replica of the bed was. It was small and they had to place Lincoln diagonally on it. Even so, he still wouldn't have fit very comfortably on it.

Walked to the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. There was an excellent exhibition of photos from an Antarctic Journey. I then went into the mammals exhibition hall and honestly, all those stuffed animals creeped me out. I would much rather see live ones in a zoo any day. The animals in natural poses, such as drinking water, were especially creepy. And seeing cute animals like lemurs and sugar gliders stuffed. . .eeyew. Honestly, I am not a PETA lunatic, but for some reason, this really bothered me.

Went through the dinosaur exhibit, saw the Hope Diamond (which was a lot smaller than what I'd always imagined) and decided to see the IMAX film Aliens of the Deep. If you go to the Smithsonia, DO NOT waste your money on this. It was so bad, it wasn't funny. When you have kids saying, "This is dumb," then you know it's bad.

Headed outside to wait for the trolley (which took about 45 minutes to get to me due to traffic) and rode it all the way to my hotel. We went by the Iwo Jima statue, WWII Memorial/Korean War Memorial Park, Arlington Cemetery, Jefferson Memorial and much more. I hope to post photos by this weekend.

Went back to the hotel, checked for messages, then downstairs to eat dinner and read the latest issue of LOST magazine (oh shut up).

Went back upstairs to start packing and getting ready for the 24 show finale. It rocked! On the commercial breaks, I called Chris (my hubby, if you didn't know) and we exclaimed about what was going on. It was kind of fun doing that. The ending of the show was good and sets it up for next season, which I can't wait to see!

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Got a call from Orbitz (where my publicist booked my flight home) and discovered my flight was delayed an hour. Which meant I'd miss my connecting flight. I called US Airways to reschedule the connecting flight. Finished packing, checked out and took a taxi to the airport. When I got there, found out the flight was delayed further. I'd be at the airport for three hours. So I went up to the US Airways Club to buy a day pass. I thought you had to be a member of one of the mileage award clubs to do a day pass, but you don't. *Anyone* can buy a day pass, so keep that in mind if you're stuck in an airport for a long time. It was worth the $40. Free snacks, free beverages, comfy seating, free phone calls, wifi, not crowded, not loud and has several rooms so that you can pick a quiet room or sit in the bar area to watch TV or get a personal booth to work in. So I caught up on my email while watching TV, ordered lunch from Legal Seafoods (which was downstairs, but they deliver) and relaxed.

When it came time for my flight, went downstairs and realized how noisy and crowded airports are. I'm spoiled by the day pass now! Got to Philadelphia, got on my flight home, met a nice woman on the flight home who saw me reading my LOST magazine. She's a fan of the show and we talked about all the theories and what would happen on the finale. We exchanged business cards. Cool!

Got home and Chris had gotten lobster and baked stuffed shrimp for dinner, plus a card congratulating me on my new book, a very cute stuffed squirrel toy (which I named Squirt) and some Swiss chocolate. What a nice husband.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Please do me a favor

If you buy my book and like it, would you please post a review on Amazon.com and bn.com (Barnes & Noble)? Every little bit helps!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Book Expo and the Bozman

Well, Sunday was perfect! Got up, checked email, showered, changed into my suit and took the shuttle to the Washington Convention Center, where the Book Expo was taking place. I had to take it early because it didn't run between 1030 am and 330 pm. I got my badge changed to spell my last name correctly, got a map and decided to check out the children's section of the show.

As I walked in, I saw 100s of booths of publishers. Talk about intimidating. I wandered a bit, talked with some of the publishers and actually made some possible contacts for getting Gil The Gecko published. Cross your fingers!

I got a new copy of Hemingway's Cats by Hemingway's nice Hilary Hemingway for just $10 (it retails for $24.95).

I made my way to the C hall, where my publisher's booth was located and discovered chair massages! So, since I had the free time, I had a 15-minute chair massage, which I desperately needed. Boy, did that feel good!

Got a signed book, The Tesla Experiment, fiction, but for the life of me, can't find anything about it online and the book is in my checked bags (yes, my trip home so far has been hell - that'll be another post).

Saw that Sisters In Crime had a booth directly across from my publisher's. I'm a member and stopped by to say hi, get a SinC sticker and they promised to send folks over for my signing.

Got to my publisher's booth and a fellow author was already sitting with his books. Met Rob Colding, my poor publicist, and we hugged. Met Pat and Amy, who work for my publisher and discovered I actually had some people waiting for me to sign books. So I sat down and began signing. It was brisk for a while and I tried to chat with everyone who asked for an autograph.

I had several people tell me they saw me on CNN! Wow. Honestly, it was a bit weird. It was getting close to 1 pm, the end of my signing and I was doing generic signatures for the remaining few books when another rush of people came over to get the last of the books. I managed to save one for a special person, hugged my publisher, John Bryans (who came by midway through the signing), and Rob and headed out the door with John to get a taxi back to the hotel.

Changed into comfy jeans and a top and took a taxi to the International Spy Museum. I was meeting a fellow blogger Martin Bosworth aka Bozman there. I called his cell to tell him I was there and soon after, he showed up. He's a strong guy - he picked me up right off the floor to hug me, LOL!!

I loved the museum - I love spy things anyway (natch) and really enjoyed it. When they say it takes about two hours to go through the whole museum, they mean it. Boz got me a souvenir t-shirt and I got some CSI stuff for my niece and nephew.

We took the Metro to King Street in Alexandria for the next part of our fun night and waited at the bus stop for the free DASH shuttle.

A woman with one front tooth missing, in her 60s or so, sat next to me. My mom says I "smell right." She began talking to me in short, weird sentences. She couldn't have been homeless because she was clean and so were her clothes. At one point, she stared at me and said, "I panhandle for a living." Okay. I don't know what reaction she wanted, but she seemed to like that I didn't turn away from her. I told Boz I bet she was some eccentric millionaire.

We ended up taking the regular bus (for $1 each) to historic downtown Alexandria and said goodbye to the crazy lady.

We walked down past Market Square, saw where we'd have to meet the ghost tour in a few hours, then I dragged poor Boz to Murphy's Irish Pub, a place I'd eaten at before. I love that place! We ate, talked, then headed to the waterfront, found a bench facing the water and people watched. And boat-watched. They had the tourist boats coming and going and there was one that looked like a Mark Twain-type steamboat. After sitting for a while, Boz said, "This is wonderful" and the steamboat boomed its whistle. I mean, boomed! What timing! We laughed our butts off (help me find mine, please, ha ha).

We walked back to meet the ghost tour, which was a lot of fun. The only thing I wished was that it had more ghost stories. There was more historical info than ghost stuff, but it was well worth the $8 and hour of time. I highly recommend it if you ever go to Alexandria.

We shared a taxi back to my hotel and the taxi driver recognized me from CNN! This is too much! He promised he was going to buy my book and email me. What a sweet guy. We tipped him a lot more than we should have, but hey, he'd better buy my book now!

Boz and I hugged in front of the hotel and I went in to go upstairs and hit the sack. Boy, it had been a long, but fun day.

Phew!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Trip From Hell

Saturday, May 20th – 2 pm
I should have known my trip to D.C. was going to be bad when my publisher told me there was a “minor” printing error in the foreword by Vint Cerf in the 2nd edition of Net Crimes & Misdemeanors. Yes, it’s only part of a sentence that was set in italics, but it’s still a mistake (buy this first printing while you can, it’ll be a collectible).

Then when the books didn’t show up for the conference until moments before I had to speak last weekend in Virginia Beach, I should have know there would be a problem.

Then the publicist at my publisher told me my badge for the Book Expo had my last name spelled wrong. I got it in the mail the other day and my name is spelled Hitchcoal. Seriously.

Then the day and time of my autograph session was missing from the list on the Book Expo web site and the guy who posted those refused to add me.

Then the hotel I’m to stay at had me booked only for two nights, not three.

The publicist took care of that and told me to get the badge redone when I got to the Book Expo on Sunday. No biggie.

So this morning I get to the Portland airport in Maine and head for the United Airlines counter, printed out paid itinerary in my hot little hands. I’d checked the flight departure time before leaving the house and it was leaving on time. The publisher’s travel agency had made the reservations for me.

The girl at the ticket counter was nice and she tried to check me in using my MileagePlus card. No go. Next we tried my credit card. No go. I gave her the itinerary receipt with the confirmation number on it and she tried that. No go. She did some typing, frowned, then looked at me. She told me the ticket had not been paid for and the travel agency canceled the reservation.

I was nonplussed. I had the *paid* receipt in my hands. Besides, my publisher had called me on my cell on the drive to the airport, anxious for me to get to D.C. for our planned dinner. He was expecting me to arrive at the time noted on the itinerary.

So I tried him on his cell. His voicemail picked up. I tried the publicist. His voicemail picked up. There was no one at the travel agency (what kind of travel agency doesn’t have an emergency number to call in times like this?)

I asked the girl if there were any seats left on the flight. She told me only in first class. The original ticket had been for $302.10. To fly now was going to cost $1200.

I asked if any of the other airlines flew to DC. She sent me to US Airways. I explained to the nice man at the counter my predicament. He looked at me strange and asked if I’d been on TV recently. Turns out he saw me on CNN and told me he recognized me because I looked like a younger Susan Sarandon and she was his favorite actress. That made me perk up a bit.

He found me a flight leaving two hours from then, but going through LaGuardia instead of non-stop. I wouldn’t get in to D.C. until 6:10 pm. The good news is that I was now flying into Washington/Reagan instead of Dulles, a much faster ride to the hotel.

The one way ticket cost $383. I paid for it and left another frantic message for my publisher. The guy at the counter carried my bags to the x-ray machine and was very nice.

I called Chris. He couldn’t believe it. I went through security, called my mom to let her know my flight had changed. She couldn’t believe it.

I found a restaurant, ordered some chicken strips and a drink. My cell finally rang – it was the publicist. He was really, really upset. He told me the ticket had been paid for. I explained that I had given the girl the receipt showing it had been paid for and that she said the travel agency canceled the reservation. He was not pleased or amused. I told him I’d booked only one-way because I hadn’t heard back from him or the publisher.

He told me he’d book my flight home, hung up, then called back to see what time I wanted to fly home on Tuesday.

I’m sitting at the airport right now waiting for his call back. And out the windows I see rain clouds. I hope my flight is not delayed. If it is, I’m calling it quits and going home.

Sunday, May 21st 8 am
The flight did take off on time, so did my connecting flight at LaGuardia. Got to the hotel at almost 7 pm. The clerk checking me in tells me I’m staying two nights. I tell him, no it’s three and show him the reservations page I’d printed from my Priority Club account. He did some more typing and told me I had to come downstairs to the front desk on Monday morning, check out, then check back in. I burst out laughing. I told him I’d better be staying in the same room, because I was NOT going to be moving to another one. He said it shouldn’t be a problem. He gave me my room key, said all charges for the room were being taken care of (thank you to my publisher) and I trundled upstairs to my room.

At first, when I slid the keycard through, the green light came on, but the door wouldn’t budge. So I swiped it again. Success!

Got in, called Chris, then the publicist. He said he’d booked my flight home on Tuesday and would give me the info when I saw him today. I told him about the checking out/checking in on Monday and he groaned. I told him I was going to do room service and was there a limit on how much I could charge. He told me no (especially after all I’d been through). I told him I was going to order champagne and male strippers, ha ha.

I ordered dinner, unpacked, then dinner arrived (ribeye steak, salad, veggies, all cooked to perfection). I got into my jammies and started watching Batman Begins on HBO. Not a bad movie.

About 915 pm, the phone rang. My publisher had said another writer who would be signing his books the same time as me might call. I was too tired, so I let it ring and figured I would just get his voicemail. No message. Two minutes later, it rang again and I figured he thought he had the wrong room. I started to fall asleep. The phone rang again at almost 10 pm, waking me up.

I picked up, groggy, and it was room service telling me they couldn’t charge my dinner to the room and I had to pay for it. I was tired, cranky and sick of the whole day. I told them my publisher was paying for all charges for the room. I hung up, then dialed the front desk and tried not to yell at the poor woman who answered. I explained I was told all charges for the room were paid for by my publisher and he had confirmed this on the phone to me today. She said she was taking care of it right away.

I didn’t get anymore phone calls and slept pretty well.

So far today, no problems. Shhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

Friday, May 19, 2006

It's official: Net Crimes & Misdemeanors 2nd Edition is out!

You can order it from the book's web site and get it signed by me as well as a free gift. I'll be at the Book Expo America on Sunday to sign copies of it for the media and reviewers. I am so excited!



Here's the official press release:

NEWS RELEASE



For Immediate Release
For information contact:
Rob Colding
Information Today, Inc.
(609) 654-6500, ext. 330


Net Crimes & Misdemeanors
New Edition of Popular Book Helps Internet Users
Outmaneuver Spammers, Stalkers, and Con Artists

Author J. A. Hitchcock, a cybercrime expert tells her own story and many others; offers a wealth of easy-to-follow advice for staying safe online


May 12, 2006, Medford, New Jersey—Information Today, Inc. (ITI) has announced the publication of Net Crimes & Misdemeanors: Outmaneuvering Web Spammers, Stalkers, and Con Artists, Second Edition, by author and cybercrime expert J. A. Hitchcock.

In this revised and expanded edition of her popular 2002 book, Hitchcock provides practical, easy-to-follow methods for dealing with spam, viruses, hack attacks, identity theft, and other online dangers. The author, the target of a cyberstalker who went on to become a leading victim’s advocate, illuminates a broad range of abusive practices and presents dozens of real-life examples and success stories.

“Hitchcock offers first class advice about ways to protect personal information and detect various kinds of fraud,” said Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, in his Foreword to the book. According to Cerf, a celebrated Internet pioneer and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, “[Hitchcock’s] personal experiences lend credibility to the text and her concrete examples help readers formulate defenses to avoid becoming victims. ... Reading this book is a first step toward increasing your ability to stay safe in a cyberworld that has its dark side as well as its sunny one.”

To celebrate publication of the new edition, the author will sign copies from 12:00-1:00PM on Sunday, May 21, at ITI’s booth #825 at Book Expo America (BEA), being held at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. For more information about BEA visit www.bookexpoamerica.com.

Net Crimes & Misdemeanors, Second Edition is loaded with tips, strategies, and techniques, as well as pointers to the laws, organizations, and Web resources that can aid victims and help them fight back. Chapters are:


1. Cyberstalking Happened to Me
2. Words Can Hurt
3. Spam Not in a Can
4. Urban Legends and Hoaxes: Can They Possibly Be True?
5. Scams, Safe Shopping, and Online Banking
6. Auction Caution
7. Gone Phishing: Nigerian Scams and More
8. Where the Heartache Is: Adoption Fraud
9. Cases of Stolen Identity
10. Your Personal Life Exposed
11. Ugly Beasts Lurking Online
12. A Little Harmful Chat
13. Lookin’ for Love in All the
Online Places
14. Other Ways They Can Get You
15. Protecting the Children
16. Office Know-How: Stay Safe in
the Workplace
17. Police Duty: Our Nation’s Finest
Boot Up
18. Universities Catch Up with
the Net
19. Encryption Made Easy
20. Protect Your Computer!
21. The Basics of Staying Safe
Online: A Review

In addition, the book features over 65 illustrative screenshots, numerous informative sidebars, an annotated listing of useful reader resources, Vint Cerf’s Foreword, the author’s Introduction and Afterword, a glossary of terms, and an index. Reader support and updated links to recommended Web sites are provided at the accompanying Web site, www.netcrimes.net.

J. A. Hitchcock is a nationally recognized Internet crime and security expert who has helped pass laws related to online harassment in many states, including Maryland, Minnesota, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. As President of Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA, www.haltonlineabuse.org) and WHOA-KTD (Kids/Teens Division, www.haltabusektd.org), Hitchcock helps victims of Internet crimes fight back. She has taken her online harassment expertise to the lecture circuit throughout the world, providing messages of hope to victims and training workshops for law enforcement personnel. Hitchcock has been featured in Time, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Ladies Home Journal, Glamour, Family Circle, and on the Associated Press newswire. She has appeared on Primetime Thursday, 48 Hours, A&E’s Investigative Reports, Inside Edition, Good Morning America, and the Montel Williams Show. For more information about the author visit her Web site at www.jahitchcock.com.

Net Crimes & Misdemeanors: Outmaneuvering Spammers, Stalkers, and Con Artists, Second Edition (496 pp/softbound/$24.95/ISBN 0-910965-72-2) is a CyberAge Book from Information Today, Inc. It is available in better bookstores through Independent Publishers Group (IPG) or by calling (800) 300-9868 [outside U.S. call (609) 654-6266]; faxing (609) 654-4309; e-mailing custserv@infotoday.com; or on the Web at www.infotoday.com.

###

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Virginia Beach is wonderful. . .Expedia is not

Had to go to Virginia Beach to speak at a conference. I booked my air travel through Expedia back in February. I was flying out Mother's Day, so early that morning I checked my schedule to see if there were any changes, as we got a whole lotta rain in Maine and I was worried the flight would be delayed/canceled.

I logged into my Expedia account to check the departure time of my first flight. There was no such flight. I panicked and double-checked my itinerary in my account at Expedia. It claimed the flight was the one I had input. So I called the airline directly, Delta. They told me the flight had been changed to one that was leaving 15 minutes earlier. I called the car service company and because of the rain, they were headed out to come get me right then and there. Some roads had been washed out, etc, so they wanted to make sure I'd make the flight.

So I panicked, took a quick shower and was thankful I had packed the day before. I had to get Chris up to help me get my last minute things together. The driver was waiting and I went out to tell him I'd be out in five minutes. He actually looked at his watch, told me I had asked for a pickup at 7:45 am and I told him I had 10 minutes and to be patient. Good lord, what a jerk.

So, kissed Chris, didn't have time to say goodbye to Bandit and Guin and flew out the door. The driver talked about his vegetable garden the whole way.

I got to the airport, checked in and called Expedia when I got to my gate. The woman was not helpful. She actually had the nerve to tell me the change had been made a week after my booking and they sent the change to my email address. Hello? The original itinerary was in my Expedia account. There were NO changes. She still didn't get it. I told her I was never going to use Expedia again. And I'm sending them a nasty snail mail letter with the printed out itinerary with today's date on it that shows the original itinerary and NO changes.

Don't use Expedia. Ever.

Flew through exciting Cleveland. Yes, I'm being sarcastic. It's the most boring airport. Got to Norfolk around 2:30, took a cab to the Virginia Beach Resort and Conference Center. Right on the beach!

Now, the 2nd edition of my book, Net Crimes & Misdemeanors, wasn't officially due out until this week, but my publisher promised to have 20 books sent to the hotel on Saturday so that I could offer them to the attendees.

Guess what? No books. Called the publisher, he was mad, promised to call me first thing in the morning and hope they arrived then. I was not having a good weekend.

My room was on the 7th floor (that seems to be my floor lately at hotels, ha ha). It was a suite with separate living room, small kitchenette and a balcony overlooking the beach. Very cool!

Connie Kirkland from George Mason University, who booked me for the conference and is also a good friend, called an hour or so later. She'd arrived with my other friend, Cheryl Creed, from UVA and Anne Kakol, also from GMU. I quickly changed and Connie and Anne came to my room to meet Cheryl downstairs and go for a walk on the beach.

It was a nice walk. Connie and I haven't seen each other in over two years, so we caught up on a lot of things. It was good seeing her and crazy Cheryl again!

We went to the hotel bar and ordered mimosas (Cheryl sticks with beer). A guy sitting next to me turned out to be Chris from the "Congratulations Chris and Dawn" we saw on the marquee in front of the hotel. They'd gotten married at the hotel on Friday and his bride was out with her friends, so he was hanging out at the bar. We adopted him.

Connie took off for a dinner with some other friends and we chatted with Chris, who is in the Navy. He and Cheryl hit it off really well. Anne and I were starving, so we went to her room to order room service before they stopped serving (because of Mother's Day). We waited for Cheryl, the food came, and waited some more. We talked a lot and finally I ran downstairs to roust Cheryl.

She promised to be up soon.

Went back upstairs, ate some of the food, then both Anne and I headed back down to the bar. We ended up ordering two more mimosas while Cheryl and Chris yakked it up. I finally begged off at 9 pm and went to my room, read for a bit, then crashed.

The next morning, got up early, took a walk on the beach, went back to my room, showered, changed into my suit and headed downstairs to set up. Called my publisher. The printer sent the books 2nd day instead of overnight and said the books should arrive before my talk.

The room was full, with about 70 people from all over Virginia - advocates, law enforcement, campus security, etc. Connie introduced me, the books arrived just in time, and I was "off to the races." I covered stalking, IM safety and blogs, as well as Myspace and Facebook. I profiled GMU and found two students (male and female) who had put too much info in their profiles. I was asked a lot of great questions.

I was also excited to see my book! Sold all but one, which I kept for myself. My shipment didn't arrive until yesterday.

Spent the rest of the day having lunch with a cop from the Chesapeake Sheriff's Dept. This is a good story:

In December of 2003, I was flying home from speaking on a Radisson Cruise (still my most favorite speaking engagement). Flights were delayed into Boston and when we got there, it took forever to get our bags. So I'm at baggage claim, waiting and waiting. A black guy next to me, dressed pretty spiffy, was waiting for his bags, too. We chatted a bit and I said, "You're a cop, aren't you?"

He was shocked. Now, having trained so many cops, I'm pretty good at picking them out, even in civilian clothes. We traded business cards and I told him I may end up in his neck of the woods someday. And I did!

It was a fun lunch, and he hung out with me at the conference for a while.

After the conference, went up to my room, changed into comfy clothes, then went to Connie's room aka the party room. Bottles of wine were open, people were chatting and everyone was having a good time. We decided finally to go out to eat.

Seventeen of us piled into the hotel shuttle van. Two of the skinniest (not me, ha ha) got way in the back where the luggage usually goes. People were on other people's laps. It was hilarious.

We ate at Chick's Oyster Bar and Restaurant. They put us in a separate room, kind of an enclosed porch. Good choice on their part. We were loud. It poured rain at one point, which was cool. Dinner was hectic, a riot and wonderful food. We had a group photo taken at the end, which I hope to put up when someone sends it to me.

We piled back into the van to the hotel, went back to Connie's room, got crazy, watched Deal or No Deal, then Connie kicked us out.

Got up the next morning, walked off my hangover on the beach, then went upstairs, packed, drank coffee and headed downstairs to check out.

My flights home had changed again, but not by much. I went to the airport gift shop to buy souvenirs for everyone, called Chris and he was telling me how bad the flooding was. This is when I'm glad our house is on a small hill. We had no problems at all.

Then my flight was delayed an hour. Newark had shut down due to the rain. Called Chris. It was gonna be a long day.

Finally got Newark, found out my connecting flight had been delayed so that I'd still make it and miracle: It was the same plane I had just gotten off of. I bought some Combos to eat, a water and got back on the plane (no, not the same seat).

Finally made it home, the roads weren't bad and the sun actually started to poke through.

Chris had taped 24, so I watched that while he cooked dinner. What a good show! I'm mad because I'm going to be in D.C. this coming Monday and will miss it again, unless I make it back to my hotel room to watch the finale. Either way, Chris is going to tape it again.

So, this weekend I fly out on Saturday to go to the Book Expo in DC to sign copies of my book on Sunday. I'm mad because the Expo web site "forgot" to put my signing in their listings and the guy I emailed who handles this told me basically "tough luck." I can bet if I was Stephen King, he would have put me on the list right away. Jerk.

I'll post the book's press release tomorrow.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sad news, sad day

The rain is appropriate for today. Got this from my friend Faith's husband in my email this morning. I can't stop crying.

With the deepest sadness, I regret to inform you of the passing of my wife and best friend Faith Marguerite Ingraham Allenegui On May 9th at 2:30 AM

Faith was born in Monterey, California and graduated Valedictorian Window Rock High School, Class of 1981, Fort Defiance, Arizona.

She was a member of the National Honor Society, Big Sisters and joined the United States Air Force in 1987.

Early in her career, as a Radio and Satellite Communications Technician she was recognized as Airman of the year for all of Korea.

She joined marches in the fight against AIDS, was active in the PTA, and was one of the first certified military counselors of Financial Peace University in Europe.

As a Craftsman of Information Management, she gained respect as resident expert in Computer Security for NATO Regional Headquarters of Northern Europe. Brunssum, Netherlands.

Her latest duty assignment was as the training liaison for Foreign Military Sales, United States Embassy, London, England.

At home, she was a beautiful and intelligent wife, an incredible nurturing Mother,
avid gardener and had a sense of humor like no other.

She is survived by her husband of 16 years, currently residing at Travis Air Force Base, California Sons Jonathan of Tucson, Arizona and Elijah of Travis AFB, and Daughters, Madeline and Aimee, both of Travis AFB.

Her Father, Earnest E. Ingraham of Eureka, California, and sisters Scarlett of Fairbanks Alaska, Hope Ingraham of Arcata, California, and Charity Ingraham of Alameda, California Her beloved Grandmother, Laura Ludlum, of Eureka, California, joined Faith 12 hours later.

She is predeceased by her Mother Joyce E. Ingraham and Father-in-law, Duane C. Allenegui.

Our lives, and certainly the world, will be empty without her.

A celebration of her life will be held on her 44th Birthday, 26 May at 11:00 AM at the Central Chapel on Travis AFB followed by a birthday celebration in her honor.

Please send any cash donations to the American Cancer Society in her name.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Laconia, NH & Are People Really This Stupid?

I guess I'll go with the stupid part first, because it's the shortest. I received a fax from a woman who has written a book about proms. Problem was that it was addressed to the Montel Williams Show. I emailed her and told her I was not affiliated with the show and asked where she saw the fax number so that I could make sure it was removed. I was afraid someone had posted it as media contact information for Montel's show.

So she emails me back that she found in connection with my name on a page called "Media Information." Ding ding ding. Media Information is on my WHOA web site, which is about the media I've already been in, including Montel and how to contact *me.*

Sigh.

I emailed her back that she had to be careful about reading web sites and explained this was clearly on the WHOA web site and not affiliated with Montel in any way. You would think the following sentence would have been a huge clue:

You can reach Jayne by emailing her, or calling WHOA's voicemail/fax number at 561-828-2801.

Not Montel.

-----------

So I had to do a speaking engagement at the Laconia Public Library in the beautiful lakes region of central New Hampshire. My sister was originally going to meet me there to have a girls night out after my talk (the library was paying for a hotel room), but her daughter had a high fever and being the good mom she is, she had to decline. Boo-hoo!

So I drove to Laconia yesterday afternoon in Jurgen, listening to Black Ice by Michael Connelly. It's a book on tape, not music. Good story. It ended up taking me two hours because of traffic and construction once I hit the Lakes region.

I was booked to stay at the Landmark Inn. They don't have a web site and the only info I could find online was at Tripadvisor.com, which had negative reviews of the place. So I was dying to see what it was going to be like. Honestly, for the $49.99 room rate, it wasn't bad. It's not the newest hotel, but it was clean and the only quibbles I had was a dubious stain on one of the bedspreads (I slept in the stain-free) bed and the bathtub was either dirty from hard water or a bad maid.

Other than that, everything else was fine. And my positive review will be up on Tripadvisor soon. So there.

So, I got to the library at 6 pm to set up my laptop, etc. The librarian who had booked me was young and perky and funny. An older lady came in at 6:30 on the dot, when I was supposed to speak.

We waited and I had a whopping five people show up to hear me talk.

It was a combination of the lousy rainy weather, the time of day (who wants to go out again at night after getting home from a long day at work?) and the day of the week. Who knows?

So I put on a good show for the older lady, two older gents and a mom and her daughter. The latter left when the kid got bored (15-years-old, what was her mom thinking? I'd be bored, too). The others had a great time, asked great questions and got all the prizes I'd brought to give away. Two of the three bought a book, so not bad.

It was 8:15 by the time I packed up and left the library. I hadn't eaten dinner, so I found a pizza place and did a to-go order of a cheesesteak sub. Headed back to my room, watched the end of American Idol, then House, ate my din-din, then hit the sack.

Got up early, left at 7:15 am, hit Dunkin' Donuts for coffee and a crossainwich thingy, then drove home. I'm tired, but excitedly waiting to watch a new Bones and LOST. I'm going to listen to the latest LOST podcast on my iPod when I exercise on the treadmill this afternoon.

Guin is mad at me. No walks to the beach for two days due to me being away and today the rain. Bandit is mad at me because Daddy didn't let him go outside before bed last night and he ended up pooping and peeing in the bedroom. Then a fly that was in Jurgen kept bugging him when we did errands this afternoon (this goes back to years ago when we visited my mom and a hornet landed on his back and stung him. He never forgot it and anytime anything lightly touches his back, he freaks out).

Chris was not happy to be cleaning up poop and pee early this am, but that'll teach him to not let the dogs out before going to bed.

Pfft.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Odds & Ends

Got a very weird email from a guy with the same last name as me insisting we were related and offering to send me his DNA. Eee-yewww. Not to mention the fact that if he had read my web site closely, he would have seen that I am married and Hitchcock is not my birth name. Also, there are thousands of Hitchcocks in the USA alone. Then this sentence struck me as "tin foil hat time:"

I was surprised to find out that I had siblings at age 30 (Iam now 50, 6/6/55) and have been surprised by what a dog my father was. Actually had a bank teller confront me in Pittsburgh with the surprise that she was my half sister.

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

You think that wasn't weird enough? He sent me another email saying we should talk and sent his phone number, which has a Nevada area code. Did a reverse search on it and nothing came up. So either his number is unlisted, it's a scam or he's just a total nutcase.

I go for number three.

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

My hubby took a motorcycle training course this weekend to get his license. He's been gone nine hours each day, so I had a chance to do some work in the garden, clean out his Jeep (he took Jurgen because the mice decided to make another nest in his car), washed it and armor-alled the inside. He graduated missing only five questions and was sore, but happy when he got home last night. I got him a leather jacket to celebrate. He's already picked out his motorcycle, a Triumph Bonneville T100, which is sweet. It gets 40 MPG, so it will save on his commute to work and back and with cold weather gear, as long as it doesn't snow, he can drive it into November.

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

The heating/AC guy came on Friday to check our oil burner and AC units. I was on the phone with my agent when he was here and he heard me talking about my latest book, the 2nd edition of Net Crimes & Misdemeanors, which officially comes out this week (that will be another post). He said he doesn't have a computer at home and his kids have to use the computers at school or the library for their homework. I can't remember how we got on the subject, but we talked about how people can find out things about others online for free. When I told him how easy it was to do a 411 search online, his eyes got huge. He told me, "But I don't have a computer."

I explained that if his phone number and address were listed in the White Pages, the info is available online in any White Pages directory because it's public information. He kind of freaked when I told him someone could do a search on his name, or a reverse search on his phone number if they had that, then they could get directions to his house, etc. I explained that the only way to get off the free directories was to get an unpublished/unlisted phone number

He told me he was going to buy my book. LOL.

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

I just sold 500 copies of The Ghosts of Okinawa to an Okinawan bookstore. Can you believe this book has sold more copies than Net Crimes?

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

I hope to get my garden started soon. My raspberry, blueberry bushes, strawberries and grape vines are already blooming. Now to plant the veggies and sunflowers.

---------------
So, I may be getting a new vanity plate.

I'm going to ask for (in order):

NET QOP (I can't get NET COP because you can't get license plates with the word cop or police in it)

JURGEN

QOTI
(Queen of the Internet, tee hee)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Follow up on my gripe of the week

Well, I sent an email to the Asst DA basically telling him he lied to me. He replied today claiming that when he said the victims were going to hold a press conference it was when their proposed book was coming out.

Guess what? He lied again. He expressly told me they were going to hold a press conference soon because of the advice I gave them.

The he rolled out this piece of tripe:

"Of course, I never said it was not a crime what happened to her husband, notwithstanding her obvious inaccurate interpretation of my various statements to her, her husband, and their attorney who was also present at our meeting, and who did not at any time disagree with anything I said and in fact concurred with much of what was said."

Really? That's not you told me, you sack of lying -hit. He told me there was no crime that anyone could be charged with. Third lie.

Then he wrote this:

"If you want to support the (victims), that is your prerogative, but as a non-lawyer, you cannot give legal advice unless you are a licensed attorney, something you advised me that you are neither, i.e., you are neither licensed to practice law anywhere, nor are you an attorney. You clearly gave the (victims) legal advice and a legal opinion, of which you admitted or conceded, was wrong as you do not know the law generally and certainly do not know the law in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, you do not know all of the evidence, including that which exists and that which does not exist. Furthermore, you admitted and apologized for giving a legal opinion that was wrong, and for making my job more difficult in this case. Whatever you say now, or attempt to re-tract does not change the fact that your opinion as expressed in your e-mail to the (victims) and forward to me by them on May 3, 2006, was simply wrong, inaccurate, and indefensible."

Hmm. I never said I was a lawyer. I was giving the victims my expert and personal opinion on their situation. And guess what? I know more about the situation then he thinks. And I took away my apology because he lied. And my opinion was not innacurate, wrong or indefensible. In fact, I am more sure now than ever that I was right - the parents of the kids who posted the threats on Myspace should be held responsible for what their kids posted, since all the families involved claim they all share one computer and one email address.

The victims have been told not to go to the media, but you know what? I'm hoping they will now. This so-called Asst DA needs to be stopped.

You, Mr., are reprehensible, ineffective and shouldn't be an assistant DA.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Sad News

Just got an email from the husband of a good friend. I'd met Faith on Okinawa when we lived there from 1992-1995. She went with me on a lot of my trips to investigate hauntings on Okinawa for research for my Ghosts of Okinawa book. She even went with me when I did some stories for a newspaper I wrote for, as company and for fun. We have a lot in common and she always made me laugh.

When we drove cross country from LA to Maine in August of 1995, we stopped at their house in Las Vegas and spent time with them. It was a fun, relaxed time.

Since then, it's been hit and miss with emails, holiday newsletters, the usual. I got an email from her husband a few months ago that Faith was in California being treated for cancer. It looked good at the time and the chemo seemed to be working. I sent her some flowers with a stuffed puppy (a toy, not a real one, ha ha) to cheer her up. Her husband has been good about updates since then.

He just emailed me this afternoon. Faith only has 2-3 months to live. I burst out crying. You never think it's going to hit you so close to home, but when it does, it hits hard.

My gripes for the week

1) Why is it that people get so snotty when they see my car? Even though it's a 1999 Beemer, I still get nasty looks, people try to cut me off or race me and I had one guy give me the finger. Oy!

2) I have this case I took that is high profile. Long story short:

Principal of high school has profiles forged on Myspace.com in his name; one claims he's a child molester and worse. One student owns up to a profile and is suspended for 10 days and put into an alternative learning class as punishment. The ACLU gets involved, calls a press conference and claims the kid had a first amendment right to forge the profile (or make a parody, as they claimed).

Well, the local DA got involved with police and found that the IP addresses of the other forged profiles traced to houses where other students from the same school live. Do they file charges? No. They claim they can't prove who was on the computer on the date/time the profile(s) were forged.

So I offer to talk with the DA or police to help them out with this. Technically, whoever owns the Internet account should be responsible and couldn't they use that angle? I get a phone call from the DA. He's pissed off at me for giving the victim (the principal) that advice.

He claims that EVERY house that an IP address was traced back to has ONE computer that is shared by everyone in said house and there is only ONE email address everyone in the house uses. I basically told him that was bullshit (not in those words). Maybe one house, but not all five.

He then told me that because of my ineptitude (yes, he said that), the principal and his wife had scheduled a press conference and I was going to look like an idiot for what I told him.

When I suggested the parents should be responsible, he said that if someone took his car, shot out my window, brought it back but a witness saw my car and license plate number, would that make him responsible. Um, yes? Duh.

I told him the parents of those kids who set the Florida brush fires are going to be responsible for the costs incurred to fight the fires. He told me he didn't know what I was talking about. I told him he should watch the news once in a while. He was not amused.

I actually apologized to this guy at the end of our conversation. He then told me that if I continued to "spout" my mouth off, I'd be getting more complaints like his. I told him in the 10 years I've been doing this, his was the first complaint and I usually get a thank you and am asked to help. He told me he wasn't going to thank me. I said fine and hung up.

Then I called the principal because something didn't "smell right." I never call a victim, but since this is high profile, I did.

Guess what? They never said they were going to schedule a press conference. The DA lied to me, the bastard (pardon my french). He never told them that every household involved only had one computer and one shared email address and the principal agreed with me that this was BS. He has been antagonistic and defensive with the victim from day one. They had a three-hour meeting with him last week with their attorney and he basically stonewalled them.

The victim thinks it's because the families involved have lived in town longer than he and his wife, they're well-known and prosperous and the DA doesn't want to "rock the boat." I hate small towns like that.

Thanks for "listening."

Monday, May 01, 2006

Stupid reporter

You should know you are a stupid reporter when. . .

I sent an email to a reporter at The Daily World, a newspaper in Washington state. I was replying to an article he'd written about Myspace.com and the dangers of kids, etc. In it, I asked that he consider using me as an expert for future articles, then listed topics I could be used for, with my home office and cell phone number. I signed it "Jayne" with my signature file underneath, which had my full name and the WHOA and Net Crimes web sites listed. My return email address is "JA Hitchcock whoa@haltabuse.org."

His initial reply to me:
What's your full name? Where do you live? How old are you? Stuff like that would be important in a pitch letter like this.

----------

Um, hello? Don't you know how to read an email? Look at the signature and return address. How old am I? What do you need that for? Where do I live? Look at the area code in the phone number I gave you and gee whiz, Sherlock, do a search to see what state I'm in.

No, I didn't reply like that, but more politely.

His response:

An age is great so people, teens who you would mostly be commenting about since they're the ones who use MySpace, will know who it is that is talking to them and telling them information.

Thanks for the e-mail, though.

Best of luck to you in the future and finding other newspapers.

------------
ROTFL. Guess he doesn't watch TV or read other newspapers. Then he would have seen me on CNN or Montel or one of the other shows I've done or read the New York Times article, People, etc.

Gee, you think he would have at least gone to the WHOA and Net Crimes web sites to do some research before sending such a stupid answer. He must be 12 years old. Definitely not a seasoned journalist.

So, you should know you're a stupid reporter when you send replies like the above.