Category Archives: Minutia of My Fascinating Life

Ordering a Low-Sugar Frappuccino: The Impossible Dream?


Starbucks:  You are leaving money on the table.  Luckily, I’m here to help.  I’m talking about the steadfast way you ignore your many customers who are trying to reduce the sugar in their diets.  I’m one of them.  I absolutely love me a Venti Mocha Frappuccino, but ordered as is, the sugar content in it would probably render me unconscious.  I want to order the lowest-sugar version of this lovely treat that I can.  But, because your baristas collectively have zero clue about sugar as an ingredient, every time I try to do this, it’s a frustrating ordeal.


The first problem is that your lovely employees don’t know how to distinguish between low sugar and low fat.  Just today while I was waiting for my custom-ordered frappe (“Light syrup.  Light base.”), the manager turned to me and said, “So, for that skinny mocha frappe, what kind of milk did you want?”


Uh, no.  Even I know that in Starbucksland, “Skinny” means low fat.  I never said low fat.  In fact, I asked for whole milk and whipped cream.  I’m not afraid of the fat.  I’m trying to reduce the sugar.


I’m never confident that I’m getting the lowest-sugar version of the Mocha Frappuccino, no matter how many times I order it.  Sometimes the manager tells me to ask for “light base.”  Sometimes the manager tells me to ask for “light syrup.”  Which is it, my dudes?


The answer is so simple.  PUT A LOW SUGAR FRAPPUCCINO ON THE MENU.  There.  Done.  Add it to the list of drinks your employees learn to make.  Then my low-sugar caffeine addict friends and I will know how to order it.  And, hopefully, your baristas will get clear on how to make it.  We’ll all waste less time talking about it; you’ll move the line along more quickly, sell more drinks and everybody wins.


Starbucks, you are in the business of selling complicated overpriced caffeine drinks to urban people willing to pay for them.  Understanding and owning what the ingredients of these drinks are is sort of your job.  Do it better.  You’re welcome.frap


Surprise ScandiRAYvia Epilogue!


I’ve been shockingly tardy in wrapping up my ScandiRayvia pieces. As 2016 starts, it’s time to finally bring my reportage on my trip to a close. You know, as I completed the trip six months ago.

I have one final surprise for you, Dear Readers, if you’ll indulge me on this tired topic just one more time.

Let’s roll back the videotape to Friday, June 26, 2015. Perhaps you remember the day as intensely as I do.

I’ve already talked about hearing about the SCOTUS decision while on a boat tour on the Stockholm Archipelago way back in ScandiRayvia #13. But what you may not know is that I left out a big part of the story of my day. Unless I’ve spoken to you about it on the phone or in person, you haven’t heard this part until now.

So. I’m having a great time at the Mälarpaviljongen bar that evening with Joakim Zetterberg’s friend Neil. As you may recall, Jay very graciously hooked me up with Neil and his very nice friends so I would have someone to celebrate the just-announced and life-changing Obergefell vs. Hodges SCOTUS decision.

Here's the cool bar where we met (shot from the bluffs of the island of Soldermalm).
Here’s the cool bar where we met (shot from the bluffs of the island of Soldermalm).


Here’s the part I left out of that evening:

At one point, Neil turned to me and said, “You know, I’m not Swedish. I was born in Texas.”

“No you WEREN’T,” I said.

“Yup. I grew up in Plano.”

“Well, I grew up in Bryan. I went to college with a raft of kids from Plano.”

Har, har, har, isn’t that funny, small world, etc. And that would have been that. Except, for some reason I still don’t really understand, Neil went on:

“I wasn’t born in Plano, I was born in Dallas. And my mother is from a little town called Blooming Grove.”

I paused.

After a minute, I slowly said, “Well, that’s… odd. That’s where my family is from. That’s where my Iveys are from.”

Then Neil paused. For a long time. Finally he said:

“Uh… my grandmother was Thelma Ivy from Blooming Grove.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I found my newest Ivey cousin. In Stockholm. Neil and I share a great-great grandfather. He was a veteran of Gettysburg (and many other Civil War battles) with the colorful handle Hinton Clinton Gaither Ivey/Ivy (1844-1921). Which makes Neil and I third cousins. Neil has lived in Stockholm for many years, where he has a super cool job that I can’t really even tell you about.

Of all the things I expected to find on my ScandiRayvia trip, a Texas cousin was definitely not among them. It was one of the oddest coincidences of my life and one I’m extremely grateful for.

So if any of you see Neil on Facebook, be nice to him, or I’ll start singing show tunes.

And there’s not much else to tell. The trip home was very long but happily uneventful. And after three weeks away from my beloved LA, here’s how I felt when I got off the plane at LAX:

kiss the ground

I have no idea when I’ll get to take another trip that compares with ScandiRayvia, but I do know I’m extraordinarily fortunate to have been able to take this trip and see so many places I’ve dreamed about seeing.

NOTE: There is a certain fluidity to the spelling of the Ivey/Ivy surname.


My Second Birthday

Dr. Kathy Magliato: My Hero

Ten years ago today, I was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills.  I had been ignoring increasingly serious chest pains for ten days.  I cannot defend this behavior, other than to tell you that I have actute “white coat hypertension” – meaning I’m terrified of doctors, doctor’s offices, and hospitals.


This time the fear nearly killed me, because when I finally went in, my main cardiac artery was 97% blocked.   In other words, I was a walking corpse.  Later I learned that the type of lesion I had on my artery had a nickname in the cardiac healthcare community:  The Widowmaker (


Lucky for me, Dr. Kathy Magliato and her talented team at Cedars swooped in and saved my life.  I’ll never forget the first thing she said to me as she leaned into my hospital bed and shook my hand:  “Mr. Ivey, you have a beautiful heart.  There is nothing wrong with your heart.”  It was an odd, but welcome thing to hear from the woman who was getting ready to cut me open and rewire said heart.


Dr. Kathy was ridiculously kind and calming.  She was way nicer than surgeons are supposed to be, and I’ll always be grateful to her for that.


I as, of course, beside myself with terror.  Lucky for me, my friends and family immediately began taking care of me.  Bonnie kept me calm while I was being admitted.  My Dad flew in from Louisiana, slept on a shelf in my hospital room the night before the surgery, and took care of me for two weeks.  My friends Tayler, David, Anita, Ellen, and others made sure I had visits.  My cousin Sheryl was her usual championship self.  Even my boss, Erica, visited me while I was in ICU.  That’s hardcore.


Thanks to Dr. Magliato, I received a second chance at being alive.



Okay to be Takei


Tonight at Christmas dinner I was chatting with Armin Shimmerman.  After a little talk about baking cakes (me) and bread (him) I said, “Forgive me if I’ve asked you this before, Armin, but do all Star Trek people know each other?” (Armin played Quark on “Deep Space Nine.”)

“Yeah, we do,” he said.  “Even if we weren’t in the same thing, we all know each other from conventions and cruises and stuff.”

He then confirmed that yes, he knew my dear old friend Robin Curtis (Lieutenant Saavik in III and IV).  Blah, blah.

Then we just slid into talking about how much we both admired George Takei.

I’m not a Trek person.  Nothing against it!  I just never got that into it.  Basically the tiny bit I know about Trek is because of people I know who are professionally connected to it, not because I was ever really a fan.

So my admiration of Takei is not due to his iconic status as Mr. Sulu, though of course that is very cool.  No, the reason I’m all about The Takei is because of what a fantastic civil rights activist he is.

A native of Los Angeles, Takei did part of his growing up in the internment camps in which the U.S. government disgracefully confined thousands of American citizens during the war for the crime of being of Japanese descent.  Takei has always been very active in Japanese and Japanese/American issues.

For the last few years, Takei has also been a relentless and effective activist for gay rights.  His hilarious and biting YouTube videos garner stupendous numbers of hits.

I’ve always valued humor as a tool of ridicule and political discourse, and I find Takei’s activist work to be subversively clever and devastatingly pointed.  He has become quite a hero of mine.

Anyway, Michael, another guest at dinner, caught wind of what we were discussing, and dropped the following little bombshell:

“Takei?  You know I’m his agent.”

Very.  Long.  Pause.

“…really?!” I gulped.

As it turns out, Michael helped Takei pull his career out of the doldrums.  He’s the one who booked Takei on Howard Stern’s Sirius radio show, which really spiked his visibility. (Visibility!  Radio!  Yuk yuk!)  He booked him on “Heroes,” commercials, and other things.  Was at his wedding, yadda yadda yadda.

When Michael first met Takei, the actor was still professionally pretty closeted.  After he decided to be more frank about being gay, the same thing happened that has happened to other closeted celebrities:  His career skyrocketed.

“How great was he on the Shatner roast,” I said.

“Oh yeah!” said Michael.  “We were there,” his wife Jasmine said.

“Well.”  I said.  “Please, the next time you speak to him, would you tell him that you know someone who is a HUGE admirer of his and who appreciates the work he does for civil rights.”

Michael chuckled.  “Tell him yourself.  I’ll call him.”

Yeah, right.  As yummy as this prospect was, I was way too polite to push it, so I let it go and let the conversation drift toward other topics – involuntary organ transplants, Serbo-Croation cuisine, fleas — you know, the usual stuff.

A few minutes later, Michael walked up to me.  “Tried him, no answer.”

Wow!  “Well, thanks for trying, anyway!”

A few minutes after that, he walked back up to me, phone in his ear.

“Yeah.  Oh, George, I have a friend here who really wants to say hello to you.”

Handed me the phone.

I didn’t hesitate.  I didn’t stutter.  I am a professional.

“Hello, Mr. Takei,” I said.  “I’m awfully sorry to interrupt your Christmas.  But I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re one of the fiercest and rowdiest warriors we have for civil rights now, and I SO appreciate everything that you do.”

To which he replied, “Fuck off, faggot.”

No.  KIDDING.  Of course he didn’t say that.  Don’t be silly!

What he SAID was:

“Well, I think we all do what we can do, and I appreciate what YOU do.”

Classy guy.

I said Merry Christmas and so long, hung up the phone, had a quiet little nerdgasm.

If you are not familiar with Takei’s riotous videos on YouTube, I highly recommend you check them out.  Also recommended is his very active Facebook page.


Spring Forward: Conclusion



 [Note:  I’ve peppered this final edition of Spring Forward with some of my favorite pictures from the many I took on the trip.]

triumphangel_1I began this trip with lists, have used lists throughout the journey, and now cannot seem to end without using lists.  I thought about lists the whole trip.

But before I get to these final lists, I have a couple of thoughts about the trip in general.

better_twinsThis next bit may sound a big smug, and if it does, I apologize ahead of time, because smugness is so very unattractive.  But here goes anyway.

I mostly feel good about the trip because I pulled it off so well.  While it’s true that I feel like fear causes serious constraints on my life in many areas, I don’t think you could say it does in regards to travel.  For whatever reason, whatever bravery I have comes to the fore when it comes to putting myself into unfamiliar surroundings.big_head

trump_dogI never freaked out when I was navigating a strange foreign city, whether on foot or underground in a subway.  I never panicked when all the conversation around me was in words I couldn’t understand.  I found ways to enjoy each new strange place I visited.

Also, since I’ve learned to be a careful traveler, my journey was not beset by lots of negative events.  Or, to be more specific:

I never missed a connection on a flight, train, or bus.

I never had a problem with a hotel reservation.

angel_at_sunsetI never had a problem with my passport or my Russian visa.

I never had a bag lost or stolen.

I never had a gadget lost, stolen or broken, and remember, I was carrying a big expensive camera, two lenses for that camera, two handheld portable gaming devices, a phone, a laptop, a mouse, a keyboard, headphones, etc.the_fortress

And now I’m home.  Actually, I’ve been home a week.  I’m mostly glad to be home.

I have felt a bit weird, though.  I’ve felt a bit disoriented, sometimes a bit blue.  I’ve been tired and uninspired.  Some.  A lot of this I think I can mark down to jet lag, but there’s also simply trip lag.  Being away from home for twelve full weeks is pretty extreme. blue building

Reentry into my apartment was made even odder by the fact that I’m now the only person living here.  My roommate of four years moved out while I was gone.  This sounds a lot more dramatic than it is.  I knew Steve was moving, and moved on perfectly good terms.  He never intended to stay here for four years when I invited him to stay with me when he was unfairly kicked from his longtime apartment in 2007.  He’s been a great roommate.

wide_shotIn fact, there’s some symmetry here, because Steve moved in in March 2007 while I was traveling in Asia for the same client I was in Europe for when he moved out.  It’s a little like Mary Poppins coming and going when the wind changes in a certain way.

the_hills_are_aliveAnother thought I’ve had a lot over the last week is that I’m basically at home wherever I am.  In this sense, as horribly pretentious as I’m sure it sounds, I’m really a citizen of the planet.  I’m happy to be back home in LA, but in some ways it’s just the next place I’m hanging my hat.  This is not a bad thing.chaplin_and_jones_fan

I’m so grateful for the gift of this trip.  I’m grateful to the client that made it possible, and for all the colleagues along the way that made the project such a pleasure to work on.  I’m so thrilled to have had the opportunity to see so many beautiful and fascinating new places.

I’m also extremely grateful to you, Dear Reader, for taking this journey with me! 


Books Read on the Trip

  • Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
  • Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
  • The Water Babies by Charles Kingsleychrist_the_redeemer
  • Riding the Bullet by Stephen King
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterling
  • On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
  • The Stollen Bacillus and Other Stories by H.G. Wells
  • The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen
  • Role Models by John Watersgargoyles_reaching_out
  • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
  • 50 Reasons People Give For Believing in a God by Guy P. Harrison
  • Eiger Dreams:  Ventures Among Men and Mountains by Jon Krakauer
  • Three Cups of Deceit by Jon Krakauer
  • Iron Kingdom:  The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1947
  • You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to the Coffee Shop by John Scalzi
  • This Will Change Everything by John Brockman
  • A Fist in the Hornet’s Nest by Richard Engel
  • The Epoch Index by Christian Cantrelldo ray mi
  • Venom by Christian Cantrell
  • Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton
  • Mysterium by Robert Charles Wilson
  • The Perseids by Robert Charles Wilson
  • The President’s Brain is Missing by John Scalzi
  • Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett
  • Reaper Man by Terry Pratchettgold_domes_3
  • Starbound by Joe Haldeman
  • Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper
  • The Frozen Sky by Jeff Carlson
  • Out of the Black by Lee Doty


That’s twenty-nine books.  Go Kindle.


Cities Visited (Total:  20)

  • Ohio
  • Clevelandleuven_townhouses
  • Toledo
  • Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh
  • New York
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • New Brunswick
  • Belgium
  • Brussels
  • Bruges
  • Ghentlovers_3
  • Leuven
  • France
  • Paris
  • Lithuania
  • Vilnius
  • Trakai
  • Germany
  • Berlin
  • Potsdam
  • Munich
  • Austria
  • Salzburg
  • Russian Federationonion_dome
  • Moscow
  • St. Petersburg
  • Estonia
  • Tallinn
  • Finland
  • Helsinki

 Countries visited:  9peace_angel

 Number of Airplanes:  13

 Number of Trains:  6

 Number of Buses:  2

 Number of Rental Cars:  1

 Number of Private Cars:  5

 Number of Different Hotel Rooms:  15

 Number of Tours:  10

 Number of Segways:  2


Number of Falls from Segways:  1


 Massages:  4


 Ethnic Cuisine Restaurants:  9

  • Mexican
  • Italianon_the_neva
  • Indian
  • Uzbek
  • Israeli
  • German
  • Austrian
  • Flemish
  • Finnish

Passport Stamps:  4












Spring Forward: Day 58


May 9, 2011 

Back in beautiful Munich!  This is the last destination on my trip that I have been to before.  I was here in 2006 for three weeks when I was doing an earlier project for this same client.

The Peace Angel at sunset.
The Peace Angel at sunset.

Despite the internet problems, it’s nice that the hotel is just a ten minute walk from the office.  This is a huge improvement over last time, when it was a walk, a subway ride, then another walk. 

There’s also been a lot of turnover in the Munich office as well, even though it’s the same facilities as the last time.  


I’m frequently astonished at what employees will tell a contractor.  I’ll be having lunch with someone and they’ll just start confiding in me.  I don’t mind, but I think the risk they take when they do this is breathtaking.  They don’t know me!  They don’t know that I’ll keep my mouth shut.  It’s just their dumb luck that I actually will keep the things they say in confidence.  But if I was a reckless asshole I could cause some real damage.


One of my colleagues from the Brussels office is in Munich this week to help us, and it was good to see him again.  We had a very nice Italian dinner that basically took all night. 

Going to dinner in Europe is a very, very, VERY different activity from going to dinner in the States. boards

In America, going to dinner is frequently the first part of an evening.  You eat, then you go to a movie, or a good hanging.  Or it’s something to do because work is done and you’re hungry. 

In Europe going to dinner is your evening. 

The entire vibe of meals in restaurants in Europe is very different than in the States.  The service is much more passive.  There’s none of that, “Hi, I’m Tamerlane, and I’ll be your server tonight,” crap.  On the other hand, the staff at every restaurant here seems to assume that you have all day or night to complete your meal.  They seem utterly uninterested in “turning the table.”  This is nice ifyou really do have all the time in the world; a bit frustrating if you don’t.

headSo, while I enjoyed our three hour dinner, by the time I got back to my room it was so late and I was so tired I just read a bit and conked out. 

Things Clients Have Confided in Me Over The Years[1]

  • I kill people for a living.
  • I’m really a man.
  • I voted for Christine O’Donnell
  • I actually read Playboy for the articles.
  • I love you.
  • I am so stupid I think Bambi was a fish.


[1] Just kidding.


Spring Forward: Day 33


New York
April 14, 2011

Day of Stress

Bah.  Just want this day to be over.

A 36-year-old friend of mine is undergoing brain surgery today in Los Angeles to alleviate a vestibular neuroma.  It’s making me insane that I’m not there just to offer whatever help I could to his partner and brother.  In addition, after tomorrow I won’t even be able to call because of STUPID VERIZON WHO IS BEHIND THE TIMES WHEN IT COMES TO USING YOUR PHONE OUT OF THE COUNTRY. Grr.

Two questions:  Why?  and more importantly, WHY?!
Two questions: Why? and more importantly, WHY?!

Also, it’s down to the wire on my Russia visa, which I’ve also been stressing about big time, because I’m not scheduled to have my passport returned to me (with the Russian visa stamp) until tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow afternoon is, of course, when I’m getting on a plane to Brussels. 

I’ve actually gotten good news regarding the passport.  It’s finished, and it’s on its way to the Washington office of the client, and someone there will overnight pouch the thing to me, so it looks like we’re homefree on that one. 

Now I just need to hear the news that my friend is safely out of surgery.

Surgery sucks, there’s no way around it.  I know of what I speak:

My Surgical Adventures (all at Cedars Sinai, Los Angeles)

  • Re-assemble shattered elbow, May 2000
  • Second reconstruction of elbow, July 2000
  • Third reconstruction of elbow, September 2000
  • Double cardiac arterial bypass, February 15, 2002


Believe me, that’s plenty.

Honey Badger doesn't give a shit about Spring in New York.
Honey Badger doesn't give a shit about Spring in New York.

Spring Forward: Day 31


New York
April 12, 2011

Alma Mater

I graduated from this school thirty years ago this month, back when still had hopes and dreams and a waistline and my original cardiac arterial connections.
I graduated from this school thirty years ago this month, back when still had hopes and dreams and a waistline and my original cardiac arterial connections.

Today I passed my old Alma Mater, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, on Madison Avenue.  I decided to step in and just look around.  I was met by a receptionist who wanted to know what the hell I was doing there.  “I graduated from here exactly thirty years ago,” I said.  “Really?” She replied.  “Today is graduation day, as a matter of fact.”

I looked around at all the kids in their neatly pressed suits and dresses, having just returned from the stage of the Majestic Theater on Broadway where their ceremony had been held.  I should have asked who the speaker had been.  In April of 1981, when I graduated on the set of Deathtrap at the Music Box Theater, the speakers had been Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn and silent screen legend Lillian Gish. 

Today’s graduates looked predictably happy, tired and excited.  I sure hoped they were smarter than I was thirty years ago.  I stifled the impulse to collar some of them and give them some unsolicited advice.

Then I realized the person I really wanted to give advice to was my young, stupid, callow, naïve, hopeful 1981 self.  What I really wanted was to jump into a time machine, just for five minutes, and MAKE my 21-year old self listen to some wise words from his future self.

Here’s What I’d Tell My Stupid 21-Year Old 1981 Just-Graduated From Acting School Self

  1. Either get out of show business right now or get a lot smarter about it immediately.
  2. Come out of the damn closet already.  There’s no prize for who stays in the longest.[1]
  3. Low carb, low carb, low carb, low carb, low carb.
  4. Resist the impulse to take Meridia without a doctor’s supervision.
  5. Learn about your credit rating.  Treat it like your first born child.
  6. Credit cards are The Devil.
  7. It’s not too late to make friends with your own body.  Do anything you have to to achieve this.
  8. Did I mention low carb?
  9. You’re skinnier and better looking than you think you are.
  10. Investigate the new and growing world of computer and video gaming.  It might be a better career path than acting.
  11. Like the song says, enjoy yourself, but always remember:  it’s later than you think.
We're very serious at Ground Zero.
We're very serious at Ground Zero.


Friends for thirty-two years.  I'm lucky they'll still hang out with me.  But then, they don't have to do it very often.
Friends for thirty-two years. I'm lucky they'll still hang out with me. But then, they don't have to do it very often.


I wonder if I would have listened?


[1] But wait about three years before you start having sex.  There’s a scourge coming and it’ll be a little while before they know how you can avoid it.


Spring Forward: Day 24


New York
April 5, 2011

The Bank of Ray

I’ve been interested in microloans for some time.  Are you familiar with the concept?  You make loans in tiny amounts to people across the globe that you’ve never met.

I finally decided to take the plunge.  I joined Kiva, an organization I highly recommend ( The site is well-organized, which makes it easy to zero in on what kind of loan you’d like to make.

My client Sugar in his grocery store in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.  He is bringing computer gaming to his community.
My client Sugar in his grocery store in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. He is bringing computer gaming to his community.

I skipped over the boring stuff like farming and manufacturing and went straight to Entertainment.  Hey, just because I’m being altruistic doesn’t mean I have to stop being shallow.

After only a couple of minutes of searching I found my guy:  Sugar Ayush, a married father of one, wants to raise money to expand one room of his small grocery store to make a PC gaming center.  Well, that’s an idea I can get behind!  Just because a kid lives in Mongolia shouldn’t mean he can’t get his Gears of War on, right?

At first I was worried, because I was the very first person to loan Sugar a chunk of the amount he was trying to raise.  But in just a week, other wise lenders had followed my lead and I was delighted to see that his loan amount had been met!  I’m actually quite proud that my name is listed as the first lender right on his page.  The smug feeling of righteousness I feel when I think about Sugar’s PC game room is well worth the $25 I lent him to expand his business.

So.  The next time you’re in Ulan Bator and you have a hankerin’ for some Halo, go see my client Sugar and tell him Ray sent you.

Other Microloans I Should Make

  • Help open a bodybuilding gym
  • Help pay for World of Warcraft subscriptions in a developing country
  • No Child Left Behind (Without Her Own GameBoy)
  • Open a Mrs. Fields in a developing country



Here are some more photos I’ve taken while in New York. 

I lived in this building for the summer of 1983. While living there, my sister and I were at The Witte Museum in San Antonio and we came across a painting that included this building. It made me feel even more important than I normally do.
I lived in this building for the summer of 1983. While living there, my sister and I were at The Witte Museum in San Antonio and we came across a painting that included this building. It made me feel even more important than I normally do.


You'd have to agree that, when it came time to name this church, they pretty much hit the nail on the head.
You'd have to agree that, when it came time to name this church, they pretty much hit the nail on the head.

I’m still learning both my Nikon D90 and Lightroom 3.

blue building

Pretty good band in the Times Square subway station.
Pretty good band in the Times Square subway station.

Ray Chases The Pot of Gold, Part 1: The Beginning!


You know those internet offers that seem too good to be true?  So much so that you simply ignore them?


I ignore them too.

Or I did until yesterday when I logged onto Facebook.  Yes, September 23 was not only the date of longest Facebook DNS debacle, it was also that day that I decided to try my hand at one of these fishy, yet tempting, offers.

Maybe it was the fact that the offer appeared on my Facebook page.  But mostly it was because one of the goodies being dangled in front of me was a $1,000 Gift Card to Best Buy.  That got my attention.

Here's the screen.  Would YOU have been tempted?
Here's the screen. Would YOU have been tempted?

If I managed to win money on a game show, or have a really good night at the blackjack tables, or successfully engage in a bit of blackmail, the first place I would run to with my questionably-gotten gains would be Best Buy.  All the toys I currently want can be purchased at Best Buy.  Between the 52 inch Samsung television, the PS3, and the Nikon camera and lens that can all be purchased there, I could quickly demolish the largest part of $5,000 in about an hour at Best Buy.

So I decided to break my own rule and give this damn fake offer a try.  See how far I could get with it.

Next up:  First Steps, First Suspicions.