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There is always a large increase in “Help Me” Ads on CraigsList during the Holidays   Leave a comment

…And 7 out of 10 times, they are legit.

What I find most concerning is the cynicism and pessemism from people who have nothing better to do than judge people who turn to CraigsList as a last resort for help. On the one hand yes, there are the same scammers and botters based overseas who have been prowling CraigsList for years. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of people who use the site in general do use it as intended.

All that said, CraigsList is NOT a good website to turn to as a “Last Resort”. The reasons are five:

 

  1. It’s a wating game: One of the biggest myths people have about CL is if they post an ad, they will get a response very quickly. The reality is more often than not, you wasted your time posting the ad. Those who do get help are rhe exceptions and not the norm.
  2. Your ad will be flagged: “eople with absolutely nothing better to do with their time routinely flag ads they consider “Cyber Panhandling” or “Cyber Begging”.
  3. People will contact you just to judge you: More so if you’re a single mother/pregnant (“Where’s the father?”), unemployed (“Why don’t you get a job?”) or have pets (“Give up your cat/dog, then we’ll talk.”).
  4. If you’re a woman, expect to get solicited for Sex: Yes, there are guys that depraved that they will contact you looking for sex or a relationship and promise nothing in return.
  5. Scammers and Bots: Goes without saying. They are everywhere. You respond and then they say something to the effect of “Send me the deposit and I’ll mail you the key” or “Are you real? Email this email to prove you’re real”. This is to say nothing of those who didn’t get the memo the Personals section has been gone for 8 months now.

 

…These just scratch the surface and only barely. With CraigsList Personals gone, the lion’s share of “Help Me” Ads are posted in the Community (“Need Money/Items/Food or a Ride ASAP”.), For Sale (“Need Money/Items/Food ASAP”.), Resume (“Need a job or work ASAP”.) and Housing (“Need a Room/Apartment ASAP”.) Categories.

For those who still intend to try their luck looking for help on CraigsList, here are some general tips that should help:

 

  1. Keep the “Background Story” to a minimum: This is easily the biggest problem. Too many focus on explaining their situation and what led to them posting the ad but not enough time explaining what exactly they are looking for help with. Explain enough for folks to get an idea of your situation but no more than necessary. Save the details for after you make contact with someone.
  2. When looking for Housing, focus more on explaining what you are looking for: More so if you need to move ASAP. When I help folks with their housing search, I need 3 kinds of information: The max in monthly rent they can afford (For example $900), how many bedrooms and where (city, town, etc.) they are looking to live. Extra info that can help is if you’re on Section 8, have references or have the money to make a deposit right now. Leave out your background or family situation from the ad. Why? Because more often than not it will turn someone off from reaching out to you. Property Owners/Landlords only care about the other stuff I mentioned. If they’re not seeing much data in that regard, you wasted your time posting the ad.
  3. More often than not, insisting on keeping your pet will keep you from getting Housing: This isn’t a shot at pet owners or animal lovers but it is the reality and is not negotiable. It doesn’t matter if the landlord lives on the property and has pets themselves. They have the right to refuse you an apartment or room if you’re looking to bring a pet with you. No, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Service Animal either. If you don’t want to part with your pet, you’ll have to look elsewhere for a property owner willing to accomodate your pet.
  4. When looking for a Ride ASAP, include a phone number: No one’s going to wait for you to get back to them via email. Yes, botters and spammers harvest phone numbers to mass text people. Even so, someone who can help you won’t if they can’t get a way to hold of you as quickly as possible.
  5. If you’re in a relationship or have income, mention it in your Ad: This is to keep those looking for sex or a relationship at bay. 9 out of 10 times, when a woman posts an ad she will get unsolicited requests for sex and in many cases a lewd photo sent to them unprompted. If you mention you have income, you’re far less likely to have your ad flagged by people assuming you’re looking for a handout in general. If you mention you’re married or have a boyfriend/fiance, you’re far less likely to get unsolicited requests for sex or lewd photos in general.
  6. When selling, use pics of the actual item(s) not Amazon screenshots: Buyers get it, you want to prove the item is real and you’re selling it for less than retail value. At the same time, Buyers still need to see what condition the item(s) you’re selling is in. They can’t get that from an Amazon product page screenshot.
  7. When looking for work, include past work experience and what you’re looking to do: I cringe every time I see someone basically post “I’m looking for work, any kind of work please contact me ASAP”, then wonder why they only get Housing Ad Spammers or Sex Addicts contacting them. Include past work experience and/or skills you have that potential employers are looking for. Also, keep the “Background Story” to a minimum. Save it for when you actually make contact. Too many folks put everything into explaining their situation but little to none on their work experience and/or skills.
  8. Only post ONE ad per Need: We get it, you’re desperate or your situation is time sensitive. Posting 2 to 5 ads is what the botters do and it’s a fast way to get ALL of your ads flagged. Besides, even if you posted just one if someone decided not to respond then it won’t matter if you posted two or more.
  9. Include a phone number: I know all too well there are spammers and botters who harvest phone numbers posted via CraigsList to mass spam people. The site’s new Capcha (standard anti-scripting measure most high-traffic websites have started using to block bots) has merely slowed the practice but more needs to be done to protect private phone numbers and email addresses. Even so, include a working cell phone number and actually follow up even if just to say you’re not interested.
  10. Set up an Google Account just for CraigsList: You read that right. Why Gmail over Yahoo or Outlook (formerly Hotmail)? Well, most spam accounts use Yahoo mail first of all. Second, It has strong-anti-spam and anti-intrusion measures included for free. Plus you automatically get access to all Google Services for free. If you already have a Google account for personal and/or business use then you will just have two accounts is all. This way, you don’t have to worry about spam making it to your personal/business inbox. The bigger reason is to create an alias to protect your real identity.

 

…I can’t stress those last two enough and more so with the Porn sites, Cam Girls, Escort Services and similar sites that auto-reply to all ads posted to send spam to your inbox. Said emails are riddled with spyware and malware in addition to links to their sites where they hope to get enough info from you to either open a line of credit in your name or hack your account. Be smart and keep your real name off CraigsList.

With phone numbers, all I can say is block numbers that have nothing to do with whatever your ad is about. The spammers often group spam or spoof numbers so all you can do is block numbers individually. I tell folks in all my ads to text or email me because my phone is always on silent or vibrate. I also don’t answer when I see an out of state phone number. The “Text my number only” direction is also an anti-scam check. I know if an out of state number calls, they can’t follow simple directions or didn’t read my ad.

CraigsList is so saturated with scammers, botters and spammers that the “Are you real? Reply to this email to prove it” message is actually a check for other bots that auto-reply to ads or emails. DO NOT respond even if using CraigsList’s Anon-Relay system. All you do is confirm you’re not a bot and they will immediately send spam and other kinds of trash to your inbox. The more you respond, the more you confirm you’re a real person.

In the event you do get a spammer or scammer to email you, the only way to make them stop is to STOP responding to their emails. The reason is even if you block their email, they will simply use another one to keep emailing you. After 2, maybe 3 days max of silence they’ll get the message and leave you be. They DON’T take no for an answer. Ever.

Having said all that, I now want to say something to those who see “Help Me” ads and either judge or assume things: Leave them be.

I have actually talked to many folks who post “Help Me” Ads and I can confirm their needs are 100% real. You don’t need to know their life story (I tell them the same thing) but if you can’t or don’t want to help them, hit Back and keep it moving. Everyone needs help sometimes and as most who post “Help Me” ad mention themselves, they turned to CraigsList as a last resort and out of desperation.

Always assume they tried other things before making an ad on CraigsList and more so given the site’s reputation. GoFundMe campaigns require media attention, a large social media following or a celebrity to have a chance at fundraising. Otherwise you wasted your time making the campaign at all. I’d know. Everyone posting such an ad on CraigsList already feels embarassed. They don’t need you contacting them just to remind them of how pathetic they feel. They already know the real odds of someone actually helping this is slim to none so…yeah.

I’d say if you’re that desperate for help, your best bet is to try Facebook groups. There are neighborhood and city groups on Facebook you can join and safely arrange to meet with people. There are also various neighborhood-based Help Groups you can find fairly quickly. That’s my advice to anyone feeling that desperate anyways.

 

 

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Ok so my laptop died on Thanksgiving Day   Leave a comment

…Yet I’m not entirely devastated. Why? Because I planned for it when I decided to buy my desktop PC the year before buying it. Losing my laptop means I can no longer play Diablo III or World of Warcraft. It also means I’ve lost my primary streaming device for Crunchyroll, WWE Network, Viki, Asian Crush and Xfinity. I decided back in 2013 that I would always have both a laptop and a desktop at the same time at home specifically for situations like this.

In a nutshell, I’ve only lost access to a handful of pictures from my digital camera since I hadn’t backed them up after I put them on my laptop earlier this year. Actually, I’ve lost nothing since the hard drive is fine. If I can get an enclosure or the right cable, I can remove the laptop’s hard drive and recover my files. No rush. In exchange for losing my laptop, I got a Blu Ray Player yesterday. Basically, I am taking steps to mitigate no longer having the use of my laptop.

Is it fixable? Nope, only the hard drive is salvagable and that can wait indefinitely. If anyone is interested in helping me get a new laptop, you can donate money through PayPal. If you’re open to ordering a laptop and having it shipped to me, feel free to let me know also.

That aside, I obviously still have my desktop. Eh…for now anyway. The thing’s a toaster but it’s better than nothing. Man, do I not miss the 2000s when I had to struggle to just turn on my old laptop. I stopped using it for resource-demanding games and it’s not powerful enough to run Guild Wars 2, Civilization V, Destiny 2, World of Warcraft or Diablo III (all of which I have). The CD drive in my dekstop stopped working years ago, too so it’s not good for serious gaming overall. So, I would eventually want to get a more powerful desktop in the future too.

…That said, I have more pressing priorities than buying two new computers. Namely getting stable income first, my own apartment second and going back to college third. This is also why I haven’t been doing alot of blogging for much of the year. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost me anything to keep this blog online.

Thanks, WordPress!

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It’s a shame we had to wait 25 years for the Queen Biopic Bohemian Rhapsody   Leave a comment

Image result for Bohemian Rhapsody

 

…The main reason being the band’s lead vocalist Freddie Mercury is Bisexual. The biopic follows the rise of Queen, their falling out and reunion in time to perform at Live Aid in 1985 does not shy away from “The Controversy”. I had heard rumors there was some difficulty casting the role of Freddie Mercury specifically because of that. Rami Malek, who landed the role did the job well. Mercury’s sexuality had been questioned before and during his time apart from the band and the movie doesn’t shy away from it. There are a few moments in the movie some may find uncomfortable to see or have their kids see (The movie is rated PG-13). I won’t say what they are since those moments should not be focused on.

The real focus should be the movie’s namesake song:

 

Originally released in 1975 on the Album A Night at the Opera, the nearly 6 minute track bombed HARD though the band vehemently defended it and stood by it as their greatest song ever. It wasn’t until its appearance in a certain movie 17 years later the genre-crossing song finally got the long overdue respect it deserved.

…What movie? This one:

 

 

The story goes Mike Myers, who was a huge Queen fan insisted on Bohemian Rhapsody over I’m in Love with my Car, which is on the same Album and was considered a better fit for the sequence. Myers was so insistent on Bohemian Rhapsody he threatened to scrap the entire movie if it was not used. He not only starred in the movie but was also the Executive Producer so…yeah. It’s said Freddie Mercury saw the above scene before he died of AIDS-related Pnemonia in 1992, liked it and gave his blessing for the song to be used in Wayne’s World.

…Bohemian Rhapsody dethroned the stanglehold Michael Jackson had on the top charts for almost 10 years running. This despite the song having been originally released back in 1975.

Anywho, the movie ends with the 1985 Live Aid concert. Billions were raised to help with the severe famines in Africa. Michael Jackson’s iconic single We Are the World (featuring a who’s who of legendary artists including Stevie Wonder and Kenny Rogers) was made around the same time as the concert and if you ask me, there should be one every 5 to 10 years. Freddie Mercury, who knew his time was short pushed for Queen to be included in the concert. He passed away 7 years later in 1992. The surviving members of Queen started an AIDS research group in his honor.

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t share this awesome cover from 6 years ago:

 

 

The video went viral at the time but as you can see, it’s a drunk guy singing Bohemian Rhapsody from the back of a police car.

…Then there is this:

 

 

…I know there were people in that crowd who were at Live Aid in 1985. The story goes, Green Day planned to do an instrumental and ran the pre-recorded track first when the crowd started singing. They were so moved, they fired up the band and recorded over the pre-recording.

Queen’s impact crosses generations. Every time the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Briuns won a title I would fire up The Anthem:

You know the song but might not have known where it came from ^_^

On that note:

…You see where I’m going now? Queen is Timeless.

As a bonus, here is their performance from Live Aid 1985 in full:

From the Video’s Description:

00:36 – Bohemian Rhapsody
02:42 – Radio Ga Ga
06:53 – Ay Oh!
07:34 – Hammer To Fall
12:08 – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
16:03 – We Will Rock You
17:18 – We Are The Champions
21:12 – Is This The World We Created…?

I bolded the ones that made the cut in the movie, in order. They had to cut the other 3 for time presumably. The home release will undoubtedly have the full set plus the original concert as bonus content.

 

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The Philadephia 76ers win The Jimmy Butler Sweetstakes in Blockbuster Trade   Leave a comment

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people playing sports

All Star Vet Jimmy Butler is heading back to the Eastern Conference.

The trade involving The Minnesota Timberwolves (4-9) and The Philadephia 76ers (8-5) was announced an hour ago. Here are the details:

 

  • Philadelphia receives Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton.
  • Minnesota receives Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and 2022 second-round pick.

 

The Butler trade was inevitable given Butler himself demanded to be traded during the offseason. The All Star was reportedly unhappy with the team and didn’t get along with fellow All Star Karl Anthony Towns. During the team’s training camp, Butler challenged the whole team on the court and destroyed everyone including the coach, screaming “You guys need me to win!” Prior to the trade, Bulter was sitting out game reasons most presumed to be related to his desire to be traded off the team.

…Now with the Philadephia 76ers, the Eastern Conference just got interesting. Prior to the trade, the Boston Celtics (7-5) were clear the favorites to run through the Eastern Conference to the NBA Finals. Now we can expect to see a thrilling rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals in which the Celtics won 4-1 before falling to Lebron and the Cavs 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics beat the 76ers in the season opener, which took place in Boston.

The 76ers and Celtics will play each other again on Christmas Day in Boston. Assuming both teams get there, the Eastern Conference Finals are sure to be alot more interesting! Jimmy Butler will get his first chance at revenge against his now former team January 15 in Philly. The teams will clash once more in Minnesota on my birthday, March 30. I would not be surprised at all if TNT or ABC pick up one or both games at this point.

 

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Massachusetts-based Pizza Chain Papa Gino’s Files for Chaper 11 Bankruptcy   Leave a comment

Related image

The news broke a short time ago and a day after the chain’s parent company suddenly closed 53 of their then 150 locations Sunday with no warning to customers or the public. Employees of the effected stores, who were notified they were fired effective immediately at the same time have apparently been promised a final paycheck “soon”. Papa Gino’s Inc., which is the parent company of both Papa Ginos and D’Angelos filed for bankruptcy this morning. All assets, locations and shares for both chains will be sold. It’s not yet clear if any of the remaining 97 Papa Gino’s stores will close or if they will be allowed to run independently.

Papa Gino’s has been a local favorite for decades. I have alot of good memories personally. My favorite Pizza is the Rustic style:

Image result for papa gino's rustic pizza

They add parmesan cheese to the crust, making it flavorful. A shame the chain has filed for bankruptcy. I will have to buy this one more time before they are gone forever.

Kyrie Irving announces he will re-sign with the Boston Celtics   Leave a comment

Image result for Boston Celtics All Stars

 

 

This took place yesterday afternoon at the TD Garden in Boston.

Obviously the details will be ironed out after the 2018-19 season but there you have it it: Kyrie Irving pulled a Paul George and announced in advance he’s not leaving anytime soon. This definitive announcement from Irving comes admid speculation he would leave after this season to play for the New York Knicks.

I’m not even sure why folks would believe those rumors given he said early last month he would like to see #11 hang from the rafters one day. So, Uncle Drew himself made it known to all he plans to play in Boston for a while. Possibly for the rest of his career. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will both tell you: Win a title and you’re royalty in Boston.

The Eastern Conference runs through Boston now. It’s hard not to think that given how much media coverage the NBA PRE-SEASON–4 games total–has been getting. Of course, much of that has to do with Gordon Hayward making his return after missing the previous season + post-season after breaking his ankle in last season’s opener in Cleveland.

The Celtics’ 2018-19 season begins on October 16.

Image result for Boston Celtics Anthony Davis

Before I forget, it’s been reported Kyrie Irving has been talking to New Orleans Pelicans All Star Anthony Davis (Forward/Center) about coming to Boston. The Celtics had been eyeing him for a while but ended up getting Gordon Hayward and Al Horford via Free Agency instead along the way as well as the trade that dealt Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving.

If Kyrie and Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge can convince Davis to ship up to Boston, the obvious question is who do you give up for him? It would have to be either a midseason trade or a free agent signing and the Celtics blew up the team just to sign Hayward last year. I can only assume Irving plans to re-sign with Boston for less than his value so the Celtics can get Davis. That’s the first problem. The second problem is who do you give up to get him?

Weather it’s a trade or a sign and trade, you’re looking at giving up at least 3 players. The other 29 NBA teams want Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum or both BUT they know the Celtics will not give them up for any reason. For Davis, the Celtics would have to trade at least one of them. The Celtics just gave Marcus Smart a new contract so you know he’s off the table more or less.

If I had to draw up a trade for Davis, this is how I’d package it:

  • Terry Rozier (Guard)
  • Guerschon Yabusele (Forward)
  • Semi Ojeleye (Forward)
  • Future Draft Pick

 

That makes the most sense to me personally. The Celtics would likely have to add Terry Rozier (Guard) to sweeten the deal. They’d lose a core part of their reserve backcourt but now that we know Kyrie Irving is committing to be with the Celtics longterm, he’s the logical piece to move. The Pelicans can rebuild around Rozier or use him in a trade to get someone else. He proved his value last season so…yeah.

So, the Celtics’ starting lineup with AD would prettymuch guarantee a trip to the NBA Finals for several years in a tow. Brad Stevens would find a way to make the lineup work with four All Stars just like Doc Rivers did with Pierce, Garnett, Allen and Rondo. Even without Davis, the Celtics are guaranteed to go to the NBA Finals barring the unforseeable. If the Pelicans aren’t doing good by the trade deadline–and the West is already overloaded as it is right now–I wouldn’t be surprised if the Celtics come knocking!

About my just-launched 9th Blog dedicated to Politics and News   Leave a comment

I just wanted to let folks know I have decided to go ahead and just make a separate blog dedicated to Politics as well as News.

 

As I noted in my first post on the new blog, I will now have a separate blog for all things news and politics. I will still cover sports here though. One matter I wanted to make sure to let folks know is my existing political posts on this blog will NOT be removed. I added them to my new blog though so yes there are two copies of 100 of my posts.

I decided to stop covering politics here because I felt like it deserved its own space and more so after I spent so much of the last two and a half years on just politics. Of the 318 posts and drafts on this blog, 118 of them are on just politics. A full third of the posts to this blog so far are is only on politics so…yeah. Time to give it a separate blog.

I mentioned a earlier this year I plan to have 10 blogs before the end of 2018. Clearly I am going to meet that deadline. I just need to make up my mind and decide what topics blog #10 will cover. In the meantime, I hope those who liked my Political posts will click the above link and subscribe. I will add links in my new blog to some of my other blogs over the weekend as well as a PayPal button as usual. Seriously folks, I would appreciate some financial support ^_^

 

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