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2005jun02. Doooooh, terrorists!!! An examination of the many ways terrorists could attack, including resurrecting Steve Guttenberg’s career and clogging the express checkout lane at Wal-Mart by writing a check.

2005jun02. Ray’s Place.

2005jun02. Flickr: Extra Dummies. [via excitement machine]

2005jun03. Mail.

A pal of mine thought you’d like this spam I recieved today:

“hello i will like to place an order for Juicy Drop Pop, PUSH POP ,ring pop,BAZOOKA BUBBLE GUM. so i need this for a mother less baby home for an NGO program so i will like to order fot it in pack and i want a mixture of thw candies worth $1500 including the shipping via usps to lagos nigeria and i will give you my card to run for the payment and i will like to establish a long term business relationship with you and hope to hear fron you soonest. sloan diane”

$1500 is a lot of gum.

Nigeria: quiver before the mighty economic powerhouse. Can we just have like ten people in a room run spam/scam filters on every piece of email from there? Or just the string “postal order western union” would probably take of most of it.

2005jun04. Let’s all killphishing.

If you get phishing e-mail, go the web sites and enter false data. Make up everything – name, sign-on name, password, credit card numbers, everything. Instead of one million messages yielding 100 good replies, now the phisher will have one million messages yielding 100,000 replies of which 100 are good, but WHICH 100?

This technique kills phishing two ways. It certainly increases the phishing labor requirement by about 10,000X. But even more importantly, if banks and e-commerce sites limit the number of failed sign-on attempts from a single IP address to, say, 10 per day, theft as an outcome of phishing becomes close to impossible.

There might be problems with this method of obscurity through abundance, but I’m willing to give it a go. Not that I get phishing email, I rotate my email addresses regularly and thoroughly steam-clean them after use.

2005jun12. So. I invaded the “bay area” and now I’m back in PHX to get my second and final payload. Before that, Mr Lee’s Rock Garden and such. Took in a spontaneous Giants game while in SF with a friend. Two or three innings, it’s not really important, I don’t think I’ve been to an entire ball game since I was about ten years old. You’re in, you talk a lot and eat crappy food, get sunburnt, laugh with the other people sittin’ around you, maybe watch the game for two minutes total and then you leave early, give your tickets to someone else who doesn’t have the hand stamp so okay, good luck on that one.

The 800 mile trips have been relatively banal, save for one exciting Duel-like sequence last night when I was specially chosen by a random drunkard as the car to “lean on.” You know how they lock onto taillights or headlights and use that as a barometer of their speed instead of, say, the speedometer. So this one old lady, leaning wildly into the dash to avoid the harsh lights of her instrument panel, starts swerving around right in front of me while we’re going 80mph. Then the left blinker goes on, now the right, now 50mph, now 70, now let’s turn off all our lights for awhile. There you go, you’re invisible! For the next 40 miles I’d pass her, stick to 80mph for awhile, and she’d catch up, go in front of me, and slow down to 50mph while swerving etc. It was an awesome fun game, even the two cops waiting for speeders knew enough to leave us alone. “Wee.” I ditched her at a truck stop.

The last time I moved to California it looked something like this. Mmm, 1998 meat.

2005jun13. Sean Tejaratchi’s design work for the film Me and You and Everyone We Know.

2005jun14. Like I was saying about that anti-phishing scheme. I finally received some phishing email from the good people at Not Really PayPal, Not By A Long Shot:

We recently have determined that different computers have logged into your PayPal account, and multiple password failures were present before the login. One of our Customer Service employees has already tryed to telephonically reach you. As our employee did not manage to reach you, this email has been sent to your notice.
Therefore your account has been temporary suspended. We need you to confirm your identity in order to regain full privileges of your account.
If this is not completed by June 17, 2005, we reserve the right to terminate all privileges of your account indefinitly, as it may have been used for fraudulent purposes. We thank you for your cooperation in this manner.
To confirm your identity please follow the link below:

“Telephonically.” Hahahaha. The ”link below” looks to be a Paypal address, but if you check the source code in HTML it goes to a completely different domain ending in “info.” Two things:

1) The domain includes a “user” ID, so if I did go and provide them with false information, they’d still have confirmation that the email address they sent it to worked. From there, I would expect to get even more phishing email ‘cause hey, “we got a live one.” So that would be one reason not to follow up and create a false entry.

2) Google’s email beta, Gmail, does not allow you to switch from “basic html” or “standard” (really browser-happy html) to plain text. I’ve been using plain text in email for the last, oh, ninety kabillion years, and I don’t think I’ve missed anything that html-enabled mail can provide, you know, like uniquely-named images so spammers can see if I’m a “live one,” or as in this example, a completely fraudulent URL obscured by what appears to be a valid URL but is actually window dressing.

HTML-enabled mail is a mistake and a joke. It is damage that needs to be routed around.

2005jun14. Enterprise rent-a-car tightening the belts. Avoid. What I’ve discovered through trial and continuous error is that all car rental companies have their own weird ways to scrape some extra change out of your wallet.

2005jun15. Kunstler visits LA, Google, and has fun! [via jwz]

2005jun17. Spam. My first international lottery, so I thought I’d share. It looks so official, I was fooled forever.

MICRO LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL – PROMOTIONAL PROGRAM
ADDRESS: DAALWIJK 813, 1102 AA, AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS.
REF: MLI/PP2005-01A
BATCH: 5300/P25/FC
DEAR SIR/MADAM,

RESULTS FOR CATEGORY “A” DRAWS

Congratulations to you as we bring to your notice, the results of the Category “A” draws of MICRO LOTTERY Program. We are happy to inform you that you have emerged a winner under the First Category, which is part of our promotional draws. The draws were held on the 14th June 2005. Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 4,000,000 names/email addresses of individuals and companies from Africa, America, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and New Zealand as part of our International Promotions Program. You/Your Company, attached to ticket number 05-765204AC, with serial number 90-77 drew the lucky numbers 2, 1, 20, 39 and consequently won in the Category ”A.”You have therefore been awarded a lump sum pay out of $1,500,000 (0NE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS) in cash, which is the winning payout for Category “A” winners. This is from the total prize shared among the 5 international winners in this category.

Your funds are now deposited with a reputable finance firm in the Netherlands Insured with your FILE REFERENCE number. In your best interest and also to avoid mix up of numbers and names of any kind, we request that you keep the entire details of your award strictly from public notice until the process of transferring your claims has been completed, and your funds remitted to your account. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by participants/nonparticipants of this program. This lottery program was organized by our group of philanthropist promoted and sponsored by Mr. Bill Gates of Microsoft Inc, eminent personalities like the sultan of Brunei, Multi Choice and other corporate Organizations. This lottery program was organized to improving the use of computer software and for the benefit of every Microsoft user. To begin your claim, please contact your file processing officer.

MR PAUL KLUIVERT
OF MICRO LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL
Email: micrlottery05@netscape.net

Email: microlottonl@euromail.net
TEL: +31 649 218 234

Kind Regards,
MRS BRIGGS SINTEI
DIRECTOR OF PROMOTIONAL PROGRAM

2005jun18. Today, first thing out of the gate on finally being all moved and stuff, I got the tip-off on a Song Airlines ticket giveaway happening in Union Square. They were running a lite quiz show in a big mobile fishbowl – taking people in groups of twelve, handing out inflight menus and paper paddles. The host would ask a trivia question, and you were supposed to wave your little Songpaddle if you knew the answer. They would ask four trivia questions (from a larger pool of one hundred) – the first one was for a hat, the next three for tickets. People kept cycling through until they won or the line got too big. By the time I showed up and was waiting to board the Songbowl they also gave away a ticket to NYC for the member of our group who was the most boisterous when directed to do so by Songstaff. One college-aged kid in front of me went completely spazzo when the signal was given and I believe he won. I was unable to answer the trivia questions fast enough, and after cycling through twice my stomach and brain started kicking me in the head for continuing to torture them so I left and found a pretty good Chinese bakery. A friend of mine won a ticket but immediately ran into problems with it:

I tried to book a flight to Tampa via JFK and was turned down. Stopovers aren’t allowed and there is no reasonable connection between NYC and FL. Right now, Song flies from SFO to JFK. Period. Come September 6, they will also fly from SFO to Boston. And they aren’t too keen on the ol’ connecting flight situation. The guy tried to convince me to buy a ticket for the JFK to Tampa leg.

That’s right, they’re giving away free tickets and then they’re trying to upsell the winners. Oooh, would you like a Bloomin’ Onion before dinner, ma’am? Which reminds me, I went to a SNOW (Shit Nailed On Walls) joint the other day (“Chili’s”) for the first time in a decade and I just wanted to hammer a knife into my skull. I especially liked the post-food upsell ... the waitron unit used some weird phrasing like “What kind of dessert are we going to split between us?”

“We are going to eat your liver. Please lie down.”

In a related news story, a friend was out bowling the other day and there was a random blue-colored pin that would occasionally pop up in a rack. It showed up in his lane as the “head pin” and he just happened to get a strike. Turned out the pin was sponsored by JetBlue and he had just won a round-trip ticket for anywhere JetBlue flies. I mean, if they don’t try to get him to purchase a double-chocolate fudgie-wudgie cake along with it. “How many forks will we be needing?”

For more information on the marketing of Song Airlines, please watch The Persuaders, a PBS Frontline show hosted by Douglas Rushkoff, or visit your local library.

2005jun19. I have a start page on Firefox that has a bunch of search fields from various places like google, amg, etc. I’m putting in one for Flickr and I found this bit of code on their search page:

input type="submit” value="SEARCH” class="Butt”

That’s pretty much how most of my code reads as well.

2005jun19. Flickr: HOBO DUCK XING. Which is strange, because we went right by this same sign only two hours after the photo was taken. It’s near a garbage dump – dropped some stuff off, punctured a brand-new tire, made a note to come back and take a photo of that very cool hobo duck xing icon sign tout de suite, the usual.

2005jun19. Mail.

I was checking out your Arizona Billboards site. I found the billboards informative but the naratives you gave them very miss guided.

That’s where I get all my directives these days as well. Screamin’ right-wing billboards.

GOD bless you anyway!

Please don’t do that, I’m allergic. [This is a rare case in which I answer the mail here but never mail the jabbery to the sender. Because I know my time spent tangling with Xtians can be better used in millions of other ways including staring at the sun, sheeeeeeeeeeeet]

2005jun19. Mail.

Re your Jun 14 post about Enterprise car rental ... I rent cars all the time, and actually Enterprise is the best one, which isn’t saying much- depending on who is at the counter, the rate you booked for on the Internets is between 10 and 30 dollars less than what it is when you pick it up. But Budget was 10 times worse- I showed up having booked the cheapest economy car, and here’s what happened:

Agent: One moment please (turns to his right and in a normal tone of voice) Hey Frida. Are we completely out of economy cars?
Frida: Yes.
Agent: So what should I do?
Frida: You have to try and sell the upgrade.
Agent: (Turning to me) Yes Ma’am would you like to upgrade to a Pontiac for only five dollars more a day?
Me: No, I would like the car and price I reserved.
Agent: Well I have to be honest with you. We don’t have that car.
Me: So, you are saying I have to pay an additional five dollars a day whether I like it or not?
Agent: No, we have to give you this car regardless.
Me: So my options are to pay you an additional five dollars a day or not pay more and I get exactly the same car?
Agent: That’s right.
Me: I think I will go with Not.
*scene*
Unreal. I don’t trust any of them.

Yes. Enterprise has been the best company for you. But what I’ve found through painful experimentation is that large companies like this have little branch fiefdoms and within these fiefdoms a certain number of official corporate policies are ignored or twisted to bring in a little more cash – it’s not one big company where all the offices are playing by the same rulebook. Speaking of which, one of my friends reminded me of another common U-Haul scam that I almost got nailed for, but unfortunately he did: the ole’ turn the gas gauge upside-down trick. In 99.99999% of cars and trucks, the gas gauge design goes from ”Empty” on the left to “Full” on the right, or “Empty” on the bottom to ”Full” on the top. The latter is very logical, because when you fill a container with a liquid, it’s physically the same. Duh. With U-Haul trucks, the gas gauge goes from “Full” on the bottom to “Empty” on the top. Seriously. So what they do is give you a truck that’s 1/4th full, and mark it on the paper as 3/4ths full. I caught the error before leaving the lot and the guy was all “oh, sorry about that.” Such bullshit. Take digital photos of everything – the fuel tank, the smallest little dings in the vehicle – if you ever have to rent a moving truck or car. Then print them out, take them to a notary public, bring them back to the rental office, give them the photos, and burn the office down. If we all follow common-sense procedures like this, we go from being super suckers to Super Pyromaniacs For Street Justice.

2005jun19. Word on the street is that the left hand of Song Airlines giving out over a thousand free tickets didn’t tell the right hand of Song Airlines, the people booking the tickets. That’s brilliant. So there’s a lot of misinformation floating around because the operators just don’t know what these free tickets are all about. If you’re going to give away free stuff, you maximize ease-of-use because people are thinking “man, if I’m getting the run-around with a totally free ticket, what kind of personal hell awaits me if I try to book an actual paid flight through these clowns?” My suggestion is to build your own airplane out of sheet metal and fireworks. Lots of fireworks.

2005jun20. Bootie Zimmer’s Choice. [via doc]

2005jun20. Webloggin’ the loud children down the street in near real time:

“Ooooh, there’s doody in there!”

I don’t know where. But it contains doody.

2005jun20. Monkeyana. “Monkeys always fascinated artists.”

2005jun23. Flickr: I had forgotten about this instance of hardware-based deception when speaking of autos and automobiling. Yes, they’re all labelled. But because we’ve all pumped so many gallons of gas in our various lifetimes, we are lulled into a false sense of zombification when we pull up to the pump. Grab the one on the left ‘cause it’s the cheapest, feed the beast, leave. It’s not as insidious as flipping the fuel gauge upside-down, but still. That reminds me, I need to make high-larious curse-filled alternative signs for the occasional

“SMILE” YOUR [sic] ON CANDID CAMERA

sign I see on pumps.

2005jun23. Honking. Really haven’t gotten used to honking. What was honking for, again?

2005jun24. Flickr: The woman, she likes cookies.

2005jun24. A special message to those people using the phrase “after the jump.” Sometimes it’s before the jump. Sometimes it’s way, way after the jump, like we’ve forgotten all about the jump. Sometimes we don’t even have to jump because there’s no ad there. So it’s like “after the jump ... ” and then whoom we’re still in the text so the mind wanders. “Where’s the fricking jump?” And then you’re like thinking that the jump is going to come out, much later, when you least expect it. So, to sum up: cram the jump warning.

2005jun27. Hello, hello. I have a Flickr “pro” account (valued at, apparently, $41.77USD) to give away in the next few days. If you would like this, just send your flickr username along with your actual email address to me. Since I only have one to give away, I will have to randomly choose one name. That is how it goes. If you don’t have a flickr account, you can get one set up for free, but the “pro” account allows you to post nine ska-billion photos every twenty seconds whereas the free one allows you to post 100 photos and that’s it. I will pick someone June 30th since the thing expires the next day. I am sorry if you do not win this exciting competition. You are almost ready to be registered to be pre-approved for a virtual back-pat of condolence.

2005jun29. Roosters and turkeys were better. One of the toms ruled the slide guitar.

2005jun29. There is a band practicing next door. They are “jamming.” I am not sure that this is better than roosters and turkeys.

2005jun29. I may have mentioned earlier that the Japanese 99-cent store trumps all other contenders/pretenders. You can buy little storage units for your food and such, and they seal properly and seem like they’ll last a long time. And.

Also I am giving away that Flickr “pro” account to-morrow at some undesignated time. Could be in the morning, could be in the evening. I cannot say at this time.

2005jun30. Mail.

Many years ago when I was a young boy I watched on television on a Saturday morning Johnny King bowl what was said to be the first perfect game ever on television. The announcer’s name was “Whispering” Joe Wilson.
Can you provied me with the date of this event?
I am using it in a researxch project.
Thank you ,

[name]

Yes. The date was January 7th, 2003.

2005jun30. The Free Jazz Garage Band has been “jamming” on one song for about 37 minutes now. We’re in the “bullet time” sequence of the song where everything is drawn out and the bass player is hitting the string every half second doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo and the guitar player finished his wheedly wheedly thing about five minutes ago so he shows up with a few notes very sporadically and it sounds like the other three or four guys are trying to play intermittently while they dig through the fridge for munchies. I like jazz up until about Ornette Coleman. Somewhere around there, when jazz became free? I enjoy Restricted Jazz.