Thursday, May 26, 2011

Of Nigerian Princes...

One of the unintended side benefits of being on maternity leave and home a lot, is that you’re privy to the endless onslaught of telemarketers, scammers, and automated phone spammers that assault your home phone (that is, if you are so charmingly anachronistic as we are to still have a home phone line). Think about THAT the next time you’re chafing at the yoke of capitalism whilst sitting at your office desk! You could be fielding any number of calls from the Toronto Star (or your local newspaper – another anachronism!) the Symphony Orchestra, or your local MPP while trying to go about your daily business. Recently, I’ve been the not-quite-victim of a phone scam that clearly preys on the old and feeble and computer-ignorant.

Phone rings. Call display shows “Private name, private number.” I pick up. A gentleman of East Indian (not to be racist – is that racist?) descent tells me in heavily accented English that his name is Jasper or Reginald and that he’s calling from Microsoft because they’ve been receiving repeated alerts from my computer that I HAVE A VIRUS! Dun dun duuuuuuuuuun. Because, you know, the Microsoft corp has infinite time and energy on their hands to respond to EVERY PERSON who has an error message from running Windows. The first time they called, I just hung up and told the Dotytron that I suspected it was a scam. The second time they called, I started getting aggressive and asked: "What's your business registration number?" and then - click! - they hung up on me, pretty much cementing their scammer status. P.S. I don't even know what a business registration number is, or how official it is. Then I told the ex-roomie about it and she said she had heard about this scam on the CBC - they basically get you to download some kind of shadowing software that allows them to record keystrokes and get your banking info and stuff. EEEEVIL! Anyway, you'd think that after asking for the business registration number and thereby proving that I am no rube, they would delete me from their "n00bs to call" list. But no! On Monday, they called BACK! So this time, I strung them along for a bit. I asked "Jasper" for his employee number, the company's name ("I thought you said you were calling from Microsoft?" "Ma'am, Microsoft licenses us to respond to these error messages for them"), and when I started asking for phone number and address, I got, "Ma'am, why do you need to know this information?" "Uhhhh...YOU CALLED ME!" - click! -

In retrospect, I should have strung them along some more and then totally Matlock'd them (mostly for my own amusement)...I'm more interested to see what they're after, so next time I'll play it up some more, "Oh dear, a TROJAN?!? Hold on, I think I'm going to need my smelling salts..."

Here's one for the awful parenting notebooks. Monday morning, our last day in Boston, the Dotytron and I are lying in the gloriously fluffy and plush king-sized bed with the Big Yam sitting in front of us, facing the TV, watching something completely age-inappropriate like The X-Files Movie, eating a breakfast of leftover pizza crust from the night before because I had run out of packed baby cereal for him (left out at room temperature overnight), continually turning around and giving us his stupid-cute, "hey guys, what's going on back there?" look, replete with big eyes, mouth hanging quizzically agape, while the Dotytron and I tried to capitalize on the romance of a weekend away by doing some heavy petting. IMPOSSIBLE! Word to the wise: nothing ruins the mood more than your 7 month old kid, gnawing on a nutritionally devoid breakfast more suited to a frat house keg-party morning-after, looking over his shoulder and up at you. Ah well, chalk one down for trying to not live the life of brother and sister eunuchs.

This is Tuesday night's dinner - which the Big Yam is enjoying immensely in leftover form for his lunches/dinner:

Last night I tried a new recipe that I saw on Saveur magazine - shakshuka eggs (eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce). I'll post the recipe's DELICIOUS! One of those quick and easy meals that comes together in about 30 minutes, is vegetarian and healthy, and can be made with pantry ingredients. I had bought some hot house cherry tomatoes from the Mennonites last week (and spent a pretty penny, let me tell you!) so I turned leftover crisped pita into a fattoush salad (I do love me a bread salad!)

Last night the ex-roomie came over and baby sat the Big Yam while we went to our dodgeball game. We are the luckiest people in the world to have such a wide network (village) of people loving up on our little guy and willing to help us out so that we can continue to lead fulsome lives.



Shakshuka Eggs
serves 4 people, from Saveur Magazine

1/4 c. olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
3 jalepenos, finely diced (I seeded them because I was making this for the Big Yam, but if you leave the seeds in, it will have a nice amount of kick)
lots of minced garlic
1 T. paprika
1 t. cumin
1 28oz can of whole tomatoes
kosher salt & pepper to taste
8 eggs
150 g. of feta (I prefer Bulgarian)
chopped parsley
toasted pita

- in a large (12") deep saucepan, sauté the onion, jalepenos and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until lightly golden
- add the paprika and cumin and cook out for about 2-3 minutes more
- take the can of tomatoes (don't drain the juices) and crush the tomatoes with your hand, add the crushed tomatoes and the juice from the can to the pan, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- season to taste with salt and pepper
- crack the eggs (I find it easiest to try to position them like the numbers on a clock) into the tomato mixture, and cover the pan. Cook until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still runny (about 5 minutes with the lid on)
- take off the heat, serve topped with crumbled feta, chopped parsley, and with toasted pita for dipping.

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