My main computer is still down from the virus, so no new photos until tonight, at the earliest. There are still many images from my 15 hours in Washington. I must have walked 20 miles in DC. After getting on the Greyhound at 4AM, I got back to Philly at 7:25 or so, and from the station, hobbled 1 1/2 mile home because my damn feet hurted so bad. As Yogi Berra would say, I ain't as young as I used to be.
6:18PM update: instead of processing and uploading photos, I've wasted the last day and a half trying to get rid of the virus that's crippled my main computer. When it became infected, I was trying to make a link to the famous photo of a white man in Boston using the American flag as a spear to attack a black man, and I thought of this image because I had photographed a man waving an American flag in a somewhat menacing manner at AIPAC members. At this moment, I have no idea how my computer got messed up exactly. I had AVAST, the free antivirus, and in trying to fix this, I've tried to scan my infected computer, via my USB drive, with Norton, Avast, Kaspersky, AVG, Avira, Windows Defender and several other systems. One of these should have solved it by now. I will keep trying.
From 2003 to 2007 or so, I regularly published poems and articles in Vietnamese, and many of these were overtly political. Somebody who didn't like my Vietnamese writing very much would send me viruses via the email, and I can only assume it was the Vietnamese government, since I know how they work and I've had run-ins with them in Vietnam. What they would do is send me fake emails. Let's say Chuck Orloski's email address is email@example.com. Knowing he's my friend, they would create a fake account firstname.lastname@example.org . See the difference? By adding _ to the address, it looks almost the same. Thinking I'm getting an email from Chuck, I'd open the attachment and get zapped by a virus. In the body of the email, they'd also compose something to mimic the voice of the purported sender.
Pretending to be email@example.com, they can use firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org , etc. Do you remember exactly your best friend's email address? If you don't, then you're liable to open anything that resembles it.
The fake email can go, "Yo Linh, I love your new poem, man! I hit ya back! If you have a moment, do check out my new poem and tell me what you think. Your buddy, Chanh." The "poem," though, is the virus carrying attachment.
The people who were trying to mess up my computer tried several fake email addresses, with one posing as coming from a Vietnamese-American student who admired my work. They kept this stupid game up over several years, but I was never infected.
One time, they hacked into a website and erased one of my articles, but they left a single line. It was something like, "the short guy had an attitude." I was talking about a policeman at the Ojinaga, Presidio border, but they left this as a dig at me.
I'm citing these examples to show you that ANY government that wants to control dissent will employ a lot of people to mess with its critics, and these goons have plenty of time on their hands. My current computer problem most likely has a very banal cause, but then again, you never know, and that's another way they can mess with your head.
OK, I'm hoping everything will be back to normal by tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
- Linh Dinh
- Born in Vietnam in 1963, I lived mostly in the US from 1975 until 2018, and have returned to my native Saigon. I've also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), a novel, Love Like Hate (2010), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six collections of poems, with a Collected Poems soon to be released from Chax Press. I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in Tokyo, London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.