Yes, I heard about the U.S. Tour.
Yes, I will move many rocks & mountains to get my hands on tickets.
Yes, I love how this video blends a tribute to Freddy and bookends it with Adam’s prior performances with the band.
Yes, I heard about the U.S. Tour.
Yes, I will move many rocks & mountains to get my hands on tickets.
Yes, I love how this video blends a tribute to Freddy and bookends it with Adam’s prior performances with the band.
First, a quick link to a great resource at least here locally on the topic: Safe Seniors - and then an exceedingly rare up front plea: – PLEASE SHARE THIS! The more people who are aware, the better chance we have to prevent these scammers from succeeding.
A quick excerpt from that link that will tie in the real life story I am going to share:
Imposters, often from foreign countries, target the elderly by posing as a grandchild in trouble and in need of cash. The caller often says that he or she has been arrested, was in a car accident or has some type of medical emergency. The caller always insists that the grandparent not tell anyone about the money transfer, which is one of the red flags. The scam is often effective because it catches seniors off guard and tugs at their heartstrings.
I decided to share the tale here since a quick post to the August moms email group and then on Facebook apparently helped some other friends of mine warn off their own family & elderly neighbors so that they didn’t fall for this ploy – which is VERY effective!
A bit before the holidays, my mom received a phone call which started like this “Hi grandma, it’s me – your grandson!” When she said “Oh hi!” the follow up was “Do you know who this is?” and she responded with my older son’s name and the Game was On.
With a blend of throwing darts at the dartboard guesses and exceptionally leading questions or statements, the caller convinced my mom he was my son, that he was in trouble for crashing a car and that he needed money wired. She was to tell NO ONE and especially not ME. Part of the leading conversation gained the information that son #1 has had some DUI issues and would be a boatload of trouble if that ever came up again so the caller deftly played on those heartstrings.
Now, the scammer instructed my mom that there would be a follow up phone call from the attorney who would give her wiring instructions and then they hung up. In between, she did try to call my son – who just happened to not have his phone ON at that moment – and then she tried to call me and vaguely asking me if he was home and OK. Since I had not yet seen him that morning, but I did see his car in the driveway (I was out prepping the yard for holiday lights) I said he was home and had been home all night as far as I knew, but I know I was also impatient since I didn’t know why she wasn’t just calling him directly and well, my hands were full of dirt & weeds!
All of which converged to help her still believe the scammer so that when they called back – by then my dad was home – they were really quite convinced they needed to wire this money. So much so that they left their house to go to a convenience store and initiate the transaction! THANKFULLY – you can credit intuition or your deity of choice – something triggered in their heads “scam!”
Still wary though, they now called my ex who my dad works with and who is an attorney. Of course he immediately confirmed that it smelled rotten to the core, and they promptly went home and this time when my mom called she laid out the whole sordid tale to me, and I just about peed my pants, first in HUGE relief that they didn’t send any money, and then with laughter because well…it was pretty funny how well all those events lined up to string them that far along. I alerted my son, who then saw the missed calls and so HE talked to her, and they laughed and well…we were all mostly relieved as I say.
We did discuss what to do in the future though. Questions and ways to validate the identity of any future callers and my sons (both of them) swearing that they would NEVER call them for anything like that and that under ALL circumstances they should call ME and confirm everything too.
Toward the bottom of that article is this other little tidbit:
When people have been scammed once, their phone numbers and information are sold to other tricksters.
Even though the first folks DIDN’T get any money, my parents’ number was probably still identified as one with potential. So a little after the holidays they tried again. My mom listened for a bit and then said she just didn’t believe them and even when the caller pleaded “Grandma! Don’t you care about me?!” Thankfully she didn’t fall for that, and the call ended. Of course, then she calls both me and my son again to make doubly SURE it was a scam, and we all had another laugh at it.
Then yesterday – AGAIN – this time the caller weaved a fantastic tale about traveling to Santiago, Chile and a friend who had a time share and all this wonderful stuff and how his voice might sound difference since he had a cold and…..oh hey, by the way, I got into a little trouble though….(red alert!) so my mom asked him what his last name is, and when he said “But grandma, you know it’s me, you said my name!” she insisted on him stating his full name and wouldn’t you know it, the caller hung up.
So we are hoping that the third failure is the charm and that they will trash the phone number. If not, we will take some small entertainment value at seeing what stories they come up with next.
In all seriousness – please, if you know any seniors, warn them about this scam. Have them setup some confirming questions to pose to the caller that only family would know. Better yet, just have them hang up! They target numbers in known retirement communities (such as my parents), and they are counting on their victims to not have caller ID and to have grandkids. Since it’s a cold calling outfit essentially, if they miss the mark on the first call, they will most likely ditch the number.
If you got this far – thank you – and please don’t forget to share to protect your own family + friends!
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride - (Amazon link here)
I love the way one Goodreads reviewer stated it “If Mark Twain and Mel Brooks had ever collaborated, they would have invented a comic character like (the narrator).” That is SUCH a fantastic way to characterize this!
The narrator is Henry(Etta) Shackleford who is the child of a slave who is “freed” by a band of crusading abolitionists led by John Brown. Brown rather clumsily ends up killing Henry’s father in the act of freeing him and so feels compelled to take in the orphaned child. Written using the language and phrasing of the time (1800s Kansas) the tone is frequently comical and, of course, child like since Henry is gauged to be about 11 or 12 when he is absorbed into Browns motley group of “soldiers”. Oh, and right from the start Henry is mistaken for a girl and while he is at first confused and wants to correct that error, he quickly realizes that the indignity of wearing a dress is mitigated by the fact that he is not expected to fight, and he decides that is just fine with him!
There are two main stories running through the book. Henry’s own personal story and the telling through his eyes of the people and events of the abolition movement culminating in the raid on Harper’s Ferry and John Brown’s capture and eventual hanging. It is at this point that I will confess to having to stop and look up the names of the historically based characters such as John Brown, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas to be reminded of actual roles.. Yes, 30+ years later those high school history classes may have faded from memory!
Most of the time, Henry thinks Brown is just bat-shit insane. And it seems as if most of John Brown’s army judges him similarly but they are also scared to death of him and also, completely drawn in to his obsession with believing that he is doing God’s work by freeing the slaves. Brown is described as basically OCD with his ability to launch into prayers and sermons for hours on end, then burying himself into the study and drawing up of maps and plans for the next attack on the slave holders. In fact, he would get so caught up in his own missives with the lord and hyper planning that he would be completely blind to the people who betrayed him along the way. At one point, Henry describes The Old Man “He was a good, kind lunatic and he couldn’t no more be a sane man in his transactions with his fellow white man than you and I can bark like a dog, for he didn’t speak their language.” At the end though, in his final conversation with Brown as the old man sits in a jail cell the night before his hanging, Henry finally concludes that Brown was perhaps more sane and insightful than he seemed:
‘The old face, crinkled and dented with canals running every which way, pushed and shoved up against itself for a while, till a big old smile busted out from beneath ‘em all, and his gray eyes fairly glowed. It was the first time I ever saw him smile free. A true smile. It was like looking at the face of God. And I knowed then, for the first time, that him being the person to lead the colored to freedom weren’t no lunacy. It was something he knowed true inside him, I saw it clear for the first time. I knowed then, too, that he knowed what I was – from the very first.’
I highly recommend reading this book. Even though the topic is really heavy of course, and there is plenty of blood shed – it is told in such a way that I ended up laughing many times and thoroughly enjoying my time spent with The Onion (Henrys nickname) and The Old Man.
In fact, there are so many fun phrases such as “moral susion” (aka booze) and “hive the bees” (round up the folks) that my fellow book club members and I couldn’t help, but throw them around a bit at our gathering. We did talk about the book for, oh, five? minutes and the 3 of us who read it did like it a lot, and I was happy to find out I was not the only one who ran to Wikipedia for a quick history brush up! We’ve also managed to hive a couple more bees so the next gathering there could be up to six of us! Hopefully we all get to read the book this time – but, if not, we will still have a lovely time chatting around some good food and moral susion
Oh, the next book, after some false starts, will be This House is Haunted by John Boyne.
The false starts? Well, our hostess quite generously printed out a lovely flow chart of books in varying genres for all of us (she also handed out some lovely bookmarks & porcelain cups, and the rest of us stated there won’t be repeats of such things at our houses because we are not that organized or creative!). We decided to take one of the flow charts down to the dart board in her game room and simply throw darts at the titles to see what “hit”! Unfortunately we didn’t first make sure all the titles are actually OUT yet and when I got home to send out the info to the group (I’m next hostess), I noticed that the book wasn’t available until July! So, I took a penny an closed my eyes and dropped it on the flow chart to maintain the integrity of our selection process (cough *RANDOM* cough) and THEN I made sure what it landed on is actually published. So there you go. Have fun reading along with us if you choose. Due to hiving some additional bees and overall Spring commitments, we decided to shoot for the end of April for the next meeting. Let’s go hunt some ghosts!
Courtesy of Sam The Cooking Guy – see the video here and grab the full sized recipe card. I made this yesterday and since I had to throw it together so fast before leaving for work, I didn’t take pictures, BUT, I can tell you it ended up looking exactly like what he shows at the end of the super short video. That pork shoulder roast simply fell apart, and I served it on pretzel roll buns (per the recommendation of a friend – thank you Jdog!) The teenager’s reaction when he bit into his sandwich was – “Mmmmmm…wow…this is really GOOD!” Which, if you have a male teenager, you know is high praise indeed
I just had a small plate of the meat by itself re-heated with some tater tots for a quick lunch, and it was really really really good!! I liked the sandwich version plenty too, but I particularly appreciate food that is just as good as a leftover as it is fresh.
If you have a twitter account, you should follow Sam – @thecookingguy – he is a local guy – so local that I tend to end up shopping at the same grocery store with him at least 2-3 times a month. He does quick runs into the store like I do for a couple of things. I was actually hoping I would see him when I ran in for the pork shoulder on Wednesday night so I could tell him I was making his recipe, but of course he wasn’t there. Anyhow – what I love about his videos is that he cooks like any one of us non-professional people would: he drops stuff, he can’t find stuff, he has to substitute sometimes, he curses, he burns things, and sometimes what he makes just doesn’t turn out how he wants! But, most of the time it is really really simple things, never takes longer than 20 mins from chopping to serving and ends up tasting really awesome. Plus, he is all about cooking with what you have in your cupboard and not using anything pre-made.
And since I had a very packed week at work doing tasks that I do NOT like (performance evaluations) in a software program that NEVER works correctly (it didn’t miss a chance to screw up this year either!) I was very happy to come home on Friday night to the smell of that pork roast and simply having to drop the meat on the rolls and crack open a beer before sitting down to eat. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Don’t you wish there was a scratch & sniff computer app? That jasmine is so wonderful. Yes, that’s the same plant that I had to chop down to nearly nothing before the fence was put in late in 2011. There were a few small branches of blooms last year, but this year, I think they will be back to nearly full strength.
Given that this week – yes, the last week of February which has been established to be the Monday of Months – I have to struggle with performance evaluations in a system that is still, STILL, not user friendly at all, these flowers really helped to improve my mood. Memo to HR, get your shit together please. It’s 2014, and I’d like to use an e-form designed in this decade and a rating system that allows for more than an increase from 3.44 to 3.47 overall score (on a scale of 5). How useless and unmotivating is THAT?
Anyway……I need to dive into that whether I like it or not. Happy Wednesday – book club report to follow later this week.
Saturday there was a quite the tense rugby match. Alex never got on the field, and he did not care. They won 13-9 against a team from Long Beach who had won at this level the last 2 years. The starters played nearly all 70 minutes, and it showed. Both teams were so gassed by the end that the last 15 minutes of the 2nd half were basically played within a 30 yard box. One team or the other would gain possession, and then the other would hold them to just a few small advances and then it would switch again. Back and forth. Tense! If they had scored, with only the 4 point lead, the try would have been worth 5 and the victory. The players on the sideline (including mine) became cheerleaders imploring the home crowd to make noise and help to will the tired players to keep holding the line. It was exhausting to watch!
They get a week off to celebrate, and then the season switches to a club league when they will be no longer affiliated with any high school, but will formally become the San Diego Mustangs U18 team. The new adventure continues.
Since Renee is in Boston Marathon training, she needed to run this full speed. I wanted to finish in 1 hour 45 mins which is right at a 10:30 min mile pace. Since I hadn’t been able to keep up full time training like I did before the 1/2 marathon, I didn’t want to push it to a 10 min mile pace. I was also unsure how many people would be there or of the exact route like I was with the 1/2. As with the Holiday Half, I now know that I can make just a small change here and there and run this route faster if I wanted to. Anyhow…
First mistake was that I didn’t anticipate the crowd. Over 3000 runners! I really should have been up in group 6 (the start of our bib # was supposed to line up with our anticipated pace). But, I went back to group 9 to meet my friend Jan who was also running it. I know how hard it is to find people after the race, so I wanted to say hello to her at the start. We chatted, and I decided to just start off with her. I am not sure that being up in the #6 pen would have been THAT much better, but certainly the pace of my first mile was severely hampered by the crowd. In order to get us the full 10 miles they had to start off my winding up through the back areas of the racetrack & stables. We ended up on dirt/mud through the stable hands housing units and generally more bunched up than we would be on the roads. I probably didn’t get myself up to my more comfortable running stride/pace until we had passed the Mile 1 marker and were out on the (closed) roads heading towards the coast highway (also closed).
Now, the lure of this race was 1) getting to run on the coast highway through Solana Beach to Cardiff and 2) having 20 live bands playing all along the route. And it was a lot of fun. There was rarely a point when I couldn’t hear the music, the weather was perfect. The sun broke through early, but then clouds (not fog) rolled back in to keep it cool and breezy. We ran right along the ocean for a portion, and while there were some hills, they were quite gentle. It ended up being a VERY fast route. It was also filled with some VERY fast runners! I had barely passed Mile 3 when the first of the elite runners came zipping past on the other side of the road heading back to the finish line. Seriously, the first guy ran those 10 miles in 48 minutes! What?!! Yeah that was crazy, but it was some added distraction/entertainment to watch for the fast runners going by. Somewhere towards Mile 5 Renee passed me, and we cheered each other on. It’s great when a longer race has those kinds of things to keep from getting too mentally bored/tired. And yet, I was feeling pretty drag ass around Mile 8. I had saved my last of 4 goo packs for that segment, and I tore into it hoping for some spark of energy. I had NO idea how fast I was going at all as I had turned on my Nike+ but then put the phone in my pack. I peeked once around Mile 5, but that was pretty useless since I had also started it just after I took that foggy photo, and it was running for a good 5 minutes or so before I actually started running. Still, it showed that I had run the 5 miles in under 55 minutes after I subtracted that lead time so I was still hopeful of making the 1:45 target.
With still no clue of my time, I was determined anyway to cross the finish line sprinting. I just needed a reason. I had already picked off other runners who had been in front of me or around me the whole route. They had us winding around the fairgrounds again to snake us back to the same place we had started, so I knew we would have a long, straight run down the midway to the finish line. Just a little bit after we turned onto that, I spotted a girl to my left who was picking up her pace, so I picked up mine. Then she started sprinting, so I did too. I *think* she crossed about a tick ahead of me, or perhaps we ran across together. All I know is that I was running at a full sprint at the end of a ten mile run, and I actually felt pretty darn good! Hence, the smile even though I was trying to catch my breath. Also, it paid off:
FOUR seconds to spare! Shout out to the runner in the magenta running top who pushed me to get under that 1:45 mark
Look at that though! 125th in my age group?! Damn, that’s a lot of fast runners. In fact, Renee was one of those since she is in my group, and she finished at 1:20 (8.03 min miles). That was only good enough for 17th! The winner in our age group finished in 1:11 – as Renee put it “a lot of fast old ladies!”
What I learned is that next time I would put myself up closer to the front – Renee was in bin #2, and she said it was not that crowded getting out of the racetrack. I think if I place myself just behind those faster runners that I could get out of that first mile in something closer to my normal pace and been able to finish closer to 1:40 than 1:45. Not that it mattered, since we still got a post race beer:
And, even better, band number 21 for the day was a post race concert right there in the beer garden with former Eagle Don Felder performing a bunch of old Eagles tunes! His band was GREAT too – they had all the harmonies down beautifully and since we were able to position ourselves right up front, we got to dance and sing along and see the magic happen.
I’ve wanted for years to join a book club. I love to read, but sort of like running I wont necessarily find the time to do it unless I have a race as a goal…or, in this case, a book club assignment! The last time I really read a lot of books was in 2010 & 2011 after I had inherited my high school friend’s books when she passed away and I went through every one before donating them. It was fun to whittle down the pile on my dresser from what looked massive to those last few.
But since then I started my copy writing venture and then volunteered for football team duties and took up running and…yeah..book reading has fallen away again. Then over the holiday break a new friend from football and I were on Facebook commenting on another mutual friends’ page about how jealous we were over her 10+ year long book club groups and could we join and…? Aw shoot, they were too full (of course), so we decided to just go out on our own and start one! A leap of faith! We had a quick discussion about what we generally liked, then I got luck when a twitter friend recommended a book and we had our first one picked! I had a third person in mind to ask about joining and she was in too!
Our book is The Good Lord Bird by James McBride. (Amazon link here)
We will get together later this month for our inaugural meeting. I am sure it will be much more about sipping wine and getting to know each other (the other two have never met and the longest I’ve known either of them is 14 mos) so it anticipate that the book itself will barely be discussed.
OTOH, since it is historical fiction we’ve already talked about how we all had to look up some of the references in the plot because we had no idea how critical these people’s roles had been in reality! It seems that 25-30 years removed from history classes means some details may have slipped away…shocking eh?
So – how many of you are in book clubs? We anticipate that ours will be VERY casual with little, if no, rules as far as choosing books and making presentations and such. I am curious about what other people do though. I also look forward to having books assigned by other members that might push me to read something outside my comfort zone and perhaps discover a new author or genre that I wouldn’t otherwise have chosen.
If you want to join in virtually – please do! I wont review the book here until we’ve had our gathering in a couple of weeks so that I can share the other perspectives too.