Archive for February, 2012

Really? I’ve Won That?

Posted in Email, Internet on February 20, 2012 by penelopegeorge

How many people actually check their spam folder? Experts say to check it often in case anything important got booted into it (and by “experts”, I mean me). Mostly it’s filled with crap few would even open (From: Buy Viagra at bargain prices. And have your p&n!s enlarged while you are at it!)

I love my spam folder. It gives me the best Facebook status updates. The latest one, and possibly the best so far so I don’t know how they will top this, comes from the RIAA, which according to the email stands for Recording Industry Association of America.

Now, after many, many seconds of ace detective work, I was able to ascertain that RIAA is a legitimate organization with a very busy website. Or it is a very careful scam which covered all possibilities and set up its own website with an attention to detail that would make any mother proud. Either scenario might fool the average email reader into believing that they really are in deep trouble for some sort of copyright infringement. All I can say is, thank goodness we have spam filters to protect us gullible internet users.

For all those who have not received this notice, the email goes something like this: Dear *******, hereby we notify you that your IP address has been identified as distributing copyrighted content. Please see the attachment to this message for illicit Internet traffic details.
Failure to respond to this message within 14 days will result in copyright infringement accusation and standard legal procedures.

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
1330 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
tel: 202-775-0101
fax: 202-775-7253

Clue number 1 that this was not as legit as they want me to believe: the email address, which I have cleverly replaced with stars for privacy reasons, was not my email address. I have no idea who owns this email address, and I certainly will not be forwarding them the message. I suspect (s)he received their own copy.

Clue number 2: it was very short on legalese. Any legitimate lawyer-sounding letter would have many more whereas’s and henceforth’s. If a real lawyer was involved the email would be six pages long. And they would not have made formatting errors.

Clue number 3: the attachment was a .zip file. If you don’t know yet what a zip file is you need to be supervised while online.

Clue number 4 was the proverbial lack of a leg to stand on. What, have I “shared” too many silly cat videos on Facebook?

Now, in some computer forums I quickly skimmed, it sounded like otherwise tech-savvy players on this world-wide stage may have opened the darn file, and I have no sympathy for them. But the best was the poster who copied the email, warned us all that the file was full of malware, and then attached the file to his post. Thankfully, the owners of the forum were smarter than he and deleted it.

Some people get very irritated by this junk. Some people consider the world got lucky when it hit their inbox because they will post in various forums the dangers of opening the file. Me, I just find them a source of entertainment.

Case in point; apparently I have outstanding traffic tickets in New York (never been). These might be why the FBI was trying to contact me (because they can’t use the phone book). I suppose it was a letter from FBI lawyers (no doubt located in New York) that was to be delivered by the USPS and FedEx up to ten times a day for a month, which resulted in multiple delivery failure notifications (coincidentally, they all contained zip file attachments). But on a bright note, two random people I’ve never had direct or indirect contact with both sent me $200 Amazon gift cards on the same day, again with file attachments containing retrieval instructions. This is all in addition to the inheritance I’m due from South Africa as soon as I hear back from that sweet old lady’s lawyer.

I figure you have to laugh at the preposterous. It simply serves no other purpose.


THIS is why I should never drink.

Posted in food, kids on February 4, 2012 by penelopegeorge

We never have parties here. In fact, Tony and I have been together nearly 20 years, and we have never had more than four people over unless they were mostly under 12 and here for a birthday party. But we have been invited to several around the neighborhood and it is simply time to reciprocate. The date of this blessed event is coming soon.

Maybe I should have known better to even consider a party, but the idea hit me after too many glasses of wine at my friend Nicole’s house (who has been the best bad-influence, like, EVER). During the ingestion of these too many glasses of wine we were discussing the fact that Nic has several parties a year. Being more than a little drunk and in a party mood, I very generously offered to have the next one at our house.

The next day, I remembered our complete lack of experience at grown-up parties. The last time we had a large number of adults was at our daughter’s fourth birthday (she’s thirteen now). My husband, worried about hurting feelings of other kids and their families, invited two full preschool classes plus parents and siblings, and every other kid in the neighborhood. At some point during the festivities someone counted the number of guests. The tally was 18 adults and 32 children, plus myself, hubby, birthday girl, grandparents who were here to assist, and two hired teenagers to do face painting and bouncy castle.

It was a hit. Except for the fact that the day of the party is the only time in our 20 years I have ever seen hubby hung over, and he had it bad. Plus he was making balloon animals. With no pump. But I had warned him to stay away from the Grand Marnier.

In the years since that fateful day we’ve talked about throwing a party, because we apparently refuse to learn from our mistakes. The problem has been that regular party times are hard for us. Tony’s a professional magician, mostly children’s entertainment. December and weekends? HE WORKS WEEKENDS! AND DECEMBER! Summer is festival season and he’s rarely home. If he isn’t working, then that’s not the time to be spending $500 throwing a party.

Wait, did I just say $500? Really? Wow, that would be getting us off cheap. Because hubby started looking around the house, and all he can see is problems. The bathroom’s awful (true, it was awful when we bought the house in 2002 and it did not improve under us), the doors were outdated (true, they were original with the house in the early ’80’s), the chair rails and baseboards needed painting (not that badly) and the furniture in the front room is an eyesore (okay, it’s not lovely, but it’s not that bad).

Bathroom overhaul: $4,200 in labor, $1,500 for fixtures, $250 for toilet we forgot to buy with the other fixtures (oops), and $300 on accessories. Heck, let’s add in another $200 for random Home Depot runs. Bathroom total: $6,450. Total time: 4 days overhaul, 5 days shopping for stuff.

Hubby did agree, at that point, that the other projects could wait. He’s such a liar.

Ugly doors: $650 in new doors and handles (thank GOD they used the old doors as a template to cut the new doors, a service well worth the $30 per door), $250 on paint and accessories. Total was $900, plus a solid week of removing doors, washing, sanding, and painting the frames, installing new doors, and painting those. Yes, we painted them while they were hanging. Sue me.

Chair rails: you would think that since we had just painted the doors we would have the equipment we needed to paint the chair rails and baseboards. Ha! No such luck. I think about another $200 in supplies there, and a freakin’ eternity taping, washing, and painting.

He has now forgotten about new furniture and has moved into menu insanity. I’m not sure our marriage will make it to the party, except neither of us will give up that bathroom.