Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Expendables

aka "Thank You, Stallone, For Not Making Me Feel Like I Wasted $8"

Short version- As a friend of mine so perfectly summed it up- "Dialog was clunky as hell at times and it looked like it was going to really suck half way through, but the last part of the movie made up for the lagging parts."

That is exactly how I felt about the movie. For maybe 30 minutes or so, it seemed like it was going to be the most atrocious, unwatchable pile of filth since GI Joe.

Spoilers ahead.

The beginning was OK, as we are dropped in on the Expendables in action. A very fun and frenetic scene, delivering not only on the promise that the previews made to us, but also on fleshing out the characters.

But once they returned home to their variously monotonous lives, I was afraid that the whole thing was falling apart. The dialogue was pretty fucking bad. I realize what this movie is supposed to be, an homage to action flicks starring the best of the best (or most of them anyway- would've loved to see JCVD in there). And as such, you can't in all good conscience hold it up to the same standards that you might a regular movie. But at times it seemed like they had forgotten the gag; that they were suddenly trying to take themselves seriously.

Randy Couture was kind of a waste. He is most definitely a horrible actor, reading his lines as thought he were trying to one-up (or one-down?) Michael Madsen's turn in Sin City. Just fucking awful. But even beyond that, he was pretty underused in the flick. The part about his ear, and his oversensitivity to its condition, was like an in-joke that nobody was in on. Again, I realize the irony of criticizing acting abilities in a movie of this scope. But in all honesty, the rest of the cast held their own. Say what you will about Stallone, at least he can act. True, it may not be "acting" so much as being himself, but Couture's time on camera was so wooden and forced it just felt painful to watch.

Statham especially is actually a pretty decent actor (though much of the material given to him here was clunky as hell). The guy knows how to play a toughguy-with-a-heart role. Even Lundgren had a pretty convincing performance as the washed up, unstable turncoat.

Mickey Rourke was criminally under-utilized in the movie. He's not necessarily a marquee action star, but he's tough enough to deserve some action scenes. He was barely around enough to deliver half-hearted monologues about love and honor. I suppose that could be attributed to the real-life deterioration of his mental faculties. How do I know, you may ask, that his mind is slipping? Well other than the evidence in any recent interview he's given, the man drooled during many of his meandering soliloquies. Drooled.

To me, Predator is the ultimate ensemble action movie. It is the bar that all films like this strive to reach. And though there is no shame in not reaching that peak, because few movies do, The Expendables actually surpassed Predator in one memorable category. Anyone here worth their testosterone knows that the baddest gun ever to grace the screen was Jesse Ventura's "Ol' Painless." And that gun's sheer ferocity has never come close to being matched. Until Terry Crews unleashed the fury of his as-yet-unnamed "girlfriend." Holy schnikes!!!

--The inclusion of Willis and Arnold was a nice touch. Brief, but just having them appear was a cool nod to 2 of the biggest in the genre.
--They could've trimmed some of the unnecessary and unimportant stuff, like Statham's girlfriend, or the tattoo shop (is it too over-critical of me to question why Stallone's unfinished tattoo needed literally 9 seconds of inkwork for Rourke to finish? Was the only reason for the inclusion of that scene to show off Stallone's tattoos?)
--The scene where Stallone was running after the airplane... let's just say that watching him run was a definite, concrete reminder that the man is over 60 years old. I can see why they edited it the way they did, to only show brief glimpses of him running. He ran as though he actually had shit in his pants.
--Seeing Big Nog and Little Nog as 2 of the henchmen was cool. Probably only going to be appreciated by hardcore MMA fans.
--Austin was a good villain. Fortunately they didn't give him much dialogue and let him play to his strength.

Maybe the only other thing that would've made this better would have been to not only have JCVD in it, but have him play Statham's romantic rival. No way his ego would've allowed that though.

Overall, I'd give it a solid B-, 2.5 out of 4 stars, a modest thumbs-up. Don't rush to catch it in the theater, but it's worth seeing.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fun with spam emails

Haven't been hearing back from any of these folks lately. Can't figure out why.

Subject: RE: Compensation

Hello friend,

I'm happy to inform you about our success in getting the funds transferred under the cooperation and supervision of a new partner from South Africa. Presently, we are in Africa to supervise and monitor investing in aforementioned projects knowing fully well that the FIFA World Cup is around the corner.

Anyways, I didn't forget your past efforts and attempts to assist my firm in the deployment of the funds into your account, regardless our hassles to succeed, been that you have once participated in the project and played a major, I cannot just leave you behind now that I fortune has smiled on me. To this regards, I personally decided to compensate you for your interest, efforts and co-operation in the past.

I would advice you contact my associate, Charles Barbour who is also in Africa to this mail. Your are to request to be sent you the total of ($3,000.000 USD) Three Million United States Dollars Only since obviously, you don’t transact in pounds sterling in your country. My Boss is a man of his words hence my emailing you to keep the pact we made with you in the past. I sincerely do appreciate all your efforts in the past and feel free and get in touch with my associate and direct him where to send your benefits to you. Do not forget to let us know immediately you receive it so I know all is well. At the moment, our schedule is tight for reasons mentioned above and finally, be informed that I had forwarded instructions to my associate on your behalf, so waste no time!

Mary Leroy


Subject: RE: Compensation

Kind of surprised to hear from you, I must admit. This isn't a trick, is it? Don't get me wrong, if you REALLY are trying to compensate me for past efforts I gladly accept. But if I remember correctly you weren't really too pleased with my, um "efforts." I mean, aside form a little data entry I think my only real activity in the office was getting coked out of my mind at the holiday party and banging your daughter on your desk (although I suppose that DOES qualify me as playing a major role! LOL). And again, I can't apologize enough for getting our... mess... on your framed diplomas. It's kind of funny now, I guess, but it sure was embarrassing at the time.

Anyway, I suppose this is what they mean by Forgive and Forget. So if you really do want to offer some profit sharing I gladly accept.


PS- I hope this isn't a sore subject, but since she obviously didn't get the abortion, do you think you could ask your daughter (I apologize, but I forgot her name!) to return the $200 I gave her for that purpose? Realistically, with what you're sending me $200 is nothing, but it's more or less the principle of the thing.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fun with spam emails IV

I really don't expect a response from this guy, but rest assured I'll post it if I get one:

Date: Mon, 24 May 2010 10:48:10 -0400
Subject: I can send you $622.77 TONIGHT

Dear friend,

I would like to send you $622.77 tonight:

I am NOT crazy, I just made over $214,000 in the last two months...making money online is the way to go!

I hope to hear from you soon!

Thank you!


Go here if you want $622.77 sent to you tonight:

Date: Mon, 24 May 2010 3:45 PM
Subject: RE: I can send you $622.77 TONIGHT

Fuck you, Chris. It's bad enough you literally took a shit on my couch when we were college roommates, but to keep taunting me, all these years later, through these thinly-disguised emails is just rude. Don't forget, it was in fact YOU who first promised to repay me the $622.77 that it cost to have the couch professionally cleaned. To not only never pay me back, but keep sending me these ridiculous emails just shows what a miserable lowlife prick you really are. If I had known this was the kind of "friend" you'd turn out to be, I would've never offered to come pick you up from that filthy dive in Tijuana. Just thank your lucky stars that the pictures we took of your unfortunate involvement in that donkey show never came out, or you'd have more internet fame than 2 Girls 1 Cup.

You're a dick. Grow up and stop having a laugh at my expense.


PS- I hope for your sake your diet has improved since ruining my couch. The cleaners told me that a normal human shit would've been a breeze to clean and only set me back $50.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Losers

I’m a sucker for a good “ragtag band of badasses working against the odds” flick. From Usual Suspects on down to Predator, that’s just good shit. And this one follows the blueprint to the T: The gruff, tough-as-nails leader with a heart of gold and chin of granite; the soft-spoken sniper; the knife specialist; the computer expert; even the wisecracking white guy who’s self-deprecating humor belies his deadly skills. Oh, and they were framed and left for dead by the clandestine shadow organization that had previously been their command.

Fast paced, frenetic editing, stylish shots and camerawork, and the best use of a Journey song in the history of cinema to date. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s got plenty of action. Clever writing, sharp dialogue, big guns and lotsa ‘splosions!

Chris Evans is pitch-perfect. His biting sarcasm and quick wit on full display, like Ryan Reynolds without the irony. And his perfection in this role is further evidence that he is the worst possible choice to play Captain America. It’s just not his style. To put him in a role where he can be tough but not sarcastic is a disservice to both him and his audience.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is awesome, the prototypical comic book toughguy. Remember how cool Arnold used to be in his 80’s action flicks? JDM is the updated version of that, and I mean that in a good way. Couple this with his turn last year as the Comedian, as well as his role (albeit brief) as Pop Winchester, and he is on a fast track to securing his place in the badass hall of fame. Sadly, his involvement in Grey’s Anatomy is still a black mark on his record.

Jason Patric is a surprisingly phenomenal villain. Very one-dimensional, but that’s the kind of movie this is. And you don’t mind it at all. Trust me. He’s so devious, so evil, and yet so damn charming and darkly hilarious. Bra-fucking-vo.

If you like action movies that don't try to pretend they're more than they actually are- if you liked Smokin' Aces- you should love this.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Warrior Dash

A few months ago, my buddy Steven Rowland told me about the Warrior Dash, a 3-mile run/obstacle course. They set it up a few different places around the country, and they were scheduled to stop an hour north of San Diego.

Not only did it look cool, but everyone who signs up gets a bitchin free hat!

That was all the motivation I needed. Except I forgot about it for a while. I only just signed up last week, 8 days before the actual race. With just a week to train, I figured I should maybe run a little, y’know, to get kind of in shape. So I jogged halfway down my street one morning. And that was the extent of training.

Very similar to my training regimen for a hike up Mt Whitney- tallest peak in the lower 48- a few years back. We had read online that the hike is good for a 2-day trip, but that fit individuals could do it in one. Anyway, about a week before that, I hadn’t done much to get in shape so I decided to ride an exercise bike for 30 minutes. Once. Training concluded, I made a successful hike. 9 hours up, 5 hours down. Wearing shorts and Tevas.

That experience basically taught me that I can get by without training, in much the same way high school taught me I could get by without studying or starting projects early. Yay procrastination!

Realistically, though, I knew that training would be helpful. My cardio is for shit. Honestly. I get winded walking up a few flights of stairs. But I do have a couple things going for me- one, I am actually strong for my scrawny frame. I never exercise. Ever (hence the bad cardio). But I could probably knock out 45 push-ups in under a minute. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I am stubborn as fuck. Not just stubborn; Irish stubborn. Tell me I can’t do something, and I’ll do it out of spite. Well, 50-50 if I ACTUALLY do it, I’m also lazy. But back to the stubbornness- it has gotten me through a lot. Like the aforementioned Mt Whitney.

Saturday was my day to run at 5PM. But before I got to do it, I had to cruise up to LA with Sherri to see some friends that were in town for the weekend. The plan: leave at 1PM, make a 2 hour dive to LA, 1 hour drive to Warrior Dash so I have an hour to hang out beforehand, one hour drive back home, then tomorrow reprise the 2-hour LA drive to pick Sherri up and relax for the rest of Sunday.

The reality: 3 ½ hour drive to LA. Fucking traffic! On a Saturday?!? Followed by a 2-hour drive to the Dash. So I missed my time. I was so angry sitting in that traffic, there are not words angry enough to describe it. At one point I was clenching my fist so tightly I thought I was going to snap one of my metacarpals. I was almost an hour late, and my run was the last one of the day. Luckily, they told me I could run Sunday instead. Crisis averted.

So after spending almost 7 hours to drive 250 miles on Saturday, I was sooooo fucking sick of driving. And I would have to do another 220-mile LA trip before driving the 50 miles to the race Sunday. I didn’t know if I could do it. This from a guy who used to love road trips more than anything. I’ve driven from Detroit to NYC to watch the ball drop on New Years Eve, then turned around and drove home. I’ve also driven to Long Island to take my sister to dinner for her birthday, and drove home after. I’ve driven from Detroit to New Orleans, DC, San Jose, Minneapolis, and Denver. And from D-town to San Diego maybe 6 or 7 times (including once in 45 hours- take THAT Cannonball Run).

Back to the task at hand- I hate running. I consider it to be one of the 2 greatest evils in the world. And yes, the other one is traffic. Great weekend for me, no? The entire time I was getting ready for the run, I never really considered that 3 miles isn’t really a short distance. At least not to someone who never exercises. Ever.

On top of that, I only just saw the obstacles Saturday morning, too. Jumping over fire? Why not.

It hit me after maybe the first half-mile. I was starting to get tired already. By mile 1 I thought I might puke. Keep in mind here we’re pretty much all jogging. Nobody is really embracing the ‘race’ aspect of this, it’s more fun for the obstacles. When I finally got to the water table at the halfway point, I was crushed that I was only half done. By mile 2, my lungs felt like they would explode. Most of the obstacles were in the second half of the race though, which actually helped. Breaks up the monotony and pain of running.

But I made it! Success! Warrior Dash conquered, obstacles bested, fire leapt. And in a respectable (to me at least) time of about 35 minutes.

Here are some video highlights

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Full Moon

We had an amazing full moon the other night, so Sherri and I went out and took some pics. She's been getting back into photography quite a bit, and I've always loved messing around with the camera. Here's a few that she took, using different shutter speeds.

That last one looks really spooky to me. It just evokes thoughts of classic horror movies. Nothing like a good full moon to give you the creeps.

And here's a couple I took. I've always liked extended exposure to create ghost images, and I've recently been playing with extended exposure while zooming.

I think we got a lot of cool shots that night. Makes me want to go out more often with the camera.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Smokin Aces 2

Just watched it on DVD, and I have to say I quite enjoyed it. I know it hasn't been too well received, but I think it's getting an unfair shake..

It greatly helps if you don't hold it up for side-by-side comparison to the first. Doing that will leave you sorely disappointed. Rather, think of it as another, unrelated assassin story set in the same universe. Kind of like Kevin Smith has characters that travel between films (ie Julie Dwyer) in his Askew-niverse. Or like Tarantino has characters that similarly cross boundaries (Alabama, the Vega brothers). I'm not comparing the quality of the Carnahan-verse, as it were, to those of Smith or Tarantino. Just the concept of unique, self-contained worlds. Viewing SA2 in this light will allow you to enjoy it for what it is: a world of larger-than-life characters, card tricks, and maddeningly complex double-crosses. Not only are 3 characters from the original (yet chronologically newer) film here, there's also the near-unavoidable name drop of Buddy Israel.

This story is from the same writer, Joel Carnahan, as made clear by a couple of Easter eggs related to his first outing and the aforementioned character continuity. As a product of his fictional reality this movie is a good stand alone caper that requires no previous knowledge of the first. Though in all truthfulness I can't imagine anyone watching this movie if they have not seen the first one.

It's clearly meant to mimic the tone, and to some degree the content, of the original; we've been here before so we know what’s coming. As soon as the target of this new cabal of assassins is revealed, you'll be thinking "Okay, what's the real target here?" as you look for the inevitable plot twist that throws the story completely off the rails. That doesn't mean you won't enjoy the ride.

But before I delve into the story, a moment to appreciate the style. SA2 had pretty fucking outstanding cinematography, much like its predecessor. Here again are all the crazy camera angles, color washes, split-screens, jump-cuts through the timeline, even a nod to Natural Born Killers' acid-inspired backdrops (although that inclusion did seem almost glaringly out of place, as it never again resurfaced after grabbing your attention by the throat and demanding you notice); stylistically it was pretty close to amazing.

As for the story, it was a fun and action packed ride. Nothing too terribly groundbreaking, but if you liked the first one there's no reason you shouldn't like this one too. A few specifics (read: spoilers)-

The Tremor family is back in all their dysfunctional glory. Only one of the brothers we know from the first film is here, with a few crazy new additions. I would almost complain that this version of the Tremor family is too over the top, too comical, too batshit crazy for its own sake. Almost. Sure they were better when they were just 3 psychotic brothers that we knew almost nothing about, but this kind of glimpse into their so-called family is fun. And as the Tremor sister, Autumn Reeser is effing hot.

One of the recurring characters from part one is given a completely unexpected backstory, making for an interesting transition. And probably done solely for the knowing wink it delivers to the audience.

The addition of a finite timeline and enclosed location really raises the stakes on this mission. Cat and mouse could hardly be more tense.

As arguably the best-known cast member, Vinnie Jones is surprisingly underused. Although he is clearly in his element here.

And maybe it's the Blu-Ray, but some of the explosions looked laughably bad.

All in all a solid, entertaining 90 minutes. As the story unfolds, I felt like they almost clumsily hand you the puzzle pieces (you can unmistakably hear the lines that will be repeated as voiceovers during the final reveal), daring us to not figure out the curveball ending. And they got me. I fell for the red herrings all the way, so much so that by the time they delivered the actual ending, I was a little pissed that they tricked me so blatantly. And just as I was derisively mocking the ending as a cheap, almost carbon-copy ripoff of the final shot from Usual Suspects, they turned the tables yet again and delivered an ending so satisfying that I still can't believe it happened. Ku-fucking-dos.

On a pop culture note, if ever a movie is adapted from the Twisted Metal video game franchise, these are the guys to do it. SA2 already had enough elements to qualify as a loose adaptation- crazy assassins, crazier vehicles, a carnival, and exploding clowns.

As for the extras, a couple worthwhile tidbits. The deleted scenes section is unimpressive, save for the clip that shows they almost used the shitty, completely non-satisfying ending. Glad they didn't. The segment on weapons is interesting. But the one that I really recommend is the Behind the Scenes. I have a special affinity for how movies are made. And watching this really enhanced the entire movie experience. You can really see that they weren't trying to make a clone of the first movie. Nor were they trying to re-envision it. They were just taking the world they had created- this world of insane assassins, high octane, balls to the wall, full throttle adventure- and tell another story that would keep you entertained. And in that, I would say they succeeded.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Book of Eli

(and yes, there are spoilers ahead)

Short version- it was a well-made propaganda film for the Bible. Kinda felt like Ralphie after getting his decoder ring- "A crummy commercial? SonofaBITCH." I liked it though.

I enjoyed this dystopian view of the future & the vagueness of the event that created it. It's always a little more interesting when some details are left to the imagination. This was definitely an alternate reality though; one that could never be the result of the actual world we live in- no ipods and no kindles! What the hell kind of future could that possibly be? While the blindingly obvious lack of ipods was likely a branding/sponsor decision (with the lack of Kindles being a plot device- their existence would render the plot moot), it was interesting to see what companies had agreed to product placement: KFC, Busch, KMart (at this year's Comicon, I expect to see plenty of KMart nametags emblazoned with the name "Eli." The new 'nerd cred' status symbol, perhaps).

Like a majority of movies I see these days, I loved the concept, loved most of the execution, but was underwhelmed by the ending. I must say I saw the twist coming a mile away. Not sure if it's because I knew that a twist was coming; I'd like to think I would've guessed it anyway. Normally I never ever see a twist coming. I think The Others may be one of the few times I've called it. But I digress! I am a fan of digression, btw. So yeah, I thought about the blind thing when he was hunkered down in the abandoned house cooking that cat, and I watched the entire movie wondering if I was right, trying to find proof or disproof of that theory. I actually remember thinking of how he jumped in fright when he opened that closet and found the body hanging there. Struck me as kinda funny and authentic that a tough guy can still be startled. I retrospectively justified it in my mind that the smell is what made him jump, but his sense of smell was so strong, that didn't seem plausible. Couple other moments when they oversold the blind thing, especially when Mila Kinis remarked (needlessly) about how bright it was in his room, after we had just seen him viewing his bible by flashlight (which in hindsight made no sense and was a red herring just for the sake of being a red herring, which is storytelling bullshit). Also oversold- when one of the thugs said "It's like he's protected somehow." For fuck's sake, leave it to the audience to connect the dots, massive and unmistakable as you made those dots, about faith and man.

Other blindness "bloopers" (and to be fair, I am not a fan of picking a movie apart just for the sake of doing so. I just think that if you base the heart and soul of your story on an improbable Shyamalanian twist, you have to play fair and not go out of your way to unfairly dupe the audience): He looked everyone in the eye. I've known a few blind people, not to mention every other blind person in the movie, and that's not typical. His hearing and smell were WAY too refined. He was better at navigating his world sightlessly than Daredevil. And Daredevil has mutagenically enhanced senses AND radar! He could smell people yards away. And he could pinpoint shoot somebody just based on sound? Balderdash! Glaringly, how would he have found the first house he camped in? Let alone the house where the two well-armed old cannibals lived (sigh... Deus ex Machina. Shelter and the biggest cache of weapons this side of a Schwarzenegger movie) that he "saw" from maybe a half mile away! I'm willing to go with the fight scenes. I've always been a fan of the "blind swordsman" angle, and I can suspend my disbelief enough for that (I can also suspend disbelief that Mila Kunis can't read but can drive a car better than I can). And the opening scene, where he skewers that cat??? I don't care how good his hearing is, he was wearing a hood and mask and that cat was quiet as shit. Not to mention the logistical impossibility of him setting up that trap anyway. How did he manage to line up that shot in the first place? And how did he so easily grab the felled cat after shooting it? Those instances flew in the face of the subtle clues given later on- the way he would always touch the door before entering a room, the way he always first consulted the sun before heading West, and as I already mentioned the way he wouldn't shoot someone until they shot first thus giving up their position. Those were great, subtle clues about his lack of sight. It was cheap, bush league even, to intentionally mislead the audience in the other direction.

More anti-blindness hullabaloo: How did he know that the shop he entered was a shop at all, where he could barter? Love me some Tom Waits, by the by. Always pleasantly surprised when I find him in a movie. Also a fan of Oldman and Kunis. And the poster of A Boy and His Dog in the room where he stayed? Very nice touch. Yay digression! When he went to pick up his non-ipod MP3 player (like such a thing exists!) he spoke to the shopkeep as though he could see the cords plugged into his device. Even at the end, when they stopped on the Golden Gate bridge, let's just say he could tell where the side of the bridge was based on the wind. Or something. There is still no way he could know there were STEPS he would have to negotiate to get to the edge. And lastly, perhaps most annoyingly, how in fucking blazes can a blind man accurately paddle a rowboat towards an island? Backwards???

Inevitably, a die-hard fan of the movie might say faith allowed him to accomplish these things. But that explanation would render his blindness immaterial and undermine the twist.

All that aside, I did find it enjoyable. Mila Kunis has never looked hotter than when she strapped the Sword of Michael to her back and headed off for some sweet, sweet revenge. And the cinematography was top notch. From the washed out look of the film to the fucking beautiful tracking shots during the gunfight- moving from inside the house to back out, then in again. Out-fucking-standing. No doubt in my mind that those shots were digitally stitched together, but it was still a thing of bullet-driven beauty.

The blindness thing was just too contrived and altogether unnecessary. Would've been a cool story even if he could see. Maybe not quite as strong a statement about faith, but I argue it would still be a solid faith-based tale. I was thinking (hoping) that the Bible he finally handed over to Gary Oldman was either boobytrapped with a bomb (but they already did that once), blank pages (because he obviously already had it memorized), or written in either a different language or illegible shorthand. Those would've all been as good as, if not better. And when the Librarian (Malcolm McDowell!!!) asked "Can I see the Bible?" it was already obvious that it was memorized even before Denzel described himself as the book "Kinda beat up, but it'll do the job." Just after that scene I was thinking it'd be cool to see the other journeys that other zealots had made as they brought the Qur'an, etc to the library. Alas, those books were already there.

Before I saw the movie I had actually contrived my own twist in the week or so since I learned this flick had one. Imagine if the movie plays as is until Gary Oldman leaves him for dead, but before Mila Kunis jacks the truck. Now imagine it cuts to the reveal: Denzel is a patient at a mental hospital, no known family, no one knows anything about his history other than he's been a patient for 30 years and he is certifiably insane. He has a book (in real life) that he is obsessed with and defends. There have been instances where other patients or staff tried to check his book out and he attacked them, severely beating them. It's all been his fantasy world; Oldman is his shrink, and he is not an evil guy at all. He finally got the book from Eli- hence Eli imagining being shot and dying. Dr Oldman opens the book and it's just blank pages. Eli dying in real life as he dies in his fantasy world. Roll credits.

Boom! (that means I'm done)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fun with spam emails Pt 3

Another spam email that I replied to. This one never wrote me back, possibly because of my pervasive (yet intentional) grammatical errors. Or possibly because they did steal my idea!

16 Rue Lanterne,
Lyon 69001, France.

The Fondation De France(FDF) would like to notify you that you have been chosen as one of the final recipients of a cash Grant/Donation for your own personal, educational, and business development. We are giving out US$1,350,000.00 each to 100 lucky recipients in different categories for their personal business development and enhancement of their educational plans.

The objective is to make a notable change in the standard of living of people all around the Universe (From America to Europe, Asia to Africa and all around), probably like in the next 20yrs.

Based on the random selection exercise of internet websites and millions of supermarket cash invoices worldwide, you were selected to receive the award. (Note that all beneficiaries email addresses were selected randomly from over 100,000 internet websites or a shop's cash invoice around your area in which you might have purchased something from).

You are required to contact the Executive Secretary below, for qualification documentation and processing of your claims. After contacting our office, you will be given your donation pin number, which you will use in collecting the funds. Please endeavor to quote your Qualification numbers (FDF-444-6647-9163) in all discussions.Reply to:

Executive Sec. Mr. Dane Blarer

On behalf of the Board kindly, accept our warmest congratulations.

Mrs. Claudia Lauren


Mon, February 4, 2008 5:24:40 PM

Hey that is awesom about the grant money. I need to give you my info so you can send me a check? I have a great idea to change the world. It is the idea to train badgers to rescue starving people from their starvation. Badgers are notoriouos for finding food and if I can train them (I have allready trained one and it is a success!!!) to find starving people and carry them to where the food is it litterally has the possibility to change how the world is run and not have people die from starving anymore!

PLeas send money.

PS- if you think to stael my idea I can sue you!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fun with spam emails Pt 2

Here's another spam reply I sent. She actually wrote back to me, but it was very long-winded and she clearly didn't actually read what I wrote to her. Oh well.

Subject: for charity
Date: Sun, 8 Nov 2009 17:58:27 +0000

Good Day
I am Rita Richardson, My Doctor have diagonised me cancer. I have decided to donate $4.8 million, to you and want you to use this gift which comes from my husband's effort to fund the upkeep of the less privilege.
Pls. respond:
Rita Richardson


RE: for charity‏
From: (
Sent: Sun 11/08/09 4:31 PM
How great! This is not only extremely lucky but incredibly ironic- I've been working on a device to give poor people cancer; not only would it help with overpopulation, but it would also (eventually) end their needless suffering.

This money you are generously donating will help me finish my research and will technically achieve your wish of assisting the less fortunate. Thank you so much!!!

Mr Miyagi

Fun with spam emails

I get just as much junk email as everyone else, mostly to my hotmail account (which is why I rarely use that one anymore). Even though that's all I really get via hotmail, I keep that account open. Because to me, spam emails are a lot of fun. I try to write back to the really good ones. Occasionally, they respond to my reply, and then it's just a matter of how long I can string them along before they give up on me. Or until I get their ssn and bank account info. No luck on that. Yet.

Subject: accountant request
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2009 00:11:52 +0100

Dear friend,

My name is Mr. John Gelsthorp. I am the accountant of the FinBank Plc Victoria Island Lagos. I am married with two kids.

I am writing to solicit your assistance in the noble transfer of US$3,800,000.00 (Three Million, Eight Hundred Thousand US Dollars). This fund is the excess of what my branch in which I am the accountant made as profit last year. I have already submitted an approved end year report for 2008 and also submitted report of first quarter of this year 2009 to my Head Office here in Lagos and they will never know of this Excess. I have placed this fund on a SUSPENCE ACCOUNT without a beneficiary.

As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am impelled to request for your assistance to receive this money into your bank account. I intend to part with 30% of this fund to you while 70% shall be for me. I do need to stress that there are practically no risk involved in this. It is going to be a bank-to-bank transfer to your nominated bank account anywhere you feel safe. All I need from you is to stand as the original depositor of this fund.

If you accept this offer, I will appreciate your timely response.

Best regards,

Mr. John Gelsthorp


Dear John Gelsthorp,

No offense, sir, but if you have an excess of $3.8MM that you are trying to cover up, you must be a piss-poor accountant. Seriously, where did you get your accounting degree? From a school advertised on a pack of matches? I suggest you update your resume and start looking for work. Preferably not for something that handles money. I doubt you'd even have success as a McDonald's register clerk. "Oh, excuse me, Mr Manager, my drawer is over by $150,000 tonight!" Nice as it sounds, that's the kind of problem that corporate would frown upon.

Anyway, good luck with that.