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Big Bro

Several of these have cropped up along my route this week. Each one is a bank of four cameras. On closer inspection, they looked like ruggedized, heavy-duty versions of my old wildlife camera.

The tag on it says they’re for monitoring traffic but not enforcing traffic laws, so I don’t know what they’re playing at.

I’d better not pick my nose on the way to work for a while…

Changing the subject – oh, dear. The last comment on my PayPal link from Tuesday:

Unfortunately I fell for the scam as I checkd my Paypal account and could see a transaction request from Clemment Tyler on my dashboard. Stupidly I called the number which was supposedly answered by a Paypal customer service rep and spoke to this really nice indian guy who told me he would sort this transaction out for me. During this long drawn out process they managed to change my password on my Paypal account, how I don’t know as I didn’t give them any information about my account. I actually use two forms of access, password and authenticator! As my Barclays bank card was saved on my Paypal account they were able to clear my bank accounts including savings of everything by asking me to log into my banking app so that they could credit my account and confirming my card with the card reader!! My MBNA credit card was also saved and they tried to make two transactions on there but were unsuccessful as the transactions were declined. They even had the nerve to phone MBNA and as them to confirm my online banking user name!! This whole experience has left me feeling sick and like the dumbest idiot on the planet. I really hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else!!

I can’t imagine who would get caught by the scam and THEN look up the number online.

And yes…I’m still arguing with idiots on Twitter.

December 1, 2022 — 8:29 pm
Comments: 3

And they’re off…!


Today I was bored, so I stuck my finger in a socket.

This is Ngozi (not her real name) Fulani. She was born in London to Caribbean parents. She runs a charity for battered women. Yesterday, she was invited to a charity do at Buckingham Palace.

It’s unclear if she was dressed like this, but it would appear so.

While she was in the reception line, Lady Susan Hussey (eighty-something-years-old and Liz’s bestie) moved Fulani’s hair to read her name tag (microaggression!) and then asked, “where are you from?” (MICROAGGRESSION!) and kept asking until Fulani admitted her parents were from the Caribbean (HATE CRIME!).

Naturally, Lady Hussey has stepped down. No, seriously – she lost her job over this.

You can imagine the reasoned discourse on Twitter. Or perhaps you can’t – British blacks are insanely touchy, not least because when they throw tantrums they get big results from people like the BBC.

I’ve made a lot of bland comments in a lot of stupid threads today, but I’m watching one of them like a horse race.

The tweet, currently weighing in at 119 likes:

And the challenger, standing at 140:

I’ve been losing this race for hours. Twitter is a crazy place.

November 30, 2022 — 6:38 pm
Comments: 8

Timeline of a scam

I received this email about eight yesterday morning to my work account. It’s obviously a scam, but it is a legitimate email coming from PayPal. Correct name, all the links check out. Hm.

First thing I did was search that phone number – it’s obviously the heart of the scam. Sure enough, the first person ever to go looking for that number was two hours earlier. He got exactly the same message, but with a different senders’s name.

Here is the lookup page. I’m the seventh commenter down. At that time, the number had been searched around twenty times.

As of now, the number has been looked up 338 and 42 people made remarks. The messages are kind of interesting. A couple of people called the number and played along (dangerous – there are numbers that automatically charge you a bunch of money when you connect to them). Some people called PayPal.

Oh, yes – I checked the work PayPal account and this message was in it, verbatim, with the proposed transaction. I cancelled it, natch.

Here’s what happened. Let’s say I’m your gardener and I do 5 hours of shitty, lazy gardening for you at £10 an hour. If I know your account address, PayPal has a function where I can send you a message that says, “hello, Yourname. Please send me £50 for my crappy product. Love, Stoaty.” Which seems a reasonable sort of function to have.

Unfortunately, the message can also say, “FRAUDULENT TRANSACTION FOUND IN YOUR ACCOUNT OF 890. 00 GBP, TO STOP OR CANCEL THIS AMOUNT CALL US IMMEDIATELY @ +44-800-058-4853 OR THE AMOUNT WILL BE DEBITED WITHIN 12 HOURS’ and there really isn’t a way for PayPal to tell the difference. They’re well aware of it now (they got an earful yesterday) but I’m not sure what they can do but get rid of that feature.

Oh, look – I’ve just received a less interesting phishing email that *almost* passed the smell test, but the “refund here” button links to something called rebrand.ly and stoaty@sweasel.com doesn’t have a PayPal. Nice try, assholes!

BTW, the correct reporting address is phishing@paypal.com.

November 29, 2022 — 4:57 pm
Comments: 8

I live here now

And still it rained. We’ve had a bucket under a leak in the kitchen for weeks now and one starting in the hall.

Saturday morning before coffee, we hear a noise. The ceiling above the stove had finally become so weak and saturated the whole panel came crashing down. Bad enough. That it fell directly onto the stove was worse. But worst of all, it brought down old insulation and the detritus of generations of rats and mice, must’ve been a layer of unimaginable filth four inches deep.

I wore a respirator to tackle it. I ain’t breathing that shit.

The rains have stopped (supposedly) but now we have to find someone to fix it. Not easy.

So I Googled SADS and VR and I live here now.

It’s a silly application that lets you walk around sunny places and interact with goofy animals that don’t acknowledge you (they missed a trick here – I can’t be the only user who pet the deer) and plant trees and whatever. It isn’t bright enough to treat real SADS, but I probably don’t have real SADS, I’m just sick of the endless wind and rain.

It’s stupid and pointless but it cheered me up no end.

November 28, 2022 — 8:21 pm
Comments: 6

We have the power!

Mostly because we have the generator.

Uncle B got it going today – it’s dual fuel gas/propane. I’m hoping it won’t be necessary. It’s been a mild November which gives me (probably false) hope we won’t have any extended blackouts.

But I’ve explained before our septic system is driven by a computer dependant on house current, so no power, no shit. We aren’t taking any chances.

Changing the subject entirely, I had to deal with a workman today who was limping badly. Poor guy is only in his fifties and is severely arthritic in both ankles.

Or was – he had the left ankle fused a few years ago. He said it stopped the pain and freed him up, but he invited me to admire his legs in shorts – his left calf muscle vanished! It was a stick!

No ankle movement, no leg day. And now his hip is going.

Oh, and our gammon was delicious. Have a good weekend!

November 25, 2022 — 8:08 pm
Comments: 9

Look what we’re getting for Thanksgiving

Oof! It is upon us.

Still, we’re poised to do the thing. You know…the thing. We eat our T’day as an evening meal, about 9:30, because – what the hell? It’s England and nobody knows what the traditions are. I make ’em up as I go.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone! Or had one, as the case may be.

November 24, 2022 — 5:49 pm
Comments: 15

It’s just ham, y’all

We are having gammon for Thanksgiving this year. I think this might be the first time ever I’m not having turkey on Turkey Day, but Uncle B was the first to point out that we have two turkey holidays a month apart and then don’t eat it again for a whole year.

Looked at that way, it diminishes the specialness of…one or the other holiday, somehow.

I have been puzzled over the exact meaning of “gammon” ever since I moved here – especially when I learned it’s also called boiled bacon. Delicious!

It’s just ham, though. Upper leg of pig (nowhere near bacon, but whatever). We’re going to pressure cook it.

Pic nicked from Wikimedia, with proper attribution.

With it, we’re having homemade dinner rolls and the traditional pease pudding – an unremarkable starchy side dish that does well with pork (do follow the link if you’d like to take a peep at pease pudding and faggot).

Speaking of Christmas turkey, I ordered mine yesterday. I know your turkeys have gone through the roof this year, but you can console yourself they’re still substantially more expensive in Jollye Olde.

November 23, 2022 — 7:37 pm
Comments: 14

A tail of two roos

The rooster on the left was once the #2 boy. The boy on the right was #1 when this picture was taken.

The girl in the middle was eaten by a fox, but that’s another story.

One day, rooster #2 had a beakful of it and beat the snot out of roo #1, becoming hisself #1. I didn’t realize this until I came out later and the white chicken was nowhere to be found. I called and called and he finally slunk out of the bushes all muddy and bloody and sorry for himself (he wasn’t seriously hurt, but comb and wattle injuries bleed horribly).

Since that day, the white chicken (whose name is Sam because he hatched on the 4th of July) has gotten smaller and smaller. He’s about half the size of Mo now. He mopes around the back door, away from the other chickens. I make sure to throw him treats. Honestly, I’d love to fatten him up a bit.

So! Is this hormonal? Emotional? Is he ill? (If so, he’s been ill a long time without being visibly sick). It’s sad, really. Chicken politics is savage.

November 22, 2022 — 7:25 pm
Comments: 4

Relentless

My great aunt was Jeanne Eagels’ understudy in the 1922 Broadway production of Rain.

I just looked it up and Jeanne Eagels had a sad end. She developed a taste for alcohol and ultimately paired it with heroin. By the end, she was also using chloral hydrate to sleep.

Hardcore.

She keeled over one day while talking to her doctor – or, as we call it where I come from – up and died. She was 39.

Too late for my auntie to play the part, though.

Why did I think of this today? Because OH MY GOD IT WILL NOT STOP RAINING FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING HOLY IS IT MONSOON SEASON ON THIS SOGGY LITTLE ISLAND?

I know it’s England, but GEEZ.

My auntie did alright for herself. She dated Fred MacMurray for a while, but eventually moved on to marry an obscenely rich man from one of the old fortunes.

Her daughter is younger than my dad. I’ve met her, but she never asked me over to Martha’s Vineyard. Huh.

November 21, 2022 — 8:02 pm
Comments: 5

Well, that was boring

I had to buy a scanned copy of a 19th C Sussex directory for work and it’s honestly the most boring. I was expecting ads for “Doctor Snodgrass Cocaine Suppositories” and “New! Modern! Electric hernia truss!” but no. This ad was the most interesting, if only for the word “dentifricium.”

We bought it for the directory part, but even that was a bust – it’s scanned but not OCR’ed, so it’s not searchable.

I did learn a new word – vade mecum. Okay, that’s two words. It’s a reference or guide you carry around and refer to constantly. The publisher of this directory also published something called the Letter Writer’s Vade Mecum and advertised it throughout. You can still find copies.

I read a sample. It was dreadful advice.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

November 18, 2022 — 7:08 pm
Comments: 2