All posts by MistressPrime

Cybersecurity, Social Media Marketing, & Web Development Consultant. Co-founder/Partner ParadoxPrime Information Assurance. Certified in Cybersecurity and Risk Mitigation - Harvard University Voice Actress with radio, commercial, live events, and telephony experience. Practitioner of the Craft since 1982 Ordained Pagan Clergy; Elder High Priestess of Wicca Spiritual Counselor and Life Coach Teacher of Wicca, Witchcraft, and various Pagan traditions Lecturer, Presenter, and Consultant on topics of Wicca, Witchcraft, and modern Paganism to various schools, universities, and media outlets. Daughter of Odin Community organizer of several social networking Meetup groups based in Orange County, CA since 2002 including Pagan, Witches, Geekdom, & Japanese. Co-Founder of the United Pagans of Color Board Member of Women Who WP (WordPress) Entertainment Coordinator and MC of Pagan Pride Day LA/OC History & Science Nerd Anime & Sci-Fi Geek Known by many as MistressPrime

Victim to Predator

His birthday arrived and once more I went to his Facebook page to both wish him a happy birthday and hope that there would be some sign he was alive and ok. It had been almost 4 years since he went missing. The last sign of anything we knew of was a post from his roommate stating he never returned from a trip to Atlanta. Each one of us had done our own searches for our friend with our limited information and came up empty.

I met Craig at my first LARP in 2002 and we’ve been friends ever since. Over the years we hung out at other LARP or tabletop games and ran into each other at group gatherings, but mainly we stayed connected on MySpace then later on Facebook.

This year our wish finally came true, but not in the way any of us had hoped. We received news he was alive and reasonably well, we assumed, but the news had caused each of us to process a form of grief none of us were entirely expecting.

A woman I don’t know posted a comment on everyone’s birthday wishes that contained a link to an FBI press release from last month. Our friend had been in police custody since he landed in Atlanta in 2015.

According to the press release he was convicted on one count of traveling from another state to engage in sexual activity with a child under the age of 12 years, and one count of enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.

We were shocked. This is not the person I thought I knew. Some of us argued there had to be a mistake. There were no photos for us to confirm this was our friend but after further investigation too many of the details added up. Once the group of us were convinced the story was true folks began to disconnect from our friend’s page.

I admit I took a bit to disconnect. I was processing in a way I was not expecting, The news cast a pall over my mood that week.

One of the details that had come up was from trusted friends who let us know that before Craig moved to his own place that his father was under investigation for allegedly running a child porn ring. Upon learning that I suddenly remembered the one time I went to visit him when he lived with his dad. We were just hanging out in his room, but I remember his dad came home and it seemed like there was an issue with my being there. At the time I assumed it was because I was unknown to him and maybe Craig wasn’t supposed to have any girls in his room, but I didn’t think my presence was inappropriate given that Craig was already 23. I also remember that as I was leaving Craig didn’t want me to go and tried to get me to stay longer, but I distinctly felt his dad didn’t want me there so I left.

Because of his father’s situation, I started to wonder how Craig grew up and began to feel sorry for him. There’s a fair chance Craig was also a victim as a child. I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse so I could empathize with him and I started wondering where our compassion for him was as friends started walking away. But why wasn’t I angry with him? Why wasn’t I equally quick to disconnect like the others? Since when did I ever have sympathy for a child predator? And that’s when I realized I was still looking at him like he was a victim and not the predator he’d become. It’s like that moment when the vampire or zombie loses the last shred of their humanity and they start eating their human friend.  He’s a predator now and simply not the person I thought he was.

Advertisements

Hail, hail, there’s lots of weather here

ORANGE COUNTY TRIBUNE

HAIL blanketing Dale Street in Garden Grove made the neighborhood look like it has been through a snowfall on Saturday (Photo courtesy of Renee Hatten).

Garden Grove and other cities in West Orange County had a hail of a day and night Saturday as the area was lashed by lightning, thunder, hail and heavy rain, but later brightened by rainbows.

Bright lightning flashes that struck around 3 a.m., followed by booming thunder, awakened many area residents. The rainstorm that ensued combined with chilling temperatures to create a downpour of hail, so heavy that it resembled snow. To locals who have been around a while, it echoed a hailstorm in 1999 sufficiently thick to allow people to build “hailmen” and throw “hailballs.”

By Saturday afternoon the harsh weather cleared and a rare double rainbow arched over the area.  Although the weather should clear for Sunday with highs in the low 60s…

View original post 27 more words

DNA Relatives

I was put up for adoption at birth and adopted fairly quickly. I grew up an only child and never knew anyone I was genetically related to until 1995 when I first met my birth mother. Turns out our paths had crossed a few times in very peculiar ways over the years, but never in such a way that I knew who they were nor they I.
Blank family tree
Just before our “big” wedding in 2014, I had submitted a DNA test through Ancestry.com. When results came back there were a few DNA connections, many of whom I knew at this point, which grew as the weeks and months passed. 200 grew to 600. Then to 1,000. I was already in awe of the concept that I, a person who was an only child and grew up not having any known genetic connections to the people in my life, now had proof of a genetic connection to over 1,000 people. The idea was a bit overwhelming and I admit I didn’t know what to do with the information. I tried to reach out to a few folks, but when there’s no reply it can get discouraging to try further.

Every now and again I’d work on the family trees and get a bit gleeful when little green leaf hints would lead to genuine information.

Today I went onto Ancestry only to discover my DNA connections page no longer lists how many connections in total because apparently there’s too many. So I looked further… 513 pages of connections. There are 50 people on each page, except for the last page which has 9.

(512 x 50) +9 =25,609

Wait… 25,609 people? People whom I’m genetically connected to and also have an Ancestry.com account. Holey guacamole, dude that’s amazing! Of course, I realize I’m related to even more than that because not everyone that I already know of has submitted a DNA test or is even on Ancestry, but just that number alone is mind-boggling.

UPDATE 3/15/18:

I checked my DNA connections again last night. 660 pages!

(660 x 50) + 12 = 32,962 people

Seriously, I’m just stunned.

MistressPrime & BuzzFeed

So, this happened over the weekend…

Well, not exactly “happened”, more like, this was released over the weekend. The actual filming took place weeks ago.

About late July or early August, I was contacted by BuzzFeed producers to see if I’d be interested in participating in a video series they were considering doing where they explore various religions.

I am often asked to do similar projects and while some have been wonderful experiences (such as with BuzzFeed) others aren’t exactly sincere in their requests and were just looking to capitalize on the sensationalistic nature of having a Witch in their media project during the month of October without affording the basic respect to a religion as they might to a mainstream religion. As such, I tend to be cautious with media requests.

After a couple of phone calls and several emails back and forth we settled on a date to film. I went to their Los Angeles studio and we filmed for about 6 hours. They interviewed me extensively about various aspects of Wicca, what it is and what it’s not, gave me the opportunity to dispel some of the more popular misconceptions, and discussed the wide variety that exists in the hundreds of traditions of Wicca. For my part, knowing that traditions can be so different in their practices, I made sure to explain that my representation is only one perspective.

I’ve done many interviews for the media, for nearly 20 years now, and through all these experiences I’ve learned a few things, one of which is that despite the fact I am only one of many different perspectives I could be held as an example for the entire Wiccan, Witch, or Pagan community so I try to choose my words and attire wisely. Essentially, I decided to tone down my personal aesthetic so that what I was sharing and doing was the focus of the interview.

This is the second time I’ve done a ritual on camera for media (last time was on a national tv network; Women’s Entertainment TV). My ritual was crafted to both address the requested goal from the producers, and again I was careful with the language and the whole process to accommodate an inexperienced audience. I had condensed my original ritual down to 16 pages, so while I had much of it memorized there was still some things I needed to read. A tip I learned after doing public ritual for such a long time, always have your script. Things happen and having the pages there to ensure you have all the info is just smart. Also, there were parts of the ritual that the participants needed to read. The whole ritual, once we got started, took approximately 45 minutes overall.

It was a long day (2-hour drive there, 6 hours on set) and I did fret a bit over how the whole thing would be edited. It was a 2 ½ hour drive home in late afternoon traffic. I spent the time completely second guessing small things I could have done differently.

I wasn’t sure when it would be released and while I knew it would be near the end of September I was never given a definite date. It was released while I was in a meeting. My friend was driving us back and I received a message from a woman in London on my public figure Facebook page mentioning she was contacting me because of the BuzzFeed video. I quickly went to YouTube to search and found it. I started to watch it, but decided I’d wait until we got home so I could watch it on a bigger screen. My husband arrived back home at about the same time we did so all three of us watched. I sat there very tense as the video played and when it ended I was mad at myself for even being worried about it. Hahaa! In the end, I think it was well done and I’m comfortable and proud of my part in it.

Cybersecurity: Russian Hackers, Privacy, and You

WordCamp

In 2016 I attended my very first WordCamp Orange County. Since then I have been able to attend 3 more; Los Angeles, San Diego, and again this year at OC. This year I was invited to give a presentation about Cybersecurity at WordCamp Orange County, I chose to discuss privacy aimed at the average user. It was my first WordCamp presentation.

WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.

Cybersecurity Presentation

Much to my surprise, the organizers had scheduled my talk just before lunch on Saturday. This maximized my opportunity to have people attend my event. However, there were other presentations and talks going on at the same time. Because of this, I was surprised to see the room was so packed it was standing room only. I have so much gratitude to have received a lot of positive feedback. The WordPress community is very encouraging.

Here is the video of my presentation:

UPDATE 4/13/18: One thing I would definitely roll back on is my stance regarding LifeLock. At the time I considered the service worthy of purchase… until the Equifax data breach. After the breach, they were pushing those who were affected by the breach to purchasing LifeLock. Knowing how poorly Equifax managed to secure everyone’s personal info AND that they owned LifeLock left a really bad taste in my mouth. We canceled our accounts with them right then and there and froze our credit.

References

PARADOXPRIME INFORMATION ASSURANCE