I’m a fugitive!

I got a call today that came as quite a surprise. The woman asked for me using the ‘Mister’ honorific and my last name. No first name. I told her that she was speaking with him. Then she got to the meat of the matter. It went roughly like this:

Her: I’m calling from the Department of Immigration. Are you aware of the charges against you?

Me: Charges against me? No, I certainly am not.

Her: I need to verify your identity by asking you some questions and I’ll then forward you to my supervisor to discuss the matter. Oh, this call is being recorded by the government.

Me: Who is recording this call?

Her: The government.

Me: The government? Can you be any more specific?

Her: The Department of Immigration.

Me: Okay, go on.

Her: What is your full name?

Me: What? You’re calling me. You should know my name!

Her: I need to verify your identity so I need you to tell me your name.

Me: Look, I’m not comfortable giving you any personal information.

Her: I don’t want any personal information, I just need to verify your identity.

Me: I’m not giving you that information.

Her: Okay, please stay where you are as we’re sending the police to your house. They’re going to arrest you.

Me: That’s a good idea. I’ll stay right where I am.

After a pause…

Me: Hello? Did you call the police? Are they on their way? I’m waiting.

<click> then <dial tone>

What first set my bullshit detector off was she didn’t call the department by its proper name, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Also, she spoke with a pretty pronounced accent. I have no issue at all with folks whose first language is not English, but with the plunge in long-distance rates, and the implementation of phone fraud laws in Canada, most phone fraud comes from outside of Canada.

The biggest tip-off was claiming my first name as a form of identity verification. Anyone calling me from any government agency would not keep my first name secret. Indeed they would ask to speak to me by using my full name. It was immediately clear that they didn’t use my first name because they didn’t have it, and they wanted to get it, along with who knows what other information. The next biggest tip-off was the government is all about a paper trail. It’s far more likely they’d mail me a letter than call.

I’m sorry that I didn’t just feed her false information. Fake name, fake address, and so on. Oh well, next time.

To these scammer’s credit, the call-ID showed a 613 area code. On the other hand, their script needs a whole lot of work!

I’m still waiting for the police. At least the scammers didn’t swat me!

Posted in consumer life, me | Leave a comment


We had a lunar eclipse this evening! The news was hammering on about the super-blood-moon. Can they be any more dramatic? I suppose it wasn’t the most exiting news day. It was a super-moon because it was at perigee, which is the point in its orbit nearest the earth. It’s a blood-moon because a total lunar eclipse has a red colour.

Before the whole show started, I went outdoors to make sure I knew where the moon was going to be, and plan where I would be to see it. It certainly did seem brighter than normal. I took a photo of what I saw.

20150927-202835 5D3 4M6C3461.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/400, f/8, 100 ISO
20150927–202835 5D3 4M6C3461.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/400, f/8, 100 ISO

To my great disappointment, a cloud bank was approaching. This was the best I could manage once the clouds arrived, and as you can see, the Earth’s shadow covers just less than half of the moon. Also note that the shadow is curved. This is why Aristotle (correctly) deduced that the earth was a sphere 2400 years ago!

20150927-213340 5D3 4M6C3463.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 0.4, f/5.6, 1600 ISO
20150927–213340 5D3 4M6C3463.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 0.4, f/5.6, 1600 ISO

To my surprise, as totality approached, the clouds cleared out. Here, the Earth’s shadow almost completely covers the moon. Note that it doesn’t really look like the photo below. Your eyes can see far more dynamic range (light and dark) than my camera. The photo shows just a sliver of light and the rest is invisible, but looking at it, you could see a hint of the rust coloured tinge on the shadowed portion.

20150927-220111 5D3 4M6C3474.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/200, f/5.6, 3200 ISO
20150927–220111 5D3 4M6C3474.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/200, f/5.6, 3200 ISO

The photo above was exposed to show you the bright portion of the moon. The photo below is exposed to show you the portion of the moon in shadow. The over-exposed part looks like it’s bulging, but it really isn’t. That’s an artifact of the over-exposure.

20150927-220412 5D3 4M6C3475.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 0.3, f/5.6, 6400 ISO
20150927–220412 5D3 4M6C3475.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 0.3, f/5.6, 6400 ISO

I wanted to wait for the middle of the totality so the moon would show as uniform a brightness as possible. Even the photo below shows a bright lower-right limb because it was taken toward the beginning of the totality. Still, it shows a great improvement as compared to the photo above. But I couldn’t wait any longer because another wave of clouds arrived.

20150927-222757 5D3 4M6C3497.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/4, f/5.6, 6400 ISO
20150927–222757 5D3 4M6C3497.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/4, f/5.6, 6400 ISO

Note also that while many total lunar eclipse photos will appear like the photo above, it doesn’t look at all like this to the naked eye. It looks far dimmer and more rust coloured than orange. Note also that the last two photos have specs in the blackness around the moon. Those are stars. The other photos don’t show any stars because the exposures are much shorter. As a comparison, the camera settings I used for the last two photos allow about 12 times as much light into the camera as compared to the third-last photo and 1500 times as much light as the first photo.

All in all, I’m very pleased. Even with the clouds. The last time I took photos of a lunar eclipse, it was –20º outdoors. That wasn’t much fun.

Posted in me, photos, science, show and tell | 2 Responses

Conservative Canada

On September 21, PressProgress reported on Conservative candidate Ron Liepert at Sunday’s Calgary-Signal Hill all-candidates debate. Liepert responded to criticisms of the Conservatives’ controversial Bill C-51, saying

I know there’s a whole group of people including a couple of the speakers here tonight who talk about civil liberties and about the freedom of having the right to pretty much choose to do what you like.

Folks, that’s not the country we live in.

I’d suggest that because of Conservative machinations, it is indeed not the Canada in which we live right now.

But is this what we want?

Posted in freedom, politics | Leave a comment

About this whole Volkswagen scandal…

…throughout the world, in countless firms big and small, any suggestion to bend the rules, dilute quality, or deceive the public will be silenced by cries of “Volkswagen,” German for “only idiots lie to customers.”

National Post View, “VW hits a wall
September 23, 2015
National Post

That sums it up quite nicely.

I have a VW, though it was manufactured before this ‘problem’ was designed into their cars. Right now, I feel like there’s no way in hell that I’ll buy another Volkswagen product. Over time I’m certain this view will soften because there are no other real options in diesel cars. What about the Chevy Cruze diesel, you say? Like I said, there are no other real options in diesel cars. I doubt my view will soften enough to engage in such a large purchase from a company that straight-out lied so egregiously. It’s shameful and they don’t seem terribly shamed.

Posted in car, consumer life, quote, travel | Leave a comment

On accident

Over the years, I’ve heard many children say on accident rather than by accident. Kids haven’t learned the finer points of grammar and phrasing, so it’s but one of the many mistakes they sometimes make. This is born out by the fact that I’ve never heard any child over the age of about ten say it.

Until now. I saw a U.S. John Deere television ad in which the voice-over states:

To make sure people don’t break John Deere tractors on accident, we try to break them on purpose.

I was reading at the time and my head snapped up so quickly that I surprised myself. The only good thing I can stay about this is that I now know why kids make this mistake! Is on accident accepted usage somewhere in the U.S. or should John Deere be looking for a new ad agency before they embarrass themselves further?

Posted in marketing, peeve, usage, words | 3 Responses