Spying On The Scammers

Fascinating stuff. This is part 1 of 4.

When a scammer connected to my PC, I was able to reverse their connection and discover that they had CCTV. You’re going to see the most detailed exposé of a tech support scam ever seen on YouTube. The company were called Faremart.com – A travel agency in Delhi who use their buildings and VOIP telephony to run various scams. They are one of hundreds of scam call centres in India and this one group will make over $3 million per year with scams.

And Now For Something Completely Obscure

Electronic pop duo Silver Apples released their first album in ’68.  I believe that makes them the first ever electronic pop band, predating Can, Kraftwerk, et al.  If any of you bastards know of someone prior to these guys, please clue me in.  They sold very few albums, but one somehow ended up in my house in the mid 70’s.  Ignorant that they predated Kraftwerk, I pretty much dismissed them because I didn’t like the songs very much.  They typically set up good initial ideas but, in my opnion, are let down by the singing and trippy lyrics, which creep me out for some reason.   But the electronic sounds are innovative and excellent.  Those sounds come from “The Simeon,” a primitive, homemade synth built by singer Simeon Coxe, an Alabaman.  He was just stringing together old WWII oscillators and claims that at the time  he’d never heard of Moogs or other synthesizers in develpoment.

Silver Apples’ legacy is hard to pin down.  Some 90’s experimental bands have cited them as an influence, but what about the electronic innovators of the 70’s?  You never heard a word about these guys back then, so did they influence Krautrock, Eno, Devo, prog rockers, or just work in a vacuum?  Who knows, but I can’t help but love their oddball creativity.  Very much in the tradition of American cranks innovating alone in the basement or garage.  But overall they show that first usually isn’t best.

Here is their full story, which is very interesting.  If you want to hear more, below is the entire first album and one song, “You and I”, from their second and final album, which was withdrawn soon after release.  The opening of “You and I” is suspiciously like “Station To Station,” but  I have no idea if Bowie was familiar with it.  The whole second album, which I haven’t heard,  is also on YouTube.

May 20, 1987

As some of our kids are rounding the bases on their senior year of high school, I thought I’d share a journal entry from 33 years ago. By the way, I don’t journal with any consistency, this was just something I did specifically for that school year. Sorry if this is lame, I’ll try to leave the boring parts out. But I often find myself trying to remember if we did the same stupid shit my son and his friends do now. Of course we did.

Friday, I turned in my English paper, went to Wendy’s for lunch with Mike and Jeff, then headed to Target for battery operated water guns. Afterwards, we went to graduation practice till about 3:15, then had the water fight to end all water fights. It started with water guns and balloons, then people started pulling out big buckets and coolers. David hit Mr. Phillips (our principal, who was a total dick) in the side of the head with a water balloon from about 35 to 40 feet. It was truly beautiful.

We did that until about 4:30 and then I squishily drove home to take a shower and get ready for our last high school dance ever. Eric’s band played but not many people showed up. They’d just started “Blister in the Sun” when this security guard came from nowhere and stopped the band mid-song. She said she had to end the dance because of all the “bad apples” getting in fights and drinking.

So the dance was over by about 10:30. Doug, Jeff, Mike, David and I met at my house and we decided to head Downtown. That was lame, and we ended up at a convenience store where I bought a bag of cookies and Coke. The highlight of the evening was seeing some guy laying out on some steps, possibly dead.

Sunday, I went to baccalaureate and then lunch with the family. I rented three movies from Blockbuster while we were out: Maniac, which I didn’t get to see, Westworld, and Shock Treatment, the sequel to RHPS. Bryan, Jay, and Mon came over to watch some of Shock Treatment with me before we went to the park to hang out with a bunch of people. When we first got there, Eric and Scott were racing around a parking lot median, in a Mercedes and Toyota Supra, respectively. Then Eric threw a log through the windshield of a car that appeared to be abandoned and took off. Everyone else (besides me, even then I knew this was idiotic) put dents in the sides and busted out the headlights for some strange reason. We made a fire at the pavilion while Katy, David, Doug, and Jay went to get s’mores fixings, Cokes, and chips. After they came back we told ghost stories.

The next day I went with Chris to alumni brunch, which had great cinnamon rolls. Later at graduation, Wade pulled out a long, red scarf as he walked across the stage. Mr. Phillips told him he would pay for that and tried to take away his diploma. I haven’t talked to Leigh Anne (a girlfriend I was ghosting) except on graduation night. She congratulated me. Today I wrote thank you notes and cleaned out my car. I’m thrilled to be graduated and can’t wait for summer – Florida is just around the corner. I’m getting scared of college (the unknown factor fear) but am excited all the same.

Let’s NOT Gutenberg!

As you may or may not recall, the Gutenberg editor was released with WordPress 5.0 back in December, 2018. Back then, I installed the Classic Editor plugin and we stuck our Luddite bastard heads in the sand.

The last couple of months, I’ve been playing around with Gutenberg on another blog, and I’m happy to report that it’s easy to use and fairly intuitive. Enjoy this refresher video and let me know if you have any questions.

UPDATE: Errors thrown! Abort! Abort!

Attention Kmart Shoppers

Although The Treasury on Lamar was more my speed, I can definitely appreciate this.

This is a digitized version of an in-store reel to reel tape that was played within a Kmart store in 1973. In my opinion, the opening Kmart jingle is the most important artifact of this recording, but the music and small number of commercials make it a great listen.

Um …

This is either the best or worst thing I’ve ever seen.

EDIT: Video won’t embed because they want you to watch it on YouTube so they can try to talk you into buying the song on iTunes. Diabolical.

Finally

Only took me 38 years to get around to it. One lunchtime Target run and Wired YouTube video later, I solved a Rubik’s Cube. Twice. With this method, solving the bottom two layers is pretty easy. The top layer is where it gets complicated, with different algorithms for different scenarios. Will I actually memorize those? Doubtful.

Finally

Submitted for your approval, a few suggestions for celebrating Mabon this year.

  1. Setting Up Your Mabon Altar: Celebrate the Mabon Sabbat by decorating your altar with the colors and symbols of the late harvest season.
  2. Create a Mabon Food Altar: Mabon is a celebration of the second harvest season. It’s a time when we’re gathering the bounty of the fields, the orchards, and the gardens, and bringing it in for storage.
  3. Honor the Dark Mother at Mabon: This ritual welcomes the archetype of the Dark Mother and celebrates that aspect of the Goddess which we may not always find comforting or appealing, but which we must always be willing to acknowledge. (Hint: virgin sacrifice.)
  4. Mabon Apple Harvest Rite: This apple ritual will allow you time to thank the gods for their bounty and blessings, and to enjoy the magic of the earth before the winds of winter blow through.
  5. Hearth & Home Protection Ritual: This ritual is a simple one designed to place a barrier of harmony and security around your property.
  6. Hold a Gratitude Ritual: You might want to consider doing a short gratitude ritual as a way of expressing thankfulness at Mabon.
  7. Autumn Full Moon — Group Ceremony: This rite is written for a group of four people or more to celebrate the full moon phases of the fall. (Hint: virgin sacrifice.)
  8. Mabon Balance Meditation: If you’re feeling a bit spiritually lopsided, with this simple meditation you can restore a little balance into your life.

Also, this miniseries scared the ever-living shit out of me when I was a wee bastard.

 

And He Brought Home The Bacon

DEVO’s first single, released March 12, 1977 on Booji Boy Records. (B/W “Jocko Homo,” of course.)

About the video …

“Mongoloid” was Devo’s second music video, after The Truth About De-Evolution. It was not actually made by the band, but by assemblage artist and experimental filmmaker Bruce Conner. Conner combined 1950s television advertisements, science fiction film clips (including a scene from It Came from Outer Space), and scientific documentaries with abstract animation and original film work. Devo marketed the film as “A documentary film exploring the manner in which a determined young man overcame a basic mental defect and became a useful member of society. Insightful editing techniques reveal the dreams, ideals and problems that face a large segment of the American male population. Very educational. Background music written and performed by the DEVO orchestra.”

And There’s A Podcast

Two episodes in to HBO’s new miniseries and I’m hooked. Thanks for the recommendation, Droog!

The attention to detail is amazing, all the way down to the slightly fucked up font used in the credits. There’s a great interview with writer/producer Craig Mazin on Vice regarding his motivation to get it right.

Chernobyl accomplishes this, in part, by adhering as closely as it can to historical fact. Every major character save one—a nuclear physicist played by Emily Watson—has a real-life counterpart, from the scientist in charge of cleanup efforts (Valery Legasov, played by Jared Harris), to the wife of a firefighter at the scene of the explosion (Lyudmilla Ignatenko, played by Jessie Buckley). The clothing Chernobyl’s characters wear, the cars they drive, the cigarettes they smoke, the glassware they drink from, the wallpaper in their homes—all of it is staggeringly accurate, a product of more than two and a half years of research.

So anyway, podcast. It provides additional information for each episode in the five-part series, so watch an episode and then give the podcast a listen.