03 April 2017

FUCK YOU, STOP CALLING ME - April 2017

The calls just keep on coming

3 April 2017
  323-639-4497  Huntington Park, CA - I got a call from Huntington Park last month, but from a different number.  According to my sources (Google), this caller is one of those that try to get you to say "yes", so they have a recording of your voice saying, "yes".

Slight tangent:  Obviously, do not answer if you do not know the number.  If it is a legit and/or important call, they will leave a message.  Fun fact:  I used to queue up Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up and Rick Roll telemarketers, way before Rick Rolling was a thing.  Believe it or not, I may have invented the Rick Roll.  I have a buddy that used to queue up the "the number you have dialed is no longer in service. Please hang up and try your call again".  That is genius.

Where was I?  Was this call a scam?  Yes!  Of course it was...all telemarketers are fucking scams.  I think this is going to be another busy month. Fuck you!

5 April 2017
  319-214-7297  Vinton, IA - Did you know that areas of downtown Vinton was featured in the 1996 film Michael?  I totally googled that.  Yeah Michael, that one movie with John Travolta plays an angel.  I have never seen it, but I am guessing it was not a great movie.  Fast forward twenty years later and Vinton's biggest contribution to society is telemarketing.  So, the highlight of Vinton's history is a shitty Travolta movie.  Way to go, Vinton!  Fuck you!

7 April 2017
  636-278-3405  Saint Peters, MO - This might be a misdialed number (legit), or it could be a routed number.  I default to telemarketer.  What had by gears turning was "Saint" Peters.  Usually, one sees "Saint" written as "St.", although we automatically pronounce it as "Saint".  When I was kid...okay, I still do this...I would read it as "street".  "St." to me was "street" long before it was "Saint"....so, Street Peters, Street Louis, Street Martin...and they live on Lombard Saint, Bourbon Saint, Wall Saint.  And yes, I had the same issues with "Dr."...Drive or Doctor.  Dr. Drive lives on Doctor Dr. I wonder if Pete Docter (of Pixar) lives on Saint St. Fuck you!

 650-480-9777 - San Mateo - Fucking Lori.  Fucking Door Dash.  Okay, shame on me for not blocking this number.  But, I have blocked Door Dash before and they have used other numbers to contact me...uh, fucking Lori...about her order.

Lori is a cunt
So, I have blocked this number.  Only time will tell when that lazy cunt Lori orders food, again.  Door Dash will probably use another number to contact me.  I think the next time I will start giving 1 ratings to Door Dash.  Fuck you!

12 April 2017
  206-483-2712  Seattle, WA - Grungy, coffee drinking telemarketer.  Fuck you!

20 April 2017
  480-704-2098  Phoenix, AZ - On 4/20, and Arizona happens to be one of the states that have legalized marijuana.   Maybe I should have picked up and got some free weed.  No red flags on initial search, but I am sure there are some red eyes.  Ha!  Fuck you!

21 April 2017
  916-758-8675  Sacramento, CA - Known telemarketing number, a robo caller.  Apparently, if you call back, you can option to 'press 9' and get put on do not call list.  Sure...a do not call list for this number, but you will no doubt be put on other call lists.  Fuck you!

24 April 2017
  213-205-5939  United States - Remember the lesson we learned from a few months ago?  When the original of the call is "United States" it is (pretty much) a telemarketer call.  So, this call from Los Angeles...uh, United States is no different.  Fuck you!

26 April 2017
  213-212-3038  United States - Looks like they are going with the "United States" as call location.  This is good, because it makes it easy for one to tell these are telemarketers.  Now, if they can just go one step further and make the call location read, 'telemarketer'...that would be awesome.  Fuck you!

  213-212-3038  United States - Yeah, repeat call.  Fuck you!

Back to back calls

23 March 2017

Review of Spirit

Depeche Mode - Spirit
Depeche Mode released their fourteenth studio album last week. I have listened to a a few times, giving it time to 'settle in'.  I have to admit that the first listen did not go so well.  As a fan, you expect certain things and while sometimes those points are not check, other unexpected points get checked on a positive...and negative note.

The general feel is this is a good album.  There are elements that, a producer and artist, would take out.  I am talking about the overuse of distortion and auto tune.  Depeche Mode has been around for thirty six years...well before distortion and well before auto tune.  They do not need it, they should not need it.  This is the first time working with producer James Ford.

As with my review of Delta Machine, I will go track by track, writing as I am listening.  Tracks written by Martin Gore, unless noted.  Here we go.

1.  Going Backwards -  This is a good intro song.  It draws you in with a great beat and lyrics.  Although, it took me a few listens to figure out that the first like is "We are not there yet", as there is a little too much distortion on the track. I thought Dave Gahan was signing "We-anna-bey-yah"...I seriously thought it was a different language.  8/10

2.  Wheres the Revolution - It is pretty easy to see why they chose this as their first single.  After listening to this track a few more times, I think this is great.  It has a familiar 'Mode-feel'.  The only part I am not a fan of is the "The train is coming...The engine's humming" part.  I think it sounds like a nursery rhyme, a case of lazy song writing....or what I call "copy/paste song writing".  Some people mistake "repetitive" as "catchy".  Strong track. 8/10

3. The Worst Crime - This is the best track on the album.  It has that Condemnation feel to it great lyrics and Dave's voice it euphoric.  For those that think the boys have lost it, they should listen to this track.  10/10

4. Scum - Way too much distortion and manipulation of Dave's voice.  Scum is an average song with below average arrangement.  This track suffers from being overproduced...sounds like Michael Bay produced this song. Luckily, it is short.  4/10

5. You Move -  Again, a little too much on the auto tune, here.  The lyrics are fine, but gets repetitive.  "I like the way you move, I like the way you move tonight..."  Yeah, I get it.  Track written by Gore and Gahan. 5/10

6.  Cover Me - Another 'slow' track.  Dave's voice works well on this one.  Not your typical Depeche Mode track, it sounds different...in a good way, and a relief from the last two tracks.  The end drags out a bit too long, but I am okay with it, as it has an 'updated 80's sound'.  Track written by Gahan, Peter Gordeno, Christian Eigner. 8/10

7. Eternal - First track with Martin on vocals.  Meh, it just sounds like an interlude it is the shortest track at just over two minutes.  It feels that they put it in here, at the half way mark, to say, "hey, Martin sings, too".  Average track that is overproduced.  4/10

8. Poison Heart - Well, this one rocks! One of my favourite tracks off the album.  Another great vocal performance from Dave. Track written by Gahan, Gordeno, Eigner.  9/10

9. So Much Love -  First thing you notice is there is so much distortion in Dave's voice.  This would be so much better if it was auto tuned down.  Great song, just ruined by auto tune and distortion...like a exotic car with a shitty paint job.  My ears ring from the noise after this track.  6/10

10.  Poorman - Love the lyrics to this track.  But, again...it suffers from too much post production.  If not for that, it could be a candidate for a single.  Oh, I hope it becomes a single so it and be remixed...or better yet, unmixed into something less distorted. Ugh, you can almost hear Dave's voice trying to escape the grabbing hands of the auto tune machine. 7/10

11.  No More (This Is the Last Time) -  Not sure what to think about this one.  Kinda average throughout, but has its moments where you think it can pick up, but falls back down.  Not the best, not the worst. Probably better as a B-side. Track written by Gahan and Kurt Uenala.  5/10

12. Fail - Vocals by Martin.  They say you want to end with a bang, not sure it this one fulfills that criteria.  I believe this is the first ever DM song with profanity in it, as Martin sings, "we're fucked".  Still, not a strong track to end the album...fail, indeed.  4/10

If you are like me and got the Deluxe Edition, you will be treated to five remixes.  I am not going to get into these, but they are your typical remixes.  Oddly, some of the remixed are less 'remixed' than the album track themselves.

Overall the album is slightly above average with a score of 6.5/10.  There are some great tracks in the beginning of the album that really hit. But unfortunately, there are some tracks at the end that weighed down the rest of the album.  Most of the damage to the album falls on the overuse of auto tune and distortion...being overproduced.  I would love to hear a clean version of this...or even the 'naked' remixes...which would have been an awesome second disc, instead.

Hoping more of this album will grow on my as I listen to it more. Maybe these track will sound better live.

06 March 2017

The James Bond NATO Strap

Being a guy, you kinda default into being a 007 fan.  Being a watch fanatic, you kinda get into straps, as well.  Among the many James Bond gadgets and accessories is his watch, and of course, the watch strap.  In the films, Bond has worn Rolex, Breitling, Hamilton, Seiko, TAG Heuer, and currently, Omega.  In the books by Ian Fleming, Agent 007 wears a Rolex.  But we are not talking about the watches, just one of the straps.

Sean Connery as James Bond wearing a Rolex Submariner on a NATO strap
While most watches come on either a metal bracelet or leather strap, the Bond character chooses to wear their watches on a nylon NATO strap, mostly likely due to his military background.  Sean Connery can been seen wearing a nylon strap with a Rolex Submariner in many of the James Bond films.  Connery's strap is a black strap with two olive stripes, on either side of the olive are thin red stripes.  

Daniel Craig as James Bond wearing an Omega Seamaster on NATO strap
Daniel Craig's NATO strap, as seen in some of his Bond films, is a black strap with two grey stripes.

These straps are widely available from many manufactures and in different colour combinations.  Most important, they are available in the Bond style.  Some are great, some are not so great.  I have a purchase a few at different price points to compare.  

NATO straps by Phoenix (top), Cincy Strap Works (middle), and Omega (bottom)
I should mention that of the many versions out there, these are the best ones I have found so far based the tightness of the nylon weave, via images.  Others out there have a looser weave and have cheaper look, based on images.  When looking for nylon straps, I recommend ones with a tighter weave.

The images below will show the Phoenix strap on the left, Cincy Strap Works in the middle, and the Omega strap on the right.  These are all 22mm wide.

Strap ends
The Phoenix strap (left) is the least expensive of the three, at $10-15.  This is also the thinnest of the three straps at 0.8mm. Although the Phoenix strap has a tight weave, it feel stiffer than the other two straps.  It also feels a little flimsy, especially if you are wearing on a large or heavy watch. 

Nylon straps are usually finished by melting the ends to prevent fraying.  Notice that the Phoenix cut and sealing is not as smooth as the other two.  All straps reviewed have sealed holes.

Hardware
The Cincy Strap Works strap (middle) retails for about $24.  Great strap for a great price.  It is slightly thicker than the Phoenix at 1.25mm.  The version I have is the "Seat Belt" version, feels a lot like a seat belt and also has a glossy-like finish.  It has a silky smooth feel and wears really comfortable on the wrist.  

Looking at the hardware, the Phoenix and CSW are rounded.  The Omega has squared hardware, and Omega logo on the bottom loop.  

You can see that the colour on the straps are slightly different from each other, something you really cannot see and compare when ordering via images.  It really does not bother me too much.  I personally like CSW's tone of grey.

Buckles
The Omega strap is the most expensive of the three, it can set you back around $250-300.  That price gives you a thicker 1.5mm strap and noticeably smoother finish that you can feel.  

Each buckle displays the company name.  The Phoenix and CSW have etched logos on the left side of he buckle, while the Omega has an embossed logo on the center of the buckle.  The hardware on the Phoenix is locked in by (I assume some sort of) sonic welding.  The other two locks their hardware with stitches.

Conclusion:

Obviously, you get what you pay for.  

At $15, the Phoenix is a great strap.  Why not get two or three at that price?  It does feel thin, especially compared to other similar type straps out there.  I got my Phoenix strap through GasGasBones.

The Omega strap, some might say, is over priced.  But, the quality is superb.  After all, this is the Official James Bond strap. You can get the Omega strap at an Omega Boutique or Omega Authorized dealer.  I got mine through eBay.  

By far the best bang for your buck is the Cincy Strap Works strap.  At only $24, you get quality very close to the Omega strap without the Omega price.  Check out the CSW website to order yours and view their other items.

Now, go out there and save the world.



02 March 2017

FUCK YOU, STOP CALLING ME - March 2017

Here we go, again.  We get a longer month, so we should get more calls.

2 March 2017
  951-215-7230  Riverside, CA - Riverside is one of those cities that one would expect to have a telemarketing firm.  It is kinda in the middle of nowhere, way outside of Los Angeles.  I am sure it is cheaper and easier to have a sketchy business there.  Probably a good place to visit, but not a place you want to live...especially since there is a telemarketing hub there.  Fuck you!

4 March 2017
  858-208-4280  Poway, CA - "Poway" sounds like an onomatopoetic word, describing a weak punch.  You know, like in the comics.  Or, it could the lost brother of Snap!, Crackle!, and Pop!  Actually, there was a fourth brother named Pow!  But Poway? (with a question mark) is the one that represents soggy Rice Krispies that have been sitting in milk for too long.  Makes me crave for some Rice Krispies, which is what one should experience on a Saturday...and not a stupid telemarketing call.  Fuck you!

8 March 2017
  323-209-2032  Huntington Park, CA - No, not Huntington Beach...that is the good Huntington.  This is a call from Huntington Park...the not so good Huntington.  Did you think a telemarketing company can afford a plush place like Huntington Beach?  Of course not...unless they route the number.  Really why have a 'Beach' and a 'Park' with in 35 miles of each other.  Way to confuse everyone in Southern California.  Fuck you!

12 March 2017
  650-480-9777 San Mateo, CA - Remember those texts I was getting from Door Dash?  If not, step into my time machine:  February 2016March 2016, November 2016, and December 2016. 

See what I have been dealing with for over a year?  I have tried texting back and communicating with Door Dash via support@doordash.com, surprise, with no results.  The last time I got texts, I was 'lucky' enough to also get texts from the delivery guy...what they call "dashers".  I was able to communicate that I am NOT Lori, and had him tell Door Dash to check their records.  I even decided not to post that communication here.  It stopped for a while...until tonight.

Normally, one would think that this is a wrong number. But, as mentioned I asked to have this issue looked at.  Assuming that he did it, we can classify this as a mistake.  Ah, but here is where we get all M. Night Shyamalan over this.  The first five texts where from Northern California, at least the area code (650) and restaurants were.  This time, while the number is from the San Mateo ares, you can see that the restaurant is in Southern California.

So, unless fucking Lori ordered Thai food from Manhattan Beach and had that shit driven up 400 miles to San Mateo...two things are happening here.

1 - That cunt Lori is now down in Southern California and still using this service, AND did not update her number with Door Dash.  That cunt keeps using my number as here contact number and I keep getting these text...and can do nothing about it.  Oh, I have tried blocking...they just re-route through another number, so I get these fucking updates on food I am not eating. God damn it, Lori fucking owes me dinner.

2 - This is a telemarketing scam designed to 'advertise' for Door Dash.  I mean, what are the fucking odds that I keep getting updates for this "Lori" character.  I have added a new tag to my posts, "Door Dash", to help track these fuckers.

Either way...fuck you, Lori...and fuck you, Door Dash.

14 March 2017
   203-983-5988  Greenwich, CT - Ah, a good old fashion telemarketer call. No text to read, just your garden variety robo-call to ignore.  Hey, what if "Lori" is the name of the robo-calling system.  Like L.O.R.I., as in Lazy Operator Redialing the Innocent.  Fuck you!

16 March 2017
  323-454-2032  Los Angeles, CA - So, we are back to California calls.  Fuck you!

17 March 2017
  323-580-0496  Los Angeles, CA - Fucking, Los Angeles!  Given today is St. Patrick's Day, this could have been a drunk dial...but no.  As usual, a call from an unknown number is a fucking telemarketer.  Wait, what if it was a drunk robot.  Fuck you!

21 March 2017
  951-420-0576  Perris, CA - Perris sounds like Paris...and I can guarantee that Perris, CA leans further away from 'romantic city' and leans more towards shit hole.

Oh, I did see something on the news the other day regarding something about mobile phone companies given the green light to block telemarketer calls.  Yeah, right.  I real do not see this happening.  I would not be surprised if mobile providers are getting a little kickback from telemarketers.  Like I said, I just saw this on the news...and bam, I get a telemarketer call.  The government did jack shit with their Do Not Call List.  I doubt the mobile companies are going to put a dent into this.  Prove me wrong.  Fuck you!

23 March 2017
  951-420-0576  Perris, CA - Oh, a return caller.  Did you forget to route the call through a 'new' number?  Ha, you guys suck.  Uh, how is that telemarketer blocking coming along, huh?  Yeah, I thought so.  Fuck you!

29 March 2017
  323-701-0304  Los Angeles, CA - Coming down to the wire.  We are in the final days of March and this months looks to be a busy one.  Look at all these calls.  Today we have another telemarketer...surprise!  Two more days to add to one of the more busy months in recent history.  Fuck you!

30 March 2017
  310-849-8930  Beverly Hills, CA - This is what I get. I suggest maybe these fuckers call me to close out the month...and guess what happens.  Of course I get a call.  Folks, this is the real March Madness.  Fuck you!

  310-849-5780  Beverly Hills, CA - Wait, what?  Changing the suffix does not make you less of a telemarketers.  Is there some sort of event going on that I do not know about, like an election. What is with these calls.  Fuck you!

31 March 2017  
  951-331-3380  Banning, CA - Well, last day of the month and they had to get one more call in.  I guess it is a great month for telemarketers.  I remember this number from last month.  So, we have a return caller.  The city name is what really stands out to as we have all been trying to ban telemarketers. Fuck you!

  844-606-3478  - Second call of the day...like I said busy month.  So, I did a little checking and this number is leaving bot messages to the tune of "we are the IRS, you owe us money, the cops are on the way, give us a call so we can empty your bank account".  Ah, see?  It is tax season, this may explain the higher number of calls this month.  I image these calls should continue well into next month.  The fucking telemarketers are trying to scam you by using the IRS's name.  Pretty sure impersonating a government official is illegal.

Oh, I did a little more research, and the 844 area code is not assigned to a geographical location.  It is one of those toll free numbers like, 800, 866, 888, etc.  At least, if I try to call back, it is toll free.   Obviously, I did not pick up.  But, the bot did leave a message.  Now, I have one of those long outgoing messages, mainly so bots and telemarketers will have trouble leaving messages or will not be patient enough to wait it out.  In this call, the bot did leave a message, but it only recorded the tail end, basically asking me to call back at that number.

Pro tip tangent:  If you need to leave a message for someone...someone that may not have your number...say your name and give your number first, and again at the end.  Then, go into your spiel about what your call is about. That way, when they listen to your message, they can listen to what you have to say...but they do not have to listen to your whole damn boring message again, just to get your number.  So, name and number...your message...name and number...and say thank you.

Oh, but it could be legit, right?  Uh, no.  First of all, I would have to file my taxes first before there is an issue with it. I still have two weeks to file and another few months before the real IRS reviews it.  So, way too soon for someone to contact me.  Also, when I look up the number, the IRS should come up...not a site that lists telemarketer numbers. I am stupid, but I am not that stupid.  Fuck you!

  310-863-4729  Redondo Beach, CA - Third call of the day.  Hmm, I am not sure if this is a legit number.  No bot message was left and no flags come up from searches.  Or, it could be a newly routed number.  I do not know.  Just in case, fuck you!

03 February 2017

Depeche Mode - Where's the Revolution

Some people wait four years for the Olympics, I wait four years for a new Depeche Mode release.  The initial anticipation is over for Depeche Mode fans, like me, across the universe.  Today, they released the first single from their soon to released album Spirit.  This is the band's first release since the October single release of "Should Be Higher" in October of 2013.

Depeche Mode - Where's the Revolution
I have listened to the new single a few times and while it does have the distinct Depeche Mode sound, it has a little too much of it.  Meaning, it sounds a little over produced to me.  This is the first time the band is working with producer James Ford.  Some of the lyrics tend to be repetitive, a what I call "copy/paste writing", the chorus suffers from this.  There is a lot this copy/paste in recent songs (by other artists) and it looks that Depeche Mode are following that trend.  I am not a fan of that.

Anyway, there are some great parts to this track. The intro is nice, it  sort of brings you back to 90's Mode.  As mentioned, there are a few sections that are over produced, with possibly some auto tuning in use...as well as too many layers of sound, each competing to be heard.  The five minute song could easily be trimmed down to a three and half or four minute track and be much better.

Not to worry.  If we just go by the last few 'first singles' we should be okay as (I feel) they were not strong singles.  Usually the second and third singles are the better ones.  Sometimes, the best song of the album is not released as a single.  We will have to wait until 17 March 2017 for Spirit to be released.  I will have a track by track review then, as I did with Delta Machine.  Stay tuned.

Slight tangent:  For the past few days, I have been looking for a place to purchase the Where's the Revolution single.  You know, the CD single.  I want the 'import' version, but unable to find the CD even as a US.  My usual place does not exist anymore.  The only thing I  can find so far is digital download...and even that is a "get it free when you pre-order the album".  Nothing physical or digital as a single release with remixes and B-sides.

So, if anyone out there knows where I can get the UK (or European) release of the single on CD, let me know.  Thanks.

Update:  The video was released today, 9 February 2017, directed by Anton Cobijn.



This is a much better version of the song. It has been edited down to four minutes by omitting the repetitive copy/paste lyrics.  Funny how I mention chopping it down to about four minutes would be result in a better track.  

02 February 2017

FUCK YOU, STOP CALLING ME - February 2017

Short month, but that should not stop these fuckers from meeting their numbers.

2 February 2017
  213-266-9479  Los Angeles, CA - What on Groundhog Day?  How perfect would it be to be trapped in Groundhog Day with endless telemarketer calls...NOT!  Yeah, I am trying to bring the "...NOT" thing back.  Who knows, it could catch on.  Hipsters like that kinda vintage stuff.  Anyway, thanks for calling...NOT!  Fuck you!

  253-588-8137  Tacoma, WA - See that I mean?  That Groundhog Day shit is totally happening.  I am stuck in a loop where my phone is constantly ringing and I never answer it.  Fuck you!

3 February 2017
  747-245-6010  Los Angeles, CA - Well, this is new.  I did not know there was a 747 area code in the Los Angeles area.  But what I do know is this is a telemarketer number.  The bot did its thing and "left a message" saying that I am pre-approved for something.  Look, I know what my credit and reputation is.  No one approves of me...not credit cards, banks, my boss, my parents...no one approves.  I am a disappointment to everyone...but not as disappointing as being a telemarketer. So, fuck you!

6 February 2017
  952-374-1741  Minneapolis, MN - Technically, there was a message left.  But, there was no message, just three seconds of silence.  A search does show that this is a telemarketer number.  Yeah, I knew that.  How many calls from Minnesota do I get anyway?  Well, this is actually the second one.  Last month was the first...and what do you know, it was also from a telemarketer.  Fuck you!

  213-205-2254  United States - Oh, I know this is a telemarketers.  Everyone knows that 213 is in the Los Angeles area.  By now, everyone should know that if the location shows "United States", you have yourself a fucking telemarketer.  Fuck you!

   951-259-1269  Lake Elsinore, CA - Three calls in one day, all from different numbers.  Fuck you!

8 February 2017
  541-899-1906  Jacksonville, OR - The credit card scammers are hit us strong this month.  Just a theory, I am guessing that after the holiday season, there are people in credit card debt.  What better time and opportunity than to cold call someone and pull off a scam?  Fuck you!

  213-266-9501  Los Angeles, CA - I had not even finished typing the above entry and my phone rings, again.  Less than two minutes.  This time with a different number and instead of credit card scam, this is vacation scam.  So, I guess after the holidays, I need another holiday?  Fuck you!

Sad that the only people that call me are telemarketers.
14 February 2017
  213-266-9501  Los Angeles, CA - Could this be a call from a secret admirer, wishing me a Happy Valentine's Day?  Of course not!  Although you could say I have a stalker.  This is a return caller and not the first from this area code and prefix (see image above).  Fuck you!

15 February 2017
  855-653-4481  Unknown - As per usual, I do a search for numbers just to see what they are about and to confirm that they are telemarketers.  Well, it was to my surprise that I found this:
1-855-653-4481 is a deceptive number associated with cyber-criminals that is used to deliver fake alerts and trick them. This is a tech scam virus that throws scary pop-up notifications to urge users calling on the technical assistance number. It claims that your PC is infected with any malware and your private data can be endangered and thus to you need to call on 1-855-653-4481 for immediate assistance. But these services are highly chargeable than worth and most of the time associated with cyber criminals that will attempt to record all your data by remotely accessing your PC. You may be further asked to register for any fake security products. Please do not call on 1-855-653-4481 and quickly follow the removing instructions for 1-855-653-4481 tech scam virus.
Uh...fuck you!

16 February 2017
  360-577-9082  Longview, WA - Longview? Washington?  Hey, remember Green Day's hit album Longview?  That is what I thought of when I saw the call location.  I wonder if they named the album after the city...most likely not!  As far as I know, the guys in Green Day grew up in the East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area).  How dare you name a city after their album and allow a telemarketing firm to set up in your city.  Fuck you!

20 February 2017
  213-985-0858  Los Angeles, CA - I guess telemarketers do not get President's Day off.  These guys have no respect...surprise.  Our President wants to build a wall.  I say, build a system that stops telemarketing.  Fuck you! 

23 February 2017
  951-381-3380  Banning, CA - Banning?  Everyone and anyone with a phone has been asking for a ban on telemarketers...how ironic that a telemarketer call is from Banning.  Fuck you!

28 February 2017
  323-515-8527  Los Angeles, CA - Clearly, since this is the last day of the month, this is one of those 'meet my quota' calls.  I expect these terrorist to go full speed tomorrow, or at least the first week of March.  Fuck you!

21 January 2017

Kozy Soles' McSteeze Slippers

Here is something a little different...another pair of Air MAGs for the collection and for review.  These are slippers by Kozy Soles.

Kozy Soles "McSteeze"
I got the awesomest Christmas gift from my cousin, a pair of Air MAG slippers.  Oops, (most likely) due to legal reasons, Kozy Soles calls these "McSteeze".  Again, these are awesome!

For those of you just joining us, I have done reviews and comparisons on the 2011 Nike Air MAGS with the V2 Knockoffs, Halloween Costumes, and V3 Knockoffs.  Feel free to click those links, you may want to read those to get an idea of the different versions out there.  Although, this review of the McSteeze will be a little different and not as lengthy, for obvious reasons.  I am not even going to physically compare these with the Official Nike Air MAG's.

These images with the white background were 'borrowed' from the Kozy Soles website. The pretty shots with my car, are mine.  Again, as I mentioned in my last Air MAG post, if you need to 'borrow' my images, please give credit.  Bit of a tangent, I happened to stumble on MY IMAGES on someone else's Instagram feed...without giving credit to the source.  Anyway, here we go.

Packaging:

The Kozy Soles come in a mesh bag.  No fancy box, just a bag.


Shoes:

Well, these are slippers.  I guess you can call them knockoff, but are they really?  Actually, really comfortable and...as the name states...cozy slippers.  There are many 'non-screen accurate' areas, but many things Kozy Soles totally nailed!

McSteeze, beauty shot

The outside is constructed from a plush material, giving it a soft feel.  I had stared at the slippers for a long time only to realise that they have no left or right distinction.  Once you wear them for a while, they will 'form' to your feet.  A custom fit...much like power laces.

Speaking of power laces, these obviously do not have power laces.  They do use the same execution as the other Air MAGs, by using four elastic bands across the top of the foot.  They do provide a snug fit.

McSteeze, side

An elastic band is also used for the Achilles pad.  Other versions use a strap with hook and loop closure.  The Achilles pad, like the rest of the slipper, is also made from a plush material.  There is a foam-like form inside the pad to give it structure and very minimal protection.  The elastic strap has the Kozy Soles company logo on it, instead of Nike...no light up.  There are no Nike Swooshes or any reference to Nike, Air MAG, or Back to the Future on these.

There is a good amount of padding on the footbed.  The soles of the slippers have little dots for traction.

McSteeze, top
The collar looks like Yoda's ears (see image above), but when you put them on, they sit pretty close to where they should be.  The triangular hole on the collar is represented by a triangular patch.  Great solution to what would have been a costly and aesthetic problem if it were a real hole.

McSteeze, back
The heel cup displays the Kozy Soles logo instead of the "MAG" logo.  Because there is no left or right, they have heel lights on both the inside and outside of the heel cup.  No, silly.  They do not light up, there are no electronics in these.

The midsole area that normally lights up is also mirrored, so you have the blue half-moon shapes on both sides.  They went to the trouble of creating a separate piece for the midsole, but did not use a different coloured material, or deco, to represent the splatter. This would have also been a nice addition to the heel cup.  But that is really nitpicking on something that is does not claim to be official or screen accurate.

My slippers on top of my car
Conclusion:

What a great pair of slippers!  In its core, these are great slippers.  Throw in the Back to the Future reference and you have a winner.  The folks at Kozy Soles did an amazing job on these.  I have no complaints on these.  In fact, I think these are the best replicas out there, especially when you factoring price and comfort of the slippers.

I did not know these even existed until I unwrapped these.  Had I known, I would have definitely ordered a pair.  I highly recommend these if your feet get cold, or if you are somewhat of a Back to the Future fan.  If you want a pair, head over to the Kozy Soles website and order yours.

New driving shoes!

06 January 2017

Fake Omega Silver Snoopy

If you have read some of my posts before, you know that I am fascinated by the artistry of luxury watches, and I am also fascinated by the craftsmanship of knockoffs and fakes.  Well, lucky me, I have found something that meets both requirements.

We all know that Asia is the headquarters for knockoffs, fakes, and bootlegs.  A friend picked up a fake Omega Speedmaster Silver Snoopy while on a trip to Asia.  Since this is a Limited Edition watch, few people have seen it live.  Now, I have a real Silver Snoopy Speedmaster, so I know what it looks like.  I was pretty excited to see a knockoff watch, as I am with most knockoff items.

Beauty shot stolen from internet, most likely from Omega
I did not have my watch on me when I took photos of the fake version, but I stole some stock images from the internet for comparison.  Here we go...

Fake Omega - Dial
The first thing I noticed was the huge size of the fake.  At 46 mm, it is 4 mm larger than the 42 mm case of an Omega Speedmaster, almost a 10% size increase.  Because of this, the lug width is 22 mm on the fake, versus the standard Speedmaster 20 mm lug width.  Overall the watch is about 10% larger.   I showed these photos to my 'watch guy' and he mentioned that the 46 mm Speedmaster was from a few years ago, so they must have used that as a base for this.

At $150, you are probably not going to get a mechanical movement.  The fake Snoopy is a quartz movement with chronograph function.  The running seconds is in the 6H subdial, while the chronograph minute counter is in the 9H subdial.  What is interesting is at the 3H subdial, it acts as a running hour counter, or second time zone.  In the image above the main time is 9:21:16, the 3H subdial shows that it is 4:21 somewhere.

Like all Speedmaster Professionals, the running seconds is on the 9H subdial, in this case the one with Snoopy on it.  The chronograph minute counter is the 3H subdial, it counts 30 minutes.  The 6H subdial is the chronograph hour counter.  The real Silver Snoopy has a hand-wound mechanical movement.  There is no second time zone on the Silver Snoopy.

Silver Snoopy caseback
The caseback on the Limited Edition Silver Snoopy is what makes it stand out from other Speedmasters.   It has, well, a Silver Snoopy.  The makers of the fake did not replicate this, at all.   Also missing is the serial number and case material etched on the lug backs.

Fake Omega - Caseback
The logo on the back is supposed to line up with the case.  This caseback is a replica of an older model Speedmaster from the late 90's, according to my watch guy.

Tachymetre and dial detail
Looking at the tachymetre markings, they are different from the modern Speedmaster.  While the fake has a ring with little arrows marking the numbers.  The real watch has dots as indicators, with no ring.

If you look at Speedmasters dials, you will notices that the subdials are recessed and beveled in.  The fake does a pretty good job of replicating this.  One thing they missed is the slight bevel which creates a slight crease about where the index markers end.  I have highlighted with a red dotted line in the image above.

Dial detail
It is hard to tell in my images, but the white of the dial is a bit off.  It is more of 'warm white', a vintage white, like yellowing teeth.  The real Snoopy is pure bright white.

A minor detail, but it looks like the markers on the fake are glued or applied on top of the face.  In the Snoopy, it looks like (at least to me) that the index markers come up from the bottom via holes in the face.  On the real Snoopy, you can see a what looks like a hole around each index.  I could be wrong, but the when comparing the two, this does stand out.

Because of the 10% increase in size of the case, the hands look short.  They did not increase the length of the hands to fit the larger dial.   As if they used hands for a 42 mm watch for a 46 mm watch For example, the chronograph second hand on the real Snoopy goes almost to the edges of the markings.  On the fake, the chronograph second hand is about 1 mm too short.  The hands, in general, are also wider than the real version.

Speedmaster profile
The Speedmaster has a unique profile, with its raised bezel and semi-bubble shaped crystal.  It is what makes a Speedmaster a Speedmaster.

Profile detail
I have marked where the crystal and bezel profile should be.  I am not sure if the fake has a Sapphire crystal like the Silver Snoopy.  The crystal on the fake is more domed shaped than the unique 'semi-bubble' shape that we all know.

Note that the bezel profile is not as deep as a real one.  A real Speedmaster should have about a 45° bevel, it looks like the fake has about a 60° bevel.

Other things that raised a flag is the finish.  There are a couple of rough areas on the case.  These look like casting flaws.  I am pretty sure Omega uses some sort of CNC to mill their cases.  Either way, Omega would finish their cases to perfection.  Also, I noticed what looked like a parting line on the fake case.  I think I captured it in the photo above, it looks like it could be a reflection of the lugs, but I am pretty sure it was a parting line.

Silver Snoopy Award lume
The lume on the Omega Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award is just amazing. In the image (stolen from internet) you can see that Snoopy glows.  Yes, Snoopy glows!  How awesome is that.  The tachymeter scale glows, along with the hour indexes.

Knockoff Omega, lume
The fake Snoopy only has lume on the hands.  I was hoping that at the very least, they may Snoopy glow.

Final note.  The fake came on a bracelet, which looks pretty good.  There are some markings missing but on the wrist, you cannot tell it is an knockoff bracelet.  The real Snoopy comes on a coated nylon fabric strap with leather backing.

Conclusion

I think this knockoff Omega Snoopy is a good 'first pass'.  There are many areas for improvement.  But, if like most, you have not seen a real Snoopy, this watch can fool you.  If you know Speedmasters, this will not likely pass.  Still, I give this a sold B...and for $150 it is a great price for a fashion watch.

04 January 2017

FUCK YOU, STOP CALLING ME - January 2017

Who is excited for the first call of the year?  Me...well, not really.

4 January 2017
  559-462-7008 Springville, CA - First call of the year, and since 20 December.  It looks like the telemarketers took a little holiday break. Christmas Miracle is real.  Well, holiday is over, get your asses back to work.  Four days into the new year and they are back in business.  Fuck you!

12 January 2017
  323-922-5767  Los Angeles, CA - Little disappointed that we are twelve days into the year and only receiving my second call.  What, too cold to cold call?  Ha, see what I did there?  Not even funny...and neither is telemarketing.  So, fuck you! 

20 January 2017
   323-844-0822  Los Angeles, CA - Seems like a wrong number, but as in many cases, it most likely is a routed call.  A quick search shows this is currently a 'real' number, and no affiliation to telemarketing...yet.  Still, fuck you!

   323-897-1099  Los Angeles, CA - Hmm...I think we can scratch what I said in the previous post.  I think these are both telemarketer numbers.  For sure this one is, and at the very least the first call of the day was routed.  Maybe I should pick up to be sure...nah!  Fuck you!

21 January 2017
  323-897-1099  Los Angeles, CA - Yep, our first return caller of the year.  On a Saturday morning, no less.  Fuck you!

22 January 2017
   289-938-2199  Burlington, ON - Oh, this is a first, I think.  Not only an out of state number, this is an out of country number.  A call, well text, from Canada.  Kinda excited about it, but scared for our neighbours up north.  Wait, do I get even more screwed with this?  Is it considered long distance?  Then the added texting charge?

Oh, Canada
 Let me break this down.  A text, from another country on a Sunday evening.  What the fuck!  Why are you sending me something at 6PM...wait, 9PM your time...for a 'special' that is one day only.  It basically leaves me lest than three hours to jump on this 'deal'. Oh, I highly doubt that someone is working at 9PM on a Sunday, this is definitely from a fucking bot.

Oh wait, Ray-ban?  First of all, you should probably spell the product you are pushing correctly.  Capital R and B, Ray-Ban.  Well, I guess I could "Tap to Load Preview". What, you think I am stupid?  I am would not tap that ass with your dick.  And really, Ray-Ban's?  It was cool in the eighties when it was still own by the Bausch and Lomb.  But this brand has not been the same since it was sold to Luxottica.  Ugh, do not get me started on the grammar.  Fuck you!

26 January 2017
  612-297-8566  Minneapolis, MN - Been a long time since I got a call from Minnesota, You would have to go back to 2012, five years ago since the last call.  As per usual, I did a search for this number and this is a confirmed telemarketer with their 'scam specialty' in credit card services.  What is interesting is, the complaints that I found were within five minutes of each other, and my call.  So, this is a new one floating around and making its rounds.  Feel free to block...or answer and Rick Roll them. Fuck you!

30 January 2017
  352-527-4981  Beverly Hills, FL - Pretty sure this is a telemarketer.  But, what is more 'impressive' to me is this...there is a Beverly Hills in Florida?  What!  First there is a Hollywood, Florida, then there are those amusement parks like Universal Studios and Disney...now Beverly Hills?  What the fuck?  Florida is officially 'Fake California'.  Kinda awesome that there is a bootleg version of the west coast...where?...on the east coast, of course.  You know me and my love for knockoff...still, fuck you!

22 December 2016

Keyport Slide 3.0 - Kickstarter

Keyport Pivot and Slide 3.0
I have had the Keyport Slide 2.0 since 2013.  In January of this year, the folks at Keyport introduced a Kickstarter campaign for their new Slide 3.0, along with a newly designed Pivot.

Keyport Slide 3.0

So far, I am/was very happy with the Slide 2.0.  Although, there were issues with the construction...mainly material choice...the plastic used could shatter if dropped.  Ask me how I know that one.  The aluminum construction of the Slide 3.0 (will hopefully) solve this minor issue.   You can see one of the chips on my 2.0 in the image below.  Besides, I am not a fan of the pivot system, not just Keyport's Pivot, pivot design systems in general.

The design of the 3.0 is similar to the 2.0.  There are slight changes due the change from plastic to metal.  For one, the 3.0 weighs a little more.  Well, of course it does, it is metal.  I like the added weight.

Slide 3.0 and Slide 2.0
The end cap is a much improved design.  It has a spring loaded latch.  On the 2.0, the end cap is sort of pressed in and locks in with tabs.  Well, if you happen to drop your Keyport 2.0...one of these tabs can break of...then you will have to look for your chassis, end cap, and the little piece of tab.  The fun part is finding a way to re-attach or repair the broken tab.  I tried superglue, solvents, welding the plastic tab back, and hot glue.  They all work for a while, but as soon as you need to remove the end cap for any reason (see photo above), you risk breaking the tab off again.  Oh, and if you happen to drop it again, you could get lucky and just have a chip somewhere....or you could snap the tab off again.  So, you can see how excited I was when a new - metal - version was being released.  Heck, at one point I thought about getting a new Slide 2.0 chassis, but luckily the Kickstarter campaign started.

One 'feature' that 2.0 users will miss when switching to the 3.0 is the little nub on one side of the Keyport chassis.  I use this everyday to feel which distinguish which side is which, especially in the dark.

Slide 2.0 nub vs smooth Slide 3.0
Above image shows nub (circled) that has been very helpful.  I may stick a little nipple on the 3.0 so I will know which side is 'up'.

Since I already had blades and inserts from the 2.0, when I got the new 3.0, I just transferred them over.  I even reused by buttons.  But, there was one insert that did not fit.  The LED light insert is too wide to fit.  I also had the problem of low battery life.

Keyport LED insert
If you have the LED insert and need to change the battery and/or want to fit it in your Slide 3.0, this next section may help.  Be careful and do this at your own risk...there is my disclaimer.

Hoverboard
Tanget:  The LED insert kinda looks like a hoverboard.  And, why is it when I look up "hoverboard" on Google, I get those 'hands-free Segways'.  When I search "hoverboard", I should be bombarded by images from the Back to the Future trilogy, damn it!

Trim line
Since the insert is a little wide, you need to trim one side of the circuit board.  The dotted line above shows where you need to trim to, about 1.5mm.

Be careful to not go too deep. The red arrow shows the line where 'wire' that connects the battery to the switch.  Try not to cut this line.  If you do, that is okay.  You should be able to re-route the wire back to the switch.

Sanding to the line
On my LED insert, there was enough room to sand down and not hit the wire.  Note the holes on the circuit board, you can use these to 'rewire' if you happen to trim too much.

Now, battery removal.  The batteries are spot welded on to the contacts.  This is so the insert can slide in and out easily without catching on the walls of the chassis.  I do not have, or know if there is, an un-spot welder.  So, a solution is the drill out the spot weld.
Spot weld locations
There are eight spot welds.  Luckily, they have a slight dip, like a shallow pilot hole, so the drill bit you use should not travel as easily.  Better to have access to a drill press, but drilling by hand will work.

Battery drilling
As with all tools be careful.  After all, you are drilling into to a battery.  Take it slow.  Once you pass through the spot weld, the contact should pop up, no need to drill any deeper.  I would assume that heat from the drill on the battery is not the best combo.  Speaking of heat on a battery, spot welding a battery sounds stupid dangerous.

Drilled contacts
Once you have drilled through the contacts, the battery will pretty much fall out.  Just need to find the correct replacement.  The batteries that came with the insert were 3V CR1025, I used 1.55V 395.  I will be getting half the voltage of a brand new LED insert, but I was getting close to nothing on my factory batteries.  Good news is, I can switch out batteries anytime.

Tape down contacts to battery
Not only do I not have an un-spot welder, I also do not have a spot welder to weld the contacts back on to the batteries.  But, I have tape.  Find some thin tape, cut it to size and make sure the contacts are contacting the batteries and tape everything down.  Make sure there is tape on the sides...remember it was to wide to fit in the 3.0 slots?...well why would you add more thickness to it?

Slide insert into chassis

With both one edge trimmed to fit, new batteries replaced and taped, you can now slide in the insert into the chassis as you did on the 2.0.

Lights on!
It works!

After doing this, I realized the new design has an option for LED side plate.  It looks like there is an easier way to change batteries.


New LED side plate design

If you want one of these yourself, you can order from Keyport.