Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Television Service Scammer Calls

Clovis got a call from a scammer pushing some sort of TV service provider. Clovis was anxious to get some television service for his six televisions. He was proud to tell the rep that he likes to watch TV while pooping on the toilet. The rep called Clovis a "TV Lover" and Clovis said that he lives television, but not transvestites. Clovis likes watching Reverend Brian Lasphemy on the Praise Newtwork and is hoping that God isn't going to literally touch him.

When asked if he was allowed to have a satellite dish, Clovis said that, as a big man, he isn't very light. Clovis then talked about his dish that has a spaceman on it. The rep promptly hung up.

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Outer Worlds

I don't pre-order video games often. Heck, I don't even BUY video games often. But, I was hyped enough about The Outer Worlds to pre-order it for the Xbox One. It's the latest action RPG from Obsidian Entertainment, the studio behind Fallout: New Vegas, one of my all-time favorite games. The Outer Worlds is set in an alternate-reality future where President William McKinley was not assassinated. As a result, Theodore Roosevelt never succeeded him, which resulted in large business trusts dominating society. Megacorporations eventually begun colonizing and terra-forming alien planets. In this strange future, The Hope, a colony ship bound for the Halcyon colonial system, is disabled and declared lost after its faster-than-light travel goes astray, leaving it adrift at the edge of colony space. The player character is awakened on board from cryosleep by a crazed scientist with a mysterious agenda, only to find that most of the other colonists are still in hibernation. The player then begins a journey to a nearby colony to investigate the true nature of the corporations and acquire the chemicals to bring the rest of his fellow colonists out of hibernation. The game features several factions and a branching story that reacts to the player's choices.

For an entire week, I hotly anticipated playing. I eagerly awaited 11pm on October 24 (Midnight, October 25 on the East Coast). I spent a decent part of the weekend playing The Outer Worlds between work, rehearsals, and date night. I played enough to get a good feel for how the game works and where it's going to go. I like the story and the way the factions function a lot more in The Outer Worlds than I did in Fallout: New Vegas. The combat mechanics take some getting used to, especially the Time Dilation effect which is similar to the V.A.T.S. system used in Fallout. The characters of the companions/crew seem to be very well fleshed out and they all have interesting backstories and offer unique side-quests.

By far, the most surprising thing about The Outer Worlds is the lack of game-breaking bugs. I sadly come to expect a number of bugs from games like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, but several hours into the game, I haven't noticed any bugs in The Outer Worlds yet. If I have any complaints, it's the lack of variety of weapons and armor along with some of the dodgy enemy behavior. You can see in the video below that I am often able to easily approach an enemy from behind or even the side during heated combat without being noticed. Plus, I'm at level 15 and I'm still using the same scoped hunting rifle that I found early in the game to snipe with. Hopefully some game updates and/or DLC will be used to address these issues.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Credit Card Scammer Swears At Me

A "lower your interest rate" credit card scammer called me and attempted to get my credit card number off of me under the guise of giving me a lower interest rate. When asked which card I had a high balance on, I said that I had a high balance on all of them. The rep eventually got frustrated and just told me to use my Visa card. When he asked the expiration date, I pretended that I thought he was wondering what today's date was. He eventually just told me to Eff off and hung up

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Whole Shabang Seasoned Potato Chips

The Whole Shabang Potato Chips
A very close friend of mine is a nurse at a minimum security state-prison. For quite some time now, she has been talking about The Whole Shabang Potato Chips which are only available in the prison system. A company called The Keefe Group produces these chips and other snacks almost exclusively for prison commissary systems. And prisoners are obsessed with them. And for good reason, it seems. These incredibly salty chips are valued not just for their flavorful taste, but also for use in cooking. Prisoners often crush the chips up and use them to flavor otherwise plain meals such as white rice or chicken ramen.

On the outside, former prisoners go to great lengths to score some Whole Shabang chips. You can buy them at an inflated price off of Amazon or eBay. And, it seems that the Keefe Group eventually found that they were leaving money on the table by only offering their products in prison commissaries, as they are now available via their website.

My friend, whom I call "Nursey Nurse" has been talking about these chips for nearly two years now and, this past weekend, she finally brought a few bags over along with some Whole Shabang snack mix. So, of course, I had to try some of these legendary chips. They taste pretty good, kind of like salt-and-vinegar mixed with some sour-cream-and-onion and some bbq flavoring. I wouldn't be surprised if Keefe Group produces other "regular" chips and just does a run where they dump all of the leftover flavoring over some chips, packages them up and ships them off to prisons. Not that that's a bad thing. These chips actually taste pretty damn good. The're the perfect complement to a Reuben sandwich or a cheeseburger or a plain hot dog.

The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that we may have found one of the primary causes of recidivism:

  1. Set-up a for-profit prison
  2. Introduce an addictive snack and make it available only in prison
  3. PROFIT. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Mortgage Scammer Laughs At Clovis

A mortgage scammer called Clovis and asked him what his balance was on his mortgage. Clovis told her that, as an old man, his balance isn't what it used to be. Clovis joked that he occasionally falls and emulates the old "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercial. The rep laughed her ass off and Clovis took offence and asked to talk to her manager. The rep kept laughing and hung up.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Fright Fest At Six Flags St. Louis

Roller coasters scare the bejesus out of me. The very idea of riding one makes me want to barf technicolor bile. So, it wasn't without a huge degree of trepidation that I agreed to take the kids down to Six Flags St. Louis for Fright Fest. I thought perhaps I could get away with merely accompanying the group and sitting outside the ride and getting some work done. But, I was told that, in no uncertain terms, I'd be expected to "Mac Up!" and ride along with the group. Thankfully, I had some time to prepare, as we checked into the Holiday Inn Holiday Inn : Saint Louis West At Six Flags late Saturday afternoon. I had stayed there a number of times before and have never really enjoyed the experience, as, much like Six Flags itself, it tends to be a human sea of people. But, booking this late in the year definitely cut down upon the crowd at the hotel and getting adjoining rooms helped to keep everyone in the group from feeling cramped.

We bounded out to Six Flags bright and early the next morning after gorging ourselves on breakfast at the nearby Denny's. I popped a Dramamine and an anti-anxiety before heading in to what I feared would be my ultimate doom. First off, I loved how the park was decorated for Fright Fest. The water in the fountain by the entry way, and indeed, all of the water in the attractions around the park was dyed red to resemble blood. It's too bad that the water park wasn't open because I think it would have looked incredibly cool to ride on Thunder River with the water turned blood red.

Since it was early on a Sunday, there wasn't much of a crowd, so there wasn't a very long line for The Batman ride. In the past, I had been content to sit near the ride's exit and either do some work or scarf down some disgusting park food. But, now, I was going to be thrust into the action. I didn't feel much anxiety as I strapped in, even though I had wanted to start slow with the River King Mine Train ride. But, I survived and didn't barf, which is a big win. The group then decided that we should hit all of the Superhero themed rides first. I think, out off all of those, I only really hated the Mr. Freeze ride because it jerks you back so fast. I think my stomach is still hanging on up there somewhere.

After that first set of rides, we got stamped and headed into the parking lot to the jeep to break out the cooler and have a lunchtime picnic on one of the grassy islands in the lot. I was even rewarded with a crisp, cool, refreshing Samuel Adams Summer Ale, which has just gone out of season. What a great surprise. After lunch, we headed back in and rode more rides, caught the freak show on the side stage and then waited for the monsters to come out after dark. The fine folks at Six Flags offer light-up badges for people who do not wish to be scared by the cast members. I was jokingly offered one but said that, even without the anti-anxieties, I wouldn't need one. That is, until I saw all the scary clowns! Nobody told me there would be scary clowns!

Just before the park closed, we headed back to the Holiday Inn and ordered pizza, which, because it was Sunday, we were able to take out into the common area for everyone in the group to enjoy. So, overall a great weekend and something I'd actually consider doing again.

As If Their Prices Weren't Scary Enough....

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Car Insurance Scammer Doesn't Know What A Beanie Baby Is

Clovis got a call recently from a car insurance scammer, and, after being offered 30% off of his insurance rate, Clovis wanted to know if he could get some Beanie Babies instead. The rep didn't know what a Beanie Baby is. Clovis happily explained it to him and the rep started to laugh. This pissed Clovis off who told the rep not to disrespect the Beanie Babies. The rep calmed Clovis down by telling him that he likes Beanie Babies and that he has Pokemon Beanie Babies. Clovis got excited and wondered when he might expect to receive one. The rep promptly hung up.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Philips Hue Lighting

I may have gone a little crazy with the home automation devices. With a Google speaker in every room (except the bathrooms) plus several light switches, bulbs and plugs, there's a lot of traffic on my wifi, even before including my "normal" devices live my TVs, computers and cell phones. Connecting to the network had started becoming an issue as the ISP-issued router didn't seem capable of handing so many requests at one time. Therefore, I decided to pick up a Phillips Hue Hub and start switching some of the components over.

The Philips Hue Hub connects compatible devices using Zigby (Z-wave) via its own hub rather than using your home wifi connection. This is advantageous if you're going to be using a lot of smart home devices and you don't want your wifi to get congested. As a test, I switched out the three dining room bulbs as well as the back porch bulb. Response time might be a tick slower than wifi, but connecting to my wifi is already noticeably zippier. Plus, it seems that Philips is the only reputable company that makes a GU10 track-lighting smart bulb (though, at $45 a pop, it'd be quite expensive to convert the 14 bulbs I have in my kitchen). So, I like it enough that I'll likely convert some of the switches and my four living room bulbs to Phillips Hue.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Mortgage Rep Is A Chicken Fried Moron

Rachel with SMS, some kind of mortgage refinancing company scam called Clovis asking him if he wanted to refinance his house. She said that there have been some changes to the market. Clovis said he didn't like going to the supermarket. Rachel asked Clovis if he was behind on his mortgage, and Clovis indicated that he didn't like her talking about his behind. When asked what his interest rate was, Clovis said he wasn't interested.

"Are you kidding me right now?", Rachel said in exasperation. And she still kept at it. She then asked what Clovis' credit score was. She said that there could be better options for him.

Clovis told Rachel that there was no better option than him. "You're killing me, Clovis", she said.

Rachel moved on and asked Clovis if he was interested in talking about refinancing with a lender. Clovis indicated that he thought that was the point of their conversation. Rachel said that she wasn't a licensed specialist. Clovis said he didn't need a therapist because the incident that made him need one in the past has been cleared up. Rachel asked again if Clovis was interested in refinancing and Clovis asked her if she was some kind of "chicken fried moron" since she had already asked the question and he had answered it.