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07 January 2008

Captain Crunch

Perhaps someone found some cause for mischief in my story about the hydrogen filled Blimp exploding over our house?

My community's fancy early warning system for dangerous weather went into alarm status early this morning at around 2am. And I doubt it was my little 'burbs signal that the bars were closing. So for the second time in a week, I had to put on my emergency hat. When the siren went off, I quickly levitated out of bed like when I hear one of the dog's starting to gurgle and hack with their ever so distinctive 'I'm about to hurl my stomach contents on the carpet' sounds. I told Tonya to "take Ethan into Emily's bathroom" (our designated shelter in place), which I found out later sounds an awful lot like "Stay in Bed" apparently. I grabbed the weather radio, the cell phone, the cordless home phone and my closest shoes, which were my flip flops next to the bed. And then my mind simultaneously fast forwarded to how unsafe those flip flops would be while I was crawling around on the rubble of my destroyed house looking for my wedding pictures in the dark after either the impending tornado or the explosion from the dirigible that's leaking toxic, flammable gas reduces our family home to a pile of shingles, memories and dirty diapers. Who woulda thought I could be so vain (and yes, dramatic) at 2 in the morning?

Getting Emily out of bed was equally as challenging. If I had to pull up our sprinkler system with salad tongs I could have done it faster than getting this girl out of a deep sleep. Once awaken, the shriek of the blaring siren was not on her mind, strangely, but instead it was a barrage of questions like "Where are we going?" "What time is it?" "Did I win the Hanna Montana tickets?" I finally got the whole crew, dogs included, into the bathroom and then I cautiously ventured outside. Ridiculous thought #2 was remembering the comedian who joked about this very thing: families hunkered safely inside while outside all of the Dad's are looking to the sky during a violent storm, just in time to be flattened by an airborne trailer home.


In the early days of hacking, before the Internet was widely available and cell phones were not sticking out of everyone's, you know, uh, ear...there were nifty things called pay phones. For the thievery minded young hackers though, they saw it as an opportunity. In what is surely one of the strangest discoveries I have ever heard of, a dude named John Draper and his buddy discovered that the toy whistle found for free in Captain Crunch cereal produced a tone that was precisely 2600 hertz, the exact sound that AT&T used to engage a long distance dial tone into the receiver box of a pay phone. Eureka! They then could blow the toy whistle into a payphone, trick the system into engaging and then call Zurich or Toledo or Bangladesh or Tupelo...free of charge. Thus was born a new generation of hackers, or as they were called then, phone phreakers, complete with an underground Hacker community magazine called 2600, in honor of AT&T's dial tone hertz. That is, until they were caught, prosecuted and jailed for wire fraud, theft of service, etc. Bet you didn't know that Draper-the-hacker was also running buddies and was an early mentor to both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, wunderkind founders of Apple Computer too huh? Wonder how many Mac-heads knew that, eh?

But I digress...

Well, nobody got squished by a flying trailer home, Emily did not win Hanna Montana tickets and it turns out the siren was a "false" alarm. Some might picture the clumsy night janitor tripping over a cord that caused the alarm to go off, or maybe they will accept what will surely be the officially endorsed version: "computer malfunction"; but not me. I envision a couple of future cell mates, over dosing on Mountain Dew, playing with their new, souped up Christmas computer...and hacking into our area's emergency notification system in order to wake everyone up. Even money says that they are yucking it up with their other deviant pals today too. Charming little unsupervised creatures huh? But unlike the Captain Crunch hack, this little caper didn't produce anything of value or entertainment...it was just annoying.

So the moral of the story? Just say no to sugary cereal, it has the potential to keep everyone up at night.

2 comments:

Two Date Diva said...

This is why I want a husband/boyfriend! He could keep me from dying in a flying trailer home incident. And I live in Florida, so it is a distinct possibility that it could happen in a hurricane or even a freak thunderstorm.

Michael M. said...

How about all of the retired dudes down there? You could move near a retirement home and select one each week as your weather watcher. If they get blown/washed away ...then you could just go get another one? :)