Archive for October, 2002

Hacker Update

Thursday, October 31st, 2002

I’ve heard back from the boys at AIT. The lowdown, in pertinent part:

For AFS (which is what your home directory is on) ... [w]hat matters is what the AFS acl [see section 4.1 of PDF] (access control list) says for that directory. ... You had system:anyuser rlidwka on your home directory and all sub-directories, which means that any user had full rights on any directory in your home. I've removed all of those.

How my ACL was switched to the ‘rape me’ setting, I don’t know. (Neither does AIT — there’s no way to check, and the user [32766] who “owned” homepage.html doesn’t exist.) However, I do thank “A.J.” for bringing it to my attention. Oh, and B-don.

Cool! I’ve been hax0rD.

Thursday, October 31st, 2002

Just got an e-m from B that included this line:

In other news, what the fuck is up with

[Note: if that page seems normal, see the
mirror of the page as it was.]

Turns out someone replaced my web page index. That page only, it seems. How much access (s)he got to the rest of my Vincent account, I don’t know. I do know that an “ls -l” of the directory showed all of the files (save one) owned by “jsp”. The exception was homepage.html, which had “32766” listed as the owner.

I assume the message refers to the UNIX chmod command. Entering “chmod 755” would make something executable.

More when I have it. For the time being, I’m sucking everything off by FTP. Been meaning to do that anyway.


Wednesday, October 30th, 2002

9.30a – Haven’t been to bed yet. Attend class. Turn in paper.

11.30a – Bedtime. Set alarm for 5.00.

7.30p – Awaken. Good, didn’t miss W. Wing.

8.59p – Good episode. I like the way they’re allowing Sam to depart. Still, I think there’s going to be a big hole in the team. I wonder how they plan to replace him. Perhaps a gay cast member… (Sorkin, are you listening?)

Tuesday is Screwed Day

Tuesday, October 29th, 2002

Didn’t get all the fun with the quiz wrapped up until about 2.30 last night. Debbie came over and I did mine, finishing around 12.30 (he allowed 3 hours) and then let her take over the computer. Kelly called around 11.45 (got the number from my parents that night (!)) and said she was doing it as well.

So of course I was just too tired to go to that class this morning.

I got up about 11 and did some prep for a meeting with Critchlow at 2.30. The site is long finished, but he wanted assistance with various matters. Our meeting was productive, but I was distracted throughout: before leaving, I got an e-mail saying the professor from yesterday (Chadwick) was available after 3.30. (This was in reply to my note.) I, of course, fully intended to go over and have it out.

The encounter went OK, I suppose. I started with: “I want to know what happened Monday and why you think your reaction was appropriate and proportional.” We shared our points of view. He told me the areas where he thought I needed to improve and I returned the favor. Annoying psychological element: no chair in his office. I had to stand while he looked up at me over his computer. Oh well, at least I’m fucking tall.

Following that exchange, I went out for drinks with a friend. Though I anticipated it would be a laid-back, relaxing time (which it was, by and large), the friend shared a view of our friendship that was significiantly different from my own. It was more than a little unsettling.

I returned to the apartment about 9 in an unhappy mood. I was ready to watch Seinfeld at 10, but I received several phone calls that had me lying on the floor talking to various girls for more than 2 hours.

Oh, did I mention I have a paper due for Chadwick in 10 hours? Haven’t started.

Monday Ain’t Fun Day

Monday, October 28th, 2002

Well, are we having fun yet? No. Let’s hit the lowlights of my day.

We begin with 574, where an otherwise pretty good class ends on a low note when the professor launches a diatribe (capped with a screamed “If it happens again, I’ll rip you a new asshole!”) While the text of the speech included no names (“several people”), he was pointing at me. While I had a part in inspiring the outrage, it was mostly a misunderstanding mixed with the guy’s general instability and lack of professionalism.

Completely distracted by the fact that I tolerated the guy’s offensive and demeaning display, I’m not at all of a mind to go to Stat. Debbie and I bail for the coffee shop, where we have a fairly deep (albeit depressing) conversation about our lives and future.

Debbie leaves for Stat lab, and I go looking for the prof in his office. He’s not there, so I leave a note.

Matt, fresh with car, stops by and we head to Des Moines for dinner. Matt’s in the driver’s seat and I don’t ask. For a brief moment, I think we might go to a certain place we’ve been before. We go somewhere else. (Cheddar’s in Clive.)

I share the drama of the day with Matt. Shortly thereafter, I notice my cup has a lipstick stain on it. I graze it with my thumb, to see if it’s just caked on. It smears immediately. I didn’t want more confrontation, so I thought about ignoring it.

A few minutes later, the manager leaves my table. The now-free lemonade was replaced (waiter: “I double-checked this glass!”) and Matt and I got free cheesecake.

Back at the apartment, I look forward to watching a Seinfeld re-run and just relaxing. After checking my e-mail, I realize I forgot something. My 521 professor: “several students apparently misunderstood that Quiz # 1 would go off line [from WebCT] at 1:00 a.m. [i.e., 21 hours ago] … I have decided to extend the deadline for taking the quiz until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow October 29th.”

Just one more damn thing to do…

Thank G-d for Debbie

Sunday, October 27th, 2002

No sooner had Jesse and I entered the Hull Avenue Dive Bar (er, Tavern) in Des Moines then a very large woman (for whom the term “fat chick” was undoubtedly coined) was at my side.

Her banter was less than original (“How tall are you?”) but she made up for it with a drunken intensity. She told me she was 30, had 2 kids, and never got out but tonight she had a sitter at her place, which was just a little bit up the road. I quickly became aware that her body was pressing against mine over a massive surface area.

Looking down to see how I might escape the encroaching blob, I noticed her shirt had a large circular stain on her right breast. “Beer,” she said. I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I went with: “That’s a waste of good beer.” She stared at me in a way that conveyed I had spoken words of such imponderable importance that even devoting that tiny bit of brainpower necessary to blink was an insult to my wisdom.

Then she told me I didn’t know sex until I’d had it with an older woman.


Fortunately, it was just after this that Debbie decided to make her entrance. With a quick “excusemegottago” to Tons of Fun, I dashed over to Debbie, whispered “work with me here” and then planted a big kiss on her cheek and gave her a hug. “Honey,” I said, “so glad you’re here!” To her credit, she was the consummate pro, kissing my own cheek and saying “I missed you.”

Bless her.

Where did you get this number?

Saturday, October 26th, 2002

Thus far, the experiment with an unlisted number has been a qualified success. Other than the fact that my parents have given it out to anyone who asked, I’ve only gotten calls from people that I would like to speak with.

That is, of the people who are actually dialing me. I’ve gotten more than a few for other people. As in:

– I: “Hello?”
– He: “Hi.”
– “Who’s this?”
– “I’m Dan’s gay lover.”
– “OK.”
– “Where’s Dan?”
– “He’s not here.”
– “Why are you answering his cell phone?”
– “This isn’t his cell phone.”
– “Oh. Did I get the number wrong?”
– “Probably.”
– “OK. Well ignore the gay lover thing cuz it’s a secret.”
– “OK. Good luck with that.”
– “Thanks. Bye.”

Day 3, and Trouble Already

Friday, October 25th, 2002

OK, it was probably bad enough that I started this journal-y thing with a pat on the back for porn at Parks. Now I’ll just finish the job.

After re-reading that first entry, I searched for the book in Amazon (and noticed it has a different cover in their version.) Then I started to trawl through the “you’ll also like” links Amazon provided.

I paused at Exposed because I noticed Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature was available.

I zipped through the 13 pages at speed. I saw no need to pause, as the photos were a bit blah (though nice abs on the page 8 guy.) Then I hit page 12. Now that’s unusual, I thought. Taking the time to make a “not available” graphic? What’s the deal?

I backed up a page and read the last few sentences:

He could be said to be pissing on convention, as represented by the crisp white sheets, but significantly he is also pissing on himself. [emphasis added]

Aha. I think we have an explanation. (Who says there are no taboos left?)

But seriously, it leads me to wonder: how the hell does Amazon get these images? I assume it’s an automated system of acquisition, but what are the criteria for page selection (or rejection)? Did the piss page make the cut and get pulled after a complaint? And for that matter, which books get selected for ‘Look Inside’?

(I’m tempted to ask one of the Marketplace sellers to scan the page and send it to Amazon with a nice “here’s the page you needed!” note. Nah, that’s just too twisted.)

I Am Fuct

Thursday, October 24th, 2002

I remember one sophomore who could think of nowhere else to go with his book report after his first sentence, which nonetheless sang and resonated with echoes of the ancient Anglo-Saxon: “This book is fuct.”
— Don Foster, Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous

I don’t know about Anglo-Saxon overtones, but I need some sort of word to describe the delightful state I’ve confined myself to. Let’s run through the situation:

  • Rent. Due 1 Nov. Have, no shit, $8 in my checking account.
  • College application. Also due 1 Nov. I was working under the impression that this was due 1 Dec. Nope, not so much. Don’t even have the paper form, much less a request in to people to write letters of rec, or a score on the GRE (which takes 2.5 weeks to score the new essay portion.) [Update, 25 Oct: One of my references is gone until 30 Oct.]
  • Stat test. It’s coming 4 Nov and I am completely unprepared. [Update, 25 Oct: today Carlos asked if I needed any personal help. On Wednesday, he said, I gave him “the blankest stare” he’d ever seen.]
  • Chadwick paper. Need to synthesize the argument of French lawyer/theorist Jacques Ellul into a paper due 30 Oct. Incidentally, did you know Ellul’s The Technological Society was a big favorite of the Unabomber’s? What a shock. Oh yeah, haven’t read it (uh, as closely as I’d like.)
  • Abbott paper. Ten pages on diffusion models and how they relate to communication theories. 31 Oct. Articles? What articles?
  • The Matrix project. A 75-minute presentation scheduled for 7 Nov. Number of group meetings: 1.5 (4 of the 10 people came to the 2d). Number of pages, slides, images, other supporting materials of any type created: 0.
  • Other shit. Jennifer‘s birthday (a welcome respite from these other duties), various meetings, The As-Yet-Unnamed Reschke Collaboration Project, and more.

Hmm, on second thought: I am very fuct.

Movie Moment: Blue Crush

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2002

I know. What an inauspicious beginning. I offer no defense. It was fifty cents, and Debbie was interested in going.

Even allowing for my incredibly low expectations, it was poor. While I certainly didn’t mind the first ten minutes, what with the beautiful water shots and one or two deeply-tanned boys with impossibly low-hanging shorts, it got worse from there.

I won’t bother with the “plot” except to say: please. And in the same picky vein, the points where they used CGI to map the star’s face to the stuntperson’s surfing were unconvincing. It made me think of the Sopranos episode they created after Nancy Marchand‘s death: just… off. Some sheen, some glow, some hint that the face is just not quite right.

Supporting stills still to come.

In Praise of Libraries

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2002

When I went to the counter at Parks this afternoon, I noticed the man behind the counter was flipping through a large, thick, pink book. When he noticed I noticed, he quickly placed it on a shelf labeled “closed stacks.” The cover — a sort of repeated pattern of magnifying bubbles — was so unusual and his behavior so circumspect that I was intrigued.

“What was that?” I asked.

He said it was a book that they “lock up in the basement.” (An exaggeration; some titles have availability listed as ‘Parks Cage,’ which means you must request them at the circulation desk.)

I pressed a bit more and he retrieved it. The book was called The Christy Report, and the pictures are about as explicit as they come. (Which is to say: “hard-core” het adults.)

There are probably those who are shocked and appalled that such a title is available. Personally, I find it yet another refreshing example of libraries reflecting the diversity and maturity of the real world.