JAMMIE 2010

Jammie visited last week, after not seeing her for more than 3 years. We went to a Local H concert, had dinner with her cousin, and she bought a Mac at the Apple store. Also went to Ground Kontrol arcade. This is all before we even left Portland. We were supposed to buy Macs together, but I found an awesome deal on Craigslist a couple months ago and couldn’t pass it up, so I already had mine.

We failed a Geocaching repeatedly, even on one Geocache that I’d found before. We swapped a few iPhone apps and I’m now addicted to a game called Angry Birds. As if Desktop Defender doesn’t eat up enough of my time. Thanks, Jammie. We visited Albany’s history museum, which is always good for a laugh. We also visited a furniture store across the street from the museum and this place was like a wax museum of celebrities. They had a Terminator and a Charlie Chaplin and a Hulk Hogan. Jammie asked what was up with them all, and we were told that the building was once used to make life-sized characters and a lot of them got left behind when they took over the building. Weird. But awesome.

We visited the carousel place and a couple antique shops. I ended up finding a good item to place in a Geocache as a PLA themed travel bug. We rode bikes and hiked through the woods, failing at another Geocache. Played minigolf. Jammie surprised me by telling me she hadn’t heard of the “Fuckin’ magnets, how do they work??” internet meme yet, so I showed her all the related material and got to watch her laugh hysterically at a months-old meme.

We had our traditional dinner at Red Robin with kcochran and Chad, then went to Game Time and played darts. Attempted some android red boxing and failed. Attempted some 11pm minigolf and failed. A day or two later, kcochran and Chad came over and we all did The Phone Show together. (Episode here.)

On Wednesday, we had breakfast at Rogers and I drove Jammie back to the airport, with a brief stop at Fry’s Electronics. The end.

RIP Charcoal

On Friday, we had to put our cat Charcoal to sleep. He’s been having issues the past couple weeks and on Friday we were told he had irreparable liver damage. The kids were at their moms that day, so I picked them up for a few hours so they could say their goodbyes. Charcoal seemed really happy that entire day, hanging out with Emily on the chair while she played on her laptop and purring a ton. It was great to see him seeming so happy, but just made me feel more guilty for what I had to do. I stayed with him until he was gone. Saddest day ever.

Merry Memorial Day!

I tried to cause mass confusion on a Salem Facebook account today by posting something terrible, waiting for hateful replies, then deleting my post.

It didn’t evolve into a lot of confusion and finger pointing like I hoped, but it still kind of looks like the first few people are offended by the original question. I need to refine this technique.

Raining Pepsi

Few weeks ago I drove to Little Caesars for pizza since I’m too cheap to pay 3x as much for delivery. I threw the two large pepperonis on the front seat and the 2 liter of Pepsi in the back seat. As I rounded the corner onto my street, I turned down the blaring MC Chris and stepped on the brake to bring me to a reasonable level of speed. This caused the Pepsi to shoot off the back seat, hitting the front seat, which was slid all the way to the front. Then it dropped and landed on the corner of the metal track that the seat slides on, puncturing the bottle.

Then the bottle rolled over, spraying Pepsi all over the seats, windows, and ceiling. Pepsi was raining from the ceiling in my car. After a few seconds of this, I held my hand over the spraying Pepsi as I pulled into the driveway until it finally stopped. When it did there was a miniature lake of Pepsi on floor. I went inside and told Payton he wouldn’t believe what just happened. He immediately ran outside to survey the damage and laugh at me. Surprisingly, barely a drop hit me or my phone or car stereo, aside from my hand being covered in it to stop it from spraying everywhere.

After dinner I spent about an hour wiping out the car and managed to get it cleaned up pretty good. In fact, I even Windexed all my windows which I’ve never done before in the 7 years that I’ve owned the car. I still find occasional drops of Pepsi in parts of the car. Too bad they don’t still make glass 2 liters. That probably would have been easier to clean.

REMEMBER GLASS PEPSI BOTTLES??? I remember the very first commercial I saw for one in the 80’s. Some person accidentally knocks a 2 liter bottle off of a counter or table. In slow motion it takes forever to fall to the floor. Just as your expecting the bottle to shatter, it bends like a plastic bottle does and bounces back up in slow motion. At the time it looked like the coolest special effect ever since nobody had ever seen a plastic 2 liter and it was completely unexpected. GOD I’M OLD!

I just searched YouTube, trying to find that commercial and didn’t have any luck. But this lady sure had better luck with 2 liters in her car than I did.

MC Chris owns

Since yesterday I’ve been cleaning up the hard drive on my laptop. When I switched to Mac, I directly copied everything over from my old drive and I probably haven’t cleaned it out in years. I’m finding lots of awesome old sound files, pictures and other things. I’m completely restructuring how my directories are organized too. I haven’t changed much in the past 10 years until today. I still have a directory called html_development that I created in 1996 that is full of really bad website clipart. Tons of animated GIFs, under construction signs, dividing lines, snippets of java, html, php and perl code that could someday be useful but never was. For some reason I’m having a hard time throwing this directory out, even though it’s completely useless.

I’m going to see MC Chris live in a few days. I haven’t liked an artist this much in a really long time. MC Lars will be there too, so it’s going to be so great. Last weekend I went on a pub crawl with Angela in Salem, then we went to Geeky Karaoke in Portland. Wait, that was 2 weeks ago. Last week we had a Lost party at my house for the final episode of Lost.

I purchased a $5/month subscription to so I can listen to music commercial-free all night on my iPhone while I’m sleeping. I’ve gotten bored with all the normal stations and have been picking things like disco and classic country and other random things. I woke up at 4am this morning, recognizing an old country song I once liked as a kid and favorited it. I’m posting this only to be laughed at.

CNN did a story on sign hacking this week and featured my signhacker.com site a lot. They even played part of a commercial I made for the site, music and all. http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/offbeat/2010/05/25/moos.no.tacos.hackers.cnn.html This motivated me to update signhacker.com with a new post.

I stopped at a light on Waverly recently and some guy in a truck next to me was waving like crazy, trying to get my attention. I finally looked over at him and he held up a GPS receiver for me to see and waved. Guess he saw one of my Geocaching stickers on my car and desperately needs a geocaching friend. Reminds me of when I had an ICP sticker on my car about 10 years ago and some guy behind me kept honking and waving like crazy. Looking in my mirror, I noticed he had a giant ICP decal on his hood. He was going nuts because I wouldn’t acknowledge him, throwing his hands up at me and stuff. I’m bad at socializing.

Oh yeah, about a month ago I was returning to my car when I was at a mall in Salem and some guys across the parking lot screamed “FREE GEEK!” at me. I have a Free Geek sticker on my car, courtesy of Evie and Joe. It was a friendly yell, but my social anxiety issues prevented me from looking up and waving. Don’t put stickers on your car, it’s nothing but trouble! I should put a sticker on there that reads “Abortion is Hilarious!” and see what kind of friends I make.

Migrated

I think I got everything migrated over to the Mac this weekend. It’s awesome and I love it. So far there’s only one important program that I can’t use on the Mac, which might force me to do some Windows or Linux emulation. Either that or I should stop using my Pro CD 2004 phone directories and find an alternative to it. (Don’t make fun of me, it’s work-related!) Now I need to get some stickers to cover this thing with.

Man…last night after typing that, the mouse and keyboard on my Mac completely stopped responding. It had been doing that intermittently since I got the thing, but this time it was for good. I wasn’t happy. I ended up plugging in an old Mac keyboard/mouse this morning and it worked fine. I took the laptop apart twice, ensuring that all ribbon cables were in place, but the keyboard and mouse still didn’t work. Then I finally found a post on some Apple forums about billions of other people having this same problem and the solution was to stick some folded paper on top of a certain part of a ribbon cable underneath the battery. I did it with some black tape and the laptop is back to normal. What a bizarre defect. I’m just happy it’s working again and all these other people claim that will solve my problem forever.

So in other news…I spent a few days in Idaho last week and that was a lot of fun. Yesterday the kids and I went to OMSI and it was awesome. I haven’t been there since 1994 and my kids hadn’t been there in a few years. Tonight MC Frontalot is playing in Portland and I’d like to go, but I don’t know anyone else who likes his music and would want to go. I’ll probably just stay at home and cut myself instead.

MacBook Pro

I’ve been shopping around for a Mac lately and I finally found a good deal on Craigslist for a 15″ MacBook Pro laptop, which I picked up today. So far I’m pretty happy with it, even though everything is completely foreign to me on it. The only time I’ve ever used a Mac is when I play with the display models in stores. This mouse is going to take some getting used to – it keeps confusing me with its single button. Garage Band rules so far and will probably be the thing I love most about the Mac.

The people I bought it from didn’t seem to put much thought into clearing their data. The amount of stuff they left in here is insane. Aside from just their entire personal photo album and music collection and a few home videos, they’ve given me the password to everything they’ve ever logged into. Five different Facebook accounts, Myspace, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, an LDS dating site, Gmail, Yahoo, everything. There’s gotta be at least 100 passwords saved in their Firefox browser. They probably didn’t realize that all their passwords are viewable from within Firefox.

The first thing I did on this laptop was attempt to check my email on gmail.com, only to find out that I was already logged into this guy’s account. Hundreds of emails, available for me to peruse. I clicked on a gmail chat log between the two of them and skimmed over their lovey conversations before logging out. I later noticed that he had AIM actually running and it was still logged in. He didn’t even bother to close it. He also had some member site open in Chrome that he was logged into. Assuming there’s a way to list all the passwords saved in Chrome, I’ve probably get even more things I could log into. Not that I’m going to. No really, for realz!

I was happy to see that they left their entire music collection to me, some of which I’ll enjoy. There’s tons of church music, church sermons, 80’s music and more original motion picture soundtracks than I’ve ever seen a person own. But there’s quite a bit of good stuff in there too, which looks like it’s all non-DRM. Kind of ironic that they’re pirating church music. While in iTunes, I decided to click on the iTunes store, just to see if they were logged in to that. And they were. I could have purchased billions of dollars in music and movie rentals if I wanted to. I immediately logged them out, just to avoid the temptation.

I have access to all their online bill payment accounts and their bank. Who knows what that Wal-Mart and Walgreens stuff is, but it could be to refill prescriptions. It’s probably just photo development though.

Oh man, I’m digging deeper now and I just found 707 video files, most of them taken with a cheap digital camera. A few are pirated TV shows, but most of these are just church events and birthday parties and stuff. I bet if I kept looking, I’d find their personal nude photos and videos. Looks like there are over 4,000 JPG files in here. Most likely their entire lifetime of photos.

I’m completely blown away by the amount of havoc I could cause with all of this. This just makes no sense at all. They were nice people and didn’t seem like complete morons. Even a person who’s not technically savvy would know not to leave massive amounts of personal data sitting on a computer that you’re selling to a stranger. And this guy seemed like he was into computers. He had several sitting around the house and had a 1TB external drive and his wife was typing away on a Mac. A quick look through his Gmail shows me that he’s taking physics, chemistry and statistics at OSU. So he’s not retarded. But he’s retarded! This whole thing is nuts.

As I’m writing this I keep looking around and finding MORE stuff that I have access to. I can log into about 5 different accounts on Gmail and they use Google Voice for their voicemails that I could listen to. I bet they use Google Docs too. You people reading this know the kind of stuff I’m likely to do, just because it’d be hilarious. I could cause such a ruckus and I’m so tempted to. I really won’t though. I’m going to wipe all of this stuff out of here and just concentrate on migrating all my own stuff to my new Mac.

I’ve bought plenty of used computers from people in the past and there’s always a few things that they’ll forget about and leave behind. That’s expected. But this is just unbelievable. He didn’t even shut down AIM. The joke’s probably on me – they’re probably remotely monitoring me while I type all this since I’m a newb and wouldn’t know how to spot anything like that running. I’m expecting a phone call from them any minute now, saying, “OMG, we gave you the wrong computer!” That’s the only logical explanation for all of this stuff in here, that they gave me the wrong Mac.

Anyway, Spessa says I owe it to him to send him an email telling him how incredibly stupid he is. I hope he doesn’t get mad at me. It should be interesting to see how he responds. Here’s what I just sent to him:

Hey Chris. I’m the guy that purchased the laptop from you today. I’ve been on it for a few hours now and everything is working great.

I feel like I really need to mention to you how much personal data you left on this thing. Besides the more than 4000 personal photos and around 700 personal videos, there’s a list of your saved passwords in Firefox and there must be 100 logins and passwords in plain text. I assure you that I’m deleting all of this stuff and not logging into anything of yours, but there’s just such a massive amount of personal stuff on here, I think I owe it to you to let you know about it. It seems like I have access to several Facebook accounts, several Gmail accounts, Amazon and who knows what else. I just worry that next time you might sell a computer to someone a lot more malicious than me.

I hope you don’t mind me telling you about this. Once again, please don’t worry because I’ve deleted all of your saved logins and passwords already and I’ll delete the rest of your personal stuff tomorrow when I start migrating my own stuff onto it.

Thanks again for the awesome deal on this Mac!
Brad

I’m way too nice and concerned. Spessa suggested some awesomely terrible things to write to him, such as, “Had I been a more malicious person, I could have impersonated you on your LDS forums and told all the members that Brigham Young was a fraud.”

I’ll append his reply to this post as soon as I get it.

EDIT: His reply the next morning:

Thanks for the email. I was stuck with a dilemma of reformatting which would kind of render the computer unusable more or less in case you had any questions about the operation, since for someone to use it would require me registering and putting in some kind of user info over again. I finally came to the conclusion I would just reformat when someone decided to get it, it sounded like you were in a hurry so I just made a decision to trust that you’d reformat it. My wife deleted the documents a few days ago however so I figured the worst that could happen was you’d read some of my boring email.

The whole thing still seems crazy to me. It was hours between the time I talked to him on the phone and the time I picked it up. It would have taken just a few seconds to highlight all their videos/pictures and tap the delete button. And not much longer to wipe out Firefox’s stored password file. His logic of trusting the random guy from Craigslist is stupid. I’m crazy! I’ve screwed with peoples identities before. I’ve hacked accounts and caused online turmoil and devastation! This guy has no idea what kind of person he just handed all his passwords to. It’s a good thing Mr. Spessa isn’t visiting me this week, because he wouldn’t let me just delete all this stuff. He would insist that we do terrible things to everyone, just for the lulz. We would probably lock them out of every account they own, just to be jerks.

Whatever, though, I’m happy I got a laptop full of expensive Mac software, including iLife and the latest version of Photoshop!

Linux & Windows 7

Wow, notla.com is slow. I assumed before that it was because it was the only site that I still had running on godaddy.com. But I switched it to a new server a week or two ago and it’s still slow. Must be a WordPress issue or something.

I’ve been up to a lot lately. So much that I haven’t really written much. Most of it’s all revolved around Evie. We went to Bend for a weekend and I’ve been hanging out in Portland a lot lately. Went to the coast a few weeks ago. Took the kids to Wunderland in Portland, which was much cooler than the one in Salem. It’s been a month now since I’ve written much in here, aside from silly Ebay happenings. A lot has happened. But who cares about all that. Instead I’ll write about Linux!

I’ve been wanting to attempt a transition to Linux for years now. It seems like I try every 1 or 2 years for the past 10 years, but there’s always something keeping me from using it 24/7. When I bought this laptop in 2007, I actually had them ship it with Ubuntu on it, which I turned into a dual-boot, which I eventually just wiped Linux off of. This past weekend, I made more of an effort than usual, but I think it’s going to end up being another failed attempt.

It’s not that I have troubles adapting to it. I’ve used it off and on for years now. I like Linux and wish I could completely ditch Windows for it. The problem is the software. Looking at the selection of software for linux is like time traveling back to the 1980’s. Remember those old ads for Commodore 64 and Tandy computers where they’re like, “You can manage all your finances on your new home computer! The kids can play games and do their homework on our word processing software!” It’s kind of like that. You would never dare balance your checkbook on a TRS-80. Everything for linux is in beta or on version 1. You look at the revision lists and they say things like “Version 1.18 has 500 bug fixes!” which makes you think, “Holy crap, their software was THAT terrible just a tenth of a version ago?”

Well okay, fine, Open Office is pretty nice and wasn’t really around last time I gave this a try. But I NEED invoicing software and I can’t do without it. Currently I use Quickbooks for Windows. Guess what the big invoicing software package for Linux is called. Business Accountz. Yes, with a Z. It’s like some retarded junior high kid named it. I’m supposed to trust my business to a software package that can’t even spell right. I could overlook that if the program didn’t completely suck, but it does. I’ve spent hours looking for alternatives, but there doesn’t seem to be any. I could use Quickbooks via the web for $10/month. But that just means I’m paying $120/year for Linux.

The latest iTunes doesn’t work yet under Wine. And I can’t seem to get Evolution to sync to Google so that I can sync that with my iPhone instead. Even if I could, it’s not going to sync my notes which are very important to me to have both on the computer and on my iPhone. All these issues just lead me to wonder why I should even bother changing when Windows does everything flawlessly. It’d make more sense to switch to a Mac. Or just stay with Windows. I’m going to keep working on things and see if I can come up with acceptable compromises, but I don’t have my hopes up too much.

On the upside of all my playing around with my laptop this past week, issues with dual-booting forced me to upgrade my 10-year-old Windows XP OS to Windows 7. And wow, Windows 7 kicks ass. I’ve been using it for a week now and it’s great. So many issues have been addressed. Thanks, Linux, for helping me to discover the latest version of Windows!

In other breaking news…I’m downloading the entire Black Sabbath discography. That might be fun to listen to, but I predict that I’ll get sick of them after a couple of hours. Also, Kick Ass comes out this week. I can’t wait. I’m gonna see it at least twice – once with Jessica and once with the kids. It’s going to be the most amazing movie since Mystery Team. I’m also attempting to watch the entire 7 seasons of Star Trek TNG. I’m 19 episodes into season 1 now.

Service Merchandise

Does that store still exist? I don’t think I’ve seen one since the 90’s. As a kid, it was my favorite store to have my parents take me to because they had several computer terminals set up around the store for customer use. They were very 80’s-looking machines with green or amber lettering on a black screen. Just aimlessly playing around on them was fun enough. But the really cool thing I could do was order merchandise on them which would be shipped to the exit/pick-up area of the store. Anything in the store could be sent down a conveyor belt for us to pick up.

I started small, but quickly advanced to having huge things like couches and refrigerators and other huge appliances sent over. As my mom and I stood in line, waiting for our turn to check out, I was in silent hysterics as I surveyed all the items sitting behind the counter waiting for pick up that I was responsible for. Sometimes I would have so many huge items sent that walking space behind the counter would be scarce for the employees. If I ordered 5 couches, they would almost always sent out 5 couches.

The other awesome part of this was that they would eventually page the names I used over the store intercom. I started out using random character names from books that I liked. Hearing them say “Harriet Tubman, your order is ready in the pick up area.” was hilarious enough. But soon I started making up wacky names for them to say. I went through a phase of using names of illnesses so that they would end up paging Mrs. Amneisia or Mr. Cancer to the pick up area. Then I just started putting nonsense into the fields. I remember one I wrote was Mrs. Teetertotter, which caused a lady to announce over the store’s paging system that a child was playing with the computer terminals and that employees should be on the lookout for them.

I got to relive some childhood memories in 1992 when me and Sylvia lived in Los Angeles and were walking around and found a Service Merchandise. I was happy to see that they still had the computer terminal system in place, so we placed several orders for the largest items we could find. I remember a getting a complete living room set and some large kitchen appliances, such as a fridge and a stove. Their pick up area was much smaller than the old one in St. Louis, so the employees were pretty cramped back there, waiting for customers to come and get their giant items.

I saw my last Service Merchandise in 1994 in Austin, Texas. Their computer terminals there were slightly updated and had credit card readers on them. I taped some strips of cassette tape around my drivers license and tried sliding it through the reader, hoping that it would cause an error and let me enter one of my hundreds of stolen credit card numbers manually. I don’t know why I thought that would work, but at least I tried. Soon after that, I used a stolen money order at that same store to purchase a police scanner. It was in the days when you could buy unblocked 800/900MHz scanners, which I used for years afterwards for all kinds of phone fun, including the Dino incident that happened a year later.

Ahhh, good times with Service Merchandise…

Dumb Ebay Question

I was selling a hard drive on Ebay yesterday and a guy asks me this question:

Should I purchase this harddrive, can I trust that you’d ship it in a protective manner at to not let it get damaged should someone drop the package?

I replied back with this:

I don’t plan to package the drive at all. Instead I’m just going to write your name and address on it with a sharpie and put a stamp right on the drive. I’ll probably throw it into the mail slot at the post office from across the room, yelling “SCORE!” as it goes in. Once you receive the drive I will leave you scathing feedback that will hurt your feelings.

I set it as a public question/answer so all potential buyers could see it. Somehow I still sold the drive. He replied back with, “Thank you for your honesty.” I love eBay.

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