Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wagon in Flames: DETAILS


  1. ABC has agreed to stream the event live over the internet at http;// (this URL will not be active until Monday morning.)
  2. Okay I have given the Fire and Law Enforcement officials a little ultimatum. If you don't figure out a way for me to light my car on fire legally I will do it anyway. I have told them that this will happen Tuesday of next week. The problem seem to arise with liability issues, they don't want to let ME light the car on fire and they don't want people there excitement. I tell them I am not trying top run a car-is-on-fire after school special here. They are working on it. It is funny when people laugh at my ultimatum and say, "You're just going to get arrested." Top which I respond, "Yeah, I know, but I don't have a choice... So help me out would ya?"
  3. I am offering advertising space on my car, and on me. All of the funds received in advertising will go to pay back the generous individuals who lent me the money I needed to save my house. If there is any surplus I will donate that money to a charity which we can vote on.
  4. Here is how I am handling advertising:
Make me an offer to advertise on the car. You are responsible for printing or painting you ad. I will make the car available Monday and Tuesday for such things. If I get a better offer than yours then I am going to take it.

Example: Steve Jobs texts/emails/calls me and says, "I'll give you $500 to advertise Apple on the hood of your car." I'll respond, "Okie Dokie." But, then if Some guy calls and says, "I'll give you $550 to advertise Tootsie Roll Industries on your car." I will say, "You got it." and call Steve Jobs back and tell him the terrible news. He can then decide to pay more. Bidding ends on the advertising on Monday at midnight.

You can make a stencil and spray paint your logo/advert on the car, you can use spray cans or stickers or sharpies. It doesn't matter much because it is going up in flames... live, on the internet. Tuesday night at 8pm.

I have already received a few offers. Spread the word so I can pay you guys back your loanations right away.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


If I raise the $15,000 I need to save my house from foreclosure I WILL start my car on fire. I did raise the $15,000.00.

Now... maybe it isn't obvious that when I came up with this idea, I didn't really think things through. I was desperate, filled with adrenaline, and I never actually expected it to work.
It did work. In retrospect, I wish that as soon as I left the courthouse I would have just driven to a K-Mart parking lot (because those are always empty) parked the car, grabbed my bow and arrow, (I don't have a bow and arrow but my retrospect is usually mingled with imaginations) walked 40 paces lit an arrow on fire and shot it into the car. Which would then ignite into a magnificent burst of flames and black smoke (due to the gasoline I had splashed all over it).

I didn't do that. So now, things have gotten complicated. Here is what has happened:

I called a couple of fire departments here in Utah. I wasn't completely upfront with them at first. I just tried to get them to tell me what could and could not be done. I called all my friends who owned businesses and asked them if they wanted to let me burn my car on their property. No one wanted to do it unless there was permission from the local Fire Dept because they could get a ticket as the owner of the property.

Then I got a call from a local Fire Marshal. I'm not sure if my earlier attempts at covert intel were what tipped her off or if one of the TV News channels that had been constantly calling me to find out where the fire was going to take place had called her to get some information... whatever the case, there she was, and she knew what I was up to.

I explained to her about the miracle that had happened. I told her that I HAVE to burn my car.

Ms. Fire Marshal: If you light your car on fire you will get arrested.
John: Well, everyone keeps telling me that I'm not going to get permission so I should just go for the forgiveness route.
Ms. Fire Marshal: Who's everyone?
(I recognized that my answer wasn't going to have any legitimate sources in it and hesitated long enough for her to add)
Ms. Fire Marshal: You can't just light a car on fire, you don't want to be arrested for arson. Who's telling you that?
John: Just people on the internet and my blog you know the saying, better to ask forgiveness than permission. So you're right, I don't want to get in any trouble, here I am asking for permission or at least guidance. Can I do it on private property or get a permit or something.
Ms. Fire Marshal: Tell me how you want to do it.

I explained to her that I was obligated to do it for the many people who had loaned me money to save my house. I told her I knew it was crazy, but that the platform for my whole deal was built upon me lighting my car on fire. I told her that if she didn't help me do it I would still have to do it anyway.

I further explained that I needed it to be a show. That I was so grateful that I had raised the money that I needed to make a spectacle of it. That the people deserved it. I told her that I had to be the one lighting it on fire. She seemed understanding and said she would call back.

She did call back and proposed that we burn the car as part of a "training session". She said she would try to work out the whole me lighting it and that there would be "accelerants" used. That it would give my benefactors what they wanted and be safe. She told me I had to talk to legal, the city attorney, and sign some papers and stuff.

I told her I wanted to do it tonight. She told me that wouldn't be possible. She said best bet would be Friday, but that I would need to talk to the attorney.

Today I talked to the attorney. He told me that he wanted to help and sent me some waiver papers. When I asked him who I need to bug down at the fire department to get this done on Wednesday. He responded:

"I’ve been talking to people at the Department about it several times today. It is still under consideration as to whether it will go forward at all, so I don’t know that bugging them would be productive at this point. They are aware you want to do it tomorrow. I will keep you updated."

"...go forward at all"??? That just wont do.

Well the Fire Marshal said "arson" however I have looked into it a little bit more and I think she miss spoke there. Yes I may get arrested, but the counsel I've gotten is that it is definitely not arson. At worst I am looking at a "reckless burning" charge. I know that my mother will hate this but, the truth is, I am so grateful to the people that lent me this money that I will risk being arrested to make this happen. Call me stupid if you feel it's necessary, but a promise is a promise.

I have let the Fire department know, that with their permission or not, I will be lighting my car on fire Monday night.

I have had a few people upset that I actually intend on lighting my perfectly good car on fire. There has been talk that I should trade it with someone who has a broken down car. Someone in need. A couple of down and out single mommies were even volunteered. So, I thought that doing a trade might work. I called and talked to two of the volunteered women. After telling them about my car they have both decided that they would rather fix their broke-down cars and keep them.

After being rejected by those in need, I gave it some more thought.

Here is the thing about the car. It does work "perfectly" good for me, but... it is a piece of junk. The new transmission I put in it, just weeks ago was used. It is jumpy and needs to be replaced. Because it's used they have warranted the transmission, but not the labor. So it'll cost a few hundred dollars to fix it. It has 267000 miles on it, and it's a Ford, so there is no telling it's life span.

Secondly, I promised I would light MY car on fire. Part of the appeal is that it is a working car, a car I just put $900 into. All of the people saying, "Don't burn it, give it away." Those people are my friends and family. They would have lent me $20 if I wanted to light a Nintendo game on fire. The amazing truth is, the majority of my donations came from strangers, and most of them, responded that they want me to burn the car.

So, I am going to burn it. The 1993 Ford Escort is going up in flames... Monday Night, permission or not.

It occurred to me that there may yet be another angle here to play. The excitement and coverage of this thing keeps getting bigger. My blog is getting huge amounts of hits a day. Why not sell advertising spots on the car to my little show. It will be streamed live when it happens, and likely be replayed many times over. I could use the money paid by advertisers to pay those 387 individuals (who gave the precious loanations I needed to save my house) back almost immediately.

What do you guys think? I mean, it was a stunt in the first place is there a problem with exploiting a stunt?

After all the real story here isn't that I saved my house, and it isn't that I am lighting my car on fire, no, it's that a large group of strangers got together and gave, to help a guy in trouble out.

Monday, July 26, 2010

THANKS! WE saved the Maxim-Pad from Foreclosure

In four days WE successfully raised $15,000.00 the amount needed to save my home from foreclosure!

What people have done for me has returned a reaction I haven't felt since watching Goose die the first time I saw Top Gun... different emotions... same reaction.

In the last four days I’ve gone from thinking I’ll be losing my house to pulling off something special. Something I didn't even believe would happen when I started out. Special, because it was mostly through the generosity of complete strangers, and for that I am amazed, astonished, and humbled.

I’d like to give special thanks to the following, because I believe
they each deserve a varied portion of the credit for saving my home:

Drew Curtis and
The mention about my blog brought incredible amounts of attention (and loanations) to my cause. Rightly listing me in the "dumbass" category I credit Fark with helping save my house.

Kerry, Bill, Gina and Richie from X-96
The demographic that loves your show must also love the idea of a man burning a car. Their support helped provide the much needed lift to close the gap in the final minutes.

Keith Stubbs at 101.5 The Eagle
Kieth's interest in the actual "why's" of my story helped listeners to relate and loanate.

Thanks for taking the time to let me tell my story amidst your other stories of beer, chicks, beer, beer, chicks and beer.

Despite your audiences overwhelming assertion that I am a bum and loser, publicity is publicity and I got a few loanations thanks solely to you.

Mike Baird and
In a time when no one seems to read anything longer than 140 characters, the video you shot gave my story a face (albeit an unshaven one) and allowed me to explain.

The following Twitter personages or "Tweeps"
Tirelessly irritating your followers in unwavering loyalty to my cause. Astonishingly Twitter made more than half of those loaning me money aware of my plight.

Most Important Thanks
The hundreds of people that contributed amounts as small as $1 to my cause. Your generosity is amazing. It's simply amazing. I know that there are good and decent people in the world. Long after the loans are paid, I will be deeply indebted.

At the moment I’m trying to find a location to safely burn the car. I’ll update you as time progresses. If anyone has any idea's, would like to sponsor the event or knows a fireman who takes $20-dollar-handshakes... let me know.

I have received several requests, that, rather than light the car on fire that I donate it to charity, or auction it off. I would be happy to do so. However, I believe a large portion of those who loanated did so because of the advertisement of lighting the car on fire. However I have emailed each of those who lent me the money to see if the general consensus has changed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

HELP! Save the Maxim Pad from Foreclosure


Video on Foreclosure Boys TV

"John Maxim, a Salt Lake City resident, is about to lose his house to foreclosure. In an attempt to raise the money required to save his house he is going to light his car on fire and stream it live over the internet."

...That's how I imagine the first paragraph of a news article written about what I am actually trying to do to read. It also sounds very much like the premise to a movie.

Those who know me well know I am not too proud to have everyone know what a dufus I am. I screwed up and this post is a pathetic last resort. BUT I am not asking for a hand out, I am asking for a loan.

So, here's the deal:
  • I need $21,638.02 to save my home from foreclosure. (WHY?!)
  • The foreclosure sale is scheduled for Monday July 26th!
  • I already have $6,500.00
  • If I am able to raise the remaining $15,000.00 I will light my car on fire.
  • I will do so in a public place to be disclosed later.
  • I will video tape said mayhem and stream it live over the internet.
  • I will likely be arrested for the proposed adventure which will also be video taped and streamed live.
  • Here is my car:
I know what you're thinking, "that piece doesn't even work." Wrong. I just paid $900 to have the transmission replaced (which I wouldn't have done if my bank hadn't led me to believe they were going to work with me.)

Sadly... I am not above saying the next sentence. Please send me some money. I will pay you back. $1/$5/$10/$20 or more! If I don't get enough, I will send you your money back. Please forward this post to your friends... if anything just to mock me or to give yourself a reason to lament the sad state of our current economy.


I figure in a country where Oprah can just give people cars, where Lehman Brothers Bank can get bailed out by our government, where Lindsay Lohan can be "breaking News", and all other such silly American debacles... that perhaps there are enough people out there who'd pay a small amount to see some desperate sap light his car on fire.


For those of you who feel like people need to "deserve" your loan... I have prepared the following post explaining how exactly I got into this mess.


I am a man of my word, I only have a couple of days for this to work. If i get the money, I will light my car on fire to put a smile on your face for 2 or 3 minutes surely that's worth a few dollars. I do also intend on paying back each person who helps out.


Do I deserve your $5-$20 loan?

You can make that judgment. Over the last three years while working with my bank and taking them at good faith, sure, I have watched many movies, eaten many over-priced concessions, been on several dates, gone out of town on the odd weekend when I could have been hunkering down and saving and pinching every penny to send to HSBC. Instead of watching Season 4 of Dexter, Season 6 of LOST, Season 6 of Entourage, the entire Twilight Saga (that one night with my girlfriend) and the 2010 World Cup I could have been working down at the Home Depot or the corner Maverick or some other part-time gig to get all caught up and paid off. Instead I trusted that my mortgage company would work with me LIKE THEY SAID THEY WOULD... that was a mistake. (Go to the "WHY" section to see how it got to this point.)

I recognize that I should not have trusted HSBC to help, let alone do what they said they would do... No, I should have spent zero money on any non-necessities while past due... that's what you would have done, right?

So if while reading this you're thinking, "I'm not sure if he deserves my $5/$10/$20 to get out of this mess." then I say to you, you are right.

I suggest however, you think of it this way, "Even though he doesn't deserve it, it would be pretty cool to see a video of him lighting his car on fire and possibly getting arrested. That's a venture I can get behind."

To LEND click here and send money through Paypal to

Questions? read the FAQ page - different then the WHY page

HELP! Save the MaxiPad (WHY?)

A few years ago when this and this happened... I got a little depressed. I sort of gave up on life and for several months did nothing but lie around and wallow in self pity. I got behind, on a lot of things, most notably my mortgage. Once I started getting back on track I called my bank and started working with them.

To correct the 6 months of past payments and all the fee's that went along with it, they told me they would review me for a "modification or other workout option." Which really meant that they kept telling me they were going to do something and then for months they would call me, and yell at me for being past due. Until I reminded them that they are reviewing me for a workout to which they would respond, "Oh, yes it is being reviewed."

In January they stopped accepting my payments, and told me that I had to be on an approved modification or reinstatement before they would accept any more payments. I sent them my paystubs and bank statements every three months upon their request. I waited for them to approve me.

When they told me that they would no longer accept payments. I started putting payments aside for the day when something, anything was approved.

I called them every couple weeks to see what was happening. Every call either being told that my modification is being reviewed and to call back, or to send them more documentation, i.e. a bank statement or a pay stub and then to call back.

In June I called and was told that the minimum they would accept for a workout was $6500. I had $5000 at the time and the woman on the other end of the phone said that my foreclosure was tentatively set for sometime in late August. I told her I could send the $6500 in in July and she said that would work.

In July they posted my home for foreclosure sale (one month earlier than they told me they would) When I called and said, I have the $6500.00 they told me this,

"As of June 1st 2010, once a property has a foreclosure sale date scheduled we will only accept full reinstatement, which is your past due payments plus attorneys and late fees."

My past due payments are $15,434.88. Once they added all the additional fees and the attorney it came to whopping $21638.02

I have called them nearly 40 times in the last 48 hours and they have strictly advised me that there are NO EXCEPTIONS.

Actual conversation:
JOHN: I can send you $6,500 right now.
BANK: We cannot accept that.
JOHN: So you'll send me the money back.
BANK: Yes.
JOHN: I can send you $10,000 tomorrow.
BANK: We cannot accept anything less than the full amount.
JOHN: Less than a month ago you told me you'd take $6500.
BANK: That was before the foreclosure sale was scheduled. Once the sale is scheduled we can accept nothing but the full amount unless there is a death in the family.
JOHN: So you can stop it?
JOHN: You are capable of stopping it? If someone died you would stop it?
BANK: Did someone die?
JOHN: No, but I now know that you can stop it, so work with me like you said you would a month ago.
BANK: We had a change of policy as of June 1st 2010, we will not accept anything less than full reinstatement.
JOHN: So a month ago you would have worked with me.
BANK: Yes.
JOHN: ...Did you send me a letter or something informing me of this significant policy change?
BANK: No. We are not required to inform you of our foreclosure guidelines.

I can cite the many issue's I have with this, like, HSBC dragging my modification review out for 27 months, or HSBC refusing to accept partial payments for this entire year, or HSBC telling me I could do something (pay the $6500) without educating me as to their "policy" changes... I could waste time mentioning those things, but I wont go there.

So that's how I got into this point. Do I deserve a loan?

You be the judge. I have watched many movies, eaten over-priced condiments, been on several dates, gone out of town for the weekend when I could have been hunkering down and saving and pinching every penny to send to HSBC. Instead of watching Season 4 of Dexter, Season 6 of LOST, Season 6 of Entourage, the entire Twilight Saga (that one night with my girlfriend) and the 2010 World Cup I could have been working down at the Home Depot or Maverick or some other part time gig to get all caught up and paid off.

I recognize that I should not have trusted HSBC to help let alone do what they say. No I should have spent zero money on any non-necessities while past due... that's what you would have done, right?

So if while reading this you're thinking, "I'm not sure if he deserves my $5/$10/$20 to get out of this mess." then I say to you, you are right.

I suggest however, you think of it this way, "Even though he doesn't deserve it, it would be pretty cool to see a video of him light his car on fire and possibly be arrested. That's a venture I can get behind."

Questions? read the FAQ page

Save the Maxi Pad (FAQ)

The name of your house is... The Maxi Pad?
My name is John Maxim, people enjoy, at my expense no doubt calling me 'Maxi' so they affectionately refer to my house as the "Maxi-pad"... get it?

Why not call a foreclosure attorney or file bankruptcy?
I have exhausted every avenue in getting to this point. I have spoken to many attorneys, know my rights and the rules of law governing foreclosure. I would not be resorting to this if there were any other viable options.

How are you going to pay $15,000 back?
If credit weren't such a screwed up system I would simply go to a bank and get a $15,000 loan. They would offer me something like 5 years at 10% which would roughly be $300 a month. I will pay $300 a month back until every person is paid in full. I'll pay back the strangers first, the friends second, and the family 3rd.

So I might not get my $5 back for 5 years?
Yes... you might not. So if you can't live without the money you are paying to see me light my car on fire you might just want to go to McDonald's instead, though we both know that's a meal you could afford to skip.

That's pretty rude to say to someone you're trying to borrow money from.
Yeah, well that wasn't even a question. So maybe it was rude... if we were friends you'd just give me the money, instead you're going to nit-pick over every little thing. If we are not friends and you can't take a little shouldn't-eat-McDonald's-because-you're-fat joke then we likely never will be friends. Besides I am obviously a little testy right now seeing as my mortgage company totally lied to me and is now trying to steal my house. I'm sorry, I am usually very nice.

What are you going to drive after burning your car?
I have another car. I have a loan on it and I am grossly upside down. Buying it is the worst thing I've ever done. I would love to burn it, but the bank I have my car loan through would press charges.

Why not sell both your cars?
The one I am burning is probably worth $1000. I am $6000 upside down on my other car. Though I'm not a math major or anything I'm not certain how -$5000 will help me save my house.

Do you really think you'll be arrested?
Depends on where I do it. Law enforcement caught wind of this little endeavor and contacted me to tell me that I could be charged with reckless burning at the very least and any number of other charges. If I can find private property to burn it on that would be my best bet... I'd burn it on my front yard but it's so small it would probably start my house on fire, and that wouldn't solve any of my problems.

This is crazy! Do you think it'll actually work?
That depends on you. Spread the word. Many hands make light work. But, no, I don't think it'll work. I don't have enough time, but I have to try.

How can I lend you some money for this worthy scheme?
Click on the "donate" button in the sidebar. (Where it says "donate" it means "lend") Or log into and send it to