Posts Tagged ‘mystery’

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“Two things scare me. The first is getting hurt. But that’s not nearly as scary as the second, which is losing.”~ Lance Armstrong

I honestly had never heard of this incident until just a few days ago. I have no recollection of it happening when it did happen either.

For those of you who do not know the infamous character in the image, it is a British fictional AI who was introduced to the public in 1984 named Max Headroom.

Max Headroom was portrayed by actor Matt Frewer and became the world’s first computer-generated TV hosts. Known for its quick wit, stuttering, and computer-distorted voice.

Max Headroom even was a spokesperson for New Coke when their “Catch the Wave!” campaign was released.

So then on the 22nd of November 1987 in Chicago, Illinois… everything was calm and peaceful. WGN-TV was broadcasting their 9:00 PM  primetime news program to their viewers.

Suddenly the signal was cut off. A couple of seconds later, there was an image of an unknown and unidentified person in a Max Headroom mask bobbing their head back and forth. There was no clear audio other than an annoying loud buzzing sound. If there was anything that was being said, it was never heard. And almost thirty seconds later it was gone and WGN-TV had returned to broadcasting. The signal intrusion had ended.

WGN-TV engineers changed their frequency of their link to the transmitter and cut off the pirated broadcast.

The entire incident left sports journalist Dan Roan searching for an explanation. And still confused, he said “Well, if you are wondering what’s happened. So am I.”

Later on the same evening, sometime after 11:00 PM,  Chicago’s PBS television station WTTW-TV was broadcasting the Dr. Who episode “Horror of Fang Rock” when the hijacker struck again.

Around 11:15 PM the signal faded to black and the person dressed as Max Headroom was back. But this time, audio was available even though it was manipulated. Most of the things that were said were inaudible. The rest of it was senseless ramblings and profanity (in 1987’s FCC standards) and singing. Max_Headroom_broadcast_signal_intrusion

This hijacking lasted longer than the WGN intrusion.

One of the statements made was an incorrect “product placement” of Pepsi-Cola, rather than Coca-Cola in which Max Headroom was the spokesperson, the man in the mask blurted out the slogan and laughed like a maniac before turning his verbal intentions to moaning and psychotic screaming.

Several other props were broadcast including one glove and a sex toy before things turned even stranger and darker during the hijacked broadcast.

The picture cut to a shot of a man’s torso and exposed buttocks. The Max Headroom mask was apparently removed and shown in front of the camera and the howling and screaming continued with “They’re coming to get me!”

Another accomplice was in view standing behind the exposed buttocks wearing a French maid uniform. Its reported that second person said “Bend over, bitch” and a spanking session began that was carried out by a simple household flyswatter and the occasional other hand on to that person’s backside. The screaming continued.

Then suddenly the transmission went black. And then the episode of Dr. Who returned to viewers in progress.

The entire broadcast lasted much longer. Close to a minute and a half in length.

WTTW Technicians attempted in vain to do something about the transmission, but were unable to stop it as WGN-TV was able to just a couple hours earlier. The Max Headroom figure never appeared again.

And the most interesting point of this story: Those responsible were never caught. To this day, the pirating case remains unsolved.

It was not the first time that a television station had been hijacked and it would not be the last. Hbocaptainmidnight

In April 1986, HBO was hacked in by someone calling themselves Captain Midnight. But Captain Midnight was caught and brought to trial. He plead guilty as he feared a lengthy jail sentence and was given probation and a fine. Captain Midnight would be identified as John R. MacDougall, a Florida business owner and electrical engineer.

Twenty months before the Max Headroom Piracy Incident, was Captain Midnight. He was unable to be stopped and his intrusion lasted for several minutes before he just simply ended the transmission and returned HBO to his programming.

For those of you wondering, $12.95 a month in 1985 US money would equal almost $30 a month in 2013.

But the Captain Midnight HBO hijacking was almost two full years before the absolutely creepy Max Headroom piracy.

The fact that it remains unsolved is somewhat of a fascination. And a creepy one at that as many still are trying to decipher the audio to make sure we all know what the person was rambling about because none of the statements that were audible make sense from one to the other. Throwing a Pepsi-Cola can, using a sex toy on their finger, and singing a 1950’s cartoon theme song is just irrational behavior and makes no sense.

It could be that the person or persons responsible were either on drugs or drunk when they interrupted with their broadcast.  And even though it lasted a creepy minute and a half, it is almost as if they knew to cut off the transmission to avoid being detected by the very same satellite that the illegally took over.

So who are they? Where are they?

I would hate to be the bearer of negativity but it is a theory that I have that since this intrusion happened so long ago that the person or persons responsible may no longer be living. It is just one theory. Another theory is that the person or persons responsible got the hell out of Dodge to avoid capture and arrest and have been living unnoticed in society and they have never attempted the same action again.

Yet I wonder if any good fan-fiction writing has evolved because of this??

Other signal intrusions include 1977 in England with a direct and clear message. Otherwise known as The Vrillion Intrusion. Someone overran the signal to a UHF television station.

May 2007 in Lincroft, New Jersey a Comcast feed of “Handy Manny” was interrupted by hard-core pornography. An investigation took place but authorities never released their findings.

February 2009, Comcast’s NBC affliate of KVOA’s broadcast of Superbowl XLIII between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers was interrupted during the fourth quarter and a ten second transmission of the hard-core pornography film called “Wild Cherries 5” took its place. But the piracy was only seen in certain portions of Arizona.

April 2012, three minutes of gay hard-core pornography was broadcast during a morning news program on CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The footage was spliced into the feed of CHCH-TV.

Damn!!

Then on the 11th of February 2013, the EAS (Emergency Alert System) Great Falls, Montana CBS affiliate KRTV-TV  been hacked with an audible message warning viewers that “dead bodies are rising from their graves”.

Later the same night in Marquette, Michigan, the same type of hijacking and reference to a “zombie invasion” was made over the EAS systems of ABC affiliate WBUP-TV and PBS member station WNMU-TV during primetime programming. Shortly afterwards, PBS affiliate KENW-TV of Portales, New Mexico was struck with a similar hacking incident, repeating similar information regarding zombies; however, this led to the arrest of the hacker of the four television stations.

And most disturbing of all:

September 18, 2012, the Disney Channel once again was interrupted on the Dish Network, replacing 6 minutes of “Lilo & Stitch” with a portion of a hardcore pornographic movie. The incident was reported.

There are other incidents of hijacking throughout history that have happened in random cities across the United States of America.

So not only was analog television hacked as it was in the 1980’s, but even satellite and cable television also has been pirated. Some have been found and prosecuted while others remain a totally dark and strange mystery.

I would love to see the person or persons responsible for the 1987 Max Headroom Piracy Intrusion come public and yes even morbidly, I would love to see them take a bow and talk about their experience.

Sadly because of the fear of arrest and imprisonment and fines, I don’t think that its going to happen.

Clips of some of the intrusions listed above, including Max Headroom can be found by searching on YouTube.

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“Taylor Swift seems to be the type of chick that would poke a hole in a condom.” ~ Unknown

So I’m sitting here this evening catching up with one of my best friends over the telephone. And she knew that my demeanor over the past week has been sour.

She tells me that she is house sitting over at her parents house. And we talk for a while. Not as long as we would normally, but long enough.

So she proceeds to tell me this story that she had receive a “shit ton” of condoms and other prophylactics that is stored in a bathroom drawer that she used when she was living at home.

But the thing is that she also had stored in the home of her parents, a vibrator and a bunch of the morning after pills.

As she came back home to house sit, she saw that the condoms were gone. Disappeared!! It had been evident to her that her mother came into that bathroom and just cleaned out everything.

So I don’t even wanna know WHY she has a “shit ton” of condoms and a vibrator and the morning after pills stashed at her parents house. And I don’t wanna know where she got them all from. But I will say that she’s quite horny.

Meanwhile I am on the other side of the telephone conversation dying with laughter and on the brink of pissing in my pants.

The vibrator and the pills were removed, but the condoms were left behind believing that she would smuggle those out of the house at a later time. But they were gone.

And I am sitting there laughing until I cannot breathe because that had to be so frightening to know that your parents took away your safe sex items from you.

Depression-During-Pregnancy

Thankfully the condoms were not removed. Otherwise this could have happened.

My own climax from the laughter came when she admitted that she found the condoms neatly stacked  and organized in another part of the bathroom. They were not confiscated, just relocated.

So we sat there trying to imagine what it would have been like for her mother to find the pills and the vibrator. Its just too damned funny.

What kind of reaction would ANY parent have to find such things in their home that was set aside by their children? Especially condoms?????

What would YOUR reaction be if this was happening with YOUR CHILDREN???? I am sure that we all would have different reactions.

The tale of the missing condoms was just too great for me to deny. Yeah, I was in a shitty mood earlier. But now I’m sweating profusely and trying to gasp for air for laughing so hard.

And I’ve probably yet again alerted the neighbors that I found something to be hilarious.

I truly and honestly have one helluva group of friends. And I love them all to death and they know it.

But the missing condoms story was too funny.

 

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Money definitely doesn’t grow on trees. At least not how we all would like to believe.

This morning, I had a visit with the RN.

She said that I was doing very well and improving at a spectacular rate. Something that they always like to report and that we like to hear.

Then she asked me if I had remembered the conversation that she and I had about my goals to get to sledge hockey tournament in Boston in 2014.

The Austin Blades program isn’t going to help if any of us players want to go to this tournament. So we have to do this on our own and raise enough money to go.

This RN apparently discussed it at some capacity with another patient of hers earlier in the week. And when she came by for a visit this morning, she reminded me that I was needing all the help I could get.

This patient, or whomever she told about my story…. proved to me that there are still nice people out there in this world.

This person (unknown to me because of laws) gave a cash donation of $10.

I was so excited and surprised that I couldn’t even think straight!!! 10dollar

A total stranger. I do not know exactly what was said. And I do not know who this person is. And I will never know, but they felt interested enough in helping me reach the goal.

A teammate of mine (the other assistant captain) vowed this season that when we heard where the next year’s tournament was going to be, that he and I would work together in trying to get the money together to go. We both would go, even if nobody else from the Austin Blades went.

So the fundraising is a little different, since everything is going to be split between the two of us. The goal is definitely not as high as my personal fundraising site that I put together on my own last year… which is still available to receive donations. That one is up to help me upgrade my equipment and be able to return what was loaned to me back to the team so we have that equipment for new players in the future.  IF you are interested in that one, please let me know.

This campaign though is for two people. Two players strongly passionate about the game of sledge hockey that its all we ever talk about when we get together. Eventually at some point in the conversation between he and I, the topic of sledge hockey or the team will dominate our conversation.

We’ve both gone as far as to say that sledge hockey is in our veins.

My partner in this adventure has already stated that he doesn’t want any presents given to him for any holiday, whether it be Father’s Day, a birthday, or even Christmas. Instead he wants people to donate to help him get to Boston.

I have jumped on that as well. I would request that anyone thinking about a Christmas gift or birthday to go ahead and just make a donation to help me out as well.  fundraiser-2

Let’s face it though: fund raising is very difficult. Especially for things like this. I hate to sound like I am begging as well. But nobody can get anywhere if they do not ask.

And even though it is really early before the start of the tournament…. I believe an early start is a great head start!!!!

I already have received a donation from the kindness of a complete and total stranger. And I am very thankful for that person. So whoever you are– THANK YOU!!!

And if you are reading this and feel that you are interested in helping, or inspired by the story of the anonymous donation, the link to the site is in the Blogroll. Or you can click on the link provided below.

Even if you are not willing or ready to make a donation, by sharing the story of the stranger and the link would be very, very, very helpful.

We are not looking for or anticipating donations of large amounts. Anything obviously will help. And the more of those kinds of contributions that are put together then the goal can be met and our dream of once again going out, doing something that we love to do and are very passionate about, and having that personal independence to actually have the ability to play the sport, would make every cent and dollar that much more special.

So please help if you can. And spread the word. Think of the kind stranger who doesn’t even know me but still had enough in their heart to believe in me.

Thank you.

http://www.gofundme.com/2t2pvs

 

 

“Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery.”~ Henry Miller

Last November, I would fall upon a mystery that still has not been solved. This blog post is the very long and detailed story and the follow-up.

From the time that the sledge hockey team was on the road for the very first time in the program’s history, having that opportunity to go somewhere else and play, we found ourselves in Houston. We played for many hours in just over 27 hours and did all of that and came home.

Being that the second day of playing would lead us to our first visit to Ice Skate USA, inside of a shopping mall.

We had time between games and so the team stayed in the mall and took the time to look around, walk through places, and get something to eat at the food court.

Then it began. The true mystery that has been keeping me in the dark for months now.

A woman caught my eye. She looked at me and smiled so sweetly and waved doing that finger rolling kind of wave. Then as she passed by, she mouthed the words “hi there!” and continued on. It hit me like a ton of brick dust.

Her bright smile, her long wavy red hair, and her constant desire to wave wiggling her finger tips whenever she saw me inside the mall completely had my senses going at the speed of light.

She was working there as a train conductor. A fun ride for the children up to a certain height and/or their parents. And a quick lap or two and back again. And that is why I saw her in all kinds of different places throughout this shopping mall. Each time and without fail, if she saw me… she smiled really big and waved in the same fashion. And it was several times, not just two or three.

Could be that she suddenly was interested? What is going on with that wave? Does she always wave like that to people?  Or was it a case of her just being friendly, polite, and warm?? What the heck was going on???

I sat there with my thoughts, knowing I still had about a half an hour to kill in the mall before leaving to go to my next hockey match. And then I said to myself, “Screw this! I’m going to go talk to her!!”.

I knew that my history of speaking to women was less than admirable and would never be considered to go down into the history books . That and being full of shyness. But in this case I felt that I had absolutely nothing to lose by going over and saying “hello”.

I figured that if it turned out to be a disaster that because of the fact that I was from out of town, that I most likely would never see her again. But I never considered what would happen if I did speak to her and things went over well. I mean after all, every time I saw her, she waved and smiled really big.

I went over to the side of the shopping mall where this train that she was driving would start and stop. A nice mural painted on the wall to give a feeling of a train depot from long ago, complete with boardwalk.

But the train was not there. She was on the move somewhere. But the mall was so big, and I was honestly tired from the hockey, so I didn’t go after her or try to hunt her down.

It would seem like an eternity as I played “Beat the clock before I have to leave”. And after what was even longer of an eternity, finally I heard the dinging of the bell and cry of the whistle and I was right in her path!!

So in order to avoid being ran over by something that was probably going less than 2 MPH, I backed off. But I was actually close enough to her that I could have extended my arm and touched her.

As she rolled by, she saw me again. I caught her in the middle of eating a snack, and she still waved at me in the same manner, even though her snack food was between her fingers and she smiled. Giggling to herself that I caught her with food in her mouth as she grinned as best possible.

I patiently waited for her to stop the train and begin the process of letting parents and children off the ride. And then I was going to make my move and at very least…  say hello.

It would not happen.

The ultimate definition of the “cock block” came into play when a teammate of mine poked me in the arm and started asking questions about what I was doing and when I was leaving the mall to go play our next match and with whom I was going with.

Mindless chatter and absolutely nothing too important for him to be asking about. Just general FYI stuff. But each and every second was counting and unfortunately ticking away.

I had to be a little rude to him by saying that I was about to “go talk to a girl” and I wanted to do it before we had to leave. Eventually he got the point and left me alone. But like I said, this would not happen for me.

When this woman left with another round of parents and children, I waved and she smiled and waved back. But I could no longer afford to wait for her to return.

Waving like an idiot and over-emphasizing it was all I could do. And even though the train was moving as slow as mud, there were too many people in the mall walking around that I couldn’t just roll up along side her and have a conversation as she moved around the building and doing all of it before I had to leave.

I was out of time.

So then, it was time for Operation: Hope That We Get Invited Back Again To Play Sledge Hockey At The Same Rink In The Future So I Could See Her Again.

It would happen, in March of this year. Well, the invitation to play again.

A few players from my team went to Houston to scrimmage, and formulate plans for our upcoming tournament. After it was all said and done, I bolted like lightning over to the “train depot”, only to find nobody working there.

A few minutes later, the train was in action, but it was not the same wavy redhead with the gorgeous smile. She wasn’t there. And our team returned home just as quickly as we had arrived. All in one day.

It would be six full months before I would return to Houston AND see her again, all in the same trip. And that was during the Paralympic Sport Experience that I wrote about in my previous blog.

Same ice rink, same mall…. an opportunity had come. But I didn’t have a lot of time for chit-chat. Again, tired from the hockey, hungry, thirsty, and everything else in between.

But I did it. I went over there and I just started to watch for the perfect moment to say something to her while she loaded and unloaded her passengers. I would soon learn that she had her job down to a near science.

Stop. Unload. Receive money for tickets. Load passengers. Hand out tickets. Go.

The best I did at that point was take a few pictures of her. Unfortunately I understand that from a person’s viewpoint, it does look a bit creepy because in one photograph her back was turned. To be brutally honest, she was looking in my direction and turned around at the last second before the camera took the photograph. My fingers can be so slow when it comes to photography. Or at least my reaction time stinks!!

But the flash went off and she definitely noticed it. She saw me there, camera in my hand and just giggled and smiled and waved yet again.

I wondered why in the world I was sitting there, so I approached her. Her routine was very quick as she moved people on and off. I didn’t think that I was going to get a lot of conversation in. Even though I was aware that yes… this IS her job!! And her loitering could get her fired. I didn’t want to do that.

I really did surprise myself that she was actually beginning to multi-task with me while working. From moment to moment, I would back off so she could deal with her customers. Then I would start talking again.

The end result was that I asked her if I could get another photograph of her, basically asking her permission. She agreed.

Then she went over to one of the children in the lead car and was playful with him. It was a pretty safe bet that this child might have been hers. But I noticed an older gentleman sitting next to him, and then another child.

I asked if that was her family and she said, “That is my son.” Then we took a picture together, capturing that glorious smile of hers.

I could feel the bullets flying overhead, narrowly missing my face as she never mentioned “that’s my husband/boyfriend/whatever”. I believe that if she would have admitted to being married or taken or whatever else have you, that I would have felt all of it to be in vain without thinking clearly at the possibility of the genesis of a new friendship. Even if I was still living far, far away.

I explained that I was in town for the hockey and I would be in and out of Houston for a while. (Both for sledge hockey and for SIX MINUTE CENTURY). And I mentioned that I just might be living there one day.

Then… and I don’t know why… and ONLY then did I introduce myself by first name only. She reciprocated with the same politeness and personal information. I shook her hand and gave her my card.

The nerves finally came to the surface as I began to shudder and fumble my own speech as I encouraged her to either send me an e-mail or find me on Facebook. Her reply was “Okay sure.” Then I watched as she stuffed my personal card down the front of her conductor’s overalls.

I repeated her name to make sure I heard her right and again she reciprocated the action. I’ve read online articles about what that means when women do that…. could it be true???

I bid her farewell. And she said, “Nice to meet you. Welcome to Houston”.

Then I left, sharing the tale of what just transpired to anyone that would frickin’ listen. Later on, I would end up going into the food court and joining my team for a little hanging out time and rest before we went to check into our hotel. 

I kept looking at my camera numerous times at the few photographs that I had taken and suddenly very eager to get back home. Plus I wouldn’t stop talking about the “success” I had and I could not believe how “easy” it was to have done what I did do.

When we finally left the mall for good, we passed by and I went over towards the “depot” but kept my distance again. Our eyes locked and I waved and she waved back. Then I just turned around and left, not knowing if her eyes were burning through the back of my head as I rolled away.

I think my teammates wanted to throw me out into the streets and have me wheel home because I wouldn’t shut up about it.

But the following morning meant more hockey, and I would have to wait before I came home to even see if she had e-mailed, called, or found me on Facebook.

So far to the point of the writing of this post… she has not.

I do realize that my 500 business cards that I ordered was meant expressly for the promotion of sledge hockey and possibly earn donations or even attract some people to join our team and enjoy the sport as much as the rest of the team enjoys it. But many times, I have also given those cards out to women that I found interesting.

Sad to say that the history of my card distribution has had zero results. So in a way, I could say that the odds are against me for this woman to contact me. Of course I met her at her job, and she does have a small child so life could be pretty busy for her. I can only keep optimistic and cross my fingers that she does contact me in some manner.

I can’t say for sure, nor would I want to say what will happen. Positivity is key. One simply never really knows.

The first layer of the onion mystery is gone now though. I know what her first name is, and I know that she has a son. Nothing more… the mystery continues and I intend to pursue until it is done.