Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tech Support Scams



Jim here. I know we all hear about various types of scams and I was aware of a variant of this type but got to enjoy it today.

This afternoon I received a call from someone claiming to be from Dell tech support. He had my name and phone number so that was a start. He tells me that they have been getting computer generated reports of a variety of problems with our computer. This gave me pause as I had never heard of a company calling to give you crappy customer support. You normally have to wait on hold for an extended time for that kind of service. I asked if he could tell me what my email address is and he was correct again. He wanted my Windows key, which is the the number related to the operating system. I didn’t provide that and asked him if he was going to want to connect to the computer and he said he would. I told him that we weren’t going to be doing that at which point he warned me that they wouldn’t be responsible if my computer crashed, so I ended the call.

He did have an Indian accent so I give him extra points. I should add that his number did not show up on caller ID.

I’m pretty obsessive about computer security and knew there was nothing wrong with ours but I have to say it was almost believable.

Here is a link that gives you more info on this topic. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0346-tech-support-scams

Since Gayle always posts photos the following is so we don’t spoil it for you.




In the spirit of the season.


Seacrest out!!

Old Man

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wrinkles Be Gone, Lost Dog, and Things that Go Bump in the Night



It was another good week at McDowell Mountain Park. We did get the cold front that came through, bringing a day of clouds and rain, and a few days of cooler temperatures. I just happened to have an appointment for an eye exam on the cloudy day, which made it not so bad having dilated eyes.


Jim had an appointment with the family practice nurse the following morning, and since we were in Scottsdale we brought our two giant bags of dirty laundry along.  Before the laundromat we stopped for a bite to eat at Paradise Bakery in Fashion Square Mall. There is a huge Microsoft Store there and we wanted to look at the Surface selection and ask some questions. While walking through the mall we were approached by a man who handed us samples of some kind of lotion. I wasn’t in the mood for a sales pitch so I politely declined and kept walking. Jim took his sample and the next thing I know he is no longer walking with me. He’s been accosted by the salesman who is putting something on his face!


Knowing Jim, it was quite a surprise to see him get sucked in like this. I looked in some of the toney shops thinking he would be along any minute, but he could not get away.


After taking a few candid shots with my phone I finally got close enough to get Jim’s attention and tell him we needed to go. He said the salesman was Italian, with a heavy accent, and had such a way about him that he was putting wrinkle cream on his face before he even knew what was happening. It was pretty funny, and had the cream not cost $499 he may have been talked into buying it! I must admit, the area around his left eye where the cream was applied looked so much better than his right eye, so it was probably a good thing it wasn’t me who got cornered. And surprisingly it lasted most of the day. I really wonder how much of this stuff he sells.

We’ve still been biking quite a bit, but like to throw in a hike every few days or so. Last week it was the Lost Dog Wash Trail in Scottsdale’s McDowell-Sonoran Preserve. We made a five plus mile loop to an overlook of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s former winter home.

It was a lot of up and down on very rocky trails. We saw one mountain biker but we wouldn’t want to bike there due to all the rocks.


Typical Sonoran Desert scenery, which we like.



A smoke signal?


We have never taken the Taliesin tour but after seeing it from above we thought we might just have to check it out.



Then when I looked it up on the internet I realized the house we were looking at wasn’t Taliesin! This is what we should have been looking for, but somehow we missed it. I borrowed this photo from the web.


Below is the sprawl of Scottsdale. You can see the Phoenix pollution in the distance. There is just a brown haze over the entire valley.


This must be a high dollar area, as many of the homes back onto the preserve. So where is Taliesin?? Guess we’ll need to go back and hike this trail again to find out.


When parked we store our bikes on a rack on the back of the Lazy Daze and cover them with a BBQ grill cover. The other day after a ride we put the bikes back on the rack and covered them but failed to secure the bungee cords hanging off the cover. During the night the wind picked up, and I heard something banging the back of the Lazy Daze. Jim said he bet it was just the bungee cords getting blown around, and not to worry about it. I couldn’t go back to sleep listening to that noise, so I got up, took the headlamp, and went out to secure the cords.

I did a sweep of our site with the light to be sure there were no critters around and spotted something on the roof of the car. At first I thought there was a towel hanging on the antenna, but when I looked again I realized it was a great horned owl sitting up there! I felt bad that I had shined the light on it, so I just went around to the back of the rig and hooked up the cords. When I went back in it had already silently flown off. The next morning I looked out at the car and saw this. It ran all down the tire and left a big blob on the ground. I guess he paid me back for blinding him with the flashlight!


Once again I forgot the camera when I volunteered at Fearless Kitty Rescue on Thursday, but I intend to remember it this week. I did manage to take a few pictures of Sophie and Elvis. In this one they are doing what they do best.


After sleeping, they spend most of their time bird watching.


And occasionally the woodpeckers will even allow the hummingbirds to get a drink.



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Another Week in the Desert



Hard to believe tomorrow will be four weeks since we arrived at McDowell Mountain Park. Not sure where the time has gone, but we’ve been keeping busy. Finally got the outside of the Lazy Daze all cleaned and polished.


Still plan to go through every storage bin and cabinet to see what we can get rid of. We try to do this once a year and it’s always surprising how much stuff we can find that we don’t need or haven’t used.

Jim got a good report at the ophthalmologist on Monday. He was concerned that his Fuch’s corneal dystrophy had worsened to the point of needing transplants, but the doctor said his corneas looked great and his visual fluctuations and irritation were due to dry eyes. He gave him an Rx for Restasis, which is supposed to help the eyes produce more tears. It’s expensive and takes at least six weeks to see results, but he’s hoping it will work.

We did some shopping in Scottsdale the other day and found a frame for the lovely watercolor painting Bobbie gave us in Utah last month. Adds a nice touch of class to our tiny home.


We’ve done several bike rides this week and Jim’s managed to stay upright. I think it’s because he got a new helmet and shoes. Pretty snazzy, huh? I won’t let him wear his old shoes that he has to clip into the pedals so these grip the flat pedals better. He claims that red makes him go faster.

McDowell Mountain Park 2015, Fountain Hills, AZ

We did a hike last week on the Escondido trail. I miscalculated the distance and thought we could make a relatively short loop of 4-5 miles, since we got off to a late start.




The sun was getting lower in the sky and the temperature was dropping before we looked at the phone and saw that we had hiked 4.3 miles with no end in sight. By this time it was already 4:20, with not much daylight left. We decided it was best to just turn around, a good idea as we later found out the loop would have been around 11 miles. We were completely unprepared, with just one bottle of water, no packs, and no flashlight. We should really know better that sometimes our intended short hikes don’t end up that way.



But this is what we would have missed, and we made it back just as it was getting really dark.








This weekend is the Fountain Hills Arts and Crafts Fair, a big deal, so we went to check it out. There was some very impressive artwork and it was very crowded. We liked the dog hats and the models. They were selling a lot of hats! Wonder how many dogs will actually wear them.



I spent Thursday morning in training at Fearless Kitty Rescue, where I will be volunteering every week. I was too busy to take photos but will try to next time. It’s a very nice shelter. Just after I got home we had a pleasant visit from fellow Lazy Daze owners and blogger Judie (Adventures of Dorrie Anne) and Gary. Always fun to meet people we’ve only communicated with through emails and blogging and we hope to see them again down the road.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Our Week in Photos, and a Few Words


Curve-billed thrasher on our picnic table.


The Javelina Jundred at McDowell Mountain Park, with only a few runners in costume on Halloween.




They had run about 35 miles at this point. Runners leave their gear at the aid station so they can stop and pick up what they need. We spoke with a guy who was putting on shoes, after doing the first 35 miles in sandals.


Jim decided to crash his mountain bike a couple miles after we stopped to watch the race. He has bruises and abrasions, but those are healing up. On a positive note, his heartburn seems to be gone.


Luckily he was able to ride his bike the five miles or so back to the campground.


And he is still able to hike, so that’s what we’ve done in between the couple of cold and rainy days we’ve had this week.


Inside of the saguaro cactus looks like a work of art.


Yesterday we hiked the Dixie Mine/Sonoran Trail in Fountain Hills. The first half mile is on the sidewalk of Eagle’s Nest, a gated community with hotel-sized houses.


Then it’s nothing but Sonoran desert for miles.



Cylindropuntia bigelovii, better known as teddy bear cholla, for their soft and fuzzy appearance. Don’t let their good looks fool you, though.



There are emergency markers at regular intervals.


And we passed two helicopter pads, something we’ve never seen on a trail before. The trail is very rocky, steep, and along big drop offs in places. We’re guessing they do a lot of rescues of  injured mountain bikers. You can bet that is one trail we won’t be biking on!


Rustic heli-pads.



It was a nice place to hike, though, as we climbed up to a ridge with views of Fountain Hills.




And when we got back to the trail head we noticed this crested saguaro right behind our car.

DSC03479                      DSC03480It’

I think it’s the biggest one we’ve ever seen.


This week we also took a tour of Fearless Kitty Rescue, where I will be volunteering after training. What a wonderful shelter! It is modeled after Best Friends in Utah, although on a much smaller scale. Jim fell in love with a one-eyed kitten, so he won’t be going back Winking smile