In episode 255 we let Saint Shea take the reins and spend the rest of the show trying to convince ourselves that next month is when things’ll get scary…
Now, grab a beer and help us test the god hypothesis — because, while McAlister’s hasn’t struck us down yet, they’re trying our patience!
Shea’s Life Lesson
This week I learned that tattoo’s should make you more employable. It proves you can sit still for hours while having needles jammed in your skin, if that doesn’t prove you can sit through a mindless meeting I don’t know what does.
Jenn’s Actual Lesson
Really didn’t wanna drink the cider this week
But before we get to all that, let’s have a beer!
This Week’s Beer
Texas Tea from Bishop Cider Co.
- Untapped Link: https://untappd.com/b/bishop-cider-company-texas-tea/2742498
- UT Rating: 3.5
- Style: Herbed/Spiced Cider
- ABV: 6%
- Aaron: 7
- Shea: 6
- Steve: 5
This Week’s Show
New Patron: EmpressMe ”!” well, here’s to hoping we do!
New itunes review
Love it! Want more!
Loving your show! Where can I find the earlier stuff before 178??? Stitcher doesn’t have them either :`( I’d love to hear y’all from the beginning!!
First off, thanks for the review! We’re glad you like the show. To the question, there are a few places and reasons. First, the feed is truncated for speed, freshness, and shame reasons. It took us a while to find our groove and some of the early content is, well, regrettable. That said, you can find it all on the website under the shows tab as individual downloads. It might not be ideal, but there ya go. If there’s a significant response to this I can investigate letting the feed go further back. The other way to get all our content is to sign up at Patreon. That feed goes back to the 30’s I think and includes all our bonus stories, segments, and shows!
Message from the excellent James:
Aaron recently commented that upon Jenn’s story that he remembered Hyperborean from somewhere, I think I can fill that memory funk in. Hyperborean was co-opted apparently, which I did not know, by the Lovecraftian/Clark Ashton Smith/Robert E. Howard universe. I had always heard Hyperborean from those three authors, I would actually be interested since they came later than Blavatsky, if they stole from her or if there is older “source” material, ie, myths, stories, folklore. Sorry sidetracked, what most people will probably remember Hyperborean from though is that Conan the Barbarian is placed in the Hyperborean age, and he does mention it a few times in the books and movies; he is also from Hyperborea.
So there we go, mystery solved!
- We have a few voicemails. First, Jonathon’s from areola
- And from the craftally panted, Mr. Bible Pants
Thes short answer here is privacy. Spurred by your voicemail, today’s Patreon segment will actually be a slightly more in depth reply to this question but for brevity’s sake:
Since 2017 American ISPs have been legally allowed to collect and commodify all your traffic. That includes sites you visit and any unencrypted data you transmit knowingly or otherwise. All of this information can be (read, is) coupled with what companies like Google and Facebook already know about you, packaged, and sold to advertisers, the government, etc. The best way to avoid this is to make sure the information leaving your device or house is encrypted and tunnelled through a remote server via a VPN. It’s a pretty painless process and all reputable VPN services have quick start apps to get you going. A VPN will run you 5 to 10/month (unless you have a coupon or something) and should be non-logging VPN services. Because after all, if they’re keeping logs, what’s the difference between them and your ISP?
Thanks to Steve E for another awesome beer donation!
Last week we talked a fair amount about VPNs and using our affiliate link to set one up. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial for our affiliated partner, I’m going to dive into a question from Mr. Bible Pants in a bit more depth than we were able to in the round table.
Steve and I both work in IT and have old relatives. So hopefully we’ll be able to explain a few of the fundamentals without a lot of confusion. The simplest and I think most impactful reason is surveillance. From Time Magazine:
“VPNs have exploded in the marketplace since the rollback of the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband privacy rules in 2017, because people usually don’t trust their ISP,” says Jerome Joseph, policy counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, an online privacy advocacy organization. “And they saw VPNs as a way to avoid the watchful eye of their ISP.” The repeal, signed into law by President Donald Trump, gives your ISP carte blanche to sell your web traffic-related data to marketers, finance companies, and other interested parties, all without your consent.
International listeners may remember when the UK government announced porn users would have to enter their details to be age verified. They also setup “porn cards” you could get a grocers, but that’s still extra creepy. Other countries have similar laws in place, if they even bother letting you know they’re watching you do.
So that’s terrible.
But let’s back up and discuss briefly how your digital world works, what a VPN actually is, and how it applies to you… you know, if you apply it.
First, the internet. Created by curiosity and powered by fear the internet is a dingy, glorious, and disturbed but knowledgeable cesspool. Decentralized communications, which is what got this ball rolling, was meant to be a way to preserve communication should the world come down with a bad case of nuclear fire. Eventually, scientists learned that it could be used to transfer pictures of boobies to each other and the rest is history. A brief, multi-trillion dollar history.
Computers connect to the internet in complicated ways so to keep it simple we’ll talk about Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses. Think of an IP address as device’s phone number. The wizards of the internet assign your home or company its own external IP address. Inside that network you can have your own unique IP, think of it like a phone extension. The differences don’t matter a ton for our purpose so simply, what resolves a given IP to a unique device are technologies like DHCP.
Think of it like a phone book. When your computer communicates externally it uses the phone book to look up the number of the name you entered. And because phone books work both ways, the server you’re connecting to knows who you are as well. Previously the IP the server got was part of a block or may have had some anonymizing tech applied your ISP, but those days are long gone.
In reality there are many, many more ways to identify a device on any network including the internet. I’ll speak vaguely about those going forward and encourage you to Google terms that interest you. One thing I will note is that a terrible place to get information is from your ISP or a public forum. I would advise starting with a reputable, consumer focused group like the EFF.org to the aforementioned Center for Democracy and Technology.
So, ISP, DHCP, IP, VPN, and you. Feel like you’re listening to a bowl of spaghetti-o’s yet?
Here’s the bit that matters. When you do whatever you do, questionable or not, people are collecting data on you. Period. In a nutshell, a VPN establishes a secure, encrypted connection between your device and a remote private server that tunnels your traffic to keep it from being seen by others.
It’s kind of like the Batcave. Batman needs to get from under Wayne maner into the world without anyone seeing the garage door open, lest his identity be reveled to more than whoever he’s banging at the time. So, he setup a VPN of sorts by tunneling under the city and now he can hop in the Batmobile at the manor but his traffic won’t be seen until his data, I mean car, come out of the tunnel in Gotham.
A VPN works the same way.
When you enable a VPN it starts an encrypted tunnel for your traffic to go through and when the destination servers see your visits, they see you as being from the open end of the tunnel in Europe or Canada, but not listener manor.
This is why your company likely uses a VPN. Rather than having to worry about the safety of their information traversing the wider internet, they can VPN you into the company network where traffic can then be scrutinized as if it were coming from inside the building.
VPNs are by design and necessity encrypted. After all, tunneling your data through a glass house does no good. That said, a VPN that offers “military grade” encryption is a little suspicious or, at the very least, the marketing boys have run wild. What you’re really looking for is a logless, encrypted, VPN that, hopefully, doesn’t have data caps or rate limits. That is, limits on the amount or speed of data you can transmit. It will also cost you a buck. Frankly, just consider it part of your internet package and move on
“generally, you have to trust your VPN provider with your traffic more than you trust your network,” says Jerry Gamblin, principal security engineer at Kenna Security. He thinks large commercial VPN providers, such as NordVPN or Private Internet Access (PIA), are best, because they are “invested in making sure that your traffic is delivered safely and quickly”. “I have used PIA in the past, but due to some sites filtering those IP addresses, I have moved to building my own VPN server.”
A brief note, you can set up your own VPN. I’ve done this for remoting back into the house from out in the world. Tools like OpenVPN-AS make it free, if not simple, to do. But this only makes accessing local items easier. For security, the point is to make sure your traffic isn’t seen coming or going from your house.
VPNs can protect you from:
- ISPs tracking you and selling the data they collect on your internet activity
- Website advertisers spying on you (use a good ad blocker if your VPN doesn’t filter ads on its own)
- Apps and companies spying on your connection
- Blanket surveillance and internet communication interception
- Anyone who wants to identify your IP address or location
- Companies and apps that want your connection data
- Creeps trying to intercept your connection and jack your newds
There are tools that can help you pick a VPN. Restore Privacy keeps a short list at Restore Privacy or there’s a larger VPN database at That One Privacy Site makes it easy to compare and contrast different services depending on your needs. Of course, you could also just click our affiliate link. If you find a VPN that offers free services, don’t use it. Like GMail it may have wonderful features and do the job “well enough” but if something is free to the customer the company is making money elsewhere, and in this case (and GMail), it’s either ads or selling your data.
That means choosing a privacy-focused web browser like Brave or search engine like DuckDuckGo, keeping an up-to-date password manager for creating and securely storing unique passwords, and enabling two-factor authentication on your devices and services wherever possible.
- PIA Info & Affiliate Link: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/how-it-works/w4w
Saints For Millennials
Millennials have it tough, the news accusing us of killing everything, shit job market, unaffordable housing, and loads of other fun things I have started to turn back to god to help me find my way… well not really. What I have done is found patron Saints that I think really apply to millennials. So in our dark hours of need while we wait for the Uber to drive us to the hospital, or while we work up the courage to ask mom and dad if you can move it, here are some saints whose deaf ears your prayers will fall upon.
Saint Cajetan comes to mind for all those fresh out of college bright eyed and jobless. Those working service jobs with degrees and PHDs while applying to anything in their field. Cajetan was a wealthy lawyer that gave it all up to help the poor, establishing hospitals, pawn shops, low interest lenders. Patron Saint of the unemployed. Oh Saint Cajetan, hear my prayers in my time of need. Let my CV rise above all others and my suit be free of dog hair. Let all those who stand against me have garlic breath and poor hygiene. Amen
Many of the millenials have resigned themselves to our abject poverty but some intrepid few have taken a different route and with the growing marijuana industry and growing legality have become legal drug traffickers, well have I got a saint for you, a two birds one stone scenario. Saint Jèsus Malverde is a folk saint from Mexico, not officially recognized by the catholc church. A mexican Robin Hood, who after his parents were killed, became a bandit and stole from the rich to give to the poor. Though his existence isn’t historically verified, he has gained a literal cult following and has been called the Narco-Saint. Known widely as the saint of drug traffickers and the impoverished. I think I remember an episode of Breaking Bad where you can see a shrine to him in the background.
Dating is really hard and I’m happy I don’t need to do it anymore, but for those of you out there having bouts of loneliness Saint Rita is here for you. A sad story of a girl who was married off at 12 years old to an abusive husband. Who, despite Rita’s best efforts, couldn’t stop abusing her, after 18 years of hell marriage he was killed by his neighbors in a silly dispute. After years of devotion she was canonized as the patron saint of loneliness. Also because of her abusive husband, she is saint of abuse, marital problems, and sterility. Oh Lovely rita saintly maid, please let me swipe right on ms right, and let me hide my imperfections until they are in too deep. Amen, or rather woman please.
If Saint Rita doesn’t do the trick, there is a possibility that maybe you’re just a little ugly… Don’t fret, my friend because today I’ll introduce you to Saint Drogo. No not Khal Drogo this was a man who supposedly could perform bilocation, being able to physically be in two places at once, and used it to both work in his fields and pray in church. Personally I think he had a really boring twin. Well anyway, while working in his fields he was struck with a body deforming mailody and after frightening everyone he came in contact with found sanctuary in a church for the rest of his life. While his life is our gain as we can pray to him that our ugly asses get some love too. Also due to his ability to be two places at once he must of had boundless energy thus becoming the patron saint of coffee too. Saint Drogo hear my cry, let me be pretty or else I’ll die, give me some coffee so i can awake, I need caffeine for everyone’s sake. Amen
Do you have the tendency to sleep through your alarm? Or, like me, simply turn it off while you’re still 95 percent asleep? Give a nod to St. Vitus, though his tie to oversleeping is both thin and disturbing. When the teenage convert to Christianity was thrown into a pot of boiling oil as punishment for his religious preference, a rooster was added to the cauldron as part of the sacrifice. The bird has since become a symbol for Vitus, hence his interest in helping you get to work on time. Also if you remember Jenn’s story a few weeks ago about the dancing epidemics that swept Europe, the dancers may have had better luck surviving if they prayed to Vitus, as he is also the saint of dancing, and comedy for that matter.
Where would our generation be without the complete lexicon of human knowledge at our fingertips which we use solely for cat videos and snooping on our friends? Really where would we be? Anyway, we have Saint Isidore of Seville to pray to for that. Isidore wrote numerous books, including a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a history of Goths, and a history of the world—beginning with creation, of course… Known now as the patron saint of the internet. Oh Saint Isidore we pray to thee for a strong unsecure wifi signal and virus free downloads. Let me stay within my cell carriers network and keep my 4G strong. Amen
You know that feeling you get when it’s the end of the month and you’re eating ramen and learn you forgot to pay a bill? You know that knot that binds in your stomach and the anxiety that bubbles in your gut. Unless you’re lucky enough to have health insurance your best bet is saying a silent prayer to Saint Erasmus, Patron saint of stomach ailments and abdominal pain. Erasmus, or Elmo to his friends, was a christian during a bad time to be a christian and after being captured and tortured repeatedly was eventually killed by having his intestines cut from him and wrapped around a windlass, like a crank, hence the saint of stomachs. Not only is he the saint of stomach pain but curiously enough sailors, who apparently also use windlasses.
If Elmo doesn’t respond to your cries maybe you could try Saint Januarius. A saint known for his wicked old blood that, three times a year, goes through liquefaction (where the blood turns liquid again) apparently. Because of this “miracle” or some shit he has become the patron Saint of blood banks, you know that place us millennials frequent to sell our blood to help make rent this month. Oh and if you look at his picture, check your phone now, he was also the saint of being done with your shit. Oh Saint Januarius let the nurse not miss a vein and let there be chocolate chip and not oatmeal raisin cookies. Amen
After a long recording and a few/lots of beers, the morning after typically sucks, I have finally come to understand the phrase “I’m getting too old for this shit.”In the future, one might say a quick prayer to Saint Bibiana. Bibi was a relatively unremarkable martyr who after her death was said to have strange herbs growing from her grave that some idiot decided to eat and turned out to cure his hangover instantly. Some, heretics no doubt, say the whole thing is nothing more than a harmless little play on words, Bibilus which means “to be fond of drinking” morphs into Bibiana. But they were heathens deserving of hangovers.
Though Saint Guinefort is not an official saint according to the Catholic Church, he is something of a folk saint receiving local veneration after reported miracle occurred at his grave site. Legend has it that Guinefort was liege to a great french knight. The knight left Guinefort in charge of his baby son only to return to chaos, a missing baby, and Guinefort mouth covered in blood. Believing Guinefort of having eaten his son the knight immediately slew him. Shortly after he heard a child crying; he turned over a cot and found his son lying there, safe and sound, along with the body of a viper. Guinefort had killed the snake and saved the child. Oh I should probably point out Guineford was a greyhound… Realizing his mistake the Knight build a shrine for his fallen friend where word spread of the Noble dogs deeds and many travels from afar to pray for protection for their children. Thus becoming the unofficial saint of children and gaining a literal cult following. The cult of this dog saint persisted for several centuries, until the 1930s, despite the repeated prohibitions of the Catholic Church. Buzzkills. Babies are not something high on most millenials lists, but definitely a dog instead. Also who could resist a dog saint? Oh Saint Guinefort, hear my prayers. Who’s a good boy, who is? Who’s a good boy? Amen
With the number of jobs an average millenial will hold in their lifetime it’s a real pain in the ass to look up a new saint every time you change professions. So why not find a jack of all trades saint? Saint Catherine of Alexandria, or Jane of all trades, was martyred in the 4th century for pretty much converting everyone she met with her eloquence, or so says wikipedia. She lived, or rather died and fell into obscurity until some french girl had a dream about her over 1100 years later, than girl was Joan of Arc BTW. Well one thing led to another and Catherine became patron saint of just about everything; Unmarried girls, craftsmen who work with a wheel, archivists, dying people, educators, girls, jurists, knife sharpeners, lawyers, librarians, mechanics, millers, hat-makers, nurses, philosophers, preachers, scholars, schoolchildren, secretaries, and spinsters to name a few.
Next Week’s Beer
Breck IPA – Breckenridge Brewery
- BA Link: https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/2137/169481/
- BA Rating: 3.65
- Style: IPA
- ABV: 6.3%
Unlikely donations for Bush beer
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