Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Weird Crime Wednesday: Resisting arrest with your intestines

(photo @ kidsbiology.com)

Hackensack, New Jersey

On Sunday May 27 of 2012, Bergen County Police received a call alerting them to the potentially harmful actions of 43-year-old Wayne Carter.  He had barricaded himself in a room inside of his house with a 12 inch knife and was threatening to hurt himself.

When the officers arrived on the scene, Carter refused them entry to the room.  fter kicking down the door (which had been barricaded with furniture), they observed Carter sitting in the corner and repeatedly stabbing himself with the knife.  When the officers demanded that he stop stabbing himself and put down the weapon, Carter stood up, faced the police, and began screaming at them while continuing to cut himself. 

Here is where things go pretty far outside the police training manual for dealing with a suicidal suspect: 

As Carter stood up, the officers noticed that the man's small intestines were protruding through some of the self inflicted wounds on his abdomen.  When they attempted to approach him, however, Carter did something that would repel an arresting force with even the strongest of stomachs: He threw pieces of his own flesh and small intestines at them.

The officers (who by this point were probably questioning why they went to work that day) then attempted to subdue Carter by unloading two cans of pepper spray on him. Since Carter had been able to remain responsive, aggressive, and morbidly resourceful through a self inflicted disembowelment, he predictably shrugged off the pepper spray and began swinging his knife wildly at the police. 

In what had to be one of the most awkward calls for back up ever, the officers retreated and called in the Bergen County SWAT team.

    "No seriously guys, get here quick! This is really gross..."

The SWAT team was able to subdue Carter, who was then taken to Hackensack University Medical Center for emergency surgery.  As of Tuesday, he was still listed as being in critical condition.

Lt. John Heineman of the Bergen County Police has developed a brilliant hypothesis that drugs and/or mental illness may have led to Mr. Carter's actions. 

No charges have been filed yet due to the unusual nature of the case, but considering the recent Miami zombie attack that's been all over the news, a criminal trial may end up being a moot point.  This might be a good time to begin stocking up on weapons/supplies and checking our friends and loved ones for bite marks.

At least Wayne Carter didn't take a page out of  the 
"Zombie Wonder Woman" book and fashion an intestine lasso.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Finding Even More Appreciation for our Troops (while running from balls of paint)

Whenever my father and I get some time to spend together, we always like to try and include one of our favorite shared hobbies: Paintball.

For those of you unfamiliar with this wonderful sport, you get a gun (or "marker") that shoots tiny balls of paint powered by carbon dioxide or nitrogen. You then go out into the woods and/or an obstacle course and proceed to fire your weapons at each other. The games can be incredibly organized and goal oriented, involving teams trying to capture items, defend bases, or take out specific targets. They can also simply be a destructive free for all.

But whatever you end up doing, paintball is a lot of fun a great way to let off steam...as well as obtaining terrible bruises and welts all over your body.

My wife used to think my dad and I just went out to 
a field somewhere and beat the crap out of each other.

As I have gotten older, my father has begun to tell me about many interesting/awesome aspects of his life (before becoming a family man) that I was totally unaware of. The one thing I still believe he is still keeping from me, however, is a former career as a mercenary assassin and/or CIA operative.

It is the only way to explain how a man in his sixties that insists upon wearing a purple sweater and blue jeans on the battlefield can still manage to score kill shots on so many people that are much younger than him and have much more experience. I once watched in amazement during a game as my dad ended up as the last one our team alive. He systematically stalked the other teams remaining three players and somehow managed to take them out effortlessly.

My Father: The only paintball player that could get an endorsement from Wrangler Jeans.

My skills on the paintball field are decent, but nowhere near Dad's level of marksmanship and stealth. But there is one thing I can do better than anyone else; much like the character Arthas Menethil, one area that I truly excel in is the killing of my own flesh and blood.  

On the rare occasions that my father and I are put on opposite teams (we usually prefer to stick together), I experience some kind of 6th sense perception that allows me to track and execute him much better than the players around me. The fact that my father often becomes a high priority target for the other team also makes this a valuable and fun skill to exploit.  

One of my all time favorite kills was during a match where I flanked him as he was attempting to enter our base. I gunned my father down with a barrage of automatic fire, causing him to throw his arms up into the air and collapse upon the ground. But while I enjoyed my victory, Dad had set his mind on dishing out some sweet revenge.

1st Act of Fatherly Revenge: "Next time you have a question about your taxes, I'm completely ignoring you."

At the end of one of our paint ball outings, my father asked if we could have a one-on-one father/son match inside of an obstacle course called "Blackhawk Down." It was named after that famed Battle of Mogadishu in which American troops were pinned down in an urban setting by hostile forces.  

The course featured a wrecked helicopter in the center that was surrounded by mud pits, barrels, and countless one story wooden buildings. There were hundreds of places to hide for two large teams...and even more for two blood related rivals.

We each went to an opposite side of the course and waited for our signal from the referee. Once the match began, the usual popping of automatic paintball fire and shouting of position orders was instead replaced by complete silence. I knew that my father had begun stalking me and was slowly creeping towards my position.  

This man had been an active part of my life since I was born and had managed to not kill me during the ages of 13-16, so I knew he had the patience to take his time. If I simply held my position, I would eventually find myself hit by a well place sniper shot, covered in paint and humiliation...so I decided to begin making my move to try and find him first.

...this was also imperative since he was my ride home.

As I crept forward, I did all I could to control my breathing and not step on anything that would give away where I was. I found a bed of mud that was still relatively wet from a recent storm and slogged through it, careful to keep myself behind a building at all times.

As I got towards the center of the field, my heart began to beat faster and faster. I knew that my dad was hunting me, setting up some type of perfect position from which to gun me down when I wasn't even looking.  Due to my father being left handed, I was working off of the theory that he would be creeping up from the left side of the field. I also knew that he did not like to get himself trapped into buildings or crawlspaces, preferring to move to an area where offense rather than defense would be the primary option.

With this knowledge, I stepped inside of a building to assess things and catch my breath. Despite not having to run at all, my breathing had become incredibly rapid to the point that my lungs had started to burn. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears as I bunkered into a space with limited access points, aiming my gun out towards a nest across the field that looked like just the type of place that my father would love to set up shop.

Just then, I felt a strange shift in the force, almost like my father was calling out to me...

Your doom is imminent, my son.  You will soon know the 
power of the dark side...and you'll be buying dinner on the way home.

I lifted my gun and rounded the corner. There in front of me was my father, gun drawn and ready to fire. He had stalked me right to my position like a lion tracking an unaware gazelle. Fortunately, my paternal 6th sense had somehow alerted me to his presence.

As I swung around with my weapon drawn, my dad was taken by surprise.  He had obviously figured that my back would still be turned, but was now staring down the barrel of a possible defeat. Despite the fact that his marker was already raised into a firing position, his posture and gun angle shot up another level.  

This was it. Father and son, face to face after tracking each other through alleyways and wreckage, were about to decide who would live and who would go home covered in paint.

So how did we handle this epic family confrontation to decided which one of us was the better warrior on the field of battle?

We screamed like little girls and fired our guns wildly into the air.


We both ended up getting shot by the other's weapon, covered in paint, and laughing hysterically at how quickly our facade of manliness, which had been built around shooting each other with small paint filled pellets, was torn down.

On the way home, we discussed how despite the fact that our only risk after getting hit was a sharp pain and some bruising, the prospect of getting shot during a game of paintball still caused our adrenaline, blood pressure, and fear levels to spike to abnormally high levels.

Neither my father nor I had ever served in the military, so attacking others and/or defending yourself and others with automatic firing weapons was a very new experience. But for us, this was just a fun game.  We would go home, gross out our wives with the welts and bruises we had received, and then enjoy an evening together with our family.

To the men and women overseas that are currently in combat or have been in combat over the years, getting shot is a very real risk, except that instead of paint, the bullets can cause severe injury and death. While I experience high levels of anxiety over a bit of temporary pain and having to leave a recreational field, the people serving in our armed forces have experienced and will continue to experience a daily bout of stress over losing their their health, their lives, or watching the same happen to their friends and squad mates.

I honestly believe that if any of my family or friends were in immediate danger from an outside force, I would step up to the challenge to protect them. But that would be a situational decision, born out of necessity and a selfish desire to protect that which I care about. The men and women of our military, however, have made a premeditated decision to go through exhaustive training and get sent to the ass ends of the earth to fight against those that would prefer to see all of us dead or oppressed.

Most of us deal with work place rivals in the form of competing businesses, overbearing/incompetent management, or that jerk in accounting to who keeps losing your sales reports. Our troops face an opposition that believes they have been given a holy directive to eliminate them by any means necessary.  Even before my lifetime, our military has faced many terrible threats to our homeland, some of which include:

-A nation's government that was bent on forcing their way of rule upon everyone
-A genocidal mad man who wanted to take over the world
-A nation torn in half over the decision to treat everyone as a human being
-An empire that did not want us to have freedoms that we now often take for granted.

Fortunately for us, Leathernecks, Squids, Devil Dogs, Wingnuts, Grunts, and a host of others have been keeping the wolf away from the door for over 200 years.  

Many of their loved ones have had to endure extended family absences/separation, life altering injuries, and the awful experience of a parent having to bury their child. But despite the costs, people much braver than myself have always stepped up, willing to sacrifice and answer the call.

Because of you, we have the greatest country in the world, even though various groups of people have been saying it's on the verge of the collapse for the last 10 decades.  

Because of you, people can safely hold and espouse their own opinions; even the ones that say we should just leave crazy and incredibly influential dictators with strong military forces alone (because that worked out so well in the late 1930's.)

And because of you, I can get scared of getting hit by balls of paint while standing in awe of the bravery and dedication you show by carrying out your jobs every day. Most of us would fight a fire at our front doorstep; very few are brave or heroic enough to walk into one that is miles away so that the homestead never even has to see the flames.

Embedded below is the final credits from the great HBO series, Generation Kill. The language is very rough, but the message is something worth hearing. After that is an embed of troops coming home to their families and loved ones (because it's awesome).

One day a year isn't nearly enough. Thank you for all that you do. I'm sure it angers and sickens you that some people don't appreciate or even dismiss/disparage the job that you do and the sacrifices that you've made, but please know that they only have a voice because of the rights you protect...and because they can get on the television by being obnoxious and loud.

Maybe the overwhelming majority of us who are indescribably grateful need to start being louder. 

Thank you for reading. I need to go now because some jerk just started cutting onions...totally not crying.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Top 10 things no one tells high school graduates.

Congratulations, class of 2012!  For those of you heading off to college next fall, you're going to be hearing and reading a lot of advice about things that you need to know to help sufficiently plan your future.  Unfortunately, no one is going to say anything about the really important stuff...until now.

1. After getting thrown into the air, graduate caps do come back to earth...and they hurt.

In nearly every graduation scene that is portrayed on television or in the movies, the act of throwing the graduate caps up into the air is accomplished one of two ways:

a.) A freeze frame shot of the caps while they are at the apex of their vertical flight.

b.) A steady shot that stays in the air after they have been thrown.

This has desensitized many 18-year-olds to one of the most terrifying post graduation experiences of all time.

If you go to a large high school like mine (or like Wando High School, whose graduation is this week), you will be in a room with hundreds of other departing seniors. Everyone will be primed and ready to throw their hats into the air, just like they have seen it done in various forms of media throughout their entire lives.

When the caps go up, everyone will cheer wildly. You will then have approximately one second of silence in which everyone realizes that these garments of success are all careening back down earth. After that, the screams and loud "THUNKS" of mortarboards crashing into your friends skulls will begin.

Some will try to duck, only to get stabbed in the back by one of the caps' unusually sharp ends. Others will stupidly continue to stare up into the sky, leaving their eyes vulnerable to aerial assault. Your best bet would be to simply stay standing straight up, look down, and cover your head.

If you don't believe me about this horrible experience, ask any of your friends or family that have been through a graduation ceremony themselves.  Their eyes will glaze over and they will mutter a vague phrase like "Oh yeah, I think something like that may have happened..."

Either they don't want to remember, or they suffered brain damage from multiple blows to the head and have truly forgotten.

2. Squirrels on college campuses have absolutely no fear of humans.

If your mom was like mine, she constantly warned you to stay away from squirrels due to the widely held (yet completely false) notion that they carry rabies. 

Staying away from those cute little buggers wasn't much a problem, however, due to the fact that they constantly ran away and scurried up a tree if you got within 10 feet of one of them.

Squirrels on college campuses, however, have become used to humans.  At first it's kind of cute; they sometimes will even run up to you and beg for food.  But after a while, it can get to be a little creepy.  Sometimes the same squirrel will follow you from one class to another. Other times, a group of squirrels will be in your path and refuse to move, putting you in the humiliating position of stepping aside for a small rodent.  
Or they sit next to you on a bench and just stare...

3. When you stop eating fruits and vegetables for three weeks, pooping will eventually feel like you are trying to pass an iron rod.

Two factors make eating right in college very difficult:

a.) Healthy food is often much more expensive than junk food.
b.) Junk food tastes awesome.

You will also discover that many events during your first two weeks of college provide lots of free food (which is also not terribly healthy). There is rarely a voice of reason to prohibit you from downing a dozen doughnuts in 1 hour or having a cheeseburger and fries every day for lunch.

While everyone has most likely heard of the dreaded "freshman 15," many people fail to mention the excruciating act of passing stools when your terrible diet also lacks sufficient fiber. It's a bit like sharp, jagged rocks exiting your butt that you must also willingly push through.

Any joke you've ever heard about someone busting a blood vessel while pooping will become very scary.

4. You will meet absolutely no new friends at the university planned social gatherings designed to help you meet new friends.

Be wary of any advertisement or announcement that begins with "Hey Students!" If it's university planned, than you will most likely find a lot of socially awkward people that either won't talk or will be all too eager to talk to you about their hometown and their high school's newspaper club.

Rest assured that you will later meet a lot of great people that you click with, but it will not be here.

5. Don't feel bad if you get homesick. At least half of your friends that keep raving about how much they love their first semester of college are totally lying.

When I first went off to college, there was no facebook, skype, or affordable cell phone plans; combine that with being 6 hours away from my beloved family and friends, and I was one very homesick kid. It didn't help that nearly everyone I did get to talk to (via the wonder of internet communication that was AOL instant messenger) seemed to be having the absolute time of their lives.

That all changed when the truth about one of my friends (we'll call him "Dave") was discovered by my mother. While Dave talked a huge game about how much partying/dating/drinking he was doing, my mom (who talked to his mom) knew the truth: He was calling home every night and talking to his mother until 1:00 AM about how much he missed high school.

Thanks to movies and television (again), many of us have been conditioned to believe that the undergraduate college experience has be the best 4 years of our lives from Day 1 or our lives will be forever unfulfilled. The truth is, some people may take a while to adjust, some may not have found a school/major that is the right fit for them, and some may not enjoy the structure and lifestyle of college all together. College can be an incredible experience, but that doesn't mean other future possibilities and adventures won't be even better.

"Yes!  I'm almost done with my 'Student Loan Debt' adventure!"

As my freshman year continued on, I truly began to enjoy myself. I also heard from/about more and more friends admitting that their first semester was mostly spent sulking in their rooms or considering dropping out of school all together. At the end of the year, there actually were a lot people I knew that went to college and had a complete blast from Day 1...and an equal number that hated it at first.

6. The first time you get sick at school (and can't have your family take care of you) is going to royally suck.


I'll never forget the first day at college that I woke up and felt truly ill. Being a freshmen, I didn't own a thermometer; Mom had always had one if I needed it.

I felt my forehead and noticed that it was very hot and that I was sweating profusely. The fact that my first college dorm did not have air conditioning, however, made any self diagnoses of a fever a bit difficult. So I did what any responsible new adult would do: I called my mom and asked if I should not go to class that day.

Like many of you, my normally very nurturing and slightly overprotective mother was astonished that I was acting like such a wimp. She said it was a decision that I had to make. I initially decided to go to class that day, but ended up missing it anyway due to a terrible bout of "iron poop" that was likely caused by eating macaroni and cheese for 4 straight meals.

7. Credit card companies are insanely aggressive when dealing with college freshmen.


I was very fortunate that I had a father that taught me the dangers of credit card abuse and how to manage money. To me, a credit card was simply a way to pay for things without carrying cash, keep better track of what I was spending, and maybe get some reward bonuses for stuff I was already going to buy.

When I first arrived on campus, I received a phone call from a very nice sounding lady offering me the chance to open a credit card. When I informed her that this was a decision I should consult with my parents about, she pressed on, informing me that I was an adult and could make this decision for myself.

I then proceeded to deal with her like I do all telemarketers: I asked her to give me the pitch again, but this time in a seductive voice and using dirty words while I breathed heavily. She hung up, but others continued to call, along with pushy card company representatives putting up booths at the student center, dining area, and outside the classroom buildings.

Here's a hint: They aren't interested in helping you create a credit history. They want to get you now while your parents are away and you may be more willing to use a card irresponsibly and rack up some of that sweet interest/revenue producing credit card debt. Don't take the bait.

8. The college parties you see in the movies very rarely happen. A typical "party" will instead consist a lot of people standing around in a dimly lit house/back yard and drinking terrible beer.

You will also notice a copious amount of Christmas lights (in August and September) along with large groups of people sitting.

Guys, there will always be one girl going nuts and trying to get everyone to dance. DO NOT take her up on the offer unless you want to listen to her drunkenly cry about her ex-boyfriend for the next 3 hours.

9. University parking police are soulless, terrible people that will do everything in their power to make your life miserable.

Here is how it works: The school will sell more parking passes than they have spaces to give to students. After students scramble to find a place to park their vehicles, they send their head hunters out to give tickets and create huge amounts of revenue for the school.

Don't for one second listen to claims from these people that they are "just doing their jobs." I had a friend who was a parking enforcement agent; they love their work and try every dirty trick in the book. This includes hiding in bushes, ticketing before meters run out, conveniently ignoring obscured 'No Parking' signs, and painting new 'No Parking' curbs and towing the cars that have already been there.

Try your best to avoid parking illegally, but if you get caught and have to pay a fine, pay them in pennies. 

10. There will be people with easy majors that never seem to go to class and have all the free time in the world. Do not envy them.


These people seem to have it all; no homework (or "studying" as it is redefined in college for some reason), lots of free time, and an easy pass to a college degree.

I know some of these people. They ended up with terrible jobs and living with their parents well into their 30's. A degree is just like a cover charge to a great club; it lets you get in, but it won't help you dance any better.

Your future depends on your ability and willingness to work hard along with networking and a little luck. Get the coveted piece of paper known as a diploma, but realize that no job will magically appear because of it. If you've made it this far, than you have shown that you can complete tasks and see things through. Now it's time to go out there and start making your own path.

...oh yeah, and don't forget 
to wear flip flops in the dorm showers.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how much I suck more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Weird Crime Wednesday: The Midwest Guitar Bandits

As someone who once worked at a music store, I can tell you that theft is definitely an issue. Plenty of small items (picks, guitar strings, valve oil, tuners, etc) can easily fit in a thief's pocket.  Add into that the fact that the person behind the counter is often explaining to a mom or day why you can't simply glue a clarinet back together that has been broken in half, and store security isn't something that

Stealing an instrument, however, was something that you would assume could not be done with any degree of subtlety.  Most small instruments were kept in the back or inside of a case.  The larger instruments (like guitars, basses, drum sets, trombones, etc) were usually on display, but that was fine since it would be a bit difficult to lug one out of the store without someone noticing.

Your miniature french horns, however, were easy prey.

Unfortunately for music stores in the midwest, however, a band of thieves has found a successful way of stealing guitars: Shoving them down their pants.  You would think that this method would result in the criminals being quickly apprehended/embarrassed by the police, but after four successful robberies across three different states, they are still at large.  

The criminal masterminds' plan goes something like this:  

-Two men enter the store.

-One goes up to the clerk and distracts him (probably with completely subjective questions like "how hard is it to play guitar" or stupid philosophical conversations about music).

Sir, I assure you that I can "hear" Jimi Hendrix just fine

-While the store clerk speaks with the first man, the second takes the guitar, shoves it fret first down his pants, and covers the top with an over sized jacket.
-The two men leave the store one guitar richer.

Later, when the store clerks noticed that a guitar was missing from the display area and no one was butchering the opening chords to "Stairway to Heaven," they realized that they had been robbed.

Embedded below is a local news video on the matter, which helpfully includes cringe worthy puns about these crimes "striking a sour note" and "stringing" the criminals up.  Some random dude also gets his fifteen seconds of fame by playing a slightly out of tune guitar solo.

The men are still at large and have stolen thousands of dollars worth of equipment.  Police are asking for help identifying the men photographed below before they strike again...or try to sell more stolen guitars that are tainted with crotch sweat.

This criminal duo may not have been creative enough to come with a scheme that involves throwing poop on their victims, but their scheme is currently working like a charm....and causing a lot of midwestern music store owners to fret (I am so sorry, but I had to write that).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: The Lead Mask Mystery

(photo @ ghosttheory.com)

NiteróiRio de JaneiroBrazil

On August 20 of 1966, a young man named Jorge De Costa Alves was flying a kite on Vintém Hill.  What most likely started out as a peaceful afternoon became very bizarre (and a bit gruesome) when Jorge stumbled across the bodies of two dead men.  As if that weren't shocking enough (for most people at least), the men were both dressed in matching suits, rain coats, and were wearing lead masks.

Jorge immediately ran home and phoned the police.  When they arrived on the scene, they found even more clues as to what happened...which just ended up making things even more confusing.

The two men were identified as Manoel Pereira da Cruz and Miguel José Viana, two electrical engineers who made a living as TV repairmen and lived in the city of Campos dos Goytacazes.  The only items found next to their bodies were two towels, a bottle of water, and a note which read:

"16:30 be at the agreed place.  18:30 swallow capsules, after effect protect metals wait for mask signal."

"And remember, no bathroom breaks after 18:31"

Through interviewing people in the surrounding area, the police were able to reconstruct the events leading up to the mens' death...which once again didn't answer any questions or make any sense.

The two men had told their respective families on August 17 that they would be heading into town for supplies. They bought their rain coats from a nearby shop and a bottle of water from a bar.  They also found a package containing two towels and a coupon allowing them to return their empty water bottle for a refund.

The coupon would imply that the two men intended to return from their fateful trip up the hill (and that they cared about the environment or were incredibly frugal). With no signs of struggle/foul play, and no outward signs of physical trauma to either of the bodies, the only thing left to do was a toxicology report...which never happened.  

The bodies were already in a bad state of decomposition when they were discovered.  When the remains arrived at the coroner's office, they were stored away due to a backlog of work that was already being processed.  By the time the examiner's got around to them, the remains of Manoel and Miguel were completely rotted.

Apparently, even dead people with interesting 
cases have to wait forever to see a doctor, too.

So why did they do...whatever they did?

Your guess is as good as mine.  

The two men were avid UFO enthusiasts and the hill that they were found on was an alleged UFO hot spot. Maybe they were trying to contact aliens; why that takes pills, lead masks, and raincoats, however, remains a mystery.

There were also a few reports stating that the two men were not alone on the hill and may have been robbed (there was no money on either of them when their bodies were found), but that seems very unlikely.  If this was a robbery attempt, it was a pretty involved and elaborate scheme simply to pickpocket two incredibly gullible TV repairmen.

But if it somehow was aliens, than it once again proves my theory:

Aliens are total jerks.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Weird Crime Wednesday: Once you get hit with the poop, it's already too late

(photo @ sodahead.com)

Sydney, Australia

Police in Sydney are currently looking for a gang of robbers that are targeting people who have just walked away after using an ATM.  While thieves going after victims that are newly flush with cash is expected, the method that this particular band of criminals is utilizing has the authorities scratching their heads...and covering their noses.

The group watches their victims withdraw the money, waits for them to leave, and then throws their own feces at them.  They are apparently somehow able to do this undetected, since the next part of their plan involves them going up to the victims and offering to help clean them up.

Pleased to meet you, my dear. You seem to have 
some of the corn that I ate last night on your dress

People that have just been pelted by a random turd are rarely going to turn down any type of assistance or ask the hard questions like: "WHO JUST THREW POOP AT ME...and why did these guys suddenly show up and offer to help me clean it off?"  Knowing this, the gang uses their good Samaritan ruse as a cover while they steal their victims' cash.

These bandits have been running their crap and run scam since April, stealing as much as $30,000 from one victim.  Unfortunately, police have been unable to flush the criminals out of hiding (I'm so sorry, but that pun had to be included).

Police have released CCTV stills of the alleged perpetrators.  If you live in the Sydney area and see any of these men...or you know, get hit by an airborne glob of turd and then have a bunch of guys randomly offer to help clean you up, please alert the proper authorities immediately.

...and if the ATM is next to a Chinese buffet, surrender your cash immediately and without question. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Internet Celeb of the Month: Elyse Porterfield

In August of 2010, the internet buzzing about two folks that had very publicly quit their terrible jobs.  But while Steven Slater quit his job as an airline steward for JetBlue with righteous fury and indignation, a cute office worker named "Jenny" took a much more comedic route.

TheChive.com posted a series of pictures that Jenny, (a girl from an unnamed brokerage) had sent all her co workers. They showed her holding a dry erase board and laying the hammer down sentence by sentence to her horrible boss named Spencer, all the while flashing a beautiful smile.

This incredible resignation letter tapped into a reserve of populist rage felt by an overworked and under appreciated workforce along with a general disdain for anything having to do with Wall Street.  She not only had the guts to very publicly quit her job, but completely destroyed her terrible boss. She even used her computer access as his (former) assistant to expose Spencer's habit of playing Farmville at work.

Sadly, Jenny's incredible backhand smack to "The Man" turned out to be a hoax.  It had been set up by theChive long before the JetBlue incident (but ended up coinciding very well with it) and was done as a practical joke.

While many of us were disappointed that "Jenny" wasn't real, we were still very impressed/smitten with Elyse Porterfield, the actress that had portrayed our proletarian hero.  Despite never saying a word, this girl was able to portray a fairly impressive array of emotions and convince many of us that this was a real occurrence simply with her facial expressions (and for those of you that think "eye acting" is easy, watch this video and get back to me on that).

Elyse immediately followed her "Jenny" role with a feature in askmen.com and appeared in ads for Expo Markers. As the young actress began taking on small television/movie projects and expanding her career, however, she still managed to do a great job keeping in touch with her fans...of which I am a HUGE one.

Elyse had made my day a couple of times by responding to my tweets, so I wondered if she would be willing to be Rambling Beach Cat's Internet Celeb of the Month for May.  I messaged her and received the following response:

After exchanging a few messages, I got to find out a little more about what Elyse was like when she wasn't pretending to quit her job and what the future has in store for her:

RBC: Before you were introduced to the world via your role as Jenny, what were you doing?

Elyse: I had literally just moved to LA in May and I was still getting settled. I was going to auditions here and there, and I was working background on the feature film, Project X.

RBC: You have a BA in Musical Theater; what are some of your favorite roles you've played or want to play some day?

Elyse: I loved playing Nancy in Oliver and Martha in The Secret Garden. They were my favorite roles, and my favorite shows that I have been a part of. I would love to play Belle in 'Beauty and the Beast, Elphaba in Wicked, and Kathy in The Last Five Years. I've always dreamed of playing Eponine in Les Miserables as well.

RBC: Is there anything else you'd like to do with your singing, or is acting currently your main focus?

Elyse: Acting is my main focus right now because I've always wanted to work in film and television, but I LOVE singing. I sing around the house, in the car, pretty much everywhere I go. I would love to do more musicals, though. Once I'm done with the Hollywood world, I'll probably be found doing community theatre. :) I love it!

RBC: Have you always wanted to be an actress?

Elyse: Yes, since I could walk and talk!

RBC: Do you remember your first dramatic role? (mine was Sam the Sad Circus Clown in 1st grade, but the bright lights and fame just weren't for me).

Elyse: My first big acting experience was playing an orphan in the musical Annie when I was 9.

RBC: Okay, personal question time: How did you and your husband meet?

Elyse: We met in the funniest way: I was a cave tour guide (yep, I guided cave tours every summer since I was 15! I love spelunking!) at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, and he was the bass player of a local bluegrass band. I knew that there was a band playing at our restaurant that evening, but I had no interest in staying until I saw him. 

Yes, the bass player really does get the girl, sometimes.

I was just coming up from my last tour of the day and our eyes locked. It sounds cheesy but it was like magic! I stayed and listened to his band (they were really awesome), and afterwards we went out for drinks. The rest is history! It's crazy because I remember something clicking in me the second I saw him! It was definitely love at first sight.

RBC: What does the tattoo on your back say? 

...besides "I'm elegant, but still kind of a badass."

Elyse: Thanks for asking! It says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart" referring to Proverbs 3:5. Advice I live by every day!

RBC: It's been almost two years since Jenny quit her job and dropped the hammer on Spencer--how much did that role change your life help you move your acting career forward?

Elyse: Honestly, I wish I could go back and do it all over. It really did change my life for the better and it's given me some amazing opportunities, but I would have handled things so differently if I would have known then what I know now.

I think I would have really given it my all to propel myself forward, but instead I just kind of enjoyed the ride. I have no regrets though because I LOVE where I am now, and I feel like I have accomplished so much for only living in this town for two years! Being Jenny has allowed me to meet so many amazing people, and go to some awesome places. It's really cool when I meet a celebrity and they know who I am. That's just surreal.

RBC: What type of roles and projects have you worked on since then and what type of stuff do you have coming up?

Elyse: I have really been focusing on making some good industry connections. If I'm not at an audition or taking a day off, I usually work as background on TV shows and movies. I love it because I've gotten to know a lot of influential people in the business and I get to be on set! I have literally worked on too many shows to name, but I am featured on a couple of upcoming episodes of Parks and Recreation! 

Elyse giving Leslie Knope/Amy Poehler the stink eye during her terrible Rodney Dangerfield impression

Right now my main focus is on trying to get a decent agent. I have already been through 3 out here, and unfortunately there are more bad apples than good ones.   

RBC: Do people ever say "Oh, you're that girl who quit her job with the dry erase board!" when you come in for interviews?

Elyse: All the time. It would actually make me mad sometimes because I had some very powerful people in the industry call me in for meetings. I was excited to meet with them, and then it turned out that they just wanted to meet me. Very frustrating, but I love it when people recognize me on the streets, on set, or in auditions. It definitely gives me an advantage! 

RBC: Okay, confession time:  I know you're a big fan of 'The Office.'  One of my dreams for the show (besides to be funny again) is for them to have an episode where Michael Scott comes back for a visit (obviously), but with you in it as a guest star.  At some point during the episode, he's doing some sort of presentation using a white board that he's having you hold it up the entire time.  You roll your eyes and say "this is so beneath me..."

Elyse: Ummm, lets make that happen!!!

RBC: That all being said, I know your incredibly appreciative of the opportunity the "Jenny" role gave you, but do you ever wish your vocal background had taken off more in the same way that your acting did?

Elyse: I wish more people had the chance to hear me sing! I have a pretty awesome voice, and I'd love to get into voice over work as a Disney Princess or something.

Definitive proof of Elyse's gorgeous vocal abilities

I am extremely appreciative though. It got my name out there in a good way, and that's what matters to me. I have plenty of time to build off of that. The "Jenny" hoax gave me a great starting platform.

RBC: Where do you see yourself (or hope to be) in a few years?

Elyse: I hope that in the next few years that I have just made progress! I could say I hope to be a lead in a movie or a regular on a TV series (all things that I want and hope for), but I will be happy as long as I am doing what I love and moving forward in my career. 

RBC: Okay, random stuff: One of your last twitter profile pics is of you and a bird.  What's your bird's name? (and is he/she as friendly as he seems in your pictures...because birds always seem to hate me for some reason).

Elyse: Uh oh, once I start with this it's gonna be hard to stop! His name is Charlie and he is the most amazing thing on the planet. He talks like crazy, and he even sings along to songs and TV shows like Glee! He also loves to cuddle and when I call him, he will fly to me like I'm a princess. 

Elyse with her pet bird, Charlie 
(who would have scratched my eyes out if I had tried that pose with him).

He's just so incredible and scary smart. He will start saying new words all on his own! I'm so fascinated by birds because they are such amazing creatures, and they're so happy! Think about how tiny their brains are, and yet they are just so smart! If I was to ever give up acting, the only thing that would give me an equal amount of joy would be working for a bird rescue. I'm obsessed with them! 

RBC: Do you have any other pets?

Elyse: I don't, but my bonus son Chandler (16) has a Bearded Dragon named Bubba and a Leopard Gecko named Gizmo. They're pretty awesome and very chill.

RBC: "Bonus Son"?

Elyse: I say bonus instead of step son.  It's nicer and more positive :) 

RBC: You're really good about staying connected with your fans, which means you've had to have some weirdos come out of the woodwork. What's one of the strangest fan contacts you've had?

Elyse: To be honest I really haven't had many strange interactions. I do get random people that will message me creepy things, but I just ignore those. :) Everyone else is awesome and I love interacting with them on facebook and twitter. I felt like I've actually gotten to know some people and make new friends, it's really neat to connect with people all over the world.

RBC: I read in another interview you did that you had to deal with some pretty difficult people in your college's musical theater department (I was a music major in college, as well, so I have no problem believing that).  Have you ever wanted/been tempted to send any of them their own personalized white board message?

Elyse: Oh, I'm much more aggressive than that. I've been tempted to hit some of them with a car! 

Haha, I'm just kidding. I think I would have to much to say to be able to fit it on a white board! I am one of those people who really tried to get along with everyone, but I refuse to conform. 

That was a problem for me at my school because it was like a popular high school clique. It was a miserable 4 years and I almost dropped out so many times, but I'm really glad I didn't because there were some good people mixed in with all the rest, and I graduated with really thick skin.

RBC: You recently decided to go blonde.  What made you decide to fully embrace the evil side of your nature?

ElyseI actually went back to blonde. I switch it up every few years and was blonde when I met my husband. He really likes it blonde and I was ready for a change. Don't get too comfortable with it though, I could be a red head tomorrow; I love changing up my hair. No Katy Perry though!

RBC: You're a huge Broncos fan. Like me, you seemed to spend much of last season reveling in Tim Tebow making experts and cynics pull their hair out and scream with rage. I want to hate Elway for dumping Tebow and getting Manning...but it's Peyton Manning!  I'm pretty torn, myself.  How do you feel about it?

Elyse: Oh my goodness I'm so angry! Tebow did so much for the Broncos and I feel like they just dumped him!!! I understand why they did what they did, but I think it was wrong and it's something they'll regret when Manning retires in the near future.  

RBC: Will you still root for the Bronocs next year?  And an even more chilling question...will you be willing to root for the New York Jets?

Elyse: The Broncos will always come first, but I'll root for Tim Tebow wherever he goes.

RBC: Anything else you'd like to say or promote to your fans out there?

Elyse: Thank you so much for all your support and friendship! That's the best thing that came from the hoax, and it's so wonderful getting to know so many different people!

RBC: If you'd like to follow Elyse's rise to stardom, see more photos of her, or listen to her vehemently complain about Los Angeles traffic, you can follow her on twitter @officialelyse or join her Facebook fan page.