An Andrew Abroad

Friday, June 15, 2012

What a scammer looks like

Me and Sara Marie are looking for a new place to stay. We decided to try out Trollhättan, in part because it's nearly impossible to find a place we like here in Göteborg.

I posted an ad in Blocket, which is a local for-pay classified site. (Craiglist never made it over here in Sweden.)

Yesterday I got email from a (that's "Richhkw Brww" in the Yahoo name, or "Richard" in the signature) saying that he had an apartment for rent in Trollhättan. He sent a followup today with details, and pictures.

Here's the text:

Thanks for the mail, i am so happy to let you know that the apartment is still very much available for rent.Here are some important information about the apartment. The apartment cost 3500SEK per month including all bills such as water, electricity, gas,internet, Satellite TV, Air conditioning, Clothes Dryer,Telephone, Hydro, Washer, e.t.c 4500SEK for security deposit payment which is refundable while packing without any lost or damage of my properties.The apartment is located at Kungsgatan 81 461 52 Trollhättan, Sweden and it just about 1.2km distance to its metro station,the apartment spacious is about 60sqm and a room is about 30sqm, restaurant and public transport all around and it's 8mins walking distance to the supermarket, so it's located in a very nice and safe area in Sweden.

However, my Apartment is fully furnished in and out with all necessary house use. At this stage that you want to rent my flat, i need to know some few question about you. Can you take care of my flat as it is? How many months do you intend to rent and pay for?

Kindly reply for further information and i would like to know where you are coming from to stay in my flat.

Attached are some pics of how my apartment looks like. Kindly let me know if you will be interested in renting my apartment so that we can proceed further.

There's a few signs that this is fraudulent. 3500 SEK is US$500/month, and about half the current market rate for a furnished 60 sq. meter/650 sq. feet bedroom that close to the center of town, and that's excluding utilities!

Who ever heard of an apartment in Sweden with air conditioning?

I visited Kungsgatan 81B last week. It was in another ad on Blocket, which I answered. I got a showing already. Notice the "B"? There is an A and a B to this address, which the scammer omitted.

The email "" is used in a very similar ad in Zurich, dated a few weeks ago. Strange to have an apartment in Trollhättan and in Zurich.

My hope, btw, is to burn the usefulness of the account for further scams.

Most fun is that the scammer sent pictures of the inside of the place. The kitchen is apparently on the first floor, while the living room is on the third. The have quite different views outside of the windows, and neither of them match the place I visited last week, which I verified by using Google Street View.

The scammer is lazy, and reuses old text. The phrase "including all bills such as water, electricity" was used in this reported scam of 'JENKINS KELLY (', and this one of Kelly Richardson ( in Groningen, and this one by Georgios ( in Zurich, and Melanie in Basel and one in Sydney many others. Sigh, I'm not feeling special any more. ;)

Followup: I replied to the scammer, in part to find more information which might help others doing an internet search to find particular patterns. The response was the same as other emails:

I will be willing to have my apartment rented out to you only if you can assure me to take very good care of my apartment for me in my absence..

You can rent my apartment for as long or short as you want because presently am in UK i was just been transferred here for a contract job and that's why am renting out my apartment. You can go to my apartment address and see it but you wont gain full entrance into the apartment because its locked and am here with the keys that's why i sent you my apartment pictures so you can have an idea of how the inside looks like...

Normally I make use of an agent or friends but due to the way they cheat on my tenants that's the reason why i normally travel with my keys.

I am asking because I like doing things in a straight forward way and wont want to cause any delay.

A little about myself,I am a married to my lovely wife and have 2 kids.I am down to earth,tidy and neat as you can see in the apartment pictures. I am a construction engineer and I love my job and I believe loving what you do is the key in life. I will like for you to introduce yourself a bit more for acquaintance reasons. if there is anything you need to know ask i am always online or reach me on +447035949677

Kindly let me know of your interest..

Numbers starting "44703594" seem to be involved in scams (like this example). These numbers forward elsewhere, so are meaningless on its own.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dance your PhD

The results of the recent Dance your PhD are in. The point is to, well, dance your PhD. My favorite was A Molecular Dance in the Blood, Observed, for many reasons. I liked the dance, it was a good interpretation, and I figured out much of what was going on from the dance itself. The video notes clued me in on a few things, like that it was Old Man Winter freezing the system.

I also liked the music a lot. It's from Laurie Anderson's Born, Never Asked. That's a video someone made, choosing the song as an accompaniment. Anderson's song O, Superman made it to #2 on the UK charts in 1981, which if you watch it seems very unlikely.

Another performance I liked from this year's Dance your PhD was Miriam Sach's Cerebral activation patterns induced by inflection of regular and irregular verbs with positron emission tomography. The translation isn't as direct as the first, but I liked the dancing and the music. She seems like she's expressing an inwardness in a way I enjoy. Compare that to Clarissa Anderson's Environmental Controls of Phytoplankton Community Structure in the Santa Barbara Channel, CA: Application to the Dynamics and Detection of Harmful Diatom Blooms. She's a great dancer, and expressive and energetic but the feeling I get is more of a "look how good I am."

Is the former of these two styles modern dance and the latter jazz dance? I'm feeling clueless about the wider world of dance now.

Using dance to express science is not new. There's the well-known Protein synthesis: an epic on the cellular level. Skip to 3:10 unless you want to be really bored by the intro science part. Set your sensors for summer-of-love style trippiness! I, however, didn't learn about that movie until a couple of years ago.

The first dance interpretation of a science principle I saw was in the 1980s on a series called "Alive from Off Center." IMDB calls it "An avant-garde omnibus that features works by off-the-wall artists in many different disciplines." I enjoyed watching it as a teen-ager, which might say something about me. I think I saw on that show a choreography of dancers as electrons in a classic superconductor, with paired dancers being Cooper pairs. Or was that Nova? In any case, I liked that show and looking at the remarks now, Laurie Anderson hosted the show and made the short movie What You Mean We?.

Which means this afternoon I've been digging up more about her and her works, of which this blog is only a small part.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Jag ordnade en bildjakt idag. Ordet finns inte på svenska. På engelska är det en "photo scavenger hunt". Vi traffades kl 14 och bildade lag. Var lag fick listan innehåller saker att fotografera och jakten började. Två timmar senare återsamlade vi. Laget med den flesta bilder vann. Enkelt, eller hur? För att bli en lite svårare, behövde var lag att ta med en maskot, som ska i var bild. Det fanns tre lag, och maskoterna var en spader dam, en björn, och ett hus.

I arranged a photo scavenger hunt today. There's no direct translation for that in Swedish so use the term "bildjakt" ("photo hunt"). We med at 2pm and formed teams. Each team got the list containing things to photograph and the hunt began. Two hours later we got back together. The team with the most pictures won. Simple, yes? To make it a bit harder, each team needed to carry a mascot that needed to be in every picture. There were three teams and the mascots were the queen of spades, a bear, and a house.

Här står listan och några bilder.

Here's the list and some of the pictures.

Buddha (äkta eller staty) - Buddha (real or statue)
symbolen för planeten Mars -- the symbol for the planet Mars
en kanon kanon (storre än 1,5 meter) -- a good-sized cannon (bigger than 5 feet)
en trähjul -- a wooden wheel
en i laget på en gunga -- someone in the team on a swing
en helikopter -- a helicopter
en segelbåt -- a sailboat
nån som spelar gitar eller trum -- someone playing a guitar or drum
en stor klocka vid kl 14.45 -- a big clock at 2:45pm
buss 18 -- bus number 18
Fibonaccital (minst 10 tal i sekvensen) -- the Fibonacci sequence (at least 10 numbers)
tre vinkande tjejer (inte från laget) -- three waving women (not from the team)
den amerikanska flaggan -- the American flag
en flaska Glenfarclas whiskey (min favorit) -- a bottle of Glenfarclas whiskey (my favorite)
en skylt med orden "Byggd år _____" och året innan 1908 -- a sign with the words "Built in ____" and the year before 1908
en katt (mjau!) -- a cat (meow!)
en väggbonad -- a tapestry
en traditionell norsk kniv så väll som ägaren -- a traditional Norwegian knife as well as the owner
en massa sorts ost -- a large cheese selection
en polishäst -- a police horse
eld -- fire
hallon -- rasberries
en kram från en främling -- a hug from a stranger
en stenlejon -- a stone lion
köttättande växter -- carnivorous plants
en Paddanbåt -- one of the Paddan tourist boats
Centralstationen -- the main train station
grafit -- graphite
kanelbullar -- cinnamon rolls
något på kinesiska -- something in Chinese

Här står några av bilderna från två lag. (Jag kunde inte koppla kameran från den tredje till datorn.)

Here's some of the pictures from two of the teams. (I couldn't connect the camera from the third team to my computer.)

Det fanns en massa Buddhar i Göteborg. There's a huge number of Buddhas in Gothenburg.

Från en staty av solsystemet.

From a statue of the solar system.

En kanon kanon!

A huge cannon!

Jonatan på en gunga.

Jonatan on a swing.

Buss 18. Jag gillar den här bilden.

Bus 18. I really like this picture.

Fibonnaci sekvensen på en mur. Konst är ju konstigt.

The Fibonacci sequence on a wall. Art is indeed strange.

Kinesiska Generalkonsulatet. (Något på kinesiska.)

The Chinese Consulate-General. (Something in Chinese.)

Tre vikande tjejer, på en möhippa.

Three waving women, on a bachelorette party. In Sweden they usually go out dressed in funny clothes and do strange things, so it was perfect for this event.

En väggbonad i Domkyrken

A tapestry in the cathedral.

Eld! Om jag hade bara fyrverkeri...

Fire! Now if I only had some fireworks ..

En grafitpenne. Bra gjort med bilden!

A graphite pencil. Nicely done picture!

En kram från en i en annan möhippa.

A hug from someone in another bachelorette party.

Kanelbullar från min favorit bakverkförsäljare, i Saluhallen

Cinnamon rolls from the woman at my favorite bake shop in Saluhallen.

Bron byggde år 1901.

The bridge was build in the year 1901.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I've noticed something at the gym. I usually have the shortest shorts of anyone there. I wear swim trunks, and they aren't that short. The bottoms are an inch or two above the knee. When I was in elementary school we had a dress code. Not a dress uniform, mind you, just a dress code. One was that shorts could be no shorter than about an inch from the knee. I remember measuring the gap one morning to check if it was decent. It was - if I stood up.

That was in the 1970s, and shorts then could be really short. My swim trunks now would fall within the dress code, assuming scaling since my legs are a bit longer now. But I look around and nearly everyone is wearing shorts that go below the knee. I'm always wearing some sort of loose T-shirt, usually from some conference I've been to. I see again that nearly everyone else wears some sort of close-fitting gym clothes. Which probably do a better job of wicking.

It's the middle of summer here in Sweden. Many people are on vacation. The weather is warm, for Sweden. Nights get down to about 12C/54F which means I can be sitting on the small balcony at night enjoying the cool air, so long as I have a sweater on. A few times it's been warming enough to not need the sweater. It's after the solstice and the days are getting noticeably shorter. Around midsummer even in the darkest of night I could see lightness in the northern sky. Now there's a few hours of real dark. Winter's coming. But not for a while. :)

Monday, June 02, 2008


I've been looking for a bike. There's some I like which are really expensive. About $1,000. I want something cheap that I don't mind getting stolen. Nearly every place sells only new. I've been asking friends for recommendations, and Claire recommended "Biltema". "Bil" means "car" and I think it started out as a car store, then expanded into boats and hardware and outdoorsy things.

I didn't like the bikes. The prices were right. I'm looking for something with more than 3 gears. I would like only hand brakes, like my old bike had, but most city bikes here are foot breaks, with perhaps also one hand brake. But I've also decided that I want the fuzzy warm feeling of having someone knowledgeable helping me out, and this was a big box store. Yep, Sweden has big box stores. I was about to link to an aerial map but most of the way through figured out that, really, it's an aerial photo of a bunch of big box stores surrounded Christo-like by parking lots.

Tomorrow then (Sunday, but I wrote this on Saturday and didn't post it until Monday) will be another day of walking, walking, walking. Not that I mind overly much, but it is starting to get monotonous. Perhaps that's another reason I should relocate in this town. On the plus side, I've discovered a new way to get to the Linnéplatsen area, so I don't need to move just yet.

Many stores are open on Saturdays but with short hours. I went to one recommended store which might sell used bikes and found it closed at 1pm. I got there at about 2pm. I browsed a bit at Myrorna ("the ants" - it's run by Sweden's Salvation Army. In Swedish you say "busy as an ant", which might explain the expression, or perhaps the old story about the cricket not saying up for the winter while the ants were working. I don't know if that's made it here.). Just looking at what clothes I might want to buy. I really need a new belt and pants.

Then to Biltema, which closed at 4pm, so I had 30 minutes to look around. After decided against the bikes I just looked at what I could buy, and got tool envy. All my tools are in my sister's garage, or given to Geoff. One and the same - I think it's cheaper to buy new tools here than to get them here from the US. Though I'm allowed a one-shot no import tax when importing your living goods shipment, so perhaps that's something to think about.

I grew up a Sears hardware family. My grandfather had Craftsman tools, and my Dad, and I bought them too. Sears died away as the place to go, and I started going elsewhere for tools. I really like this place in Illinois called Black's hardware. I was looking for a router bit and they had a really nice selection. In Santa Fe the best place was Big Jo on Siler. The sort of place where you get that nice, warm, fuzzy help from someone knowledgeable.

Black's, as well Napa auto parts, has a special sort of feel. In some sense they are intimidating. There's a big table, with all the parts and tools and whatnot behind it on the shelves and you have to say "I want a 2 3/4 inch whatzit" as if you know what you're talking about. Whereas sometimes I am just browsing to think how cool it would be if I had a job where I could use all these beautiful tools. Who actually buys the 3" i.d. nuts you can find at these stores?

At the checkout line at Biltema was a set off poor quality box wrenches. They didn't have a good feel to them like Craftsman tools did. What set them off is they were anodized. Each size with its own color. I thought that was cool, but it doesn't fit well with my mental image of what a Serious Mechanic would use. Again, they didn't feel right, so I wouldn't have bought them.

While there are nice aspects to not having much stuff, I do miss the idea that if something breaks, I've got the right tools, or at least close enough, to fix it. Now I don't even have a screwdriver .. no, wait, I do have a small one .. now I don't even have a wrench. I could get one, but I've got no need for it, and I know I'll be moving again within a few months.

Friday, May 09, 2008


Some 7 years ago I weighed 225 lbs (that's 102kg to the rest of the world). This was achieved through years of drinking sugared soft drinks/sodas/sody-pops/cool drinks and sitting in front of a computer for 15 hours a day. I did bike places, and in California and New Mexico I would do some hiking, but not much and not intensive. And in both those companies we had access to free candy, pop-tarts, and whatnot.

Among other things, I saw a picture of myself and decided that it was too much. One of the reasons I quite working for companies and started consulting was that I could work less. Yes, I'm one of the few people who works less as an independent than when employed. I started dancing, and going hiking more often, and to the gym. I managed to get down to about 193 (87 kg). For reasons I won't get into here, I stopped doing some of that for nearly a year and got up to around 200 (91 kg).

I've stayed around that for a few years. Before leaving Santa Fe I found a gym I really liked, Carl and Sandra's gym in the DeVargas mall. It was much better than Santa Fe Spa, which seemed mostly full of anonymous people on their bikes and treadmills. C&S stressed weight training, and I found that my body reacts amazingly well to that. A few months before is when I started really being a dancer, meaning that I was going to clubs and lessons for about 22 hours a week. I wanted to learn to do dips and other tricks and figured that the strength would be helpful for that.

In reality it isn't as important as I thought. The dips and such I do are dependent on the woman keeping her own weight. But many women don't know how to do it, so as a consequence they feel very secure with me. And then there's the waitress at Buena Vista Social Cafe in Cape Town who loves being dipped so much she throws herself backwards and expects you to catch her.

With all my travels I stopped going to the gym, and I've not been dancing as much. Only about 11 hours a week, and more of it is tango. I have a very intense, energetic tango style, but it's not salsa. I've been walking more, but burgers and fries, and yummy chocolate bars, and kebabs all are so delicious.

In the back of my mind I wanted to get back to the gym, and lose more weight. Now that I have an income, and am sure I'll be here for a while more, and because of this wonderful spring feeling, and for other reasons in my life, I felt like it was time to do that.

I started about 6 weeks ago, again with an emphasis in weight training. I like Markus' phrase "explosive power." The gym also does group classes, and I've enjoyed a few of those. One is "funk," which is more choreographed, and uses a lot of moves and feelings that I don't have from my other dances. It's an hour every Monday evening. Another is "core", which stresses the core muscles. There's still a ways to go before I'll be able to do that 30 minutes without having to take a breather part-way through. Following that is African dance, which is mostly fun. Again, new moves, but that one's not so hard, although I don't have the feeling down.

Not quite two weeks ago there was actually another guy in the funk class. I'm otherwise the lone male representation, and I put in a good showing. He was lost in the moves, and in the locker room afterwards asked me how long I had been dancing. Sometimes I forget that I really am a dancer.

I also tried out a new dance style, contact improvisation. Åsa (one of the several tango dancers I know named Åsa) suggested it to me last year. I have a very engaged style in my dance. Women like to dance with me because they feel safe even when I ask them to do new, steps they didn't know they could do. If it doesn't work out, I recover nicely too, because I pay close attention to my partner.

Contact improv stresses that connection. Not all dancers have it. Kartar, back in Santa Fe years ago, was a great help in my early years of social dance, and she's just a nice person too. She among other things helped me get over my initial worries about dancing close to a woman - the tango term is on-body - when we danced merengue. She also taught me a technique of dancing salsa with only a forehead-to-forehead connection. I practiced it and got decent at it, but don't use it much. The last time it worked out well was a couple months ago when I visited Santa Fe again and danced with Corinna. That went amazingly well. I tried it again here Wednesday last week with a woman who is a great salsa dancer, but she couldn't keep the connection going.

By now you're probably curious on what this dance looks like. There are various movies on YouTube, like this one. But it doesn't do justice. It really is the contact between the people that's key, and unless you've had a lot of practice in dance you follow it in the video. It just looks like some sort of weird post-modern art form. Which, umm, it is. You're also probably thinking it's not something you could do, because it intrudes into your personal space, or you don't know how to move like that, or it just plain looks weird. I agree. It's not something I could have done, say, 5 years ago, and for those reasons. I am a dancer now, and I know how to move a lot better than I did then, and how to be close to people, and how to keep personal space even when close. Sara says I'm always the gentleman when I'm dancing. Apparently there are some pretty nefarious people on the floor. I wonder how the contact improve people handle those cases.

Anyway, today news was that I weight myself and I'm 190 lbs (86.2 kilos). It's the first time I've been this light since the early 1990s. The next threshold will be 180 (81.5kg), which is what I was about the time I started college. I figure for now my target is 175 (79kg). There's still a ways to go for that. I've been looking at weight charts to see what a good goal is for my height but most of the ones have warnings that they are not for athletes. When do I count as an athlete? Which is another weird way for me to think of myself, just like saying "I am a dancer" once was.

Next, I need to get a bike. I had a one year pass for the tram which expired last weekend. There's great mass transit here, but to get to where I do most of my dancing requires two or sometimes three connections, and a bike would make things so much more convenient.

Swedish spring

I moved to Sweden a bit over a year ago, on the evening of April 30th. That means I came here at after the start of the Swedish spring. In my many visits here I've sampled the different seasons, but never lived through the transitions. Now I can say that I have. The only time I haven't been here is for Easter, when the witches are in their way to Blåkulla.

There's an expression that Swedes survive winter because they know that summer is coming. I now completely understand that. It's been amazing the last few weeks watching life explode. I joked that the flowers were stampeding. The changes were visible almost hourly! People have been sitting outside, and enjoying the sun, and friends are getting more and more freckled every day. I'm sitting on the small balcony enjoying the late evening sun (it's 8:30pm) set over the buildings that I almost can no longer see through the trees that so recently were bare.

It's been close, but I haven't quite dared to go out without at least an overshirt. (Geoff's old one, for those in the know.) but I've seen others stretched out on the lush grass in shorts, enjoying the day. Mmmm...