Things I’ve Found on Cassettes

Been importing tapes into the computer all week and I’m almost done with the non-prank call stuff. Most of it was music, pretty much all stuff I’d recorded in the 80’s and early 90’s. But there was plenty of non-music, non-prank call stuff. Such as…

  • Calling Dino Allsman and impersonating the IRS to find out where he works. Then on the next part of the tape we were pranking him and he was yelling at us. The quality probably the worse I’ve ever done. In some parts it blanks out completely. I’d forgotten I’d done the IRS call, but I guess that’s how I found out where he worked.
  • Bit of audio from the TV shows Soap and then I Love Lucy. Not sure why I had these, but I might of had something to do with me recording and archiving TV commercials all the time. Wonder what happened to all my TV commercial tapes. I bet there’s still plenty of old audio tapes at my parents house that used to belong to me. Oh yeah, the theme song from the Ewoks Saturday morning cartoon was in there too.
  • Red box tones. My original red boxing tape that was made from recording the tones from a pay phone. So much toll fraud was committed with that tape.
  • All the radio station IDs in between songs from radio stations in a lot of the cities I’d lived in. Those were interesting to hear. I recorded a lot of them while driving in my car – I’d cut out a giant chunk of my dashboard in the early 90’s and installed a dual-cassette deck stereo into it. The kind of stereo that belongs in a house. It worked great too. Any time I liked a song I heard while I was driving, I just hit the record button. Also entertaining were the DJs introducing some of the horrible music from the 80’s and 90’s.
  • Internet parody songs – at some point in the late 90’s I decided that it’d be a good idea to transfer a bunch of the internet parody songs that I’d collected onto cassette tape. Because, you know, the internet is just a fad and cassette tape is forever! I guess the reason was because I was running out of hard drive space and didn’t have a CD burner at the time.
  • Me and Sara (girl next door) playing Double Dribble on my NES and talking about things like Geraldo’s nose getting broken on TV, messing with people on the CB radio, prank calling the dean of boys, “did you record Freddy’s Nightmares on TV?”, putting Ozzy Osbourne’s picture on a dart board, Randee of the Redwoods for president.
  • Talking to El Jefe on the phone, prank calling Mr. Hack and lots of other random places. I entered in a lot of stolen credit card numbers throughout it all to make the calls. Guess I should throw that tape away instead of giving it to Goodwill.
  • Me prank calling some car lot in Albany. I yelled at some guy named Bernie and I have no idea who he is or why I was pranking him. Yeah, I know I said this is the non-prank call stuff and it is! Sort of. None of it was labeled as being prank calls. Most of the tapes weren’t labeled at all.
  • My brother practicing his saxophone.
  • Me listening to “I Just Called To Say I Love You” and playing along with it on my electric piano.
  • Quite a few long stretches of silence, but in the background you’d occasionally hear people in my family talking or things crashing around.
  • Me and Tracy (some girl from work at Eastgate Cinema) copying Def Leppard tapes using high speed dubbing. Geez, remember high speed dubbing??
  • House music from Eastgate Cinema. All the hits from artists like Lionel Richie, etc. For some reason I stole their muzak tape.
  • Me prank calling What’s Your Bid in the 80’s and then a bunch of other radio shows. The What’s Your Bid stuff is pretty rapid – we probably got about 15 calls in there. On some other radio show I asked the host “What if C.A.T. really spelled dog?” On another I said I was a telephone-to-telephone salesman and tried to offer him something for free before he hung up on me and called me strange.
  • A lot of stuff between me and this girl I used to babysit in 1986 named Christy. A lot of us is drowned out by loud music (we were dancing to Power of Love and the Neutron Dance), but in one part we’re using my TRS-80 and its speech card to input data to make prank calls to Dominos Pizza. I’d written a program that said all the important pizza-ordering phrases once you put in your name, address and phone number.
  • Me and Sara (girl next door again) walking all over our block, talking about our parents and the neighbors, telling jokes and singing songs loudly. A few times we saw cop cars and yelled “COPS!” and ran. We used to get chased by them all the time, just for running.

There was plenty of random weird stuff too. Like some live play that was recorded. A few tapes of church music and concerts. I’m sure some of my parents old stuff got mixed in there with mine. There was a tape of 1920’s-sounding music which wasn’t mine but I liked it so I converted it. Now all I’ve got left to do is my prank call tapes. There’s about 20 of them. Instead of giving them to Goodwill, I think I’m going to start up a new PLA contest for somebody to win all my prank tapes and CDs. Assuming that somebody will actually want a bunch of prank call audio tapes.

RIP, Cassettes! Hopefully the Goodwill will find you a nice, new home…


Saturday the kids and I stayed inside all day playing Xbox 360. Sunday we drove to Frys, then decided to go to Portland after that. Spent the day in Portland, wandering around downtown and visited the Saturday Market a few times. Went to the downtown mall and ended up in the Apple Store for awhile. After playing around with the new Ipod Nanos and the Ipod Touch, I noticed about a dozen Iphones on display. They all had service on them so I used each one to call my own cell phone so I would have their numbers. When I got home, I added the phone numbers to this thread:

This evening I was sitting at the laundry mat, reading the paper, when my phone rings. It’s a 503 area code. Apparently someone managed to find my cell phone number in the Iphone and called me. So I answer and talk to some guy. The conversation goes a little like this:

ME: Iphone support, this is Steve Jobs. Can I help you?
HIM: Yeah, uh, how do I do internet on this thing?
ME: Hit the F7 key.
HIM: Oh… Okay… Do I have to use Itunes to activate the Iphone?
ME: No, Itunes is built in so you don’t need a computer at all. One of our salespeople can activate it in the store. And the phones are $149.99 off today!
HIM: Really? Wow. Do I have to use AT&T for service?
ME: No, we’re compatible with all carriers now. Even Boost Mobile and Cricket and Sprint PCS. In fact, AT&T canceled their contract with us so they’re the only ones we don’t work with now.

It goes on and on like that. He had a zillion questions for me. He was wanting to know all about how they worked in Europe and stuff. He asked where I was and I told him I’m in San Francisco. I told him that I was the inventor of the Iphone. He didn’t seem to recognize the name Steve Jobs. This makes me want to go back there and put my phone number into the speed dial of every display Iphone.

More UFOs

So Spessa Inc. left my house about an hour ago for the all-day drive back home. The past week and 2 days has been just insane. But it sure is nice to be wandering around the house with no pants on again.

We didn’t do much yesterday during the day, the kids all just hung around the house all day. My kids went back to Colleen’s at 5pm but then Emily called a few hours later and asked if they could come back and spend the night since Spessa’s kids were there. Clohe and I drove to pick them up and stopped by Taco Bell to search for groundhogs. There was ONE out there so I snapped a couple of pictures that didn’t come out very good.

After the sun went down we began constructing UFOs again. We managed to launch 2 more of them successfully. They went in more or less the same direction as the ones the previous night until they disappeared over the trees. Apparently there was a small group of women in the cafe parking lot next door because they saw the first successful launch go right over their heads. It was still close enough to the ground for them to be able to tell what it was and they all seemed to have a really good laugh over it. I’d say the two successful ones easily went over a mile before we lost sight of them.

UFO straws and candles

Most of our unsuccessful launches were scary. With one, it seemed to be going up okay so we let it go, only for it to go straight down into the neighbor’s patio. They keep their gate locked so there was no way to go in and get it. We were all panicked and watching it from outside the fence as it hovered all over their patio. Inside their window I could see the lady that lives there sitting at her kitchen table. If she would have happened to glance out the window she would have seen fire hovering around. Luckily it didn’t crash. It finally went up again on it’s own and it would have been a good launch but it got wrapped around that neighbor’s electric lines. The candles immediately went out and it hung there for the rest of the night.

Another time the launch was going well and it got wrapped around the power lines of the cafe. Only the candles didn’t go out. They kept burning and dropping bits of fire to the ground below. Eventually the straws started burning too but it finally all went out on it’s own. That bag is still stuck up there, right above their back door.

Another we attempted to launch from my patio area. It was going fine but then, as it approached the top of my apartment, the roof seemed to suck it away from us. I have a flat roof and we never did see where it went. We ran to the front of the house to see if it landed out on the street but we saw nothing. We waited around to see if my roof would burst into flames but that never happened.

For me, that was the end of UFOs for the night. But The Spessas did one last launch around 2am and it also got sucked onto the roof, never to be seen again. Also, around that time Spessa noticed some teenage girls toilet papering the trees of the house across the street. So we threw open the windows in the living room and yelled at them a bunch, scaring them away. Check out how unambitious they were – they TP’ed the smallest tree in their yard:

toilet paper tree

Between all the UFO launches, Taco Bell signs, crazy teenage anarchist girls, Target antics and other stuff I’m afraid to mention on a public forum, we also made a crazy amount of prank calls this week. I guess I can’t really say much about those either, but they were damn funny. The kids were up until about 2am too, talking and laughing in their room. Usually we yell at them to be quiet but last night we kept going in there and yelling at them to be louder. I ordered them to all scream on the count of 3. And Spessa went in there once when they all seemed to be asleep and yelled at them to all wake up and start talking to each other.

Now I’ve got the next two days completely free of all human contact. I’m going to be bored!


Earlier in the day I went to Target and bought UFO making supplies. While there I noticed that my custom-made racy buttons were gone from the rack. I bought straws, needles and birthday candles. I also got 20 dry cleaning bags from Heath Laundry. I think we did a total of 6 launches after dark. Three of them went beautifully. The balloon went way up into the sky and seemed to go really far into town. It looked like an large orange dot in the sky. The last one we did we saw bits of fire falling from it near the end. During the 2nd successful flight we got in the car and chased it for about 6 blocks.

We’ll probably try and do some more tonight if the wind isn’t too bad. Maybe we’ll do them a little earler so more people will notice them. I’m going to try and read up on designs of these things some more today so maybe I’ll learn some cool tips that will make them last longer in the air. Here are a few good links for making your own UFOs:

Oh yeah, about the unsuccessful flights…2 of them didn’t even make it off the ground. They were too heavy. Another would have gone great but the wind blew it into a power line where it stayed for several hours. Luckily the candles in it went out and it didn’t go up in flames. Our launch after that almost met the same fate, but the 4 foot tall bag actually went in between 2 power lines, just barely missing them both. Tonight is supposed to be windy too so we might have problems again. It’d be best if we could launch these from a more open area but I’m pretty sure this has got to be illegal to do. Here’s a couple of pictures…

wrong number

I just got a phone call from a local number. It went a little like this…

ME: Hello?
HER: Hey!
ME: Hey, what’s up!?
HER: Oh. I must have misdialed.
ME: No you didn’t. It’s me!
HER: Well I was trying to get ahold of my husband and you’re not him.
ME: No, it’s me, honey! When are you gonna be home and cook my supper?
HER: Yeah right.
ME: Hurry up. You need to put out ASAP.
HER: *click*

I Heart Satan

I’m sitting by the window here in the living room and a white minivan pulls up and parks in the spot where people usually park when they want to come and see me. They sit in the van for awhile, then old people start pouring out of it all holding notebooks and papers. “Oh shit, what’d I do??” I’m thinking. Then I quickly realize that they’re just door-to-door religious salespeople. They want to spread the word of God to me and my neighbors. The 2 men in the van head to Tom’s house and the 2 ladies start coming up my sidewalk. Before they even get up my steps I open my door and tell them “No thanks.” very politely and slam the door. I also snap a picture of them as I say it, but it doesn’t come out too good.

After knocking on all the doors on my street, they move onto the next block. But they leave their van behind. I decide that I should leave them some Satan literature on their windshield or something. So I start searching Google for good Satan pictures and text. But I don’t find anything very appealing. Finally an image search turns up a t-shirt that says “I [HEART] SATAN” which seems perfect! I quickly turn the image into a bumper sticker, print it up and run out to their van. After making sure they’re not on their way back, I slap the sticker on the van, take a few pictures and then run back inside. Aren’t I rebellious??

Less than 5 minutes after I’m back inside, the 2 men come back down the street and get into their van. I guess the ladies were still on the other side of the block, spreading The Word. Seeing 2 old church men drive past my house with an I LOVE SATAN bumper sticker on their van made me giggle uncontrollably. I tried to get a picture of them driving away but it didn’t come out very good. I’m pretty sure I won’t go to hell for this one. God has to think this is hilarious. Here are some pictures…

A bad picture of them, taken from behind my screen door

Their new bumper sticker

One more quick shot before I sprint back to the house

The 2 church men get into their new SatanMobile to go pick up the ladies

You know what makes this even more hilarious? These people are probably spending their entire day knocking on doors and spreading the word. And the whole time they’re going to have this bumper sticker on their van. Somebody might see it! And that’s just funny. Maybe it’ll even last until Sunday and somebody at their church will question it. Maybe they’ll get thrown out of church forever! Maybe God will think they did it and then not let them into heaven. I was pretty quick about placing it on there, afterall. I bet God didn’t even see me.

4:17pm – Mark Twain was a blogger. He started keeping journals around age 17, filling them with travel adventures, mundane daily stuff, drawings, girls phone numbers, facts, etc. I guess 50 of his journals still exist today and about a dozen of them were lost. Weird to think that if he were around today, he might be on LiveJournal.

I’m really enjoying his bio, read it on my plane ride home last night. He once traveled from Alton to New York City too! Well, from St. Louis to NYC, but by way of Alton. And it was more of the railroad/steamboat variety of traveling, not so much of the quiet 3 hour airplane trip traveling.

Joe stopped by today. After hearing about what I did to the poor innocent church people, he said that I can screw up just about any way possible with him now and he’ll still like me. Apparently I’m allowed to borrow $5,000 in cash from him, leave town and never pay it back and he’ll still think fondly of me. That’s the example he gave. And Joe is very religious too!

4:53pm – More about the barking dog on the street! I went to Richard & Shirley’s to pick up my mail today and got to hear some barking dog news. I guess the barking dog neighbors are being really cautious with me around since I wrote the letter. But apparently they noticed that I left for the weekend and let the dog stay out all day on Saturday and Sunday. Then on Tuesday night, after it’s out for 12 hours and barking Richard finally calls the cops on them! The cop comes over and files a report and talks to the people about their dog. The people have no idea who called the cops, but they speculate to the cops that it was probably either Richard & Shirley or me.

They’ll probably think it’s me since my car was back in it’s spot within a few hours. The dog people actually told the cops that the barking dog wasn’t the only problem on the street – Tom’s kids (and all the other kids on the street) were pretty noisy sometimes too. Which has to be the lamest attempt ever at trying to make himself look good. He also said he never lets the dog stay out more than 30 minutes at a time which is a complete lie. So all that is fun. I wish those neighbors would retaliate against me or something so I’d have something to occupy my time with! They don’t even give me dirty looks when I drive by. I’d love to figure out a way to make their phone ring nonstop and have a recording of their own dog barking at them when they pick up.

R&S thought it was funny when I said, “Hey you know those religious people that came to your door earlier? Look what I did to their van!” and showed them a photo.

Pink Flamingo Prank

Monday, July 4th, 2005: My parents rule. They are screwing with their neighbors out of boredom. My dad happened to have a pink flamingo, for whatever reason. So around midnight one night, he has my brother walk across the street and stick it in some old lady’s yard. This old lady has a very strict personal schedule each day so they knew that she would walk outside to get her paper at exactly 7:10 in the morning. So they were at the window, waiting for her to notice it. She sees the flamingo, stares at it for awhile, walks a circle around it, looks really confused and goes back inside. Shortly after that, probably after conversing with her husband on the matter, she went back outside and pulled the flamingo out of the ground and put it in their shed in the drive way.

The next night, around midnight, by brother sneaks over and takes the flamingo out of their shed. He puts it in a different spot in their yard. The process repeats with her staring, looking confused and walking circles. This time she doesn’t throw it in the shed. She pulls it out of the ground and puts it in another spot in her yard. The next night, my brother lays some pink plastic easter eggs under the flamingo, giving the impression that it’s laid some eggs. The old lady hasn’t done anything about the eggs yet and they’re still there. If you look closely in the picture, you can see them. Their next plan, my dad tells me, is to buy some baby plastic flamingos and put them under the big flamingo to make it appear that the eggs have hatched. I asked when he was going to tell these old people that he was responsible and he said never. That rules. I had to scold them for not videotaping her confusion, though. I snapped the picture myself as I was leaving.

Anyway, we did the rest of the fireworks from my house tonight. A neighbor lady brought over a ton her own and shared with us, which was really cool. Managed not to blow up any people or set any roofs on fire.

Farm, the other Brad, and Legend813

Today someone from the Tampa area was calling me and I correctly assumed that it was Legend813. He was calling from a mall kiosk phone that was selling VoIP long distance service. We talked for 10 or 15 minutes. The lady there started getting annoyed and told them there was a 3 minute time limit on that phone. He kind of gave her a hard time and she said something like, “We usually have this problem with kids but not with grown men like you.” So I say, “Let me talk to that lady.”

In the most authoritative and scary voice I could muster, I gave this lady a piece of my mind. I told her I was with the district attorney and I was a VERY important man and it was not a good idea to mess with me and blah blah blah. I did a good job at rambling on about how important I was! Eventually she hung up on me.

I immediately called back and said, “Oohhh, you’ve really made me mad now, lady! Do you want some trouble there??” She hung up again. I called back again and was hung up on again. I don’t think the number was even supposed to be taking calls since it was some kind of display phone. Apparently I made her mad enough to call the mall cops on Legend813 so he had to get out of there rather quickly to avoid getting into any trouble. But not before he snapped a picture of her.

After work, went by the farm again and fed everything and took pictures. Chickens don’t appear to like having their pictures taken. It seems to freak them the hell out. I forget the puppies names except one of them is Dot. The rat’s name is Noskes. I forget the cat’s name but it doesn’t seem to care. And as you can see in the last picture, I made peace with Sasha, the dog that was ready to kill me when I arrived yesterday. And no, Amy, there were no eggs to be found in the chicken house.

Earlier today this old couple that live across the street from me called me from their cell phone. They told me they were at some cafe in Edwardsville and in the parking lot was a truck that had a sign on the side of it that read Better yet, the license plate included the name ALEX on it, which is my middle name. I say, “I know that guy, he has my domain!” For years, I’ve waited and hoped that the guy with would let his domain name go because I want it for my homepage. I don’t think it’ll ever happen. While on the phone, I checked the contact info on the domain and it looks like Brad Carter lives in Mt. Zion, Illinois which is sort of closeby. My neighbor said this Brad Carter was sitting in the cafe typing on his laptop and he was going to go talk to him. I told my neighbor to tell Brad I want my domain! I still haven’t heard how that conversation went. Maybe my neighbor roughed Brad up and got the domain name for me.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRIS TOMKINSON! Outlook told me so – apparently it’s Colleen’s dad’s birthday too. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EX-FATHER-IN-LAW!

Pranking Bernadette

November 19th, 2004: This is the lady who works at the Piasa Pantry near my house, laughing about the phone call she just received. While I was in there buying a Pepsi, my friend Amy called and said that her boyfriend would be in the store in just a minute and to ask him to buy a few boxes of condoms. Amy gave my description and said that I drove “an abnormally large truck.” This is the first time I’ve ever seen Bernadette laugh. Me and Amy do such a great public service to Alton!

Pranking Rusty

November 4th, 2004: Today I had to go to this heating/cooling place to get a part for my furnace. My friend Amy decided to prank call the guys there while I was in there getting the part. So she rang the phone just as I was walking in the door and I had to wait about 5 minutes for her to get off the phone before I was finally waited on. She was saying all kinds of weird things, like asking if they sold alternators and beanie babies and she said she wanted a service call. “No, you misunderstand, I want to be serviced sexually!” I think the guy finally ended up hanging up on her. She was just asking a bunch of weird, random questions about thermostats and stuff, I think.

After he hung up I got to listen to him recap the entire phone call to me and the other 2 customers in the store. Then he turned on the speakerphone and *69’ed Amy and it read back her number. She’s such a newb, she didn’t even *67. Everyone was really amused by the whole thing. As I driving somewhere else, me and Amy were cracking up about it on the phone when the AC guy calls her back. I’d told her that he *69ed her so we were expecting a call back. She answers, “Jenny’s House of Sex” and talks to the guy for a little while. She tells him he should thank her for making his day a little more interesting.

About 30 minutes later, I’m back in their store for another part. A different customer is in there and the guy is in the middle of telling this guy the whole story of his weird phone call. Amy’s phone call must have been the most interesting thing that’s happened to him in years. When he sees me, he says, “I’ve got some new information on that phone call!” and he pulls out a piece of paper from his shirt pocket. “Her name is Amy _______ and she lives in _______ Oklahoma!” I ask him how he managed to find that information and he says he’s got his ways, trying to be all mysterious with me. Then he tells me that he’s got a family member that works in an institution of some kind and they have access to databases that lawyers use or whatever. They were able to pull up her info by her number. I wanted to tell him that she was listed but I didn’t. At one point he said, “I don’t think this girl realizes who she’s messing with.” All pheer the AC guy!

I said, “Well why would some random girl from Oklahoma be calling a heating & cooling shop in Illinois?” He said he didn’t know but he normally spent about $20 a month *69ing people that prank called him and hung up on him. I didn’t mention to him that caller ID is a lot cheaper than $20 a month. He told me some bizzare story about a prank caller he used to get at home and how he caught that guy. He said that he gave her phone number to a guy who was in the shop earlier and the guy was going to call her up around 11pm tonight and see how she liked it. I can’t wait to see if the guy actually calls her or not. This guy sure seems to take prank calls seriously, though. A little 5 minute prank call seems to have consumed his entire day. I bet he’ll be telling stories of this prank call to people for weeks.

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