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The nippers went home to mum today after four days with me and I miss them, but I’ll catch them again next week. A little glad of the quiet time to get stuff done (mainly trying to empty boxes and figure out where the hell to put things). They were so good while they were here – getting on a lot better than I ever remember. Austin’s grown up a lot this year, he’s so helpful – just like his older sister.

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I don’t like going to the cinema. Which may come as a surprise to many who know me, given that I really enjoy films. Sadly the experience has been gradually ruined over the years, the enjoyment whittled away by cinemas increasing prices, making seats less comfortable, locating cinemas miles away (I used to walk to the one where I grew up) and forcing us to pick our seats before walking in so we had no idea who we’d end up sat next to and couldn’t move if someone we didn’t like sat next to us. And don’t get me started on the huge push on 3D.

The last film I saw at the cinema was the vastly overrated Black Panther (Of all the superhero films, that was the one which swept the Oscars? Really) and I spent half the film trying not to be sick as the man I ended up sat next to stank. I mean, really bad. A stomach-churning odour as if he’d not washed in many months, and had been sleeping in his clothes for the entire time. If it wasn’t for the stupid “pick your seat before entry” policy, I’d not have sat next to him. Or I’d have moved.

Anyway, flash forward about a year to the holidays and the desire to spend some time with The Boy. Avengers End Game‘s arse-numbing 3+ hours is about to land in cinemas and I knew that Captain Marvel was the last film in sequence which needed to be seen before it. I didn’t fancy trying to dodge spoilers in two major films for months before DVD/streaming release so bit the bullet and headed in for an 11am performance. Thankfully the place was pretty much deserted so it was no problem getting seats nowhere near anyone else.

And I’m glad we did. What a great film. Initially a bit confusing with all the flashbacks (two segments full of them), it gradually came together and answered so many questions about the MCU / Avengers some of which we’d not even asked. The “stepped back in time” appearances from some characters we were already familiar with was good, the action sequences not overblown, there were plenty of humorous quotes and I even loved the opening Marvel montage made up of images of Stan Lee – a great tribute. It’ll be quite sad to see his final cameo in that upcoming Avengers film (though apparently he may somehow be in the next Spiderman one – maybe CGI?).

So, anyway. That’s why Captain Marvel is today’s picture. I would have taken a photo in the cinema but apparently they have an issue with that.

Michael from “Microsoft Technical Support” and the “computer infection”

Before I begin, I would like to emphasise – if someone (whatever their accent) rings you out of the blue from “Microsoft Tech Services” or similar, telling you that your email address is infected and your computer has caught a bug which is… you know, a load of techno-cobblers, then don’t follow their instructions. Don’t give them any personal information. Feel free to swear down the phone at them and tell them which limbs you’ll break if you ever see them in the street. Because they’re trying to defraud you.

The usual procedure is they get you to download some real spyware, or some software which gives them control over your machine (such as Teamviewer, an otherwise useful program) and then gather all your personal information to pass to them, or something which genuinely does lock up your system so they can bill you for other software to remove it (which it may or may not do – it could be more spyware… and they’ll have your payment details as well). More information over on ActionFraud where you can also report these criminals. Head to YouTube and search for “Indian scammer” for loads of recordings.

My only concern is how they have my home phone number (which I never use) and my email address tied together. There must be a website somewhere with this info, but hey – I can live with that as I know how to deal with these idiots. Which, if you have some spare time, is like this… (apologies I didn’t get a recording – I would have if they’d rung my mobile)

*bring bring* [international number incoming]

M: Hello, this is Michael [with an Indian accent]. I am calling from Microsoft. Your computer has been hacked by an infection and I am going to help you remove it.

Me: Oh. Oh wow. That sounds scary. How did that happen? What can I do? Thank you for calling!

M: Are you at your computer.

Me: Yes, I am. It’s already on.

M: Look at your keyboard. Do you see the CTRL key?

Me: I don’t think I have one of those. I have a CMD. And caps lock. Did you mean caps lock?

M: In the bottom left, you should have a C-T-R-L key.

Me: No, I don’t have one of those. I have shift. Will that do?

M: OK, no problem. Look at your screen. Can you see your icons?

Me: Yes, I can see them. They’re really pretty. I arranged them to look like a spiral.

M: What web browser do you use?

Me: I use Yahoo. To give them some business.

M: OK, so open your Safari, or Google Chrome or Yahoo for me.

Me: Oh. Wait. I can’t see the icon for that. I think it’s vanished. Could this be the virus?

M: It’s not a virus, it’s an infection. And yes it could be. It will be infecting your computer and damaging your system files.

Me: Oh, no. I can’t see my Compuserve icon anywhere to dial the modem. I’m not sure how I will be able to access AOL now.

M: On your screen in the top right, can you see a magnifying glass?

Me: No, there’s nothing there. Apart from the screen. Just background. It’s a picture of my children. Wait! One of them is holding a magnifying glass in the picture! Is that the one you mean? Wait, how can you see that?

M: No, no. A small icon of a magnifying glass in the top right hand corner…

Me: Oh, wait! Silly me. I’m logged in as my son. That’s why some of the icons are missing. He will have been up all night downloading pornography again. Could that be the problem, where the virus came from? He watches a lot of pornography.

M: How old is your son?

Me: Eight

M: Eighteen?

Me: No. Eight.

M: He’s eight and you allow him to watch pornography?

Me: It keeps him quiet while my wife and I try to work around the house. Oh, that might explain where the CTRL key went. I think it got really sticky so we pulled it off. Hang on, I’ll log out and go to my account. It’s really slow so bear with me.

M: Yes, it will be the infection which is making it slow.

Me: I am so glad you called! Thank you! Yes, … here we go… wow, it’s slow… aaaand… no, that’s not it yet. Wait… [I ran this out for 2-3 minutes] OK, and password. Wait, you can’t see my password, can you? I mean you could see my magnifying glass.

M: No, we can’t see your password.

Me: Good, good, because we’re very strict on passwords in this house! Don’t tell them to anyone. OK, P… A… where’s the S? There. S… S… W… O… R… D. Oh. It’s not working. I’ll try again. P…a…s…s…w…o…r…d… Oh. Could this be the virus. Wait! I had caps on! Sorry! P… A… Michael? Michael? Are you still there? Michael? Damn, he gave up easily.

Review: Doctor Who And The Daleks

Doctor Who And The Daleks
Doctor Who And The Daleks by David Whitaker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The second Doctor Who book I’ve ever read – the first was Genesis of the Daleks when I was about 10 years old. It’s based on TV episodes from 1963 and originally published in 1964, though there was a film version starring Peter Cushing and Roy Castle which I vaguely remember as well!

It’s not a bad book, though it lacks the flippant comments and off-the-cuff humour that The Doctor has taken on over the years. It’s quite a simple story and for someone who really jumped onto Doctor Who at a late age, raises more questions than it answers. I won’t mention them here for fear of spoilers.

Still, a nice small book that I could blast through quickly and which will find itself being donated to the school library at the start of term.

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