Thursday, November 24, 2011 Scam

I was almost scammed today!!! Over the past few days I've been receiving calls from a strange telephone number : 0501  It's not a Dutch number, or even an American one; I kept letting the call go to the answering machine but they would never leave a message.  Finally out of curiosity I picked up, it was a woman with a thick accent telling me she worked for Microsoft and that they had been receiving error messages from my computer and she would like to help me.  At first it didn't seem so far fetched, sure I get random pop-ups and to be honest I don't know the last time I cleaned up my computer so I went along with it.  She had me type in all sorts of commands, prompting different screens to pop up.  All the while I found the call quite strange, I had never heard of Microsoft contacting customers warning of a possible computer crash.  Everything she explained seemed to correlate with my computer, she even had quite detailed information.  She had me check the "event viewer", and via the "run" command we went through things like "prefetch" and "cmd".  She even went as far as telling me my "clsid", it was all quite convincing yet I still had a bad feeling.  For those that know me, know I am a little on the paranoid side; it just wasn't sitting right.  Then she said she was going to connect me to a colleague of hers that they would help me clean up the errors and allow my computer to run faster and not crash.  (She acted as if my computer was on the brink of crashing).  Then her male colleague took over the call, also with a thick accent, and it wasn't Dutch.  He then asked me to use the "run" command to access a website, this really started ringing alarm bells in my head.  Before following through with the command I pasted the website into Google and I saw it was to remote access my computer.  Basically allowing him to take over control of my computer from wherever in the world it was that they were calling.  No way, just because he says he is Microsoft doesn't mean I am just going to give him control of my computer.  I further Googled the website he had given: is a legitimate company that helps people connect their computers, but his intentions were not legitimate.  I scrolled through Google finding endless forums about a scam explaining the exact situation I was in.  Still being on the phone he kept asking me if I had pressed the green button in order to download the product yet.  I then informed him of my findings, that all of the forums were calling it fraud/scam and that he didn't even work for Microsoft.  The man's tone of voice quickly changed, he admitted to being a third party but he wasn't going to give up.  Finally I just told him that if the error issues were true my husband would deal with them and then hung up on the scam artist.  After hanging up I started reading further into the scam, it has all sorts of names and has happened to people world wide.  They often target wives, I guess they think we're easy prey.  I am glad I wasn't naive enough to allow them access to my computer, but I do feel stupid for even allowing someone to rope me in as far as they did.  So this is just a heads up, don't fall for the AMMYY.COM SCAM, hang up the moment a strange person claims to be Microsoft and wants access to your computer.  Don't be foolish and allow them access or pay them any fees like I have read others have done!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You Tube

I don't know if You Tube is a part of people's lives anymore or not, all fads come and go, just like MySpace.  But You Tube is still very popular in my home.  My daughter accesses it daily through our iPad to watch a variety of videos from cartoons to children songs.  She likes the videos no matter what the language.  It has taught her so much, and me too!  Some how in all the years after elementary school I forgot the words to most childrens songs and nursery ryhmes.  With the help of everyone "broadcasting" themselves I get refresher courses whenever needed, I now know all of the words and hand motions to songs like "Where is Thumbkin" & "3 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed".  Of course she does stumble across strange clips though, I just have to keep an eye out.  But besides using You Tube for my toddler, I use it for myself.  Need to know how to properly cut a leek, there's a video for it, there is basically a video for everything.  Writing fictional stories is a hobby of mine and occassionally when writing I need a visual example of what the character is doing in order to create the best description, all I have to do is pull up You Tube and I get a personal explanation on martial art moves, motorcycle racing, dance moves, you name it.  Of course a few years ago I went through the phase of needing to put my own videos online.  It was neat to be able to show people around the world fun/funny things I have experienenced.  And watching the amount of views go up and up was exciting in itself.  When our shark video had over 1,000 hits I was ecstatic, now a few years on it has almost 7,000!  After a while the excitement of it faded, but we still occassionaly post videos.  The latest video was of our daughter; my husband went all out, he trimmed and slowed the clip down, and even added music.  But it was worth it because now my family here and in The States can get a good laugh whenever they're having a bad day.  It's amazing what you'll find on You Tube, just type in your town or street and you'll be quite surprised.  Here is one of my daughter's favorites, courtesy of Expert Village :  And here is one of my favorites (my husband pointed it out to me), I love technology and can't wait until everyone functions more along these lines, thanks Microsoft :  Well, hope you all enjoyed another random fleeting thought of mine!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Know You!

Maybe a lot of you can say you've seen your friends on tv but not me.  But within the last two weeks, on two shows, in two different countries we had friends on tv!  For one friend, Caroline Macey, it's a big accomplishment.  Ryan & I met Caroline ten years ago while we were all still very young and deciding where to go with our lives.  Caroline said that she was going to move to California with her husband and become an actress.  It seems like an unreal dream to many but if you met Caroline you would know she was bound for stardom.  Since moving to CA she has landed a lot of small roles, and the latest of which was on none other than one of my favorite tv shows, Grey's Anatomy.

I was super stoked to see her on tv.  For those of you that watch the show she was on last weeks episode: Dark was the Night.  In the episode Meredith & Alex are sent to a small hospital to pick up a sick newborn baby.  Caroline plays the baby's mother; she's the one in the wheelchair begging them to take her with them to Seattle Grace.  I think she did great, and it was definitely believeable.  To top it off, the baby was also in the last scene of the show, some I'm keeping my fingers crossed hoping that Caroline appears in next weeks episode too!  Go Caroline!!!
And across the Atlantic Ocean on Dutch tv, our friends Pieter & Diana Rahusen appeared on tv.  There's a Dutch tv show about home makeovers called Staat op Straat.  They don't go quite as far as American shows, but the families do get a makeover in the living room & dining room.  No one can complain about free furniture, paint, and decorations! I visited Diana's before the show aired and saw her newly decorated downstairs.  She told me that they hadn't kept all of the decorations, and last night on tv I got to see what the designers had actually done.  The designers had decided to take part of their living room wall and drill branches & birds on to it, needless to say the branches were one of the first things they took down.  But the show did a lot of great things for them, like building a room divider between the kitchen and dining room with cabinets and giving them a lot of awesome furniture and decorations.  It was fun watching them and their children on tv, it really puts these types of shows into perspective.  The editors can cut and paste things to make it come across as they would like, overall I think the Rahusen's did a great job and in the end we all had a good laugh (with them, not at them)!  I can't say I would have handled myself so well in that situation.
Be sure to check out the links to our friends on tv :
Caroline Macey in Grey's Anatomy :
The Rahusen's on Staat op Straat :

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dog Sitting

We're dog sitting again!  I never saw myself as the dog sitting type, especially because I'm not the best with animals and I'm allergic to dogs.  I am not a calm person and animals feel that, but my husband and daughter are ecstatic about dogs and they are both quite good with them.  It all started out with my sister-in-laws dog, Lucy.  She was just a puppy the first time we ever watched her.
She was scared, I was nervous, and needless to say it ended with her getting attacked by a cat, getting diarrhea, and vomitting!  Poor dog, poor us, we were all a little traumatized after her weekend visit.  But we all got over it and she came back once she was bigger to stay even longer.  The first couple days took getting used to, especially because Ryan had to go to work and couldn't help out.  It was a challenge, figuring out how to walk the dog, push the stroller, and keep her from dragging us everywhere.  But eventually we all got the hang of it and right when we had a good routine going it was time for her to leave.  Surprisingly enough I was disappointed to see her leave.  Now we are dog sitting Lola, my husbands parents dog.  She is smaller than Lucy and calmer, but she is used to being coddled and that's not the type of house we run.
Lola goes to work with the family every day and gets a lot of attention and snacks, and can curl up in a corner and sleep whenever she likes.  But here, she gets harrassed by my 2 year all day.  The only sleep she gets is when my daughter sleeps!  Also the town Lucy and Lola live in is much quieter than the bustling city center we live in.  I can imagine it's overwhelming for them.  So far Lola seems to be adjusting, she tolerates all of Sophia's hugs and kisses, and has quickly grown used to the fact I don't drop food or give her table scraps.  I must sound wretched, but I do actually have a soft spot for dogs, I'm just strict.  When my husband suggested letting the dog sleep in our bed last night, I had to admit I had already let her up there at the end of Sophia's nap so the three of us could cuddle.  Luckily the dog didn't stay long in our bed, she evetually slept in her basket which Ryan had also moved to our bedroom.  He is a big softy for dogs.  Having a dog and a toddler is a lot of work, it's not like you can just let the dog out.  It's cold so we all have to get bundled up, we have to walk far to get to a decent patch of grass so we also need the stroller, it takes about 15 minutes just to get out the door.  But the pleasure my husband and daughter get makes it worth it.  We're even considering getting a dog once we move, we've checked into all of the hypo-allergenic dogs available in The Netherlands and we've basically agreed on an Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.  I'll end the blog with the picture that sold us on the Wheaten Terrier's.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Elegant Autumn

Well, Autumn (Dutch = Herfst) has been here for a while, but it's now really starting to show in the trees.  When I lived in Florida I didn't really appreaciate Autumn, mostly because it didn't look like this and because it meant the yard would fill up with leaves that I had no intentions of raking.  But now that I live in an apartment in the middle of a city it means, the city cleans up the leaves and all I have to do is step back and admire the view.  It took me a while to learn to appreciate Autumn though.  In years passed I was too busy to stop and take a look, shuffling back and forth between work and home was about the only time I looked around at nature.  But now that I am a Mom I look at things differently, it's fun to admire nature with my daughter and explain what's happening.  Plus trees can symbolize so many different things, from growth and life, to phases, to even family and its branches.  I used to have address labels with a tree on it, many of you probably received a card at one point with the label on it.  I liked it so much I even had stationary printed out to match.  I'm apparently not the only one in the family that appreciates trees, it turns out so does my husband. 
We were out with friends and one of them pointed out that Ryan had taken a photo of a tree and posted it on his Facebook page, I had no idea.  I burst out laughing and pulled my phone out, I too had taken pictures for this blog.  It was funny to know we even had this is common.  The golf course Ryan belongs to is beautiful, and I guess he couldn't resist taking the above shot while playing golf one morning.  And I thought he just went there to play golf and for the Good Ol' Boys Club.  Well, I can't end this blog without mentioning that the Dutch have an interesting way of collecting leaves.  In Florida we bag them and put them at the curb on a certain day, but here they set up fenced in areas where you can dump the leaves, then a truck comes by and sucks them up.  I don't know which is handier and it doesn't really matter.  I remember when we used to live in Best and there was a collection area set up across the street from us.  At the time I still smoked cigarettes, so everyday I was out on the balcony at some point, and one day I saw two boys on their bikes trying to knock the fences down and spread the leaves everywhere.  Being in my early 20's at the time, I felt as an adult I should do something.  My Dutch was extremely poor back then yet I tried to yell at them.  But in the end they just laughed at me and did it anyway, who knows what I actually managed to say to them.  I'll leave you all with a shot of one of these fenced in leaf collection areas.