Saturday, November 30, 2013

Computer repair scam

I hear a lot about scam artists, but I've never encountered one.  Until yesterday.

I got a phone call from an Out of Area number.  I don't often answer those, but sometimes they will permit you to take yourself off the calling list.  So this time I picked up the phone.

There was a delay when I answered Hello.  I was just about to hang up when a foreign male voice said, Hello?

Again, I said Hello.  The man said Hi.  I thought, well, this is going nowhere fast.

"We just got notification that your computer has downloaded a virus and needs to be repaired."

Interesting, I'm thinking, since my computer is turned off.  "How did you get notification?" I asked.

This answer is apparently not in the script, because all I hear is silence.  Then he reads the next line, "I need you to turn on your computer so I can remove the virus."

"Hmm, no I don't think so.  I'm a computer professional, so I would know if there was something wrong with my computer."

Even over the phone, I could see his confusion.  "Your computer is professional?  What is professional?"

I repeated myself, with the exact same result. Finally, I said, very slowly, "I am a computer technology person.  I work on computers.  I would know if there is a problem with my computer."

"Oh"  There was a fairly long pause.  I waited to see how he would recover.  "Enjoy the rest of your day," he said brightly.  And hung up.

I laughed out loud.

But I do worry about the people who would fall for it.

Update - the same guy actually called back the next day to try again!

Friday, November 29, 2013

The dog training is helping

This morning I proceeded to take Bogie on our walk.  I had slept in, so it was actually light enough to see. 

We generally start out north then turn west after one block because the street curves.  We hadn't even gotten to the corner when Bogie got agitated.  It was obvious he had seen a cat.  He allowed me to keep him under control, but kept trying to cross the street. I kept saying No.  

And he kept minding me. 

Bogie's attention shifted west from yard to yard and I assumed the cat was running away through the front yards across the street from us. 

Until a coyote stopped in the middle of the street about half a block away.  

Bogie lunged, but not with any real force.  I was able to get him to stay with me.  He stood obediently still, but not quiet.  He bayed at the coyote, who was completely unfazed.

I’m sure the neighbors appreciated the noise at 6:30 in the morning.

The coyote stood in the street and stared for what seemed like a long time, but was probably only 2 or 3 minutes. I don't know if the coyote was trying to figure why this loud, white dog was so big, or if he was waiting for us to make a move.  

didn't want to turn around and go back in case it decided to follow us.  I know it is unlikely a lone coyote will attack such large prey.  But you don't turn your back on a predator. And I couldn't move forward with any confidence that I could keep Bogie under control.

The coyote finally took off up the street out of our line of sight.  Bogie wanted to go after him, but let me turn him the other direction.  Still, he kept looking around, watching.

Even though the training held, I cut the walk short.  With Bogie in high Predator mode, I didn't want to risk seeing some other chase-able creature.

On the plus side, I was very pleased Bogie agreed to mind me.  On the minus side, Angel missed out on her portion of the walk. 

And it's always cool to see a coyote. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Quarter million miles

Fifteen years ago this month, I bought my 1999 Mazda Protege.  She's a little, black, 4 cylinder sedan that gets 33 mpg. 

And today on the way home, we turned over 250,000 miles.  A Quarter Million miles sounds even more impressive.

She's hail dented with one dented fender from hitting a parking lot post and a scraped up bumper from when the computer brain was malfunctioning and I kept needing a push start.  

But she was paid for 10 years ago.  I have a great mechanic that keeps her running.  And despite the dents, there is no rust.  

After all, she's an Arizona native. 

I figure it will take 3 more years to get to 300,000.  

Challenge accepted. 

It's a little fuzzy.  I was driving.  Yeah, bad idea, I know. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Back in my comfort zone.

I got laid off in February.  Took a paid sabbatical.  Got a new job in June.  Despite the ample work from home days, ended up disliking the new job.

As of Monday, I went back to my old job, sort of.  I am working with many of the same people, doing some of the same types of programming.  But I am reporting to a different boss.  And the company is under new management.

It's an odd feeling being back.  I feel like I am home again.  Yet a lot has changed.   Many of my former co-workers are gone, either laid off when I was or have subsequently left.   The department is in a different wing.  I keep turning the wrong way at the entrance. The walls are now a vivid orange color that takes a little getting used to.

It's back to being a small software company with a sense of fun rather than a conglomerate bogged down in process.  There are Nerf gun fights, Friday afternoon gatherings, scooters to use to go from one end of the office to the other.  You can't get into trouble for checking Facebook or answering a text message occasionally.

Admittedly, things are still in flux.  They've only owned the software since March and the big focus was separating the subsidiary from the conglomerate.  Now they need to decide what direction to take the software.

This will be my third time at this address working for five different companies while actually working on the same software.  What can I say?  The underground parking has a big appeal here in Arizona.

It could be a coincidence, but I am sleeping better.  I am more eager to get to work.  And my blood pressure has gone down.

Happy sigh.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bogie in predator mode

For the past few days, I've been watching Bogie from the kitchen window while he is in stalking mode.  It's no wonder he's caught so many pigeons.

Mind you, he's huge and largely white, so how the pigeons are lulled baffles me.

In his favor, he has a lot of patience.

He will stand stock still until the pigeons are ignoring him.  Then move one paw a few inches.

If the pigeons get restless, he stops and waits.

Then moves another paw.

Yesterday he was within 3 feet of the feeder pole before most of the pigeons wised up and flew away.

One pigeon dithered around, walking 3 feet away then back several times before joining his kin on the roof.  The entire time the pigeon tarried, Bogie stood still and watched.

When the last pigeon flew off, Bogie shook himself and trotted back to the house.

Bogie - not exactly camouflage colored

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sometimes I don't understand dogs

This morning while I was brushing my teeth, I heard Bogie come in from outside.   

He walked quickly across the family room, up the stairs, through the loft, walked behind me in the tiled bathroom, went into the carpeted closet - and puked. 


Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm a vitamins and herbs fan

I'm not a big fan of medicine.  The long lists of side-effects recited at the end of every drug commercial is one of the reasons why.

I'm not militant about it.  When there is a need, I will take whatever medication is necessary.  But only for as long as necessary.  Like migraine medicine.  I couldn't have functioned without it these many years.

I'm not sure if a devotion to vitamins and herbs makes me a hypocrite or not.  I mean, I buy packaged vitamins.  I don't grow the herbs myself.  I don't get vitamin C from oranges.  Oranges give me migraines.

So what I take could just be unregulated medicine.

Still, I have had good luck with vitamins.  At least, once I find the right ones and the right dosages.

Feverfew has been recommended for migraines for decades.  But it was a bust for me.  That is, until I found a site that suggested a much higher dose.  Now my migraines have decreased by half.  Coincidence?  Possibly.  But I am willing to continue taking the feverfew even if it's a placebo effect.

Magnesium and D-3 were recommended by doctors.  I like a doctor that will think outside of the traditional medical arena.

I take potassium to lower the blood pressure that gets raised by my antihistamine and migraine medication.  And yes, I know potassium is in bananas.  Not a big fan of bananas, unless they are dipped in sugar.

The migraine medicine also depletes my folic acid levels.  My hair had stopped growing until I added folic acid to my daily regimen.

Antihistamines are a problem for me.  I can take most brands only once or twice before I get a migraine.  And my allergies are a daily occurrence.  I did find one brand that I could take as often as necessary without problems.  Until recently.

So I searched around for an herbal alternative.  I read about butterbur and tried it.  Voila!  No more post nasal drip.  This herb isn't as easy to find as some.  I have to order it on-line.  But taking it instead of the antihistamine has reduced my blood pressure.

My latest addition was B-12.  I researched it after The Bloggess mentioned it isn't something normally tested for.  I read that B-12 is good for fuzzy brain.  So I tried it.  Bliss.  Much less fuzzy brain.

A multi-vitamin, B-complex, and calcium round out my daily dosages.  It may not work for everyone.  Other people prefer to get their vitamins from their food.

But this works for me.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hummingbird ballet

The other day I was eating lunch out on the patio.  The hummingbird feeder is 9 feet from where I normally sit.

The entire time I was outside, there was an elaborate ballet between two hummingbirds, chasing each other through the yard and the trees.  They swoop in and out of the branches of the trees, never miscalculating the open spaces.   They weave in and out of the patio posts, gracefully avoiding the wind chimes and spinners.

At intervals, one would fly out of the yard and the other would perch in my Palo Verde tree.  The hummingbird from the tree would approach the hummingbird feeder and hover.  It would look around for a moment or two, trying to spy the second hummingbird sneaking up on it.

If the hummingbird hadn't wasted so much time being on lookout, it could have drank its fill.

The absent hummingbird returns and the aerial chase resumes. At one point, they swoop within 3 feet of me, seeming oblivious to my presence.

Suddenly, there are 4 hummingbirds involved, all doing a squeaky chitter and swooping, moving too fast to determine their alliances.

Just as suddenly, two hummingbirds disappear and the two remaining hummingbirds resume their noisy chase.

Marvelous lunch time entertainment.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Rummage sale, antique mall finds

Sarah and I spent all day yesterday hitting garage sales, rummage sales, a huge consignment center and an antique mall.

I found this at a rummage sale.  The artist is a young woman in her late teens or early twenties.  She had some exquisite celebrity portraits on display.  When I asked her if she did any animals, she showed me this. She was thrilled that I wanted to buy it.  I even like the wear and damage to the piece.  Makes it seem more authentic somehow.

At the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall, I found this wind chime.  I love wind chimes, but I am particular about the sound.  This makes a light, tinkling noise.  And I like the whimsy of using kitchen utensils.  It's a little hard to see, but the center striker is a fork with the tines splayed out.

And this is the only ceramic tree I've ever seen that incorporates dogs into the theme.  Granted, they aren't Great Danes, but the tree would have to be a Sequoia to accommodate Great Danes.  The tree is very detailed.  I especially like the star made of dog bones.

Unique pieces are why I like to shop at these places.