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Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 28, 2007
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 25, 2007
Those of you who have been reading my site for a while may remember that I broke my leg about two months ago. Since then I’ve been on crutches and even had surgery on my leg. I’m the kind of person who likes new experiences, good and bad, and I considered a broken leg to be a new experience. For some strange and sick reason, the first few days after I broke my leg I thought that it was going to be cool. Well let me be the first to tell you that it gets old real fast. Probably the crappiest thing about crutches is that you can no longer carry anything. It really sucks not being able to even get myself a cup of coffee in the morning.
Getting lunch while at work is quite a chore. I had broken my right leg so I didn’t drive for the first month after it happened. Thankfully there was a sandwich shop on the bottom floor of my office building so I could carry my lunch back to my office in a bag. The sandwiches weren’t that filling so once I got a salad too. I put both the sandwich and the salad in the bag and headed back to my desk. After sitting down and looking in my bag I discovered that my crutching around had caused the salad dressing to leak out of the salad container and spill all over the bag, drenching my sandwich. This sort of crap continued until I discovered I could drive with my left leg and subsequently go to a drive-thru.
Most of the time I kept a large blue sock on my right foot to cover up my toes. I figured no one really wanted to see my fat and swollen (at the time) toes, nor would it be appropriate to have my toes showing while dressed up business casual. I only took the sock off to wash it because without it my toes would get very cold. I also was unable to wash my toes or my foot because of the risk of getting the cast wet. This resulted in my right foot being very neglected.
Now my left foot is not a thing of beauty, but it is here for purposes of comparison. That red mark under my left big toe is from wearing a sandal that was uncomfortable. But if you look at my right foot, it looks like it’s suffering from some flesh-eating disease. The toes are darker, it’s very dry, and all the skin is peeling off like after a bad sunburn. This might be a side effect of not washing my foot for two months. It also could be from wearing that blue sock nearly 24/7.
Here’s a picture of the bottom of my foot. Note that the skin is all cracked and dry. There also seems to be a long crack where my foot rests on the end of the cast. One nasty result of the skin peeling off is the prevalence of toe jam. This stuff collects between my toes and has the consistency of earwax, the color of Vaseline, and the odor of poo. Very disgusting.
Let’s just say that I can’t wait until I can wash this horrible reeking thing. I’ve been reduced to taking baths by lying on my back in the tub with my right leg hanging out the side to keep it dry. It’s very hard to get clean this way. I one tried to take a shower by sealing off the opening at the top of my cast with plastic wrap and then wrapping a plastic bag around my leg, but this ordeal took half an hour and I hadn’t taken my shower yet! Not worth the trouble. I suppose I should have gone out and bought one of those cast shower bags but I’m too cheap and lazy for that.
If my leg looks as horrible as my foot when they finally cut my cast off this week, I’ll be sure to post some pictures of that. Stay tuned!
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 24, 2007
Ah, the MRE. That portable, “tasty” meal eaten by US troops in the field, or when one’s unit doesn’t have anything else with which to feed people. As someone who has been in the military, I’ve eaten my share of them. They seem really cool at first, but that coolness factor wears off after about your second or third MRE. That’s when they start tasting the same.
A few years ago, my Air National Guard unit went to South Dakota for a two-week training exercise with the Army. During that time we had three meals a day: one hot meal and two MREs. Because we were in the Air Force and not the Army, we weren’t too keen on playing Army games and pretending we were at war. So we would leave our compound and go to McDonald’s or something similar for one of those meals. This resulted in a large collection of MREs for myself. After sitting in my basement at room temperature for the last three years, a good friend of mine really wanted to try one. So, I decided to document his experience for you all to see.
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 21, 2007
I’m big on nostalgia. Probably more than anyone else I know, especially my wife. I think it’s because she didn’t have cable television growing up. I’ll talk about all the cool shows I used to watch on Nickelodeon and she won’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about. So while I was watching shows like Danger Mouse, Mr. Wizard’s World, Today’s Special, and The Mysterious Cities of Gold, she was watching shows like. . .well I don’t really know what kinds of shows she was watching. There actually were a few good shows on the networks, but without Nickelodeon she was missing out on much of the experience.
While watching those totally awesome shows, we all inevitably sit through the commercials. There are a few commercials I remember vividly, but most are locked away in some deep crevice of my brain, only to come back again when I review a familiar 30 second clip. For those of us who grew up in that era, I’m sure you remember the Dig ‘Em Frog, the Kool-Aid Man, and the tons of gimmicky cereal ads.
I had commercial nostalgia years before the internet came on the scene. In my family we had a lot of movies on VHS that we had recorded over the years. I used to play them on the VCR and and fast-forward through the movies so I could watch any commercials I might have remembered. But today, thanks to YouTube, old commercials are at our fingertips. Below are several commercials that I remember fondly.
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 19, 2007
Those of you who only started playing computer and video games in the late 1990s may wonder why anyone would write an article on computer game packaging. After all, today’s computer game boxes serve a largely utilitarian purpose of holding the game’s discs. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if 5 years from now computer games all come in cases similar to Playstation and Xbox games. I’ve seen several computer games come in packaging like this already. Many of today’s games don’t even come with a printed manual. You’re either left with an electronic copy or sometimes just an in-game tutorial.
It wasn’t always like this. In the early days of computer games, the design and contents of the computer game box was sometimes as important as the game itself. Box art was especially important. Publishers had to make the game look as exciting as possible to overcome the crude graphics. Many times a detailed manual was included, along with extra trinkets and foldouts.
I’ve saved every computer game I’ve ever owned. Below are some pictures of a few of my favorite games and some of the nifty items that came in their boxes.
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 18, 2007
For a while now I’ve been extremely fascinated by abandoned buildings. I’m not exactly sure as to why I have this fascination, but perhaps it has something to do with what time, weather, and neglect will do to a structure. Unfortunately, I’m still recovering from a broken leg so my desire to begin any urban exploring adventures must be put on hold at the moment.
One thing I’ve noticed about where I live is that it isn’t exactly the greatest location for stumbling upon an irresistible abandoned structures. I live in Atlanta, where everything is new and the old and abandoned is generally torn down to make way for bigger and shinier buildings. Unlike places in the Northeast, Atlanta was never really an industrial city, so there aren’t a lot of factories to explore. Existing factories generally get torn down to make way for new neighborhoods. In cities like Detroit, you could throw a dead cat and hit an abandoned building. In Atlanta, not so much. I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much since the reason Detroit has so many abandoned buildings is because its economy sucks.
In the meantime, I’m researching some places where I can get some great graffiti pictures from around Atlanta. I’ve always loved street art, and after the overwhelming positive response to my graffiti pictures, I really want to get out and snap some pictures of some really great looking graffiti around Atlanta. I’ve already got some visits planned to some great locations so hopefully I’ll be posting some pictures once I get back on my feet in the next couple of weeks.
If anyone has any great urban exploration stories I’d love to hear about them here. Also, here are some links to some of my favorite UE sites:
Sleepy City – This guy goes all over the world and take pictures of abandoned and not-so-accessible places. His pictures are amazing.
Urban Exploration Resource – A great UE forum where explorers from all over the world dispense advice and post great photos of their exploits.
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 16, 2007
I’ve been a Star Wars fan as long as I can remember. While I was too young to have seen the original movies when they first were in theaters, I remember watching them on television when I was a kid. I also enjoy a few of the Star Wars game and I’ve even been know to occasionally look at the Unofficial Star Wars Encyclopedia when I’m bored. It doesn’t go much farther than that.
On the other hand, I am not much of a Star Trek fan. I enjoyed several of the movies, but I could never really get into the shows. The shows were too preachy, too predictable, and too full of technobabble. The Prime Directive was annoying and the idea of a utopian future Earth failed to suspend my disbelief.
This leads me into the subject of this post. On one of my previous entries I mentioned a newsgroup I used to read called alt.startrek.vs.starwars. As you could probably deduce from the group’s name, its purpose was to be a place where nerds could gather and debate over whose imaginary spaceships were better. Much of the discussion actually consisted of fan fiction in which posters would write stories set in the universe of Star Trek or Star Wars (or both!) and insert their online persona into the story. While reading some of the hilariously intense debates (aka flamewars) about works of fiction, I came across a few especially serious individuals and internet sites.
One particular real-life character of interest by the name of Wong seemed especially passionate about his love and analysis of Star Wars. Not only would he fiercely argue that Star Wars was clearly superior to Star Trek, he also enjoyed scientifically analyzing Star Trek and Star Wars technology. No detail of the movies was too trivial for a heated, emotional discussion. Wong had no qualms about insulting and putting down those who he felt didn’t have an effective scientific grasp of Star Wars or Star Trek. If you can imagine Richard Dawkins as a Star War fan then you’re beginning to get the idea. He even owns a website which contains much of his analysis. Take this example of his analysis of Star Trek: Insurrection:
Personal Cloaking Devices
Much has been made of the personal cloaking devices which were seen in the opening sequence of STI. However, we can see in the film that they are actually not true cloaking devices. Instead, they are using some sort of large-scale hologram system, to create the illusion of invisibility. How do we arrive at this conclusion, which will undoubtedly be hotly contested? There are two critical pieces of substantiating evidence.
1. When the observation post’s camouflage hologram was disrupted by Data’s phaser fire, all of the operatives simultaneously became visible. This indicates that the invisibility of all operatives was dependent upon a central facility.
2. “Cloaked” operatives still cast shadows, as seen in the first screenshot below. This indicates that the objects are not truly invisible. If they were, they would not cast shadows, even when viewed using an advanced sensor system. One could always argue that the “cloaked” operatives are blocking something other than visible light (such as one of the Federation cultists’ never-ending new forms of technobabble subspace-related radiation), but the shadows are clearly being cast in the same direction as the shadows being cast by the buildings, plants, etc. They are therefore being caused by the blockage of light being emitted by that planet’s sun.
The funny thing about people like Wong is that they treat these movies like the directors and editors never make mistakes. Instead of merely accepting that there are shadows because the film makers goofed, he attempts to come up with some absurd technobabble explanation for it all. My favorite part of the quote is when he calls Star Trek fans ‘cultists’, completely ignoring his own fanatic behavior. There’s more great material at that site as well.
My personal favorite recurring debate is over whether or not Alderaan (you know, that planet that the Death Star blew up in the movie) had a planetary shield. Evidence for or against this theory consists of a few frames of film from the first Star Wars movie. But that doesn’t stop obsessed fans from writing huge treatises on the subject. The idea that George Lucas would put such minute details in a movie that, at the time, had no fan base is absurd.
Hopefully, the obsessions of others will become your entertainment.
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 16, 2007
I read this here and I thought I would share it:
I’ve never written to you before, but I really need your advice on what could be a crucial decision. I’ve suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me.
The usual signs… Phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up.
My wife has been going out with the girls a lot recently although when I ask their names she always says, “Just some friends from work, you don’t know them.”
I always stay awake to look out for her taxi coming home, but she always walks down the drive. Although I can hear a car driving off, as if she has gotten out of the car round the corner. Why? Maybe she wasn’t in a taxi?
I once picked her cell phone up just to see what time it was and she went berserk and screamed that I should never touch her phone again and why was I checking up on her.
Anyway, I have never approached the subject with my wife. I think deep down I just didn’t want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to really check on her.
I decided I was going to park my Harley Davidson motorcycle next to the garage and then hide behind it so I could get a good view of the whole street when she came home. It was at that moment, crouching behind my Harley, that I noticed that the valve covers on my engine seemed to be leaking a little oil.
Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the dealer?
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 15, 2007
Most of us dread getting a jury summons in the mail. Many of us have to miss work or school and sit in a courthouse for hours, and in some cases days, for measly compensation, which most of the time is far below minimum wage.
Despite what a lot of people think, not registering to vote won’t prevent you from getting summoned. Most jurisdictions now use drivers license records in addition to voter rolls to create potential jury pools. It’s just a matter of time until you get that notice in the mail, and unless you are going to school or have some sort of serious medical problem, your chances of getting excused are slim. Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-true ways to get out of it.
The easiest way to avoid jury duty is to simply chuck the jury summons in the garbage and don’t show up. This might be unsettling to many people who may worry about getting into trouble with the law. The truth is that in most major cities, the no-show rate for jurors is around 50%. If they aren’t going to bother showing up, why should you? Most jurisdictions don’t have the time or the resources to track down everyone who has skipped out on jury duty. Besides, no one can prove that you ever received the summons unless it was sent by certified mail.
If you can’t bear the idea of ignoring a government order to serve at its whim, there is another sure-fire way to get out of jury duty. During voir dire you will likely be asked if you believe that you are able to make a ruling based on the what the law says and the evidence presented. Simply state that you believe no such thing and that every jury has the right to render a verdict how they see fit despite what the law says. This concept is called jury nullification, and mentioning it is a guaranteed ticket home.
You see, judges and lawyers don’t like it when jurists know about jury nullification. The legal concept of jury nullification gives a jury more power than anyone in the courtroom, including the judge. It gives the jury the power to protect the accused against unjust laws and governmental tyranny. For example, a man is on trial for soliciting a prostitute. The evidence has been presented and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the man is guilty. If the jury were to choose a verdict based the law, they would declare the man guilty. But if the jury felt that the laws criminalizing prostitution were unjust, jury nullification allows them to render a verdict of not guilty despite what the law says.
Of course, you may not even get that far in the jury selection. If you happen to be a doctor, attorney, or someone who seems reasonably intelligent, you are likely to be dismissed. Trial lawyers tend to want morons on the jury. They like people who can be easily swayed. With all that said, do you really think someone on trial considers his or her peers to be twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty?
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 14, 2007
Lately I have been reading about an interesting little plant called salvia divinorum. This plant has been cultivated for centuries in Mexico and is somewhat popular in the recreational drug community, it is relatively unknown to society at large. It’s also 100% legal in most US states. So far.
By chewing or smoking the leaves, one can experience effects that may be best described as LSD-like. However, only about 18% of users actually describe it this way. The effects of salvia seem to be much more intense. The effects also seem to be unpleasant to a high number of users. Perhaps the experience was overwhelming to them. At higher doses, the effects may arrive immediately, but usually completely wear off in about an hour. Compare this to LSD where its effects can last up to 10 hours.
After reading about the plant and the myriad of stories written by those who have used it, I think that I may be ready to give it a try. However, my wife isn’t so keen on the idea. Maybe one day she’ll warm up to it. Until then, here’s hoping I’ll get to give it a try before our meddling politicians ban it.
While doing some reading about salvia before I began writing this article, I came across another interesting bit of information. Apparently, nutmeg is a mild to medium hallucinogen. In doses between 5 and 20 grams it can produce visual distortions and a mild euphoria. Doses above 30 grams may result in nutmeg poisoning, which causes thought disorder, a feeling of impending death, and a trip to the hospital. Now before you go raiding your mom’s spice rack, you should be warned that nutmeg isn’t popular as a recreational drug because it tastes terrible and has numerous possible negative side effects. It should also be noted that its effects don’t reach their peak for about 5 hours and can last up to three days. Check out some positive and negative nutmeg experiences here.
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 13, 2007
A couple of years ago, the City of Atlanta decided to launch an advertising campaign. Coined Brand Atlanta, its goal was to promote tourism, promote local pride, and establish an identity for the city. The rationale for starting the promotional campaign was that when people think of Las Vegas they think “gambling,” and when people think of New Orleans they think “Katrina”, er “Mardi Gras”, but nothing comes to mind when people think of Atlanta.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love Atlanta and enjoy living here, but there isn’t anything about the city that gives it an identity. Sure we’ve got the world’s busiest airport and the headquarters of Coca-Cola, but who really cares about that? Now that’s not to say that there’s nothing to see in Atlanta, but nobody is going to visit Atlanta so that they can snap some pictures of the airport.
Anyway, the Brand Atlanta campaign has come up with a few gimmicks to promote the city. These include TV and radio commercials, billboard ads, and a contrived and very lame theme song. I encountered one of these promos while at the Atlanta airport. It was large banner hanging from the ceiling at the train station. I’m trying to figure out what message Atlanta is trying to send. That all men in Atlanta wear skirts?
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 11, 2007
While making my daily rounds on the internet, I stumbled upon a strange, yet intriguing story. It seems that in 1981, a mysterious arcade game called Polybius appeared in various arcades around Portland, Oregon. Conflicting reports describe the gameplay as either a maze type game or an action shooter. The game, while extremely popular and addictive, caused its players to suffer from a series of disturbing side effects including amnesia, insomnia, nightmares, and night terrors. A few were reportedly driven to suicide. Many players swore off video games entirely. After about a month in the arcades, all of the Polybius machines were removed just as mysteriously as they had appeared.
There has been some rumors that the game was an experiment by the United States government (likely the CIA) in the area of behavior modification. Allegedly, arcade operators reported that mysterious men would come in and collect records from the machine. They apparently weren’t interested in the quarters. They just wanted information on how the game was played.
So did Polybius exist or is it just another internet legend? Here is a rare photograph of one of the Polybius machines. Or perhaps it’s simply a good Photoshop.
While it is likely that the story is merely an urban legend, it still makes for an entertaining story.
You can read more about it on Wikipedia.
Screenshot of the evil game? You decide.
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 10, 2007
I’m somewhat of an armchair drug user. That is, I don’t actually do drugs but I enjoy researching them and reading about their effects. I’ve always been somewhat curious of trying marijuana, but it’s not worth the money and I’m not hip enough to know where to buy any even if I really wanted to.
Growing up, I was brainwashed by authority figures and public service announcement into believing that all illegal drugs, especially marijuana and LSD, are bad and will kill you if you use them. I’ve known for some time that marijuana is a relatively harmless drug, however it was only recently that LSD piqued my interest.
I recently had read a story written by a man who was reminiscing on his teenage years when he used to trip on LSD and magic mushrooms. It was interesting to have the perspective of an actual user who thought of his experience as a positive one. The story compelled me to do some research. It seems that unless one is using it every day and multiple times a day, the effects are temporary. It is also similar to marijuana in that it is not addictive and virtually impossible to overdose on the drug.
As an armchair drug user, this knowledge was exactly what I needed. My faux drug cravings needed to be satisfied by a simulated high. So where else could I turn but YouTube. That’s where I came across the short video below.
It seems the creator of this video clip tried to mimic the experience of what it is like to look in a mirror while tripping on LSD. The visuals and sound distortions do a great job of creating a freaky atmosphere. According to some of the comments, it’s as close as one can get to experiencing and understanding the effects of LSD without doing it yourself. Check it out and enjoy your simulated trip!
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 10, 2007
For about ten years now I have been an avid user and fan of newsgroups. For those of you who don’t know, newsgroups are the original message boards and forums. They are internet forums in their rawest form: decentralized, unregulated, and unmoderated (there are a few exceptions, however). There are hundreds of thousands of newsgroups, although only several thousand of them see regular postings.
While I typically spend most of my time on various political groups, one of my favorite newsgroup pastimes is finding a great troll post. A good troll is a rare work of art. Many try but few succeed. I myself have created a few successful trolls over the years, however I am neither creative nor patient enough to make a regular habit of it.
Over the years I have come across a sizable amount of entertaining trolls; some of which I would like to share with you today. If you consider yourself an emotionally sensitive person or don’t find entertainment in other people’s gullibility, this article is probably not for you.
We have all heard of the person who, after building up trusting relationships within a community, fakes his or her own death and sits back and enjoys the weeping. This particular troll does the opposite. Instead of faking his own death, the troll poses as a dead person and nonchalantly acts as if he had no idea that anyone thought he was dead and had simply been away for a while. What made this troll work was that the deceased was well known among the newsgroup regulars but only one or two of them actually knew him in person. What worked against this troll was that he had already been plaguing this newsgroup for days beforehand, so it was more difficult to catch the regulars off their guard. Most of the fun came to an end when someone who had attended the dead man’s funeral spoke up.
You can read the whole thread here.
Another newsgroup that’s usually ripe for a good troll is alt.suicide.holiday. The group is typically filled with posters moaning about life and talking about killing themselves, although it is questionable as to how many actually go through with it. One enterprising troll decided to pose as a member of a suicide prevention organization. The troll claimed that the posters’ IP addressed had been collected and that their families will soon be informed of their suicidal postings. Watch how several of the posters halfway freak out. With posters with names like NothingToLose, Suicidal Failure, and catchingthebus, the troll was practically guaranteed to succeed.
You can read the whole thread here.
One of my personal favorites was a post to several gardening newsgroup. The troll claimed to have become a vegan and wanted to encouraged like-minded people to come visit her online journal, which she claimed had become somewhat of a community. Unbeknownst to the readers, the link did not lead to her journal, but a vile picture of three very old homosexual men having gay sex. Several poor readers had their eyes burst into flames before someone posted a warning. A more diligent newsgroup regular would have noticed something amiss if he or she had simply noticed that the message had been crossposted to alt.space.monkey.invaders and alt.spacebastards.
You can read the whole thread here.
The last thing I would like to share today is the Anagram Troll. The Anagram Troll is notorious around Usenet for posting absurd, barely on-topic messages to hundreds of newsgroups at a time. Most of these messages are lame, but often one is posted that is quite humorous for its obvious absurdity. Many of the replies to the post are also fun to read as well. Posts with subject lines such as “A gay [blank] raped me” and “[blank] comes into your bed” seem to be a common theme. The Anagram Troll frequently changes his handle, so his posts can be difficult to locate.
An example of his posts can be found here.
The above trolls are just a select few of the myriad of trolling examples where one can be entertained at the expense of another’s gullibility or emotional instability. Quality trolling is an excellent way to release one’s inner creativity and I highly encourage it at every possible opportunity.
Posted by FraudWasteAbuse on March 10, 2007
Sweden has an official government department that devotes its resources to fighting discrimination against homosexuals. Can you guess what the name of the department is?
I’d love to see people’s reactions when Hans Ytterberg hands out his business card.