Flamoot / Snee

About 10 years ago I met this guy from Canada who sometimes called himself Flamoot and sometimes Snee. I think we emailed each other a few times before actually meeting at a hacker convention in Detroit called Rubicon. His way of saying hello was tricking the front desk into giving him my room key so he could sneak into my room. (There’s an old post somewhere about this.) I can’t remember if he was at Rubicon the following year or not.

We’ve emailed each other occasionally over the past 10 years. He used to call into The Phone Show and it always seemed to be under bizarre circumstances, like he’d be calling from pay phones but connected through weird PBX systems or something like that. Anyway, back in the early 2000’s, the thing I really loved about flamoot was his journaling. He wrote some really incredible stuff on his web site. Very lengthy posts. And of course he couldn’t write down his thoughts on LiveJournal like a normal person. He had to put them on his own weird system where the URL ended in cgi-bin/index.pl because that’s how real hackers do it.

I’m not even going to try and describe how much I loved the stuff he wrote on his page, but there was a ton of it and I read every word. I think I even went back and read a lot of it again when I was finished. It was like reading my favorite book or something. Some of it was just mundane, day-to-day stuff, but then he’d rant about random things and it was just so fascinating to me. His writing really made me admire him a lot.

Of course, his personal server disappeared eventually and all his writing went away with it. I was sort of devastated and I think I asked him about it and he told me he lost it all too. Maybe a crash or something, I don’t know. Years later I found archive.org which archived a huge portion of the internet starting back in the late 90’s. Ever wonder what Google used to look like? Yahoo? CNN? Your own homepage? It’s all on there. His page was missing from it, though. Archive.org missed a lot of sites that weren’t really popular and his didn’t make the cut. Until recently.

Click here for the Flamoot archive

Every couple years I’ll remember how awesome Flamoot was and I’ll go looking for his journal on archive.org and it’s never there. But today I was talking to a mutual friend of ours and that reminded me to try again and there it was. This is pretty exciting for me. I’ve read half of it already and I plan to try and read the rest of it tonight. It’s not all there, unfortunately, but my hope is that archive.org will someday have the rest of it up. I think he was writing at least as early as 2000 and that’s probably where all the really intense stuff is. Maybe I can click on some of these links from the 2003 archives and be taken back to then.

This post from December 3rd, 2003 where he’s pushed to awareness of something by the pattern adorning the surface of his bed’s comforter is a perfect example of what I love about his writing. (Just a short excerpt here) “It bears only a vague resemblance to the mini-spirals on my comforter. It does bear a passing resemblance to an “e”. But none of that need mean anything. In those and other numerous recent incidents, the theme of magical numbers, cosmic constants, natural geometry and how they’re all interrelated has come up again and again, unreally often. It hasn’t been ME talking about it — it’s been a series of things I’ve been subjected to which have been RELATED to each other, which are tied to each other with a web of common-sense-defying convenience. I guess my hypothesis is that this is because I’ve been thinking about this stuff lately, or maybe this was just a statistical hiccup and I started thinking about this stuff before it happened as a reaction to a future memory, or like, the backwards time-quake of solving this deep fucking fractal synchronicity period shit. But what’s a statistical hiccup? What the hell kind of weird primal shit-magic fills your life with cosmic constants? Man. So I wonder if it’s gonna stop now, with my bedsheet (which had the Pi tie-in through Graham, remember ^-^). The universe, in conclusion, is an INSANE FUCKING PLACE TO LIVE.”

I’m off now to read some more of his rants and you should too!

Thanks for all this, Snee. And thanks, archive.org, for saving it!

Sunday Update: So what is the elusive Flamoot up to now, you must certainly be asking. He’s been developing some weird game for Linux called telepathic-critterdrug that I don’t fully understand because I don’t ingest nearly enough acid, but you may want to check it out. Here’s a video of what it looks like.


Back in 1993 I worked at a movie theater in Indianapolis and met a guy named Shane there who I became friends with. Then I left Indianapolis forever, in fear of the IRS comin’ to get me. But then I swung by Indianapolis again several months later to pick up Shane and fly him all over the country on stolen credit card numbers for Spring Break.

In just under a week, we visited San Diego, Galveston and Cincinnati. Cincinnati was the town we nearly got arrested in after a cop, suspecting us of vandalizing a pay phone, searched my bag and found a bank’s courtesy phone that I’d stolen earlier in the day. Later that night we were both sleeping in a friend’s basement and heard the cops upstairs, apparently taking our friend away. Luckily they didn’t come down for us too. Early the next morning we quietly slipped out a basement window and got the hell out of his neighborhood, hoping not to be spotted by cops on the way to a bus stop. It was fun and more details are at www.notla.com/travels/. While we were eating somewhere in San Diego, Shane drew this comic of Jim Bayless, a man who is kind of a staple of PLA. It was a great vacation and it’s a miracle that we made it back to Indianapolis with no legal mishaps, considering I was scamming these airline tickets on the fly as we reached each new city.

Colleen and I visited Shane once again in 1994 when we took a vacation (free, of course) to Indianapolis to see him. After that, I never saw him again. UNTIL…15 years later (last night) I noticed his name on a ShmooCon site. A little more digging around found that this Shane was also in Indiana. And then even more Googling found a video of Shane and it was actually him! From reading various websites that him and his friends were on, I found that Shane and I have probably been passing each other at various hacker cons for years now. He’s been a ShmooCon, PhreakNic, Defcon and Notacon.

So I emailed him last night and we did some catching up today. He was equally surprised to hear from me. Both of us assumed that we’d never hear from each other again and it’s kind of a bizarre way to come across each other, especially since back in 1994 neither of us knew that the other was even into computers. Turned out he was manning a table in the very room we kept using to sneak into ShmooCon and his voice can even be heard in the video I made of us sneaking in. A friend of Shane’s showed me an email today from 2005 where he’d written me to ask permission to use PLA material on a broadcast they were doing at a con.

Just bizarre that we’ve been at all these same places together and never knew it. Kind of reminds me of how I was friends with my biological brother in high school, both pining for the same girl for a couple of years, then finding out we were brothers 10 years later. Shane’s going to be at Defcon this year so I’ve got to hunt him down.

Oh yeah, speaking of hunting down old friends, Kristine and I managed to find Brad Thompson last week, a guy we both worked with back in the 80’s. He’s part of the reason (indirectly) I ended up moving to Galveston when I left my parents house in 1991. When I got there he got me a job as a painter with him. Was kind of fun catching up with him too. The internet rules for tracking down random old friends. I need to do this more often.

RIP, Tom

I just got an email from Callie, telling me that my ex-neighbor Tom from Illinois died on Christmas day. What a shock. He was only 43. He was a great person and probably my favorite neighbor ever. We had a lot of fun together, back when I lived there. Me and Tom spent about a year using NetBus to hack into people’s home computers and do hilarious things. We shared our scans with each other and traded IP addresses that had really good things on them. He was also with me when we made the Taco Bell takeover video.

We did normal things to, though, like helping each other out with computer problems and helping each other with home improvement issues. We traded computer components all the time. We built walls in his basement together and he trusted me to completely rewire his basement and put porch lights on the front of his house and in his shed. He let me borrow his truck anytime I needed to go to Lowes and buy drywall or other big things. He was a great person and I’ve kind of missed him since I left Illinois.

I can only imagine how hard this must be on his son, who is about 12-years-old. His other son is 3. His older son and Emily were really good friends for the first 8 or so years of their lives and spent a ton of time together. Payton knew him for his first 5 years too, until we moved. Just, wow. Rest in peace, Tom.

Tom Mowing the Street

John Sever

In either first or second grade, I met the guy that would be my best friend for the next 6 or 7 years. His name was John and he lived on the same block as me, just at the opposite side. I don’t remember exactly how we met, but I think I kept seeing him on my way to and from the corner store (right next to his house) that my parents used to send me to for groceries all the time. I’m pretty sure we declared ourselves enemies at first, but upgraded to friends soon after that. Details are sketchy.

Eventually I began spending a huge part of my free time at John’s house. I guess I wouldn’t say that we got into a lot of trouble together, but we sure caused a lot of trouble. John is mentioned several times on my pranks page for things like tying strings across the road (or sometimes just pretending to) to annoy drivers and causing merchandise in the grocery store to talk to customers via walkie talkies. Not since John have I ever had a friend where it seemed like every single day for us was just another insane mission to accomplish. We didn’t just “hang out” when we were together. We plotted and schemed and accomplished things.

He had the kind of parents that were more likely to encourage our craziness, than to punish us for it. Whereas my dad might whip me with a belt and ground me for a week for tying strings across the road, John’s dad would suggest hanging newspapers along the length of the string to create a giant wall for cars to crash into. (He actually did suggest this to us, though I doubt he was entirely serious about it.) This is the main reason 99% of our time was spent on John’s side of the block and not mine. I only remember John being at my house once, and it ended with my dad yelling at me for whatever we were doing and sending John home.

I lost touch with John after 8th grade, when their family moved into a different school district. I did visit his new house once or twice, after he moved but once I was 16 or so, I completely lost contact with him. In the late 90’s, maybe a year or two after moving back to Illinois, I sent his parents a Christmas card and we ended up visiting a few more times, but I guess life kept us both too busy hang out much more than that. But just a few days ago, John tracked me down! I was surprised to find that he has a blog and that I was even mentioned in it once or twice. Since he’s contacted me, we’ve been catching up via this post and email which has been a lot of fun.

So in honor of John’s sudden return, I’m going to list a few of the things we used to do to keep ourselves busy in the 80’s.

  • First of all, apparently we attempted to make a bomb threat to our grade school from the playground in the 1980’s. John just reminded me of this incident yesterday. I don’t remember any of it happening, but I’m sure I’d do anything to get out of school. John’s account of the story is hilarious.
  • Since we lived right next door to a busy grocery store, we got to screw with customers as often as we liked. Sometimes we’d yell at them from his porch, other times we would go into the store and do things like putting hidden radios inside boxes of merchandise so we could talk to customers. Once we had a robot campaign and election and made a few of the customers vote for us.
  • We used to dumpster dive in the store’s dumpster, which seems kind of gross now that I look back on it since it was a grocery store that cut up their own meat products. We mostly took cardboard boxes from it for projects, but what we really liked to find were Procut stickers. They were these sheets of 6 stickers that I assume the meat guy in the store was supposed to stick on the products. But instead he seemed to throw them all in the trash. We stuck these all over our block, mostly in the alley. We would ride our bikes up and down the alley, slapping them on everything we passed, such as houses, garages, fences, the ground, telephone poles, the church, etc. You couldn’t walk down our alley without seeing at least a few Procut stickers.
  • I know this is written somewhere else on my page, but during one of our years in grade school, our MO was to blow up the school (and later the world). We drew up blueprints involving bombs in the boiler room and talked about it often. The teachers seemed to have no problem with this, though John tells me I did get in trouble for writing a paper about wanting to be a terrorist when I grew up.
  • John came up with the idea of prank calling talk radio stations. I think we only did KMOX and I later branched out to WBGZ (What’s Your Bid?) on my own a few years later. But John would wait on the phone for nearly an hour sometimes, just to try and say something silly on the air. The only one I can remember was when he called about his son being on drugs and he was able to talk to the host for quite awhile before the host finally said, “This is a child, isn’t it?” and John responded with, “Right! I’m a prankster!”
  • He also came up with the idea of calling up a pay phone, just to see if anyone would answer. So we got the number to a phone booth at the Wilshire shopping center and began talking to people there. This began our obsessive collecting of area pay phone numbers. We didn’t even call the numbers that much, we just wanted to build up our list of pay phone numbers. We both kept separate lists, organized in our own ways, and routinely swapped numbers with each other. I started keeping a small notebook on me every time I went out with my parents so that I could write down new numbers. When they would ask if I wanted to go to the store with them, my answer usually revolved around whether or not I had the pay phone numbers at that particular store. By the time grade school ended, we both had over 100 pay phone numbers.
  • We used to draw arrows on the sidewalks everywhere, hoping that people would follow them. As if someone leaving the store would think, “Oh, an arrow on the sidewalk. I better spend an hour following these all over the block to see where they lead!” We sure put a lot of effort into it, though. I always had to make everything official with a business name too. This one was Arrows Incorporated.
  • We also left treasure maps lying around, hoping people would find them. The maps were usually a series of steps, with things like “Walk 72 paces straight ahead. Turn left at the pole and walk another 40 paces.” Once I taped one underneath a pay phone, then called the phone and told the guy who answered to look under the phone for the secret map. Nobody would ever do it, though. You’d think a random person would want a little adventure in his life. Why else would they pick up the phone?? I signed a lot of these DOT Inc, which stood for Don’t Open This, which is what I wrote on the outside of a lot of them, hoping to entice people into opening them.
  • One birthday, I received some CB walkie talkies. This is another thing that’s mentioned on my pranks page. Within a year, John and his sister also received walkie talkies and we all drove the local CB community nuts with our antics. Leadfoot was the man who was ready to kill all of us. I still don’t understand how he never found us. We sure gave him plenty of incentive to.
  • We wrote a paper together called The Weirdo Weekly. I don’t think we ever got a full issue out. We also wrote magic spells and John started his own language. (Not sure how far he got with that.)
  • Speaking of newspapers, we would deface their newspaper before his dad could read it by using a pencil to erase and change certain letters in the headlines. Simple things, like maybe changing the word Loose to Noose or something. I’m sure it made interesting/irritating reading for his dad.
  • Out of nowhere, my dad once grounded me from hanging out with John any more, his reason simply being that he was a bad influence. I can’t remember how long this ban on John lasted, but I do remember getting in trouble one evening because my dad drove by the playground during recess and saw us playing together.

At this point I’m tired of writing so I’m going to stop. But it’s great that John has gotten back in touch. I count him as a major influence in my life, and he made my grade school years approximately a billion times more interesting than they would have been without him.


Once, a long long time ago, in 1986, when I was 14, I got this job babysitting during the summer. For just a few dollars a day, I kept an eye on a 9-year-old girl named Christy. She was a bad influence on me. First of all, she was a chronic shoplifter. We went on walks all over town and every store we stopped in, she would walk out with all kinds of stuff and share it with me. At the time, I’d never even considered the possibility of shoplifting. It was just something you don’t do. But by the end of the summer, she’d turned me into quite the shoplifting addict. Yep, I learned how to shoplift from a little girl that I was getting paid to hang around with.

One time, we were walking down an alley and a big chained-up dog jumps out at us and starts barking. So Christy takes out a can of red hairspray (that she’d just shoplifted) and sprays the dog in the face with it which shuts him up. The owner runs out of his house and yells, “Hey!” Me and Christy run away in different directions, losing each other. Probably 10 minutes later, I finally find her a couple blocks away. She says that she was so scared that she’d been crying, looking for me and thinking that guy would find her. It was hilarious.

She also got me hooked on the soap opera The Young & The Restless. I don’t know why a 9-year-old would be watching that show, but we watched it all the time together. And after she left that summer, I kept watching it for about another 2 years. Hmm, what else. We made prank phone calls together with my TRS-80’s text-to-speech program. She shot me in the chest with a BB pistol which left a bruise on me for a week. Luckily we didn’t have any real guns in the house. There’s so much more to the Christy saga that I guess I just can’t remember after nearly 20 years. But after that summer I never saw her again. She was with me in spirit, though, each time I shoplifted for the next decade. And the moral of the story is, if you have kids don’t let me babysit for you.

Sara G.

This is a picture of me and an old friend of mine named Sara, taken at some point during the 1980’s. We lived next door to each other our whole lives but never said a whole lot to each other. I think this was because I was 2 years younger than her and was known as, for the most part, the annoying little brother in the group of kids that hung out on our block. Then one day, somehow, she suddenly turned into my best friend. I think it was around 4th or 5th grade for me. She was more like my evening best friend, though, since my after school best friend was John Sever.

Mostly in the evenings, we spent every minute together. When it got dark outside, we would embark on all kinds of evil missions. The missions included, but weren’t limited to, toilet papering trees, stealing porch light bulbs (or just loosening them to make them appear burnt out), peering in windows, setting things on fire, knocking and running (we called it nigger knocking, honestly not knowing that was a racist term) and avoiding police cars at all costs even if we hadn’t done anything wrong, which usually meant being chased by them because they thought we were up to no good.

We used to rearrange people’s lawn furniture, we’d hang strings across the roads to confuse motorists, once on trash night we stole everybody’s trash and put it in one person’s back yard. In the trash area, not the yard. But it was about 5 blocks worth of trash in one single yard (the Parker house). I bet the trash men were a little confused about that one. Another time we attempted to make a wall of trash bags along the backside of Whitney Page’s yard, but ran out of trash before it got very high. It was still amusing to see it there for the next day or so.

We started a club at some point, called the BASLC. The Brad and Sara Lab Club. Because my garage was the lab. We had monthly dues, but I don’t think we ever actually spent the money on anything. In fact, I never got my share of the money back after we went our separate ways. I was ripped off! I think we were hoping to save up for a set of intercoms to put in our rooms so we could talk to each other. Our windows faced each other, but were on different floors. So we had to contact each other by shining flashlights, throwing rocks, or doing half-rings on the telephone which annoyed our parents. I don’t think our “club” ever actually did anything besides collect dues.

She played guitar, and we recorded quite a few tapes of us singing and talking together. I think she ended up with most of those, because I only have one of them now. We wrote a few songs together, mostly weird parodies. I think I still have lyric sheets to them somewhere around here. I know we did a lot of hits of the time too, but the only one I can remember is Islands in the Stream. We were into the duets.

I spent weeks during the days drawing a colored, detailed, scale (more or less) map of our block to help us on our missions. This map was on a small piece of posterboard and included every rock, tree stump, garden, car, clothesline, etc. in everyone’s yard. I suppose the map didn’t really help, it was more just to make it all more fun for us. I even bought those pin flags, to mark important things on the maps.

My garage was command central, we carried walkie-talkies, we had code names, we had our own secret handwriting that we could read and write fluently. I still can, in fact. Anyway, we did these things for about 2 or 3 years straight. She finally grew up and became interested in a boyfriend so we stopped hanging out so much and I found new friends. We hung out a few times during jr. high and high school, but I guess we’d outgrown our nightly missions by that point.

Last I heard, she married, had a couple of kids and moved to Montana or something. But I’d say our nightly adventures had a pretty severe impact on my life. Someday, years from now, Sara will happen across my homepage and read my rant about her. HI SARA!