Result #20: Though I wasn't all that successful at getting free stuff, I did manage to successfully revisit my Free Stuff Reviews.

#20 Get back to work on my free stuff reviews.

Date: 1-20-2014

Due Date: 1-20-2015

Resolution: Up until I started this 365 Days of Resolution challenge, my most popular feature on TheWickerBreaker was the Southland Tales Review Challenge the second most popular feature was my Free Stuff Reviews. I'm not fully sure why I stop working on that feature? I had a lot of fun getting free stuff in the mail and writing about it. That fun is about to get a reboot!!!

How can you help: You can recommend links to free stuff, contact me if you have a product that you are promoting on Kickstarter or any other form of crowd sourcing and would like to send me a sample to demo, review and keep, if you are an business that would just like to give me stuff for free to review, anything that involves you sending me something that I don't have to pay for in exchange for a write up. Did I mention that I love free stuff and will probably say something good, or will at least try and be entertaining.

Update #1: Pre-Resolution Free Stuff Review Intro.

FREE STUFF, FREE STUFF, FREE STUFF...

I'm hoping to one day get companies to mail me free stuff to review.

Instead of waiting for the free stuff to come to me, I'm going to go to the free stuff.

Whether it's free samples offered in the back of a magazine, bags of dirt from Craigslist, or samples at the grocery store, I'm going to take an active roll to find free stuff,  review it, and tell you how you can get some free stuff of your own.

 

Update #2: The Conclusion.

Date: 1-20-2015

When I first set this resolution I would set aside an hour a week to search the internet for free stuff. Though I filled out a lot of forms I didn't get much of the free stuff that was promised.

I did however manage to get this free stuff.

Free Thing #1: Free Old Person Almanac!!!

Those crazy people at AARP are at it again in their annual Old Person Almanac available on kindle for free at Amazon.com.

The thing that caught my eye about this book was what they chose to highlight to get their target audience causing these books to fly off the shelves.

Free Stuff, Scam, AND Movie Classics!!!

Oh boy, your, at least, 50 year old eyes will have to see what is going on behind this cover.

It was free.

I bought it.

The book starts with the tale of Ponce de Leon and his quest for the fountain of youth, and how Ponce needed maps. This lead to a nice transition explaining how standard Almanacs work and how these Almanacs would include maps. The book goes on to explain how it is meant to be a map to help old people navigate health and happiness in this new digital world.

There's an image in the book of a woman and her grandson at a skating rink. With the image quality on the Kindle it looks as if the woman is holding her grandson back from punching the person taking the picture.

This is followed by a bunch of personal stories that may or may not be moving, or entertaining, or worth reading. I bought this free book for the factoids, not to get all choked up about people who can't remember things any more.

And then it begins.

Did you know...?

50th Anniversaries, Holidays and National Observations.

50 years ago on April 17, Little Peggy March became the youngest female to top the top 100 list with her song "I Will Follow Him."
(Note: Before anyone goes correcting me about the prior link, I know what the real song the clip is referencing, but I'm five months in to this event canander and there's yet to be anything interesting that isn't common knowledge. Give me a break.)

50 years ago June 16 Valentina Terchkova, an amateur parachutist became the first woman in space.

Months and Awareness.

  • January is Stalking Awareness Month, Mentoring Month and Thyroid Awareness Month.
  • Not only is February African American/Black History Month, but it's also AMD/LOW Vision Awareness Month.
  • March is the month of Brain Injury Awareness, Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Kidneys, Nutrition, Vision and Women!
  • April give us Financial Literacy Month, Foot Health Awareness, Autism, Cancer, Child Abuse Prevention, Minority Health Awareness, and Poetry.
  • May's a doozie with American Stroke Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage, Vision make a return, Hepatitis Awareness, Melanoma Detection, the awareness of Mental Health, Arthritis, Asthma and Allergy, High Blood Pressure, Osteoporosis, and Old Americans.

May 1rst is both Loyalty Day and Law Day.

  • And back to June where it's Home Safety Month, LGBT Pride, as well as the month for, Dairy, Safety, and PTSD.
  • Followed by July with National Ice Cream Month and UV Safety Month.
  • Be aware of your Cataract in August and while you’re at it also be aware of Breastfeeding, and Immunization.
  • In September we'll be aware of Childhood Obesity, Prostate Cancer, Leukemia, Ovarian Cancer, Alcohol and Drug Addiction, while we celebrate the month of Cholesterol Education, Yoga, and Hispanics.
  • And the list continues with October being the month of Dental Hygiene and Arts and Humanities, as we remain aware of Breast Cancer, Disability Employment, and Cyber Security.
  • We're almost there with November, the month to be aware of Lung cancer while we observe Adoption, American Indian Heritage, Diabetes, and Novel Writing.
  • Just like when you get to the end of a crappy year, here we are in December, just happy that it's finally almost over as we celebrate National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

Free Stuff, Scams and Savings Tips

This section starts with a list of scams.

Sweepstakes Swindles - The usual you won something and have to pay something to get the prize scam. I just like that part of the advice is, "If you didn't enter, you didn't win."

This is followed by a couple common scams including online dating, getting emails from hacked family members account asking for help, home repair scams, fake e-cards, free trips, fake charities and so on.

Then it gets to a good section on travel scams where; people slide pizza coupons under hotel room doors, wait for an old person to calls to order a pizza and then they just steal the credit card information. That was anticlimactic; I was hoping the scam went like this.

The person calls to order a pizza. The scammer on the other end takes the order and then waits. After about a half hour the scammer returns and knocks on the door. The old person opens the door relaxed, expecting a pizza. The Scammer then rob's the old person blind.

Or better yet, the scammer makes a microwave pizza and has a used pizza box, just in case the old person looks out the eye hole, he'll see that the scammer is holding a Pizza. Then the old person relaxes enough to open the door, only to get robbed blind. Then the scammer can add insult to injury and also steal the pizza.

And it's back to the standards giant clod is actually a pickpocket, hollow suitcase and cabby scams to round out the travel scams.

Advice for the winter; don't fall for free energy scams, and beware of the chimney sweeps. And then it rounds out the rest of the section with Medicare scams, tales of woe and online shopping, and fake charities.

And now for the FREE STUFF!!!

This section of the book is surprisingly small. There are a couple links to websites like mrfreestuff.com and links to restaurants that may still offer a free meal on your birthday.

Below are a couple annual  free dates that AARP thought their readers may need to know about.

Following that disappointing display of free stuff the book then goes into boring links about finances.

Oh hello, we're back to something interesting. I know this is a thing, but I don't think I've ever seen a list of what time of year specific items go on sale.

IMGA9876.jpg
  • January: Bicycles and Sporting Goods, Broadway Tickets, Calendars, Carpeting and Flooring, Furniture, Gift Card, Linens and Bedding, and Video Games.
  • February: Air Conditioning, Boats, Cameras, Chocolate, and Luggage.
  • March: China and Flatware, Frozen Foods, Gardening Tools, Golf Clubs, Health Club Memberships, Perfume, Skis, and Winter Wear.
  • April: Athletic Footwear, Computers, Electronics, Office Furniture, Real Estate, Refrigerators, Snow blowers, and Vacuum Cleaners.
  • May: BBQ Accessories, Mattresses, Patio Furniture, Spring and Summer Clothing, and Sunglasses.
  • June: Camcorders, Caribbean Vacation, Champagne, Dairy, Dishes, Health Club Memberships, Men's Suits, and Pants.
  • July: Furniture, Grills (not sure if this means teeth or BBQ you never know what these old people know these days), Kitchen Appliances, and Lawn and Gardening Supplies.
  • August: Camping Equipment, Clothing, Computers, Linens and Storage Containers, Sleepwear, Swimwear, and Women’s Accessories.
  • September: Bicycles, Cars, Grills and Lawn Mowers, Jeans, Large Appliances, Office Supplies, Patio Furniture, and Plants and Shrubbery.
  • October: Air Conditioners, Cookware, Lingerie, RVs, and Toys.
  • November: Baby Products, Blu-ray and DVDs, GPS Devices, and Televisions and Electronics.
  • December: Cars, Golf Clubs, Real Estate, Small Appliances, Tools, and Toys.

Fun Places to Go.

Here's where the old people are going.

Mixed in between announcements for local state fairs, bird festivals, flower shows, car shows, boat shows, book fairs, film festivals, food festivals, there are a few fun events including.

Richard Nixon's 100th Birthday Celebration in Yorba Linda; the famous helicopter that he climbed in to leave Washington will be there.

Oh!!! On Presidents Day Weekend there is a pyrotechnics show in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. This show is hosted by the firework manufacturers to demonstrate their new products to be used in the big shows later in the year.

The May 15-18 head over to Knoxville, Tennessee for the International Biscuit Festival!!!

The donkey from my Rise and Fall of Eddie pitch will be heading over to Cripple Creek Colorado for their Annual Donkey Derby Days!!!

Of course they have Bridgeville, Delaware’s annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin competition.

Entertainment

At this point the book the writer makes an interesting choice. Where at the beginning of this book the writer claims that this book could be used as a map to navigate this new digital world and yet here is a long section with trivia like, "When was the final episode of Marty Tyler Moore and MASH." That's some pop culture.

For the love of god, there's a good chunk dedicated to Your Show of Shows.

What this book lacks in the free stuff department it sure makes up for in this section where is list classic movies. Yup, it's just a list of old movies and their descriptions.

On to the music.

The first song on this list, Walk Like an Egyptian, yeah!!! This section of the book is just as hip and with it as the TV and Movie Section.

What's this, a list of celebrity birthdays? I'm not even going to try to figure out why they chose the people they did, but there is a list of birthdays. I do get that they are all birthdays of AARP members, but still.

Diet, Health, and Recipes

Here’s another section I’ll be flying through. It seems to have recipes and general health tips that would probably be good to listen to. Mainly recipes so far, again these may be the best meals on the planet, or not worth the dirt that the corn grew in, but here they are.

Here we go.

Finally, a factoid, here are some super foods, and what season they are available.

  • Winter: Celeriac, Clementines, Cranberries, Dates, Kumquats, Mushrooms, Nuts, and red beans.
  • Spring: Artichokes, Fresh Figs, Oregano and other Fresh Herbs, and Spinach.
  • Summer: Asparagus, Avocados, Edamame, Eggplant, Garlic, Strawberries, Tomatoes, and Grapes especially purple.
  • Fall: Alliums, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Collard Greens, Pomegranates, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, and Turnips.

And it’s back to the generic (probably good) health tips.

Medicare and Legal Stuff

Boring.

This Day in History

And the book wraps it up with a huge, this day in history.

I’ve read a couple months into this day in history and have found interesting stuff, but again nothing that seems to be more than common knowledge.

Well that was fun.

If you happen to see me anytime soon be prepared for me slip in the fact that I read a book or a kindle, what ever the hell you call it.

Free Thing #2: Keep it on mute and you would never know this wasn't the original.

While looking for free stuff to review on Amazon.com I ran across this free version of Can't Touch This.

Who couldn't use more free bad 90s hip hop in their music collection?

For some reason even though this was a free MP3, I was still hesitant to hit Get MP3 Button. I was never really a big fan of Mc Hammer, well, unless I was referring to him for the sake of novelty. That and I was a fan of that guy with the pointy hair.

I notices that there was a lot of action in the review section so I scrolled down to check it out, and there it was, right there at the top.

Not the real song?

Now I had to check it out.

I was somewhat surprised to find that they seemed to have put actual effort into making this album. I was half expecting to hear people ordering drinks and discussing which song they want to karaoke to next.

Don't get me wrong if you were to hear this song playing at a restaurant; it would take a moment to before you would start to feel that not all was right in the world, causing you to look around for the speaker that is producing this noise.

You're eye will begin to twitch as you start to get a strange sensation in your ear as you turn to the person next to you and with uncertain confidence you will say, "Wait, what the hell is this song? I know it sounds like..."

Chance are that person will knowing nod and you will go on with your meal in what you wish was silence.

If you enjoy music that is so close to the original that it is way off, then this is the album for you.

Also check out the full able where you can listen to free samples and learn that it does in fact, "take two to make a thing go right," and the two covering Dr. Dre and Eminem definitely fail to make The Real Slim Shady even remotely go right.

All that said, this is a must have if your into watching you friends eye light up with recognition only to be disappointed as hell when any of these songs show up on shuffle.

Free Thing #3: I posted this link and all I got was...

... this (fill in the blank once I receive it to review it) $40 premium engraved TheWickerBreaker.com key chain.

This is kind of fun. This would be the first thing that I would have to use the blog to get a product to review for the blog. All the company asks is that I add this link.

If you're interested in brainstorming the internet to come up with a company name click on the company name generator.

Free Thing #4: Free Ring Sizer from Blue Nile.

First off let me start by saying, I had no reason to order this other than it was free!!!

However, I've always been interested in figuring out the actual size of my fingers. What man isn't self-conscious about finger size?

Alright here we go.

There are 28 holes of various sizes connected together on what appears to be a plastic six pack holder. Sizes run from 3 to 14.

My thumbs don't fit in any of the holes.

My pointing fingers barely fit in the 14. It's tight enough that I'm guessing they are both 14.5.

My FU fingers don't fit in any of the holes, not even close enough to guess.

My ring fingers are the first to fit properly! My left finger is a 13.5 and the right is a 14.

And the little guys are both 10s. Yep, I have perfect pinkies!

I was going to complain about having to work around this six pack holder only to realize that these plastic sizers pop out to create a bunch of rings and are not meant to stay attached.

Being a guy my size, I'm used to free stuff not fitting, so I don't hold that against them. Also, I can't hold the fact that I didn't automatically think to remove the individual rings against them.

I guess to sum things up, this is a fine free stuff item.

If you would like one of your own, check the dumpster at my apartment building around, I'd say, Monday?

Free Thing #5: The Atkins Diet Starter Kit

A few days ago I filled out a form to receive a free Atkins Diet Starter Kit

First off it arrived very quickly, just a couple days.

The package was the size of a small microwave dinner, there was also an image advertising their new Chicken Broccoli Alfredo frozen meal (back of package). It had the size and the look; I figured it must be a duck.

I opened the package expecting to find a frozen meal that somehow didn't need to be frozen. You may laugh but Nutrisystem  ships their microwave meals through the mail.

Anyway I opened the box to find three protein bars, Atkins Diet literature, and a coupon for a free frozen meal. Once I have enough money to buy groceries, I'll be taking advantage of this coupon, but until then I'll tell you about the protein bars.

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar - this bar is considered a meal replacement bar.


    This is your average peanut butter protein bar that when you eat it you’re not sure if you like it or not because it taste more like real peanut butter and not whatever goes into a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, but it's good.

    I'm not sure if I would call it a meal replacement because I moved right onto the...

  • Carmel Chocolate Peanut Butter Nougat Bar - this bar is considered a light meal replacement.

    With all those ingredients in the title I figured that this was going to be amazing. Though it was good, it had the same trait that all meal replacement bars seem to have of being just a little off. Good but just a little off.

    Time for dessert!!!

  • Carmel Nut Treat Bar - this one is considered a endulgement bar with all the taste and none of the sugar.

    Though this was my favorite, I'm not a fan of their spelling choice. This site has enough accidental typos without companies like this and their cute intentional misspellings.

    Over all I think this was a good free find. I may even try the two week weight loss challenge for something else to report on.

Free Thing #6: Free Radass.com sticker review.

Yep, it sticks!

Good free stuff find at radass.com plus I have four more to place where ever I want!

Free Thing #7: Free Cheese Guide Review

I forgot that I ordered this, but was very excited when I opened my mail to find a letter from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

I can't wait to take advantage of this the next time I venture out to find some good ass cheese.

Free Thing #8: Free Miraculous Medal Review.

This is another item that I forgot that I ordered, but find it interesting that it arrived in the mail on Monday, just before I found out that Pope Benedict the 49ers vs the Bengals Super Bowl number, was too pooped to Pope.

Though it's not made of medal, I'm going to keep this in my wallet for the next months to truly test this product along with my superstitions.

I'll get back to you with my findings.

Free Thing #9: Free William Defoe Review

Look what I found while checking yesterday's mail!

Awesome!!!

Click here to get your free copy of a celebrity signed photo.

Free Thing #10: Free Ketchup and Pickle Pins From Heinz Review.

What else can I say? I asked Heinz for free a ketchup pin AND a pickle pin...

...they sent BOTH!!!

Free Thing #11: Free Pause sticker review.

Yep it also sticks just fine!

Oh wait...

...hm, I just read the accompanied marketing literature.

How about we pause to think about equality!

Free Thing #12A: I'm not sure what this is but it was free!!!

Date: 2-12-2015

So I'm going to do this in real time because I have no idea what this thing is.

I went out for a walk, not long enough for my alphabet collecting game, but a walk none the less. I checked my mail upon return when I found this:

Being that it takes four to six weeks for any of these free items to show up in the mail I have absolutely no idea what I had ordered.

Here we go:

So I opened to box to find this. At first I thought it was a shirt, but it seemed too padded, maybe some kind of emergency camping pants to keep you warm. I figured there had to be some sort of outdoorsy use for what ever this is.

Oh my god. I wish I could cliffhanger this because I haven't had a surprise like this in forever.

Here's what I found:

Does this mean I have to use these to give a proper review?

Free Thing #12B: Depends follow up review.

Date: 2-25-2014

Last night as thing were winding down for the night I got a notification that there was a comment on one of the Wicker Breaker pages! It happens from time to time and I like to be quick to respond when it does. So, I went to the computer to investigate and found this under my surprised tale of how I got a free pair of Depends in the mail as part of my Free Stuff Review feature.

I had planned on revisiting this free product review, but I wasn't sure I was ready. Well this was the encouragement that I needed, so here you go:

Back in the days when Tiny Tim was still alive he was a regular guest on the Howard Stern Show. I always found his interviews fascinating. He became more than the guy that sang Tip Toe Through the Tulips. He became the guy that lived in hotels because he liked the services available, he became the guy who put Preparation H on his eyes to make them less puffy and he became the guy who wore Depends, not because he was incontinent but because he wanted to where a fresh pair of underwear every day, and Depends was the brand for him.

I in no way want to emulate the life of Tiny Tim, but this theory of a fresh pair of underpants was the first thing that came to mind when I received this mystery package in the mail. At first my plan was just going to be to use these Depends as disposable underwear and wear them out on the town one night, or at least wear them out for one of my walks.

Then I got the dare.

I have to admit part of me knew that just wearing them around wouldn't be enough, and that is why I put the continuation of the review on hold. Always being one to want to please the fans, this dare boosted this experiment to the top of my priorities.

So today I threw a pair on and went for a walk.

I know, this would be much more entertaining with pictures or videos of me dressed in nothing but the diapers prancing around, but even though I'm fully comfortable share everything that's on my mind, I'm not all that comfortable with how I look on camera, so this will have so do.

First off they fit. I wouldn't say that they were comfortable, but I'm not sure how much of that has to do with the Depends, or how much that has to do with me being a boxers kind of guy and it may just be that butt hugger feel I felt uncomfortable with. Though I guess it is a bit tight on the legs to avoid leakage.

With my butt hugging Depends on I went for a walk. I chugged 32 ounces of water before I walked out the door because I wasn't sure if I was going to be bold enough to go in public or not, but felt I should be fully loaded either way.

I walked for a half hour in one direction, found my I, then turned around to walk a half hour back home. I was aware the entire time that I was wearing a diaper. It never got to the point where I felt that I was wearing regular underpants and I was never sure if Depends were designed for run off, or if they were meant for a full blown blast, so I never gained the confidence to pee in public.

I got home and decided to give it a shot. I kept my pants on, took off my shoes and socks and stood in the shower just in case Depends aren't full on Grandpa Diapers. It took a while for me to mentally talk myself into thinking this was okay and after a while I let it happen.

Keep in mind I had just polished off 32 ounces of water so I was pretty sure there was going to be some run off. As awkward as it was I finished the job and patted down my pants to find that they were bone dry.

That dark spot by the zipper is just how these pants are.

Part of me felt that I should wear these wet diapers around for a while to replicate how these things may work in the real world, but in the real world I'm home and there was a shower right there and clean clothes in my room so I decided to opt for that option.

After all is said and done, the fit was awkward, but not awful, and they seemed to do the job. If I ever get to the point where I actually have to use Depends I will do so with confidence :)

I have a second pair that some day I may work up the courage to try this again keeping it a public experiment, but there is no way, even with a dare that anyone will be talking me into crapping myself any time soon.

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.