Family (2)

When did my father turn into me?

Today, a man with an indian accent telephoned, claiming to be calling from "Microsoft in London".

He said our computer (or computers, or operating system, or internet, or network - he kept changing his mind) had been hacked (or infected) and that Intel (or Microsoft, or the ISP, or "Windows") had somehow detected this...and as a safety precaution they were about to shut down our computer (computers, system, network, operating system/s)...unless we gave him the Access Code to our computer. Which was also Windows. And the router.

So...our computers had signaled them but not us that we'd been hacked, and they had access to our computers to shut them down, but to prevent this they wanted our codes to give them access to our computers to prevent them doing it. Or something.

I used to enjoy leading phone scammers on with ambiguous or meaningless questions for a few minutes before telling them to fuck off. But an artist. He adopts the persona of a trusting but extremely pedantic old man - one who needs to be told everything in exquisite detail at least three times, while he writes it all down. Very slowly. With copious mishearings and misunderstandings. Before half an hour later saying he doesn't know about any access codes, and putting the phone down.

But our new friend from India London Microsoft/Intel/The Internet was persistent, calling back another five times. And going through the same rigmarole each time.

Dad eventually got tired of the scammer, passing the phone to mother - who has a degree in computing and decades of experience with networks. She spent ten minutes asking the man a lot of technical questions which he completely failed to understand, but tried to bluff his way through.

They let me take over for the final five minutes, in the guise of the local network administrator. I asked a few meaningless questions - "What is your personal identification code?", "Do you mean the XP registration or the Linux Serial Number?" - and getting confidently stated gibberish in response. Though I'm not sure what kind of personal identification code "687-43 Section B" might constitute.

I let my character have a psychotic break, and he screamed some obscenities down the line before hanging up.

Quality time with the family.

EDIT:  He later left a message on our answer-phone system, mumbling something about "motherfucker" and "bastard". Which I enjoyed more than is probably healthy.

EDIT: My uncle also received a call from a man with an Indian accent, from "Microsoft". He let the caller spend half an hour trying to explain why his copy of Windows was in imminent danger of locking him out, without ever quite explaining why...before mentioning that he used Linux, and hanging up.

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Family (1)

When did I turn into my father?

As a child, I had a varied diet. Not because of a cosmopolitan atmosphere in the home or a spirit of culinary adventure. Just because whatever was on special offer in the shops that day, father bought, and we ate.

I said it was a varied diet - I didn't say the food was good. I thought dad was a cheapskate with a palate of iron.

But now, wherever I am, I make a point of trying out whatever cheap local food is available, working through the selection in whatever combinations suggest themselves.

That's how I invented lemonade tea...made with ordinary Indian tea and a capful of lemonade concentrate. It also works with lime and kiwi fruit...but not orange squash.
It's how I came up spicy barbeque pasta with sardines. Or noodles with meatballs in tomato sauce. Digestive buscuits topped with peanut butter.

Or one one particularly unsuccessful occasion, a spanish omelette "loaf" made with frozen mixed vegetables, several slices of broken-up bread, salt and pepper, and a handful of herbs. Result: a heap of crumbs varying from undercooked to burnt.

So, I guess I've turned into an iron-palated cheapskate.

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