Friday, February 27, 2015

Anthuriums no. 0219, 0220, 0330, 0556, and 0580

An unrelated note first:

About a year ago, when there was some big to-do about AOL accounts being hacked, I attempted to change my password. I didn't have any reason to think that my account was one of those affected, but it's the sort of thing you're supposed to do from time to time anyway, and it seemed like an especially good idea then, so I tried it. Put in my security question answers and the old password and typed in the new password twice and so on and so forth, and when I clicked the button to save the new password, I got the little spinny loading icon, but it never actually loaded a new page to tell me that the password had been updated, and the old password continued to work, so clearly nothing got changed.

I talked to someone at AOL about this, and he indicated that there were just that many people trying to change their AOL accounts at that time, so if I was just patient and kept trying, he claimed, sooner or later it would go through. So I spent about a week and a half periodically trying to change my password, but it always ended the same way, and eventually I just gave up and forgot about it.

Fast forward almost a year, and I have concerns about my AOL account again (I think my e-mail address is being spoofed, not hacked, but again, changing passwords is something you're supposed to do, so I tried it again, and it failed again, and I contacted AOL again. This time, AOL suggested trying to log in with a different browser, which I did (not helpful), and then said that the only thing they could do would be to give me a free 2 months of technical support, and tech support could log into my computer remotely and determine the problem and deal with it.

And I'm like, well, um, that sounds great and all, but you're not really giving me any reason to have confidence that, at the end of the free 2 months, I'll be able to get out of the tech support deal, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to pay for technical support. And the guy was like, no, it's actually really easy to get out of tech support on-line if you want to, you wouldn't have to pay. And I was like, yeah, but you guys think it should be really easy to change a password on-line, too.1

So the upshot is that I'm looking for a new e-mail service. My ideal e-mail provider would look like this:

(highest priority)
1. Free
2. Not GMail
3. Reasonably secure for a user whose understanding of internet security is basically "don't click on suspicious-looking links" and "use strong passwords"
4. (optional) Simple to set up and use
5. (optional) No ads
(lowest priority)

Thunderbird fails condition #1,2 GMail fails condition #2. I'm leaning toward Outlook.com at the moment, but I thought maybe one of y'all would have some warnings, advice, or alternatives that would be worth hearing before I make the final decision.


Now the Anthuriums.

What do these five seedlings have in common? None of them have bloomed yet. This isn't the complete list of plants with buds but no blooms, but four of the five also have in common that they haven't been mentioned here previously. Consequently, the photos aren't going to be terribly exciting. You've seen undeveloped Anthurium buds before. Really the e-mail stuff is probably more entertaining. But this is still news, so.


#0219 "Rhoda Horse"


Now there are two Rhodas doing things. (The other is #0232 "Rhoda Badcek," who first bloomed last April.) This is kind of bad news, because it's going to make it even harder for me to keep straight in my head which seedlings are doing what (like the Eliza / Elijah similarity wasn't bad enough). I suppose something like this was going to happen eventually.3


#0220 "Nora Morse"


Nothing terribly interesting about Nora yet, though it's interesting that she and her presumed sibling Rhoda both started buds at exactly the same time. I don't actually know that there's a way to induce Anthuriums to bloom short of giving them decent conditions and letting them make up their own minds about the timing, but stuff like this4 makes me think that there must be some kind of specific signal.


#0556 "Frank Lee Grande"


Had I mentioned previously that I'm including drag king names too? 'Cause I'm including drag king names too. Couldn't find a page for Mr. Grande to link to, alas.5


#0580 "Marsha Marsha Marsha"


This is one of those names where I can't remember if I found it somewhere, invented it, or found it, forgot it, and reinvented it. Maybe the question is moot. Do people even get Brady Bunch references these days?


#0330 "Faye Quinette"


Faye's bud remains brown. I've noted before that photos of brown-spathed Anthuriums tend to look, to me, like someone just took a photo in bad light: my brain has a hard time accepting that the spathe actually looks like that. (My mother's reaction on seeing it: "You're sure it's not dead?") This also turns out to be the case when I'm looking at it with my own two eyes, strangely enough. But these photos (especially the first one) are pretty accurate w/r/t color.


Of course, the most recent bloom on #0334 "Jean Poole" also looked fairly brown6 and that wound up being dark red once it opened, so it's still possible that Faye will turn out to be not quite actually brown. But so far, so good, and although I can't imagine finding a brown Anthurium remotely appealing, the potential weirdness has me pretty excited. I'm hoping that if I just keep checking the bud daily, I might be able to convince my brain that this is its actual color by the time the bud opens.

-

1 (Left unsaid:) And anyway, in what universe does it make sense for me to, when having security-related problems with your e-mail service, grant you even more intrusive access to my computer?
2 (the service itself appears to be free, but you have to pay to get an e-mail address initially, and it's not clear whether that's a one-time fee or an ongoing one. Also even if it were free, it didn't look like it met the "simple to set up" criterion, so.)
3 And it could get way worse than this: the combined list of already-named seedlings and potential future seedling names includes three Alexises, four Amandas, three Auroras, three Bobs, five Donnas, three Eves (plus two Evies), four Heathers, four Heidis, four Hollys, three Honeys, three Idas, three Jacks, three Ninas, three Reginas (naturally), three Sashas, three Sharons, three Veras, and three Wandas, and that's ignoring duplicate names where the spelling differs. That list also ignores the even more numerous cases where only two actual / potential seedling designations share a first name.
It's not yet as bad as, say, a preschool class, where there are eight Sophias and twelve Jacksons and everybody has to distinguish between Sophia H., Sophia R., Sophia A., Sophia J., and so on, and in any case something like this was bound to come up sooner or later because there are only so many common and familiar names, but it does complicate things for me. We're already at the point where I'm beginning to have trouble keeping track of how many seedlings have attempted to bloom (81, for the record; 60 have completed blooms), how many of those have died (8), where they all are down in the basement (which gets more complicated because sometimes I have to move them around), what colors they all are (especially complicated because some of them have only bloomed once, a while ago: obviously it's easier to keep up if they just bloom continuously, because I get reminded continuously), etc.
4 Other pairs of closely-related plants that have produced new blooms simultaneously after a long bloomless period: #0279 "Tristan Shout" and #0594 "Charity Case," and #565 "MysterE" / #0232 "Rhoda Badcek." This could be coincidental, but I'm betting there's something else.
5 It's possibly one of those names that gets used by several people at once. Certain drag queen names, like "Ida Slapter," are so old that they seem to be available to whoever wants to use them and don't necessarily correspond to any particular performer. "Frank Lee Grande" could be one of those. It is, of course, more likely that I just fail at search engines.
6 More of a red-brown, granted. Pretty much the color of old scabs, truth be told, though if you wanted to I suppose you could probably imagine it as surface-of-Mars-colored instead, which isn't a prettier color but is a little more poetic-sounding. Name That Color says the back of Jean's spathe is "Prairie Sand," which is arguably even more poetic-sounding, but I don't think of prairies as being especially sandy places so that mostly just confuses me.


9 comments:

Paul said...

Well if it turns out to remain brown, there are a few name options.

If a decent darker red-brown, could go for "Cedar Chest"

If the brown should deepen, go for "Maple Syrup"

Or if the lighter brown it seems to be heading for .. "Kitchen cabinet"

CelticRose said...

Does your ISP provide you with a free email address? Mine (Cox) allows me to create up to 10 free email addresses. I can access them online from anywhere, just like Gmail, etc., and I also use Outlook (the program, not the website) to access them on my laptop. Outlook costs a lot money of course, but I've heard that there are free email clients out there.

mr_subjunctive said...

CelticRose:

It does, but in the past the husband has done a lot of deal-chasing, which results in us switching providers pretty frequently. (I think he's been convinced to never, ever go with Mediacom again, because every time we switch to them we regret doing so, but I don't know that I'm sure enough of that that I want to bet my entire online presence on it.)

Diana at Garden on the Edge said...

I can confirm you've been hacked/spoofed/something. After this post I checked my spam folder and found something claiming to be from you talking about an amazing product you saw on Oprah. I knew it was a fake because it didn't have anything to do with plants! It's a good thing spammers don't try to sell me new and exciting Anthuriums or I might have fallen for it. ;)

mr_subjunctive said...

Diana at Garden on the Edge:

Yeah, I found out because the husband got that same message, and when I looked in the cc list, I recognized several of the names as people I had in my address book. Which means that at some point, someone's been in my address book, because there's no other logical reason for that particular set of people to be grouped together.

Not sure what I can even do about that, short of closing my AOL account, and if I close the account then I lose all the messages I've saved in the last four or five years. Mostly I don't need them, but two or three times a year I do have to go digging for information about one thing or another, so that'd be a pretty serious loss, potentially.

Also: Oprah's not even on anymore, is she? Are there that many people out there who would blindly click on a link without stopping to consider whether it was possible to have just seen something on Oprah?

Ivynettle said...

One of the teachers in my master classes said that Anthuriums start blooming when they get a period of cooler temperatures. But I haven't looked into whether it's true, because I don't have any anthuriums (and anyway I need to focus on the stuff that's going to come up in the exams.)

mr_subjunctive said...

Ivynettle:

I don't think it is true. The Anthurium-breeding book says "Flower yield . . . is influenced by a number of environmental factors such as temperature, light, insects, diseases, water, and nutrition. It is also affected by genetics." So basically they're saying it's caused by 1) everything, and 2) nothing in particular. Which if anybody'd had a chance to figure it out, it'd be them.

If nothing else, I can promise that cold temperatures can't be required for blooms, because I doubt my plants in the basement ever get below 68F/20C (or much above 76F/24C) and they bloom as well as, or better than, the ones upstairs.

Good luck on the exams.

Andy said...

I switched to Outlook from gmail last summer and don't regret it. It's a bit odd, however, because it has really great features, but I'm either using the site wrong or it's kind of buggy on my browser (Safari); if I hit a certain set of keys it will ask if I want to toss a draft I'm working on (no thank you?) or load my inbox while I'm scrolling through an email.

The terms of use and privacy policy weren't horrifying, though, and the features have already improved since I signed up. I got my account just to try it out and ended up switching permanently. I figure there's no perfect solution and there's plenty of worse options.

Update: I checked on Wikipedia and apparently the weirdness I've been experiencing on outlook is some kind of mouse-free navigation, which sounds bizarre and backwards to me, but whatever. Presumably somebody wants or needs that.

Anonymous said...

Touch screens, my friend.
I hate them but they are here to stay I miss my analog keys and mousey button clickies.