aka christopher, aka zane
ICQ: 199853486
AIM: insidiousplots
YIM: insidious_plots

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Location:Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Friday, July 23
  Fw: The Phone

The Phone

A man decided to write a book about famous churches around the world. So he
bought a plane ticket and took a trip to Orlando, thinking that he would start
by working his way across the USA from South to North.

On his first day he was inside a church taking photographs when he noticed a
golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read "$10,000 per call".
The man, being intrigued, asked a priest who was strolling by what the
telephone was used for. The priest replied that it was a direct line to heaven
and that for $10,000 you could talk to God. The man thanked the priest and
went along his way.

Next stop was in Atlanta. There, at a very large cathedral, he saw the same
golden telephone with the same sign under it. He wondered if this was the same
kind of telephone he saw in Orlando and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose
was. She told him that it was a direct line to heaven and that for $10,000 he
could talk to God. "O.K., thank you," said the man.

He then traveled to Indianapolis, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, and
New York. In every church he saw the same golden telephone with the same
"$10,000 per call" sign under it. The man, upon leaving New York decided to
travel out west to see if western states had the same phone.

He arrived in New Mexico, and again, in the first church he entered, there was
the same golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read "40 cents per
call." The man was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign. "Father,
I've traveled all over America and I've seen this same golden telephone in
many churches. I'm told that it is a direct line to Heaven, but in the east
and south the price was $10,000 per call. Why is it so cheap here?" The
priest smiled and answered, "You're in New Mexico now, son - it's a local

Thursday, July 22
  great, there goes our email

Dear EarthLink Subscriber,

We're improving our network security as part of our ongoing efforts to fight spam -- so you can enjoy a hassle-free Internet experience.

We're committed to offering the highest level of protection against online nuisances and security threats. This upgrade will help us keep spammers from using our network to send you junk email.

As a result of our security upgrade, you must update your email settings to continue sending email on our network.

this is, of course, the day i have been dreading for a long time, our isp going with secure smtp, which no device/software we use is compatible with...

so far, i see only four options: get a new isp (they will change eventually, too), find an alternative smtp, or, sort of a sub-choice of that, see if i can set up smtp on our host (and i bet this is not really an option), or, of course, break down and get a desktop...
changing isp's and losing our old addresses would suck, paying for a seperate smtp service (eg. is not desirable at all, i have no idea where to start with running smtp on our host, and i am still clutching to my "you-don't-need-a-pc-for-the-'net" concept that i have spent so long shouting about, so, i am going to explore the pros and cons of all the other options first...

on top of all this, i have no idea when the change is taking place over at earthlink, i just got this notice, so, i have yet to do any info-collecting...

if anyone has any suggestions or an angle i am not considering, i am all ears, click on the comment link or the chatterbox link...

UPDATE - reply to comment - July 24, 12:00pm

i know earthlink has absorbed many many other isp's, maybe northstate is one of them?

anyway, secure smtp is something fairly new-ish, at least compared to the time of the dc software, so, the authentication step is not there, and impossible to fake... i suspect many a dc'er will have a problem with this, if your isp is also doing it, i fear many others will, too...

not good...

(hmmm, maybe if the call was sent out at dcbg, and it turns out many dc'ers are facing this, perhaps someone might have a suggestion of smtp for dc'ers to use...)

as for my own solution, i just got an email back from tech support at Zianet, a local, independently owned isp, the one my dad has used for years, and they said all the right things, including that they do not see ever going to secure smtp only... (though, they DON'T have a network status page and that is NOT a sign of a good isp...)
so, i may very well switch to them...
zianet only covers this region, but, i have gotten some useful info googling for things like "choosing an isp", and a few pages on

switching isp's is a biatch, but, i have actually kind of meant to switch to a local isp anyway, and so this may very well be how i deal this...

(and, btw, damn, i need a different comments system... MUST be thin-client-friendly, MUST archive the comments to my own webspace, and MUST email me when a comment is made, and so far i can't find even one... which is why i have the chatterbox for everyone for whom these comments do not work... a very lame, very limited subsitute, i know, but, i am stuck... i have thought of going with an entirely different blogging package, like movable type or something...)

UPDATE - reply to comment - July 24, 6:08pm

yeah, our telephone company also does isp service, and i liked the idea of one bill, so, i went and checked them out, aaand...
the crummy bastards just have a deal with msn...


and speaking of web-based, for a few seconds we actually thought about yahoo, since their deal just improved immensely and i am pretty sure the deal includes smtp... i don't recall how much it is, but, whatever it is, i doubt it is justifiable when switching isp's is not a bad idea in our case anyway...
for anyone else with this problem, though, it may be a way to go, since they are a long-term, fairly reliable name... and i love their spam blocker, which counts occurances of an email over their network and therefore easily identifies and re-directs bulk mail, with excellent accuracy in my experience... works hella' better than earthlink's, which is only a white-list affair with a domain-blocking feature... after a few months of using it, i feel confident declaring it nearly useless...

UPDATE - reply to comment - July 24, 8:30pm

it is the thought that all isp's will do this soon that makes me wonder how much good just switching isp's will do... as i indicated in my original post, i have seen this coming a long way off as people kept encouraging it as the standard, and i have basically just been crossing my fingers about earthlink not doing it... for once, their reputation for doing little to nothing to stop spammers using their network was a good thing... plus, it means rendering useless so many devices and i assume isp's know that and i had hoped that they might wait until someone had a better idea...
but, it seems it is gaining the popularity i feared...

and the email promise from the guy at zianet does little to comfort me, he may have no knowledge about it...

i can't get over the coincidence in timing... makes me wonder if there was recently some official widespread agreement about it that i somehow missed in the internet news...

UPDATE - reply to comment - July 24, 10:00pm

wow, yet another great find, karl...
AND, they address the secure smtp issue...

this may change everything...

UPDATE - reply to comment - Sept 11, 2004, 10:30am

since the comments still do not work on dc, i posted a reply in the chatterbox...
limited, i know, but, the only easy choice i have...

and btw, see, this is why i don't switch comment providers... i got an email that a comment had been made here, no other service offers that and i never would have noticed this comment, since the post is buried...
at least the chatterbox is always on every page...

still need either a new comments provider (must permanently archive comments, hopefully in my own space, must work on dc and psion, must have email notification, and i am probably forgetting a couple requirements) or i need new blogging software...

Friday, July 16
  a morbid day at our place

so, yesterday morning, we looked out our bedroom window, and discovered that our beloved little corner of upscale paradise was in the news...

to explain, here are the three articles google news found, and there is video at the links...

Woman's body found in vehicle at apartment complex
A man walking his dog today discovered the body of a woman in a vehicle at an apartment complex in northwest Albuquerque.
Albuquerque Police Department Lieutenant Trish Ahrensfield says the woman's death is being investigated as a suspicious death.
She had no further details.
Apartment complex resident Kelly Baste says he noticed a smell from the vehicle yesterday but thought it came from trash.
He says this morning, his dog wouldn't leave the area around the vehicle.
He says he went back to his apartment and told his brother he thought the dog had found a body.
Baste says he brother checked and noticed flies around the windshield.
They then called police.

Woman's Body Found Inside SUV
Police are working to develop leads in connection with a body found on Albuquerque's west side.
A man walking his dog Thursday discovered the body of a woman in a vehicle at an apartment complex in northwest Albuquerque near Cottonwood Mall.
APD Lt. Trish Ahrensfield said the woman's death is being investigated as a suspicious death. She had no further details.
Apartment complex resident Kelly Baste said he noticed a smell from the vehicle on Wednesday but thought it came from trash nearby.
Baste said his dog wouldn't leave the area around the vehicle alone, and that he went back to his apartment and told his brother he thought the dog had found a body.
Baste said he and his brother checked it out and noticed flies around the windshield; they then called police.
"I kind of knew already (Wednesday) something was in there, but I was too afraid to go look inside of it. So, that's why I had my little brother look inside of it this morning," Baste said.

APD investigating death of woman as suspicious
Albuquerque police were calling the discovery of a body in a car Thursday morning on Albuquerque's West Side suspicious.

The woman's body was discovered in the back of an SUV parked at the Cottonwood Ranch Apartments near the Cottonwood Mall.
Kelly Baste, who walks his German shorthair dog Nickel in the area, says the dog has been alerting him to the vehicle for several days. Thursday morning, Baste had his brother look into the car, and the body was discovered.
Homicide investigators were called to the scene, but APD spokesperson Trish Ahrensfeld says the incident is being treated as a suspicious death.
Police say the body may have been there for days, or even weeks.
Neighbors had reported smelling an odd odor for days.
One said that he had searched a nearby ditch because of the odor, but found nothing and concluded that the smell must have been from decomposing garbage.
When police pulled the woman's body out of the vehicle, they asked nearby residents to stay inside because of the disturbing sight.
Police have towed the vehicle in for investigation.
The woman's identity will be released after an autopsy Friday.
Eyewitness News 4 has found that the vehicle is registered to a woman who has been missing since June 23, but it's not known whether she is the woman whose body was found inside the vehicle.

the suv:

i took a couple dreameye pics, but, they are awful as usual... i only bothered to take two, because i knew they would not show much, especially because the big ugly stupid tree in front of our bedroom window that we hate so much blocked most of the view...
i might as well post them, no matter how bad they are, though, i used the visualpark software to try to make some sense of what they show...

if you compare with the news pic above, you can pick out the suv... the suv is light grey, then, there is a darker vehicle parked next to it, closer to the foreground, then, a little grey car and a couple empty spaces...

then, in this one, the suv is behind the tree leaves, you can only really see the two closer vehicles, but, this also shows one of the APD patrol cars, and the mobile crime lab they brought in...

needless to say, there were plenty of police, onlookers, and tv people... the entire area was blocked off, from further left than you can see in my pics, including the dumpsters (the little walled area in the foreground of the pics, the trash referred to in the articles), to just beyond the mobile crime lab...
and yes, we had walked past this vehicle more than a couple times in the last few days, though, we never noticed any smell that we can remember...
this entire thing started early in the morning, and, in the early afternoon, they were still waiting for a warrant to open the vehicle... it was getting to be evening when they finally opened it, we stopped watching so closely then, we already had a feeling this event might be making guest appearances in our dreams, no need to add more details...

speaking of horrific events that haunt us, someday i will have to post the story of the last time death was right outside our front door, some six years ago or so in california, when it was a guy attempting to gun down another guy running away from him across the parking lot, and mary right there in the cross fire, with me inside, peeking out the window desperately trying to figure out where she was in all the action...
for that matter, i could relate the time in dallas when we were going out the doors of fryes electronics, just as the three masked gunmen were coming in...

but, those stories can wait until another day...

UPDATE - July 20, 2004

KOBTV - Authorities identify body found in SUV in Albuquerque
[thanks, google news alerts]

and we have been noticing how hesitant people are to park in that spot and it is now marked with a wreath... i will take a pic and post it...

UPDATE - July 23, 2004

ok, i guess "wreath" wasn't correct, but, here it is...

Tuesday, July 13
  movie-related amusements

i have been meaning to post these for quite awhile... will probably add them to the side bar at some point...

first, there is Invisibles...
fun little thing where a frame from a movie is shown with the actors in the frame removed, but with their clothes still standing, ala the invisible man... name the movie...
new group of them every week...
a nice mix of really easy and really tough...

then there is movie trivia on
fun site, user-made trivia quizzes, a huge range of topics and specific movies, and it keeps score of how you do to rank yourself with other players... (nothing to download, btw...) has a lot more than movie trivia, but, i have yet to try anything else out, too many good movie quizzes...
i am playing as "i_plots" and i cannot figure out a way to link to my stats page, but, it says:
You have played 74
quizzes and have scored 7470

Your score ranks you as # 43,083 of

You have answered 747 of 940 questions
Your accuracy is therefore 79%

You are a Trivia Rookie

Renton: Well, he's always been lacking in moral fiber.
Swanney: He knows a lot about Sean Connery.
Renton: That's hardly a substitute!


Monday, July 12
  optical illusion

(and be sure to click on the 'proof' link...)

btw, this is a great example of the frailties of perception...
magicians and con men (from salesmen to psychics) exploit weaknesses in perception and cognition, therefore "mind hacking" is a good description of what they do...
or perhaps "reality hacking", since our faith in our own perception and cognition is the foundation of how we establish and experience reality...

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