Sunday, March 22, 2020

Janet Flash: Words

by Michael Seese

To stave off the current world malaise, super agent Janet Reid decided to cheer us with a flash fiction contest.  In her own words, she needed to "wrap my head around the new reality, which we hope is temporary of course, and flailing about." 

To that end we had to incorporate:

froward (not a typo)

in a 100-word story.

"Froward," which I had to look up, means tending toward disobedience. I immediately had an image of a little boy, sitting in the Principal's office, awaiting punishing. And the rest of "Words" just jumped out.

My eight-year-old feet, well short of the floor, kicked only air as she talked about me in absentia, despite my presence.

"As has happened too often, his froward antics disrupted the class." Sister Scissor-Tongue liked big words. Even the ones she only pretended to know. "I question, and I'm certain you and Caleb ask, how he could be your offspring." 

I didn't even merit a name.

Clearly, she didn't grasp the ease with which sharp words can lathe a young soul. Shape it. Etch it.

Mar it.

I think of Sister Scissor-Tongue each and every time the needle finds vein.

I'm not sure from whence this darkness came. But I have to say, I'm rather fond of some of the language, specifically the opening sentence and the name "Sister Scissor-Tongue."

How about you? How are you coping with the new world order?

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Nigerian NFL SPAM!

by Michael Seese

It's been a while since I've posted anything in the infosec or BCP space. I've been a tad preoccupied of late with that whole "author thing." But just like rainstorms bring out the earthworms, calamities bring out the cockroaches. And with the Coronavirus scare / hoopla taking over EVERYTHING, I'm sure the email below is the first of many con jobs I'll see. So I thought it would be a good idea to hold class again on SPAM Detection 101. 

Of course, this lame attempt at SPAM is so funny, it's almost beyond belief. There are so many things wrong with it. (In fact there should be a contest. See if you can find any obvious holes that I missed, and post them as comments.) 

And, yes, I realize that the image may intrude on the standard blog info to the right. But I wanted you to be able to read it. 

First and foremost, it's an easy Google search to confirm there's nobody named John Blair who plays in the NFL. 

First-and-a-half, if he's 20, he's probably not IN the NFL. And unless he was a coveted high draft pick (see point #1) he's not worth $4.6 million.

Second, he's American. I'm American. Why does he feel compelled to specify USD? 

Third, if he accessing his email, offering his largess to a random stranger, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say he's probably not in the ICU and dying.

Third-and-a-half, if I only had a "couple of days left," I'm not sure I'd take "a little time to make up my mind."  

Those are just a few of things I just see when I read emails like this. But it's second nature to me. I share this because it might not be second nature to everyone.

How about y'all? Anything else I missed, aside from bad grammar? (But, hey, he's an NFL player.... right?)

If you're looking for tips on how to avoid SPAM and myriad other infosec gotchas, pick up a copy of Scrappy Information Security

Stay safe!

Stay Scrappy!  

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Janet Flash: Bard From Flying

by Michael Seese

Still giddy from reading not one, but two ARCs by author Allison Montclair, super agent Janet Reid created a contest with both books (The Right Sort Of Man and A Royal Affair) as the prize. 


Paying homage to the author and title, we were to craft a story using the words:


I wanted to use "Mont" in some form of "I'm on the..." I settled on the idea of being on a plane. At first, I had my antagonist be an old lady with knitting needles. Then I came up with the "punchline," and the rest fell into place. 

What a day.

One minute, I'm on the plane, fingernails etching trenches into the armrests of 22B. The next, I'm sweating in a Turkish prison.

A little ├ęclaircissement...

Despite my fear of flying, I booked a midsummer dream vacation to Rome. All was copacetic, until some fancy-pants parked his royal attitude in 22C and pulled out a quill pen the size of a javelin. I freaked, and slapped his shiny pate with a partially eaten Twixt Bard.

And to think, the whole affair could have been avoided had I remembered Shakespeare's words.

22B, or not 22B: that is the question.

I have to say, I'm quite proud of myself for working Shakespeare and Airplane! into the same 100-word story. 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Funny Foto #80

by Michael Seese

It's been a while since I posted any photos. I guess nothing of late has tickled my absurdity bone. Until the other week, shopping at Target.


(If it's a little hard to read because of the glare, they're gloves you wear when applying tanning lotion so the palms of your hands don't get bronzed.) 

Call me old, but I remember a time this product simply wasn't needed.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Janet Flash: "Clowning Around"

by Michael Seese

Boy, it's been a while since I've done ANYTHING here. But, you know.... Christmas. Then a three-week bout with illness. Then buying a new car. Not to mention that family thing.

But to celebrate February (NOT FebYOOary) Janet gave us another contest to commemorate Barbara Poelle's wonderful new book Funny You Should Ask. Our mission. To write 100 words using:


I had a busy day Friday AND Saturday, but managed to squeak out "Clowning Around."

"The first rule of clownage. Be funny," Tooty said, pulling a rubber chicken, and a live chicken, from his roadside-flare red hair disaster.

"Be funny. Got it."

I scribbled fervently, capturing his words of fooldom on a page torn from Clowning For Dummies, aka the Bible Of Buffoonery. Being that today was my first day on the job, I couldn't make an ass of my... The point being, competition for these gigs is fierce. Guys literally fall over themselves to snag one.

"Okay, what's the second rule?"

"Be unpredictable," Tooty said, delivering my diploma via a pie to the face.

I'm not 100% happy with the ending, but I ran out of energy long about 1:40 Sunday, when I posted it. We'll see what Janet thinks tomorrow.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Writing News

by Michael Seese

It's been a while since I've had news on the "Author Front." I've been working to get, you know, some writing done. But I now have two newsbits to share.

This Saturday, November 14, I will be at Appletree Books in Cleveland Heights from 6 - 8, writing in the window.

Why? you might ask. 

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, for short. To celebrate, Appletree is inviting Cleveland-area writers of all ages, formats, and genres to come write in their front windows.

So I will be there. 

Perhaps I'll work on the sequel to The Extraordinary eTab Of Julian Newcomber. Speaking of which...

On Saturday, December 7, I will be signing The Extraordinary eTab Of Julian Newcomber at the Fireside Book Shop in Chagrin Falls. 

I'll be there from 1:30 to 3:30.

So if you're available either date, please come out and show your support / love!

PS: With regard to the latter, I plan to bring cookies and milk (for the kiddos) and cookies and wine (for the adults). If that helps....

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Janet Flash: Ashes To Ashes

by Michael Seese

(Finally all caught up.) 

Speaking with clients around the country, Janet Reid gets to hear about everyone else's weather. So when someone from Flint, Michigan said it snowed last Wednesday (a week ago) she devised the "It Snowed In Flint On Wednesday Flash Fiction Contest."

Of course, it snowed in Cleveland on Halloween.

We had to use


in a 100-word story. I had trouble finding the idea, but then wrote most of "Ashes To Ashes," while driving to retrieve my son from a friend's house.

Hailee shivered, ignoring the heat the fading fire seemed intent on bestowing upon her, and the vulturous onlookers. She fought to not hear their whispers.

Abusive jerk.

He's just the sort I expected would do something like this.

Helen left him. Why didn't the girl?

She stifled a sob, reaching for the nearest hand.

"You OK?" Sheriff Burdett asked, gently squeezing back, returning a small dose of comfort.

"I'll manage."

"Any idea where your father might be?"

"No. Probably somewhere he'll never be found," Hailee said, burying her other hand, the one still scented of gasoline, deep into her pocket.

A different kind of chill...