Halloween Weekend

Friday: Jessica and I headed to Salem to go to a haunted house. On the way, decided to give Rocky Horror a try too, so called Kate and got directions to it. Before we got there, Angela called to tell us both shows were sold out. Stopped by a bar for food and drinks. Left after 1 drink cause the food menus sucked. Went to McMenamins instead to eat, then to The Nightmare Factory for the haunted house.

It was a standard haunted house – giant maze with people jumping out at you all the time. We took a few deliberate wrong turns, just for fun. Ended up in a back hallway at one point, where we weren’t supposed to be, and could stick our hands out through the walls and scare people. We ended up coming out of a hole under a desk/table thing. Found an empty room later that we hung out in for about 15 minutes, jumping out at people as they came in. After the haunted house we went to a bar in Albany and listened to horrible karaoke renditions of old country songs and played tons of pool.

Saturday: Tried to sleep in, but failed. I don’t know why I can never sleep very late. Hung out around the house most of the day with the kids. Made some Halloween cookies around noon and they ended up being our lunch. At 6pm, they dressed for trick-or-treating and we drove to a neighborhood that Jessica recommended. It was awesome – hundreds of kids walking around in the streets. Much more active than our own neighborhood. Went around a few blocks there, then headed home. Would have stayed longer, but Emily hasn’t been feeling that great. Left her at home while me and Payton hit up all the houses in our own neighborhood.

Got quite a few submissions these past couple of days for the PLA pumpkin carving contest. I’m surprised at how much effort some people put into it.

Sunday: Went to Salem to see Up at a ridiculously cheap movie theater, only to find out that it was sold out. So we bought tickets to Harry Potter 6 instead, which started an hour later. I hadn’t seen it yet, but the kids had. They both really wanted to see it again. The theater was awesome! There were long tables in ever aisle to set your food and stuff on, which meant tons of feet space. In the very back aisles there were reclining chairs instead of movie theater seats. There was a full bar in the lobby. The theater does all kinds of non-movie things like football games and comedy shows. Definitely gotta go back there someday.

Since we had an hour to kill, we walked across the street and I noticed we were in front of the same bar Jessica and I were at on Friday. Walked over to an ice cream place and hung out for about 30 minutes.

As long as I’m doing several days of updating here, I should mention Wednesday. I didn’t have much food in the house and didn’t feel like going shopping, so we went out to eat at Applebees. Turns out Wednesday is kids night there. You’d think that would just mean low prices for kids food, but not here. They had a magician going around to all the tables, doing tricks for everyone. He did tricks for us as we sat there and waited for a table, keeping us there for an extra minute or two after our table was ready. Then he came over and did card tricks while we were trying to eat food. It was annoying, but funny. They also had a giant table set up to decorate mini pumpkins, which the kids did for about 20 minutes after we ate. We’ll definitely have to try Wednesdays there again someday.

Man, xkcd.com has been doing amazing stuff lately. But that image up there, that’s just insane. Click on it to view the full sized version of it. I want to know how long those took him. And the Primer one cracked me up – I just happened to see that movie last year when Netflix recommended it to me.

HHGTTGMTV

About a month ago, I was in a used book store looking for a Roger Zelazny book that was impossible to find and I ended up buying a used copy of the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. It’s the one that has all 5 books in it and looks just like a Bible. Since my HHGTTG collection was incomplete, this would be perfect! I took it home and Payton read the first book in it immediately since he wasn’t currently reading anything. I took the 2 books of HHGTTG off my shelf and threw them in my donation bag for Goodwill. I used to have all 5 books separately, but I lost a few in the move to Oregon and I think I loaned another one out.

So, complete collection right? WRONG! Less than a month later, a SIXTH HHGTTG BOOK is released. The author has been dead for like 7 years now! The fifth book was released way back in 1992ish. The new book is written by the guy that writes Artemis Fowl for some reason. I guess it’s based on stuff they found in DNA’s computer for a 6th book. But dammit.

The Roger Zelazny book I ended up buying on eBay for $15 plus shipping. For a 15-year-old used paperback! If I wanted an unused copy, it would have been $65. No kidding. It turned out to be a pretty good book, though, so thanks for recommending it, John!

I’ve got a stack of 5 books to read still. A Mark Twain that I’d never heard of until last week, a Carl Sagan, that book of crazy letters Angela gave me, and a couple others I can’t remember.

I miss MTV suddenly. That’s the only thing about not having cable that I miss. Watching nonstop music videos in the background all day while I work and do other things. I know it’s awesome that today every music video ever made is on demand on the internet, but it was nice just having them play nonstop videos at me all day. A big portion of them sucked, but there was the occasional gem in there. It’s so tempting to blow $60/month on a cable package, just to get MTV back. But I won’t do that.

I haven’t had regular cable since I left Illinois in 2005 and decided that the internet was so awesome that the kids don’t even need cable anymore. And that’s true. I never watched it much myself, except for the cartoons that the kids were watching and MTV. I think Yahoo streams videos like that somewhere. I should look into that again.

When This Song Is Over You Will Die

When This Song Is Over Your Will Die – by Tom Smith

I can’t seem to get this song out of my head. I heard it last night while listening to Luke & Carrie’s Bad Rapport podcast. I ended up playing it on The Phone Show a couple hours later.

Two months since my last update. Hrmmm. I was in Idaho for a couple of weeks, doing all kinds of things. I built the Spessas a bathroom, which was great. I miss doing home renovations a lot. Now they can stop going out in the woods to poop. We went to see live music at a bar – a band called Stillborn. If that’s not an awesome band name, then I don’t know what is. Too bad it didn’t make their music awesome, but we still had a lot of fun there. We also went gambling in Washington and bar hopping, where Mr. Spessa kept disassembling bathrooms everywhere we went. And we did the best Phone Show episode ever.

This past weekend I went with Angela to a Facebook party in Portland which was lots of fun. I spent Sunday recovering from the Facebook party, which was not fun. Oh yeah, last week I went by myself to see live music at a local bar. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this on here before, but this bar in Albany features tons of local hip hop bands. You’d think Albany would have lots of local country bands or lots of local hair metal tribute bands, but no, they have lots of local hip hop bands. And the music is actually pretty good. The problem is that this bar never has many people at it. When I got there, the band was hanging out outside, smoking. I sat down and commenced Facebooking. Soon I noticed that the entire band was playing video poker while a CD of their music played on stage. One of them was occasionally singing with the CD as he played poker. After about 45 minutes, I left. Guess they just didn’t like playing to a nearly empty bar.

I catsitted for a week for Kate’s cat. That was cool, having another cat here. I know there’s more that’s happened in two months, but I can’t remember. I always say that. Each Halloween I try to find scary movies to watch with my kids, which is usually really old movies. Tonight it was Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. That was fun to see again. My kids have seen just about everything by Stephen King now. This weekend we’re going to visit Albany’s House of Terror, then trick or treating on Saturday. On Friday Jessica is going to a haunted house with me.

I met a few old friends on Facebook recently. Jeff Boggs from high school and some other girl from the 80’s. It’s so weird seeing everyone I’ve ever known in my entire life on a single web site. I keep getting all these people from my high school adding me as friends, even some people that I never said a single word to. Which weirds me out a little, but I let them add me anyway. I guess they just want tons of friends and don’t care who they are. I responded to one with, “Wow, I’ve learned more about you in 5 minutes than I did our entire 4 years of not saying a single word to each other!” and she replied with, “LOL sorry i was such a stuck up bitch then but not no more!”

Speaking of wanting tons of friends and not caring who they are, add me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bradthecarter! Facebook is the reason I don’t update much here anymore.

Oh yeah, I wrote a new song called Play The Game, based on Curtis Lee Jones. He’s hilarious.

Summer 2009

I’ve been busy. It’s been a long time, but I think I spent about a week in Idaho earlier in the summer. I’m sure if I did, we had lots of fun and did incredibly evil things. Oh yeah, I got that tattoo then. The Spessas visited my house for a week too, either before or after that. All these trips I’ve taken have just kind of run together. There was Defcon at Vegas, which I wrote about in the previous entry, then maybe a week where I didn’t do anything. Then Illinois for 2 weeks to visit with my parents and other people. Immediately after that, Spessa visited me in Oregon for a couple of weeks.

Me and the kids took an Amtrak to Portland to catch our plane to Illinois, mostly just because Amtrak is cool. Except when it’s running late which is just about always. They only got us into Portland about 40 minutes late, though. We stayed in a hotel overnight since our flight left at 5am.

I know I’ve probably said this before, but flying is just a huge scam now. It sucks. They charge you for every little thing they can possibly think of now. I had to pay an extra $20 to check just one bag. They don’t even give you the first one for free. Emily wanted a blanket on the plane so we asked for one and they told us we’d have to pay $7 for it. Which I refused, because that’s just the kind of dad I am. They started all this scaminess when gas prices were around $4.00/gallon, but it’s been down below $2.00 plenty of times since then and they’re still doing it. They’ll never stop, now that people are used to it.

I can’t remember everything that happened in Illinois, but there was a day of City Museum for me and the kids. I think we only spent one day at the pool, because the weather got too cold near the end of our visit. We saw District 9. The kids and I walked to BP one night for Slushies and they were out of napkins (Payton needed one) so I asked the clerk for one and she handed me a used, wadded up napkin that was sitting on the counter next to her. Instead of demanding an unused napkin, I just laughed at Payton instead.

I did the Phone Show 3 times from Illinois, but mostly just played music since my microphone didn’t work very good. And I moved phonelosers.org to a new server, along with a bunch of my other sites. I’ve been meaning to do that for months now since the old one kept crashing. So far it’s been over a month and no crashes.

While Spessa was here we took a trip to the coast. On the way back, we saw a roadsign flashing something about construction, so we pulled over and Spessa spent about 40 minutes working at the controls to change it. It had a password on it, but she was persistent and managed to figure out what it was by guessing. We couldn’t think of anything brilliant to write on it, so she wrote HACK NAKED, which is the slogan for PaulDotCom. They posted a picture of it on their site and we also posted it on signhacker.com.

I was actually wearing a HACK NAKED t-shirt that day, but we didn’t think to snap a picture of me standing in front of the hacked sign. It was so nuts because it was in the middle of the day and it was a very busy road. Spessa was sitting behind the sign, but could still be seen by traffic and she kept getting up to open this giant door on top of the sign to reset the power. For 40 minutes. I hung out in front of my car, playing on Facebook on my phone and hoping to divert attention away from her and onto me.

Me and her also went to some casino last weekend and gambled. I normally hate gambling, but I played $20 on blackjack. I had it up to $30 before losing it all. We saw Extract and Inglorious Basterds. We saw a couple of live shows at local bars, played pool and drank too much. We did 2 Phone Shows together and went to the state fair in Salem. I think that’s it.

It’s been an overwhelmingly busy and fun summer for me and so far I’m really enjoying the complete isolation of this weekend. I’m hoping to barely leave the house and just work on projects that I haven’t had time for in the past couple of months. Last night I put together a commercial for Sign Hacker, which is here. I’ve got two other video projects that I really want to finish up song and I’m working on another song and have ideas for 2 others. I wish I could just be alone for an entire week and get all this done. I really need to clean this house up too.

Dueling Podcasts

About a month ago I was catching up on some of my regular podcasts, which included Security Justice and PaulDotCom that day. Both shows I listened to that afternoon just happened to mention that they needed theme songs for their shows. And somehow I ended up with the great idea of writing a really bad theme song for each of them. Then the idea got even more hilarious by deciding that the songs should be laced with profanities so that there’s no way they could ever play them on their shows. And then it evolved into the most brilliant idea ever – each song would insult the other. PaulDotCom would say horrible things about Security Justice and vice versa.

The people in each of these podcasts all know each other since they’re both computer security podcasts. In fact, each year all the security podcasts get together at Defcon during the Podcasters Meetup and do a show together, which just happened to be a couple weeks away. I imagined my horrible songs causing enough friction between the members of the podcasts to cause a fistfight to break out during the show. This was going to be the most exciting podcast meetup ever! I ended up writing and recording both songs that same evening. Here they are:

PaulDotCom Podcast Promo

Security Justice Promo

Sadly, nothing terrible happened at the podcaster’s meetup. I even sat a few rows back so that I wouldn’t end up getting hit in the head by a chair and so that I could make a quick escape when Larry pointed at me in the midst of the fight and snarled through his bloodied lip, “You caused all this, RBCP!” You can’t say I didn’t try my very best to create drama, though.

Security Justice ended up playing their promo in Episode 69 of their show, with the cursing bleeped out. And PaulDotCom played their promo in the pre-show, but not on the actual show that goes on the podcast feed. Apparently they have a problem with the word “cocks” and don’t possess any bleeping out skills.

Security Justice and PaulDotCom are two of my favorite hacker-related podcasts, and you should listen to them if you’re into that sort of thing. But first, you should visit my new music page and listen to some of the other music I’ve done lately.

Defcon 17

defcon 17 badgeOnce again, I flew to Las Vegas this year for Defcon. It went a little like this…

Thursday: Drove to the airport with plenty of time to spare. I expected to have my backpack searched extra because I had about 200 PLA CDs in it, all stacked neatly at the bottom in two rows. On an x-ray machine it probably looked like two cylinders. But he took me over to the bag searching area and open a different part of the bag and swabbed the inside with cotton, then put it in a machine. Either looking for drug or bomb residue, I guess. That’s when I remembered that I used that compartment of my backpack on July 4th to stuff all the trash from our fireworks. He didn’t tell me why he did that, but I wonder if they had something that picked up some gun powder residue. After that he dug in the regular part to see my stacks of CDs. Then let me go.

The plane ride was boring. The guy next to me kept drifting off to sleep and leaning on me. I kept elbowing him awake. Had a layover in San Francisco and that plane was delayed by an hour, but I didn’t mind since it gave me more time to charge up my dying iPhone. The girl next to me on the next plane kept bumping into me, she kicked me once, flipped her hair into my face another time. I ignored her a listened to a podcast the whole time.

I listened to the latest episode of 2600’s Off The Hook and was surprised to hear them play Rob T. Firefly’s latest hit song, called Bell Odyssey, at the end of it. Thirteen years ago I wrote this song in a PLA issue and he decided last week to actually record it, and it’s amazing. Go take a listen to it on robvincent.com or listen to it at the end of Off The Hook for July 29th, 2009.

I-Ball rented a car for the weekend so he was able to pick me up from the airport and take me to the hotel. We walked around for awhile and ended up in the room he was staying in, where there were stations set up all over the room for soldering electronic Ninja Party badges. Both of us soldered a couple of them. I checked my Twitter and noticed that Pinguino was at Defcon. A few minutes later, I noticed that Pinguino just happened to be in the same room as me. So I went over and said hi to her. We hadn’t seen each other in 8 or 9 years. I also finally met Strom Carlson.

Got a message from RijilV and T. that they were at Peppermill, so me, I-ball and RTF walked over there to have some dinner with them. Then we hung out in the Chillout room for awhile and met Labythan (an old school Cal’s Forums guy). That’s about all I can remember from Thursday.

Friday: Woke up early and hung out at the hotel’s food court for a large portion of the morning and afternoon, working. Bumped into Rogueclown and RTF for awhile. Then Paul and Larry from PaulDotCom, who gave me a Hack Naked party pass. Went to the Playboy Club with a bunch of i-hacked.com people. I think it was Adam (not completely sure) who sent two of the employees over to me to try and get me to dance and drink with them. Not sure what their angle was, I declined everything. I thought they were trying to lure me into a private room for an expensive dance or something. Apparently Surbo was snapping pictures of us. Beer was free and I drank a lot.

Later we went to a party at the Hard Rock Hotel, which was in a small room and way too full. I ended up sitting in the hall for awhile, resting and texting. Before we left, hevnsnt wanted to sit at the elevators on Floor 5, constantly hit the buttons and cheer for people when the doors opened. There were about 10 to 15 of us doing that for 30 minutes until a hotel guy came up and told us to stop.

Saturday: Hung out by the PaulDotCom table for probably an hour, chatting with them and random people who walked by. I met Rachel and Georgia from GRM n00bs and a girl named Drollee (I’m sure that’s spelled horribly wrong) who was a listener of The Phone Show and had called in and talked to me on the air a week or two before. Then for the next 2 days, I seemed to bump into her nonstop. The PaulDotCom guys were nice enough to let me put about 200 PLA CDs on their table to give away for free.

Drolley & RBCP

Me, Surbo and hevnsnt entered the social engineering contest and I ended up meeting notkevin at that. We expected them to give us an assignment or something, but we were just told to social engineer anything we wanted as long as we didn’t drop any docs. So we got the hotel’s housekeeping frequencies and listened to them dispatch things to rooms. Then we called those rooms to talk to the guests about whatever they needed and tried to make them as unhappy as possible. “You need an extra cot in your room? Sure, that’ll be $100 extra per night and I just charged it to your credit card.” One lady said she was coming down to the front desk to get me fired, so we went down there and stood next to her the whole time and listened.

I-hacked got honorable mention for our entry, which is their nice way of saying we’re huge losers. We got to play a couple of the calls for a crowd of people and it got some laughs. I couldn’t stick around for the closing ceremonies since I needed to catch my plane. But notkevin brought me and I-ball up to his room and gave us some really cool t-shirts. Thanks, notkevin!

There was the Podcaster’s Meetup where a huge panel of podcasters did a live show, which I wasn’t cool enough to be invited onto. I got to meet Stankdawg there, and a few other people whose names I can’t remember. One guy lives in Eugene, just 45 minutes from me, and we talked shit about tr0n for awhile. There were parties afterwards. I talked to Grey Frequency a lot and I finally introduced myself to Jason Scott. Bumped into yomama, thepublic, nekid amy.

Oh yeah, I twittered a lot throughout the weekend which occasionally caused people to show up and say hello. And during the podcaster’s meetup, altalp tried to send a phone up to the room and have me paged for a phone call, but the hotel staff wouldn’t cooperate. So instead she had them deliver a trash can to me. I didn’t notice it until after the meetup was over and the party started, but there was a big, gray trashcan sitting in the middle of the floor for the rest of the night. I explained to several people that it was my trashcan and one guy was nice enough to take a picture of me standing next to my trashcan. I didn’t take many pictures on my own camera and I’m counting on all these other people to send me pictures so hopefully that happens soon. If you have pictures you think I’ll like, my email address is bradcarter at notla.com. Maybe I can stick some pictures in this entry eventually.


(thanks, Labythan, for this pic!)

Sunday: I met Shane! He’s a guy that I worked with in 1993 in Indiana and I lost touch with until just a few months ago when I noticed a video of him online from Shmoocon. I saw him briefly after the social engineering contest, then briefly in a hall somewhere, but on Sunday we actually got to hang out for awhile and do some catching up. I was able to impress him with my memory of everyone’s names from our old job, asking him if he still kept in touch with anyone. So that was really cool and I guess I’ll be seeing him at various cons from now on.

I refrained from blowing money on any t-shirts this year except for one that I had to have. It was at the EFF table and required a $40 donation. $40 for a t-shirt, but I did it anyway. It’s for a good cause. What really sucked was that they were out of that t-shirt by Sunday, so it has to be mailed to me. I went to lunch at Kadie’s with Stankdawg. I swapped CDs with dualcore. I actually bought his CDs. I told him that I didn’t own any CDs at all and I would just rip them and give them to friends, which he said he was fine with. Damn this physical media!

Went to Kadie’s again with I-Ball to have dinner, then we went to closing ceremonies. Had to leave early since I had a plane to catch. Stopped by the goon room to say goodbye to RijilV. Met notkevin and went to his room to claim our prizes of XXXL t-shirts. (That’s the only size they had left.) Went to the parking garage and I-ball couldn’t find his rental car. We walked down 4 stories looking for it before he finally spotted it. He got me to the airport about an hour before my flight, plenty of time to charge my iPhone so I could listen to podcasts for 2 hours.

I think this is a new feature, or maybe I’m just noticing it for the first time – when I’m listening to podcasts I can hit a “2x” button and it doubles the speed of the shows. Not the pitch at all, just the speed. So I was able to listen to 4 hours of podcasts during my 2 hours of flight. The people on those shows talk too slow anyway. As long as there’s not much music, it sounds fine.

So that was my Defcon. Pictures later. Or you can listen to an audio review of it by me, linear and Rogueclown by going to www.phonelosers.org/phoneshow/ and listening to the 8/3/2009 episode or clicking here.

One last thing…on the drive home after the airport, I was listening to the HipTrax podcast, which is a music podcast that the Geek Dads do. And I’m in love with this new song called Ode To Alderaan by Glenn Case. It’s a great tune and great lyrics. Listen to it.

Glenn Case – Ode To Alderaan
Found at Ode To Alderaan on KOhit.net

DaVinci Days

This weekend Payton and I went to DaVinci Days, which is a really cool yearly event in Corvallis, Oregon that I had never heard of until late last year. It celebrates the art of Leonardo DaVinci, and people build his inventions and race them. Check out this year’s entries in my Flickr photo set. There’s a lot of earthy-type stuff there, such as alternative energies and random science exhibits. I also made a video of the sidewalk chalk art as we walked back to our car, which is below.

The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies played there on Friday, which I missed. They would have been fun to see. There was also a Geocaching booth, which I donated a bunch of buttons and my old GPS unit to. I volunteered at the booth, but they were overstaffed so I didn’t have to stick around. Instead Payton and I entered the geocaching competition, where we walked all over OSU’s campus, looking for caches. We found 3 before quitting and going to Circle K for lunch. The best one was at a bike rack, where we searched for 30 minutes and finally found it in a water bottle that was attached to a chained up bike on the rack.

I wore a sleeveless shirt, showing off my Bell tattoo, and some girl came up and asked if she could take a picture of it. She said her mom used to work for some phone company. Then she asked if I worked for a phone company and I replied, “No, I work against the phone companies.” That’s a standard reply I used to give to reps/operators at phone companies when they’d ask me that question after starting to wonder why I was asking them so many weird phone company-related questions.

My paid Flickr account expired, I just noticed. I guess they notified me by emailing me at my Yahoo email address, which is impossible to use because their spam filters suck so bad. One of the limitations of a non-paid account is that I can only have a certain number of pictures up. And from what I can tell, they just deleted all my old photos from the past 20 years instead of archiving them for me for when I pay again. So that sucks. Not that I actually lost anything, but I’m sure not going to pay and upload all that stuff again. I need to just set up a photo album on my homepage again. Screw paying $25/year for photo storage.

I wrote a song dedicated to Electric Dreams, which is a movie I loved in the 1980’s.

I set up a page for my music at notla.com/music/ and added that song to it. It’s the first non-parody song I’ve ever completed. I realize I can’t sing that great, but I love doing all this stuff and I’ve actually written quite a few songs in the past that I never got around to finishing. I have a bunch that were half-performed but I’d given up on because I hated how they sounded or it was just too difficult to create the music for them. But in May or June I discovered a program called Mixcraft that lets me easily record multiple tracks of music and makes creation with my Casio keyboard so incredibly easy. Looking back now, it’s insane, the lengths I went to to create those older songs using Cool Edit.

This month I’ve actually used Mixcraft to write and perform 2 songs for podcasts, which I’m not going to post anywhere until after they play them. And I put together music for a song that Spessa wrote and redid an older song of mine with it, which I’m still not completely happy with. And I’ve got a couple more ready to be started on AND I put together a few random beats/tunes to be used in future songs. So I’m expecting to do a lot with this. I’m even planning to pay for the software once I can afford it since it’s so reasonably priced. Well okay, it’s actually because I can’t find it on bittorrent. But it’s totally worth it – less than $100.

kids maps

A couple weeks ago I got sick of the kids not going outside all day, so I printed out a Google map of about a 1 mile diameter in our neighborhood and sent them on a mission. Which was to bike on every single street in the neighborhood, coloring in the street with a marker as they finished each one, and to take pictures of every interesting thing they saw. It took them over an hour and they came back with about 20 pictures. I need to think of more weird stuff like that for them.

Speaking of that, though, I love the way kids play today. I know it’s probably not good for them to sit in the house staring at LCDs all day, but it’s so cool, seeing the different games they come up with within these multiplayer games. It’s basically the same stuff we did as kids (tag, etc.), only they have heavy artillery to play with in games like Halo 3 and they’re playing with kids around the world instead of kids on the same block. Instead of exchanging phone numbers with each other like I did in school, they’re exchanging Xbox Live and YouTube IDs. A few months ago Payton pulled an orange peel out of his pocket, explaining that a girl had carved her Runescape ID into it with a fork. Ten years ago I never would have suspected that every grade schooler in America would be so computer savvy.

Several days later edit – Emily’s latest Halo video….

One last thing – I’ve been watching a lot of weird movies lately. Netflix is awesome at recommending weird movies to me based on other movies I watch, and I usually take its advice. This week it was Noise and Cashback, which were both really interesting and bizarre. I’m watching more independent movies than I ever have before. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m old or because Netflix makes me. I set up a page of movies I own awhile back, which is here. Actually owning a movie is so pointless these days, but I want to keep some sort of list of movies I’ve seen because I know I’m going to forget the names of some of these and it’ll drive me nuts in the future if I want to see them again. So that’s my half-hearted attempt at cataloging my movies. I’ll get around to making it better eventually.

One more last thing! Michael Jackson died last month and they’re still talking about it on the news and blogs. Seeing all this nonstop coverage about him makes me wonder why he’s the “king of pop” even. Sure he had some hits in the 80’s, but so did other people. What makes him so special? His music sucked in the 90’s and 2000’s, just like the other 80’s hasbeens. Some infomercial guy died too and I can’t understand how that was big news. Do people like infomercials that much?? And two other people died, who people claim were icons, but I know nothing about either of them. And oh yeah, we went to the moon 40 years ago this week. I’m having a hard time understanding what that accomplished other than, “Oh neat, we spent kabillions of dollars going to the moon instead of feeding starving children.”

BBLBLOG POST!

I’m sucking at this whole blog thing lately. Stuff is happening, but I’m just too busy with other stuff to write about anything. I’m going to Vegas soon. And other places after that. I biked and geocached alone a couple weeks ago and got pretty sunburned. I made a song and video, based on one of my favorite 80’s movies. I’m addicted to finding apps for my iPhone. Mostly just the free ones, but I can occasionally part with 99 cents for one too. I need to get the WordPress app so I can update this thing from my phone.

Also Geocached the other day with Mr. Spessa and the kids, which was fun. Their visit netted us a full week of insanely fun fun fun, much of which I’m not going to talk about. But it was fun. Last Monday we did The Phone Show together, which was so great that it lasted 2 hours instead of 1. Spessa taught all our kids to play D&D, which I couldn’t figure out on my own. She found a cool D&D store in Albany too.

Today I was quoted in this Fox news article, which is about Dex and PrankNET. I’ve been tired all day. All last week I stayed up late and got up early. I need a Pepsi. Tonight I’m going to a concert in the park with Kate & Co.

Happy July 4th!

Here’s the craziest fireworks stories I can think of…

You know those pink tube things that just spin around on the ground making cool colors? Did you know if you light it in your hand, wait for the fuse to burn almost all the way out and then throw it up into the air, it flies around in the air really good? That’s what I’ve always loved doing with them and surprisingly I’ve never set one off in my hand that way.

As a teenager I decided to tie fishing line around one of these and dangle it out my 2nd story window by a broom handle to see which way it would fly. It immediately burned away the fishing line and quickly hovered up and then over – straight into my bedroom window as I jumped out of the way. I watched in shock as this glowing ball of fire hovered in the middle of my room for a few seconds. Then it went out and fell to the floor, not burning anything. It was awesome, but I decided not to try that experiment again.

The cool fireworks were illegal in Illinois, so we had to drive across the Mississippi into Missouri for the good stuff. I think my brother and his friends actually biked over there for fireworks before they had drivers licenses. Apparently fireworks stands didn’t care that kids were buying things. I think it was when he was 16 and I was 14 that we drove over there and got a ton of bottle rockets. And for days we drove around, shooting them at people from the car. We’d just hold them in our hands, light them and aim at people, houses, cars, etc.

Probably the funnest thing was driving up to the golf course in Wood River and shooting them down at golfers. It was great seeing them down there with tiny explosions of smoke happening all around them. They just stood there, looking up at our car, helpless to do anything about it as we laughed hysterically. This was the 80’s, so nobody had cell phones to report us with.

In high school I set off a pack of 100 saturn missles in a hallway during lunch, which is detailed on this page.

Dropping lady bugs (I think that’s what those tiny firecrackers are called) into a 20oz bottle of water is fun because it makes the bottle bounce up into the air and sprays water around. And dropping those colored smoke bombs into buckets of water creates the coolest effect ever.

Once I got a drivers license, Mike Tankersley and I had a lot of fun reliving the things my brother and I used to do with fireworks. Mostly driving up and down alleys, shooting bottle rockets at houses or throwing exploding things over fences. We had a few close calls with cops, like when I’d just shot a bottle rocket out of my hand into a yard and I looked up to see a cop driving by on the cross street. Luckily he wasn’t looking our way.

In Junior High I used to boobie trap everything in class with poppies – those white balls of paper that pop when you throw them at the ground. A few times I boobie trapped doors with those firecracker-type things with the strings on either side of it that are about as loud as a firecracker, so that when doors were opened they would explode. During lunch we’d tie these to classroom doors that were in session and we could hear them explode from anywhere in the school.

I know there’s more, but I can’t think of anything right now. I’ll have to come back and revise this with more of my stupidity later. Today the kids and I are driving up to Portland for the day and we’ll watch the fireworks display there tonight. I bought some sparklers, poppies and confetti poppers to do on the riverfront. I don’t think they allow anything stronger than that there.

7/5 EDIT: Kristine commenting reminded me of my Eastgate fireworks escapades! During the construction of the additional auditoriums I started bringing bottle rockets in and shooting them off inside. They would hit the ceiling and explode. I can’t remember what the ceiling was made of it but it never burst into flames and killed all the moviegoers in the other auditoriums.

After awhile I started sticking a few dozen bottlerockets into the launcher at once and using a lighter and an aerosol can as a flamethrower to ignite them all at once. The noise was fantastic! Eventually Debbie got sick of it and posted a list of rules on the bulletin board which included no fireworks, no skateboarding behind the concession stand and no radios. She wasn’t really into confrontation. The list was hilarious.

My Tattoo

Yesterday Spessa dragged me, kicking and screaming, to a tattoo shop to get my very first tattoo. I put about 15 years of thought into the design before finally deciding on the 1969 Bell logo. The PLA forum people gave a few suggestions but I just wasn’t ready for Roy Orbison on my butt. Maybe next time. Here’s a series of pictures from yesterday, the first being the parental consent form that Spessa signed for me. Thanks Spessa!

1969 Bell Logo tattoo

1969 Bell Logo tattoo

1969 Bell Logo tattoo

1969 Bell Logo tattoo

1969 Bell Logo tattoo

1969 Bell Logo tattoo

1969 Bell Logo tattoo

I picked the Bell symbol since the phone company has been a life long obsession for me and because I’ve always loved the simplicity of their logo. Also because the name Bell as a phone company is almost dead now, which is kind of sad. Only Cincinnati Bell and Bell Canada are left, I think. Everything else has been assimilated into AT&T and Verizon.

It took about an hour and was $80. They put my image into Photoshop and made a transfer out of it to stick on my arm, then just traced the lines. I thought that a skilled artist would just draw it from the picture we brought in. Not too surprisingly, the tattoo guy says it’s the first Bell symbol he’s done his 14 years as a tattooer.

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