Archive for January, 2006

Protected: Random phone calls

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Elevator farts

I need to stop farting in elevators. It seems like a place safe from others, where I can fart without fear, but then someone else gets on and I feel embarassed. When you’re the only other person, it’s pretty clear who dealt it.


I am a reference!

I got a call today from some woman who’s getting married in St. Louis. She said the DJ listed me as a reference, but I’m afraid I was so glowing that she probably thinks I’m his secret ally. But, the DJ was good, and I’m not afraid to say it. While she was calling, I also recommended our baker and our florist. I was going to recommend our photographer, but she had already signed with one. Still, ours was probably better.

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I caught Chester sleep-chewing

I saw Chester dreaming! He was asleep, with his little head tilted to the side. His eye was open, and it was aimed parallel to the ground, so I could see the white of his eye (because of the way he was tilting his head). His eye was clearly twitching around wildly, just as happens to humans during REM sleep. He was also chewing. I guess dogs run in their sleep, but guinea pigs chew in theirs.

Edit: In case you’re not aware of who Chester is, this picture should help:
Pic of Chester


And now a word from Commander Taco

Slashdot recently posted a link to many scientists’ “Most Dangerous Ideas.” Upon seeing the list, I realized I didn’t even need to see Leo Chalupa’s most dangerous idea, because it was already pretty obvious what he‘d write about.

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A Rich Cold Call

I just got a call from “Heartland Energy” in Colorado. They want me to invest $125,000 in a natural gas well in Texas. What’s impressive is that I got a call from a charismatic-seeming human, which is pretty unusual. Most of the time, cold calls like that are done by machines or minimum wage employees, but this guy sounded serious. He even argued with me when I said it was a scam. As a result, I was wildly amused. The fact that I insulted his scam “investment” and he still defended it was very interesting. He should have been able to tell that I wasn’t going to give him my hard-earned money, but he really wanted it.

This crooked, scamming company, Heartland Energy is trying to get ordinary people to give them $125,000 to drill a natural gas well in Texas. Supposedly, the land is on “11 zones” (whatever that means), so the wells have a high likelihood of success, and one family got a return of $9,000 last month, or so they claim.

When I got the call, I was amazed at how the salesperson talked over me when I tried to interrupt with questions. The man was incredibly persistent. When I insisted that if this was a good investment, he would offer it to people who know something about energy investing, he said that those people get “insider deals,” and for some reason this meant they wouldn’t want his investment. When I suggested that was because his investment was crap, he dodged it, and I can’t quite remember how. I think he said something about offering it to ordinary people, but that really doesn’t answer the question. In any case, he’s looking for capital by cold-calling graduate students. That doesn’t sound like a winning strategy, but I guess when suckers bite, they bite big.

I argued with him for a while, and then I decided I wanted to find out some information about the scam, so I started acting nice. Even after I’d been so negative, when I acted more positive, he was happy to keep selling to me, as though the argument had never happened. He didn’t want to give me their web address (because it contained “confidential information”), but I got it from Ask Jeeves, and he confirmed it was correct. He dropped the name of some law office (“Baker & McKinsey”) and tried to tell me how well their current investors were doing. Then he tried to tell me I had to invest at least $125,000 for 1 unit (although if he talked to his boss, maybe they’d let me have half a unit for $62,500). Finally, I argued with him again, calling it a scam, and I finally got him to hang up. I was on the phone for something like 10 minutes, most of it arguing.

In retrospect, I’m not sure I hate the company as much as I thought. This guy is trying to scam the stupid rich, and that’s generally fine with me. I feel no great empathy for stupid rich people, so someone might as well take their money.

Anyway, if you feel that this sounds like a scam, feel free to link to the company’s website like this: <a href=””>the crooked, scamming company, Heartland Energy&lt/a>. Hopefully, that will bring up their company’s webiste in search engines when people search for crooked and scamming. It’s a small blow, but a fun one.