Monday, July 15, 2019

Telemarketer Loses His Script

I have no idea what this guy was trying to sell because he flubbed his script the second I answered. When I asked him why he was calling he asked me what services I provide. I told him that for $100, I would shave his head, and for $105, I would give him the Kojak special where I would shove the scissors up his nose afterwards. I asked the rep again what he wanted. I could hear him laugh a bit nervously. He said he was going to come find me. I told him that I am a long way from India and he said he lived next to my apartment.

"I don't live in an apartment, dipshit!", I said.

"Do you live in a house?", he asked.

"Well, gee, if I don't live in an apartment, then what do I live in? I thought you lived right next to me!".

When I told him that it was the lamest telemarketer call I had ever gotten, the rep said I could ask him any question I wanted. I asked him why he was originally calling and what he was selling. The rep said he was just calling random people in order to ask random questions. I said that I could hear people in the background so it was obvious that he was in a calling center. The rep said that it was his father and brother talking. "Yeah, they are saying how disappointed they are in you!", I said.

The rep eventually asked me what advice I had for him and I tossed out some random thoughts and insults. I advised him to get a job where he wasn't scamming people. I even told him that he could write a book afterwards about his journey from telemarketing scammer to contributing member of society.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I Met With A Casting Director

I went on an audition recently for a small TV show that is being filmed in Chicago. It was a very small role and I had been recommended to the casting director by a fellow community theater actor. I had no delusions of being discovered or becoming famous due to this, but, work is work, so I spent a few days getting some headshots together along with a sizzle reel before meeting with this lady. I did my audition and sat down with her to get her thoughts.

"You're good", she said. "You're even a natural. You say you've had no formal training?"

"None", I answered. "Aside from having been cast as a tree in 'You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown' in first grade and being constantly ordered to stand still".

"I can tell that you're undisciplined, and that's the problem. Had you ever considered acting classes?". The casting director went on about honing my skills and offered to refer me to an acting coach who charges a reasonable fee. I instantly suspected that I was being directed to this acting coach so that the casting director would get a kickback for referring me. Or maybe I'm just an overly-suspicious bastard.

"That just isn't for me. I like acting, and I'm dedicated, but I'm not going to shell out money so that someone can tell me not to put my hands on my hips or shoot rubber bands at me every time I step off my mark".

"Do you like breakfast?", she asked.

"Of course", I said.

"So, you like bacon, eggs, sausage, those sort of things. You get up in the morning, and if the mood strikes you, you eat breakfast. When you're full, you push yourself away from the table and go on with your day. So many people are looking for the quick path to fame. You say you're dedicated, but you're really just enjoy the meal. The chicken and the pig, they are the ones who are dedicated".

"The chicken and the pig have no choice. They HAVE to be part of the meal", I offered.

"Exactly", she said smugly. "A dedicated actor has no choice. It's a calling. They HAVE to act. That's dedication".

That sort of rhetorical nonsense is difficult to argue against, especially if you're trying to keep within the analogy. The best I could come up with was: "Dedication is a blind submission to fate and contains no indication of ability. The pig's is dedicated, but that dedication isn't a guarantee to be delicious simply because it gave its life up for breakfast. The egg isn't guaranteed to not be rotten simply because it was called to the frying pan. I admit that I can't give you that level of dedication. But, what I can give you is devotion. I'll be enthusiastic in eating whatever is put on my plate. Given the choice, I prefer my eggs scrambled , I love eggs benedict and I hate sunny-side-up. But you can cook the eggs however you want to cook them.Use traditional or turkey bacon. Serve me sausage as links or patties. You can even include stuff I can't stomach such as tomatoes and ham. Whatever is on my plate, I will eat it as if it's the best meal I have ever had, and I will always be full".

After relating this story to some of my acting colleagues, the general agreement was that I've tanked any hope of getting "professional" work in the area. And I honestly don't care. Maybe I do lack dedication. But, on the other hand, I also am not looking for instant success or even the kind of success that comes after paying my "dues". I just want to work. But I want to work on my own terms. If that's incompatible with 99% of the available work out there, then so be it. I'll hang around and wait for when the 1% becomes available.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Loan Depot Not Home Depot

A telemarketer from Loan Depot called and once I got past the automated attendant, I pretended that I thought he was from Home Depot. I asked him where my ladder was and he said it was on the delivery truck. Once I purposely got his name wrong, he decided to hang up.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Tigers At White Sox 7/3/19 Afternoon Game

We saw the Chicago White Sox take on and win (7-5) against the Detroit Tigers this afternoon at Comisky Park (GuaranteedRate Field). This was a make up-game that had to be re-scheduled. This Tigers at White Sox game was originally supposed to occur back in May, but Mother Nature was not having it and sent one last gasp of cold weather to Chicago in the form of an ice storm. The weather for this afternoon's game, however, was perfect. It was a bright, sunny, warm day and we had great seats just a few rows behind home plate.

This game saw the Major League debut of White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease. His first inning didn't go so well considering that he walked three batters in a row, loading the bases and then gave up a hit to Harold Castro who singled to center field and drove a run in. If Cease had been rattled, then he hit it well because, even after that gaffe he still seemed cool as a cucumber. With his first Major League Baseball inning under his belt, Cease got settled and pitched a great game, ending up with the win. Food for thought: Dylan Cease now has 1 more career regular season win at Guaranteed Rate Field than Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish has regular season wins at Wrigley Field. Just sayin!

Aside from the great seats and the dollar hot-dogs one other highlight of the game for us was the Jose Abreu bobblehead promotion. Abreu seemed to benefit from the bobblehead boost and had a pretty damn good game this afternoon getting two hits and one run off of four at-bats and having only one strike-out.


Monday, July 1, 2019

Nexgrill 5-Burner Propane Gas Grill

As part of my Summer patio construction project, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a propane grill well before the stone for the patio has been laid down. I settled on the Nexgrill 5-Burner Propane Gas Grill in Stainless Steel with Side Burner and Black Cabinet. First off, it's clearly not a Weber grill, so I am not expecting a top quality product. It doesn't feel as solidly built as the equivalent Weber, but I don't need a tank in order to grill a few burgers and brats. That being said, the Nexgrill 5-Burner grill is well engineered and reinforced. All of the burners function as needed and heat at an even rate. The burners are angled higher in the front for faster and hotter cooking at the front and lower heat at the back. The side burner is a nice feature and it's perfect for using a cast-iron skillet to fry chicken or to use it for cooking lobster tails in a pot while grilling steak on the primary burners.

I purchased the Nexgrill 5-Burner grill on sale from Home Depot for $149. It usually runs $199. You have the option of having the good folks at Home Depot assemble it for you at no extra cost, but, if you do decide to assemble it yourself, it's not too terribly difficult. It took me about 90 minutes on my own.

For some extra protection from the weather, I also purchased the Nexgrill 52 in. Grill Cover for $25.

The only things missing from the Nexgrill 5-Burner grill are tool hooks. I've got you covered there. Check out the Yukon Glory YG-779 4Pc Magnetic Grilling Tool Set.

Nexgrill 5 Burner Grill with the Yukon Glory YG-779 Magnetic Grilling Tool Set 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red

A number of my faculty friends and I have banded together to do a monthly beer group where each member brings in a unique and/or interesting beer for everyone to try. For this month's meeting, I thought that I had a line on a bottle of Samuel Adams Utopias, but, as it turns out, the Friar Tuck's website was blatantly lying about the inventory at my local store. Defeated, I drove over to my local Binny's and picked up two bottles of Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red for the group instead.

Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red is an American Wild Ale that is aged in oak barrels, then hand bottled and corked. It's a very tart beer with a malty aroma. To look at the beer in the standard Samuel Adams tulip glass, you'd almost think it was a wine rather than a beer. It has a nice burgundy color without much carbonation. It goes down smooth with a little fizz and overall tastes a lot like a port wine with a robust, woody finish.

If you like beer and would like to try getting into sours, then Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red is a good place to start. But, once you have sampled the bold flavors of more complex sour beers, then this will quickly fall by the wayside. It's a good beer, one that is very drinkable, and my beer group liked it overall. It's just not what a beer snob would reach for if looking to have a sour. Thank God I'm not a beer snob.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Telemarketer Tells Me I'm Going To Hell

It was another one of those "Lower your debt" credit card scams. I asked him if he was going to forgive my debt. When he confirmed, I sent out some Hallelujas and praises to Jesus. The rep actually thought it was funny and started laughing after telling me to Eff-off.

When I asked what I had to do in order to receive this blessing, the rep hesitated. I told him to read his script and asked him what his script told him to say. He replied that his script told me that I'm going to Hell for taking Jesus' name in vain. I told the rep I'd see him there.

What came next was a flurry of expletives and a convoluted explanation of why I'm going to Hell. He also admitted that he's a scammer, but said he wouldn't be going to Hell because he would ask for forgiveness.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Yankees At White Sox 6/16/2019

A sellout crowd isn't something you often see at White Sox park these days, but we had one yesterday for the fourth game in the series against the Yankees. On the plus side, the Yankees always bring in a big crowd. On the minus side, the Yankees also bring along Yankees fans.

The weather wasn't great, but we had good seats with a bird's-eye view of home plate. Plus, it was polo shirt night in honor of Father's Day.

Even though the White Sox fell to the Yankees 10-3, there were still a few great Sox moments to savor, especially Jose Abreu's solo homer in the bottom of the first, Cameron Maybin getting nailed trying to steal second base and James McCann knocking a beautiful homer out to left center.

White Sox pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne, who gave up 9 hits during his tenure during the game was credited with the loss. And, after yet another terrible performance, I have to wonder why they keep giving him the ball.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Fonz Wants To Help Me Lower My Debt

A rep named Alfonzo called Clovis to help him lower his debt. Clovis was thrilled at the name, as it reminded him of "The Fonz" from Happy Days. Clovis immediately lept into the second iteration of the Happy Days theme song.

When The Fonz asked Clovis what his interest rate is, Clovis responded that he was 100% interested in what The Fonz has to say. Clovis then asked what Mork from Ork was really like. Remembering the original Happy Days theme song, Clovis lamented the fact that he can no longer rock around the clock. When asked what his home was worth, Clovis started talking about old Chuck Cunningham who disappeared after the first season. Clovis advanced the theory that Howard killed him since Howard owned a hardware store and had Al help him.


Monday, June 10, 2019

McDonald's International Favorites Menu Pays Off

McDonald's ran a very quiet promotion last week. Last Thursday, between the hours of 2 and 5, any customer who brought in a piece of foreign currency would get a free item off of their new "Worldwide Favorites" menu. The menu includes the Stroopwafel McFlurry from The Netherlands, the Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger from Spain, the Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich from Canada and Cheesy Bacon Fries from Australia. Personally, I was excited to try the Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich, so, at about 4:55pm, I popped into my local McDonald's and exchanged a Canadian nickel for one. As I turned to leave, I asked the manager what he planned to do with all of the foreign currency the collected for the promotion. The manager had no idea, as corporate had only alerted them to the promotion that morning. I asked if I could have the coins, as I am a fairly avid coin collector. The manager gladly handed them over.

Among the haul of Mexican pesos and Canadian coins were three interesting finds: A Ben Franklin half dollar, a One Shilling coin from the UK and an Australian Florin. First and foremost, the coins are interesting because they are made of silver which makes them worth much more than their face value. Conservatively, each coin is worth at least $10 which is more than the cost of any item on the McDonald's Worldwide Favorites menu. The One Shilling coin is in good enough shape and is potentially worth enough money that I am considering getting it professionally graded. With an issue date of 1865, it also qualifies as the oldest coin I have ever found in the wild, replacing an 1890 Indian Head penny that I found about a year ago.

As for the Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich itself, it tasted pretty damn good, though my elation was almost certainly influenced by the awesome coin find that accompanied the sandwich. In short: I'm Lovin' It!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

ComEd Energy Scammer Needs To Come Home

A guy calling himself Edward from Switch Energy called looking to get ComEd customers to change their energy provider. I told Edward to talk to my dad, Victor. Victor took the phone and immediately apologized for soiling himself, asking if Edward would send someone to clean him up. Edward asked where Victor's son was.

"You're my son?", Victor responded. He then told Edward that he needs to come home or he'll get his ass kicked.

"Oh, my God!", Edward exclaimed before trying to end the call.


Monday, June 3, 2019

Colon Plow Hot Sauce

I was out shopping for cooking supplies this weekend in order to find spices to help me make an attempt to perfect my fried chicken recipe. While taking pictures of unusual food to taunt my daughter with, such as Smoked Pickled Eggs and Hamburger-In-A-Can, I stumbled upon an unfortunately named hot sauce named Colon Plow.

Colon Plow is made by Goss Hot Sauce out of Central Illinois and can be purchased either online or at Rural King and other stores throughout the state. Goss Hot Sauce is the creation of Randy Goss who makes hot sauces and an award winning BBQ sauce.

The image that the name Colon Plow evokes isn't the kind that lends itself to thinking of delicious, spicy food, yet I thought that the title still merited a purchase. It's an unusual hot sauce in that it's chunky and seems more like a salsa than a hot sauce. So, I decided to try it with my regionally-famous chicken nachos. I had expected Colon Plow to have an overpowering heat that was hot just for hot's sake. Instead, I found a sweet and tangy sauce with a nice kick to it. The kick is enough that, if you aren't a huge fan of spicy food, you're not going to like this stuff at all. It's probably overpowering for those who prefer mild sauces, but Colon Plow is tasty enough that I hope that Goss Hot Sauce comes out with a mild version. Maybe they can call it "Skid Marks".

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Debt Consolidator Calls Hank Hill

A rep from a debt consolidation scam called looking for Hank Hill. Of course, I obliged and did my best Hank Hill voice (with drifted in Creole towards the end). At first Hank accused her of being a communist for wanting to record the conversation. Then, Hank said that the only help he needed was in selling his propane and propane accessories. Hank asked the rep what kind of fuel she uses for her grill. When she said she uses electric, Hank again accused her of being a communist.

Monday, May 27, 2019

I Got A Pension Buyout Offer

For my first "real" job, I worked as a programmer/analyst for a large insurance company. They had hired me as an intern during my last year in college and then hired me outright once I had graduated. For just under three years, I worked creating C++ programs and eventually moved towards being their intranet webmaster. The bottom finally fell out after our Y2K conversion work and the company merged with two other similar companies in order to stay afloat. I declined the opportunity to work with the new company, as it would have involved me moving to Rhode Island. As an incentive to stick around for six months to help migrate my programs to the new company, I was offered a generous severance package.

About five years ago, I got a notice from the new company telling me about the health of the company pension system. I found this odd as I had moved at least three times since working for them and they had obviously went through some effort to track down my latest address. I called the company's benefits department to tell them that I didn't need such notifications, as I hadn't worked for them nearly long enough to qualify for a pension. Turns out that, as part of my severance package, I was vested into the new company's pension system. I guess I should have read the fine print. I was told that the monthly payout when I retired would be very small.

Now, several years later, I found myself with a pension buyout offer. The company was offering to pay me a lump sum of money in order to rid themselves of their pension obligation to me. Companies offer pension buyouts for a number of reasons from funding issues to long-term cost savings. I suspect that my own company just wanted to get rid of all pensions and move everyone over to a more modern 401(k) model.

For anyone getting a buyout offer, there's a temptation to take the lump sum payment and put it directly into a trip or a big home improvement project. Problem is, if you take the payout directly, you have to pay taxes on it. Right off the bat, you lose 20% directly to the government. Then, of course, the remaining payout will raise your overall income for the year, possibly putting you into a higher income bracket.

Me, personally, I opted to have the buyout paid to the order of my deferred compensation plan which is separate from my main retirement plan. The thing is, I couldn't just give the account info to my old company and have them wire the money. My old company is going to cut me a check made out to my deferred compensation plan which I will then have to forward to my plan administrator. Pain in the butt, for sure, but that's to make sure that you aren't taking a payment directly.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Expectation vs Reality: Golden Girls Dorothy Chia Pet

At our last Faculty social of the semester, I was the stunned winner of the door prize, which is usually something goofy. This time, it was the Golden Girls Dorothy Chia Pet. "Thank you for being a friend!", I exclaimed as I accepted the prize. The organizers of the social asked if I would document my growing experience. I was trepidatious at the prospect, as I am known to have a a real brown thumb when it comes to growing things.


So, it was to absolutely nobody's surprise that my first attempt to grow a chia-pet resulted in something that fell far below advertised expectations. You can see the results in the comparison below:


Expectation

Reality


Ultimately, the issue seems to be that the Golden Girls Dorothy Chia Pet grew mold, which, I am told, is somewhat common with chia pets. Part of the issue may be that I didn't rotate poor Dorothy in the window. Her face was always looking inward, so I suppose her crown and forehead didn't get enough sunlight. Or maybe I'm completely wrong. I have no idea. Like I said, brown thumb.

Those White Fluffs Aren't Little Chia Sprouts