Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Federal Grant Money Scammers Call Me

You'd think that, if a bunch of scammers wanted to appear as if they were from the United States government, they'd try to use callers without thick accents. I got a call yesterday from someone claiming to be from the U.S. Government Grants Department. She couldn't even pronounce "grants" correctly and said that her name was "Vixie". As she muddled through reading her script, she indicated that I had been selected to receive $7,000 in grant money which I would never have to pay back. Had the call continued, I'm sure she would have asked for my checking account information to supposedly deposit the money. But, the call didn't last that long. She hung up as soon as I started to question her credentials.

These boiler-room scammers have been pretty prevalent lately, so much so that the Federal Trade Commission has issued an alert about people running the Government Grant Scam. It's an interesting read with a number of great tips on how to protect yourself.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Star Wars Actor Arrested After Chase

You've got to feel bad for Jake Lloyd. At ten years old he gets the dream role of young Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) in the first Star Wars movie in over a decade only to get cited as one of the primary reasons why the movie sucked. The backlash was so bad that he actually retired from acting and destroyed all of his memorabilia. All the hate he gets for supposedly "ruining" Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is undeserved. This was a movie that was so bad that it even made Liam Neeson look like a terrible actor. While some of the actors were able to rise above George Lucas' terrible writing and dialogue, it's a feat that a child actor couldn't hope to achieve.

Jake Lloyd was thrust into the spotlight again recently after leading cops in Charleston, South Carolina on a high speed chase. Lloyd had been involved in a minor traffic incident, and possibly fearing arrest for driving without a license, decided to make a break for it. Lloyd weaved around cars and even used the median to pass them as his speed reached in excess of 117 mph. One has to wonder if Lloyd squealed "Now THIS is podracing!"or possibly "It's Turbo Time!!" during the chase.

The chase ended when Lloyd lost control, spun out ("I'll try spinning! That's a good trick!") and crashed his vehicle into some trees. Jake Lloyd was charged with reckless driving, failure to stop, resisting arrest and driving without a license. Toxicology came back negative except for a high midichlorian count.

Monday, June 15, 2015

How To Unlock Gifty On Crossy Road

After playing Crossy Road ad nauseum for the past few weeks, I've unlocked nearly all of the characters, including most of the hidden mystery characters that aren't available in the gacha prize machine. Today, we're going to talk about one of my favorite mystery characters: Gifty.

Gifty is essentially a chicken wrapped as a Christmas gift with its feet hanging out of the box. To unlock Gifty, you'll have to play as Festive Chicken. After about 70 hops, you'll run into a clearing with a giant Christmas tree in the middle. Run up to the tree and it will explode with presents and coins. Then, once your run is over, Gifty will unlock.

I've made a video below demonstrating how to unlock Gifty in Crossy Road:

Monday, June 8, 2015

Wash Me

We spent the weekend downtown to take in dinner and show and to celebrate our anniversary. The hotel we stayed in offers spaces as a public parking garage, and, apparently, they have long-term passes. This is evidenced by the car I passed in the garage that had a lot of interesting writing on it.

Thursday, June 4, 2015 Calls Me

Somehow, my info got posted to and a rep called me (using the number (240) 345-4134) to inform me that I had been entered into a drawing. I kept her on the phone for nearly 10 minutes. Here are some of the highlights:

1:15 - I ask if the "drawing" might be of a knight riding on a dinosaur that's eating a unicorn. The rep laughs and I pretend to cry over her making fun of me.

2:40 - The rep says the drawing will be held on the 15th. I ask how many people will be holding the drawing and if the drawing would be big enough for six people to hold.

3:13 - I ask who will be drawing the picture for me and outline the type of artist and the medium. "Crayola! None of that ColorMagix crap that you get at the Dollar Tree".

4:20 - The rep asks if I'm married and I tell her that she's not my type. I also tell her that our one year anniversary is coming up and that I want the picture of the knight riding on the dinosaur eating a unicorn for an anniversary present.

6:18 - I tell the rep that I live on "125 F.U.C.K. O.F.F. Boulevard". She doesn't get it.

7:13 - I'm starting to get bored, so I belch and make a fart noise. She's unfazed.

8:05 - She tries out an obviously scripted joke: "If you're a big winner, would you mind sending me a bottle of champagne so we can celebrate together?". I pretend to take major offense at this and accuse her of  trying to undermine my marriage and mooch off of my winnings.

Monday, June 1, 2015

I Pray To The Telemarketing Gods

A lady pimping insurance quotes called me recently and immediately asked me if she could transfer me to a licensed agent. I found it strange that the call would be structured like that. It's probably set up that way to circumvent certain telemarketing laws. It didn't take much of me rattling on about the NSA and security procedures for the rep to transfer me to her supervisor. Upon getting transferred, I expressed my displeasure with the rep and asked that we pray together in order to save her soul.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Crossy Road Review

I can't say that I was a huge fan of Frogger when I was a kid. To me, it was just Crazy Climber with prettier graphics and less personality. If Frogger were to get a re-imagining for today's gaming market, it would look a lot like Crossy Road.

The controls are pretty intuitive: A simple tap to hop forward one space, swipe left to go left, swipe right to go right, and swipe down to hop back one space. Unlike Frogger, Crossy Road presents the player with randomly-generated obstacles along the way, thus making it pretty easy to get flattened or snatched by an eagle.

The best part of Crossy Road is that you can play as a number of different characters. They all have the same functional abilities, but the way they interact with their environments can be worth a laugh or two. There's something inherently funny about crossing the infinite streets of Hell as a blocky Grim Reaper.

As part of this Crossy Road review, I made a video of myself playing CrossyRoad as Bobby who seems to be some sort of British police officer. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Bison Cooler Review And Coupon Code

What do you look for in a five day cooler? For me, personally, I wanted one that could be used for a variety of outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, camping and hunting After doing a lot of research into the which cooler is the best outdoor cooler, I went with the 50 quart cooler from Bison coolers (formerly known as Brute Box) and have not been disappointed.

Bison coolers (also known as Brute Outdoors) offer five different roto molded coolers, and have recently introduced a 12 can and a 24 can soft cooler. I use my 50 quart Bison cooler in the outdoors all the time, especially when I'm out on a long camping trip with the family. The ice retention is far superior to any other high-end cooler that I have ever used and it sure cut down on the need for ice runs during our camping trips. Bison coolers are built true to size which means, when they say it's a 50 quart cooler, that's an honest assessment of the amount of available space. The latches on the lid of a Bison cooler ensures that you'll get a closed seal to keep the inside very cold. Some other 5 day coolers on the market have a hard vacuum suction on them which makes them very hard to open.  But, not Bison coolers. They have dual drain plugs on each side of the cooler so you can open the cooler anytime you want.

Best of all, Bison Coolers are made in the USA, so you know that when you buy a Bison cooler, you can do so with pride. Need an extra incentive? Use the following Bison Coolers coupon code to get $15 off your next purchase:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Schoola Coupon Code

Schoola is a website that allows parents to donate gently used clothes to raise money for their schools. Right now on you can snag FREE shipping and $15 in credit. The Schoola discount code gives you enough money to buy a few individual items or an entire outfit. Hundreds of items are under $15, in fact you can several items shipped to you since some items are as low as $2.99! Just use code HURRY at checkout to score your FREE Shipping! To get the FREE $15 Credit you must be a NEW user. By following this link to Schoola, you'll activate a coupon code that gets you the $15 credit.

Free shipping is for a limited time

Monday, April 20, 2015

I Accidentally Called A Cruise Line Scammer

I was making a tech support call the other day and must have mis-dialed, because I ended up connecting to some "Free cruise" scam. The way these scams work, you get offered a free cruise only having to pay nominal "port fees". Once you pay those, you get forwarded to another agent who tries to have you pay for even more upgrades. If you actually try to go on the cruise, you will be told that you need to attend a number of time-share or other high-pressure sales presentations in order to get your boarding voucher.

Here's the call. I kept the guy on the phone for about 10 minutes before deciding that it was time to pull the plug:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

On The Sesquicentennial Of Lincoln's Assasination

150 YEAR AGO TODAY: April 14, 1865. Richmond had fallen. Lee had surrendered. The long and bloody Civil War was over. It was Good Friday. It was a time to rejoice. The Lincolns sat at Ford's Theater watching "Our American Cousin" starring Mary Lincoln's favorite actress, Laura Keene. Halfway through Act III, Scene 2, the character of Asa Trenchard, played that night by Harry Hawk, utters this line, considered one of the play's funniest, to Mrs. Mountchessington: "Don't know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal — you sockdologizing old man-trap." During the ensuing laughter, John Wilkes Booth, a famous actor and Confederate sympathizer who was not a member of the cast, fatally shot Abraham Lincoln. Familiar with the play, Booth chose that moment in the hope that the sound of the audience's laughter would mask the sound of his gunshot. He then leapt from Lincoln's box to the stage and made his escape through the back of the theater to a horse he had left waiting in the alley. Lincoln would die the next morning, April 15, at 7:22am.

This past weekend, I was part of an production where re-enacted the play and the assassination. It was a very moving event and there was nary a dry eye in the theater after each of the three performances. Audiences experienced the same joy everyone else felt on that day so long ago, and then, with a single gun shot, felt it ripped away from them. That's a testament to our playwrite/director and the entire acting company that worked so hard to bring it all to life.

I played John Wilkes Booth in this re-enactment and it was a very intense thing to be seen as responsible for such a heinous act. In the re-creation below, you can see my friend portraying Lincoln as laughing at that final joke. I like to think that Lincoln's last feeling was one of levity.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Home Security Scammers Call Again

I got a robo-call from the Home Security scammers again. The call began with an automated, interactive female attendant which then transferred me to a live salesperson. When speaking to him, I  messed with him by:

  • Saying I wanted to talk to the lady again because I thought she was flirting with me
  • Misunderstanding "home owner" as "homo-er"
  • Telling him that, as someone who gives a sales pitch, he must be a "pitcher" rather than "catcher". 
By far, the most interesting part of the call for me was when the sales rep said "You know how women are. It's all about the money". It just seemed to be too far off script.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Choice Home Warranty Calls Me Again....TWICE

Choice Home Warranty has been calling me looking for Albert Cosby, and, each time they do, I launch into my Fat Albert impression. Most of the time, it's met with outright hostility, so much so, that you'd think they'd pull my number out of the system. Yet, for some reason, they keep calling. One guy was actually pretty cool about it and we had a good laugh. I asked him to take my number off of the call list. Here's the call:

Less than 24 hours later, they called back. This time, I got a guy named Frank whom I talked to before. He wasn't very happy to be speaking with me again:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Family Protection Security Calls Me.

I got a robo call from (618) 690-0276. On the other end was an interactive robo named Andy that employed voice recognition technology and then forwarded me to an agent trying to sell me a home security system. These guys try to claim that they work for GE Security, but, they don't. And they might actually offer a security system, but they do so at an incredibly inflated price. I have a particular disdain for these types of callers as they make their living bilking money out of older folks. I had this guy on the phone for nearly 10 minutes, at first messing with him, saying a bunch of goofy things. Some highlights include:

  • I told him I loved technology and had a highly technical Japanese toilet
  • I claimed to be a shut-in who was afraid of being stuck on the toilet
  • I confused "motion sensor" with "emotion sensor" and got excited that the security system would be able to sense my emotions.
  • Me burping several time
  • Upon hearing that a person's home is broken into every 13 seconds, I wondered why that poor person didn't buy a security system and wondered how he'd have anything left taking after being robbed so often.
Once I blew my cover, I lit into the guy on the other end of the phone for earning his money by cheating folks out of theirs. In this guy's attempt to prove he was legit, he gave me another number to call, (310) 362-3060 which ended up to be an invalid number as well.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Goat Simulator

I had been hearing about Goat Simulator from by daughter for the better part of the week. She had seen a "Let's Play" on it from one of her favorite Youtubers and wanted to get it. So, once her report card came back clear, I broke down and bought Goat Simulator for her. Of course, I had to try it out myself in order to make sure it was appropriate.

The developers over at Coffee Stain Studios made Goat Simulator as a fun project for Game Jam and didn't intend to release it to the public. Once public outcry motivated them to release it, the put a little polish on it, slapped a $10 price tag on it and released it out into the world. And, for a $10 game, it's a lot of fun. You're a goat. And you run around head-butting things which leads to horrific screams and Michael Bey-esque explosions. It's basically a "pewdiepie" game. What I mean by that is that it's a game made for the express purpose of filming yourself doing things like blowing up a propane tank and then laughing or screaming your head off, then you run over to the next thing you can interact with and repeat the process so that you get enough footage for a small Youtube clip.

That being said, I haven't had this much fun just mucking about in an open-world game in a long time. Goat Simulator is a fun game to just turn your brain off and explore in. There's a lot of hidden unlockables around the game world and there are a number of zany achievements to try to get. And I haven't even explored any mods yet.

Basically, Goat Simulator is the stupid popular game of the month. It's funny, amusing and worth a bit of cash, but soon enough, we'll all move on, but we've had fun with it, and that's all that matters. I'd say kiddo and I both got $10 worth of entertainment out of it.

These PETA Protestors Won't Appreciate The Irony....