Friday, October 7, 2016

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

  • $17.50 Thursday
  • Troll Hunter Croll
  • Elvis Enters Building In 8 Days

Doing what you love....

Last night, I went out and busked. My focus was upon, first, one thing; time; and then I added to my perspective later in the evening.

I checked my phone as I went out the door. It was 10:26 PM.

I checked it again when I was at The Quartermaster picking up a milk crate: 10:45.

10 minutes later, I had ridden down the street to the Lilly Pad, locked up my bike, set up my stage, tuned the guitar and plucked my first note.

This will help me in the future when, after looking at the clock on my wall, I consider calling off the night's work due to the lateness of the hour. I can be playing a half hour later.

There were people out on this Thursday night and the balcony from which Beyonce type music had been blaring the night before, was dark and quiet.

I eked out 17 dollars and 50 cents before I needed to take a break to use the restroom at 12:42, then decided not to set up again.

$17.50 divided by 106 minutes equals about $9.90 an hour and is a sign that things are picking up around here in fulfillment of the prophesies of the "It'll start picking up in October" birds.

There is certainly a lot more money to be made by fighting back at the daytime cacophony of Royal Street with an amplifier. But even Johnny B., who used to knock off at around 11 PM after Royal Street had died down had been surprised to see how things were just picking up at that hour around Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern.

I came to the realization that I am working and making money, even when people are walking past and not stopping to tip; because I am honing the songs, something; which will "pay off" in the future.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Officer in stable condition; asking for dispatcher named "Marge"
Yesterday, when I checked my e-mail, I had a start to see that I had mail pertaining to a comment made under the head of "Blogs Removed For Cause."

It was about 9 years ago now that this whole blog was removed from the server because "malware" was purportedly found on it. I lost every post from when I started the blog in July, 2006 up to sometime in early 2009, when the deletion occured.

I think it was a result of my blogging from a computer at a homeless shelter in Saint Augustine, Florida which was open to the homeless public and required no password to log on to.

The computer was being used by a slew of other homeless people, many of whom were trying to apply for food stamps, disability and other things, pursuant to which they were typing in their names and dates of birth and social security numbers and, of course, their personal passwords for any accounts that they already had.

It was a fecund field for any computer savvy person to have planted, say, a keystroke recording program that would automatically transmit the data to another computer, who could then reek all kinds of havoc upon the downtrodden homeless, assuming their identities, pirating their benefits checks, etc.

The fact that there weren't any reports of that having happened was probably due to the fact that the denizens of the St.Francis House homeless shelter had such low credit ratings, extensive criminal records and mental health related dealings that, despite the $505 per month that they might have been getting in the form of "crazy checks" -a drop in a bucket to any hacker worth his salt- their identities weren't worth stealing.

What did happen, though, was that I tried to post to my blog one day and got the "Blog removed for cause" message. This was shortly after I had added the functionality of a hit counter to it. It was a "free" hit counter (just cut the code and paste it into the template of your blog). One of my late father's mottoes was "There's nothing free in this world, son,' one that had slipped my mind as I was cutting and pasting. I believe that the free hit counter was not only counting the number of visitors to my blog but was shaking them down in some other way.

[Tecno speak: Perhaps, since it counted unique visitors i.e. if one person looked at the blog twice in one day, that would be 2 visits, but by only one visitor; it had some way of distinguishing between computers, and the IP addresses seem a likely vehicle for that]

I visited the Blogger "help" forum and posted a plea for help under the heading of "Blog removed for cause."

But, being a novice, I made my plea much too wordy, basically telling the life story of my blog and describing it in detail and what it meant to me, giving specific examples of the kind of humor, for example, that my readers seemed to enjoy; and would someone please have sympathy for me and help submit my blog for review by an actual human being. The homeless shelter computer was completely locked out of Blogger, aside from being screwed up in myriad other ways, creating the catch-22 that I couldn't even log on to get to the "my blog is not spam, please help me" link.

And, being a novice, I started a new "thread" with that post to the help forum.

"Why did he write so much, and why did he start a new thread?" asked somebody in a comment to the original thread that I should have commented under.
And now, the troll is mocking me!!

Chuck Croll (left) the PHD in computer science who was serving mankind by fighting online evil replied something that I now paraphrase: Because he is after us! He's after every one of us. He is a troll. I know who he is. He used to go by the name "(whatever it was)" but now he is apparently Daniel McKenna. I'm going to try to have him blocked him from this group, and I'm going to try to see if he's been posting anywhere else and shut him down.

And so, pretty shocked, I posted another comment, explaining that I was new to "all this" and had created a blog by simply going to blogger and clicking on "create a blog," (after I had skimmed through Blogging For Dummies at the Barnes and Noble without buying it). I even apologized for having started a new thread, saying that I didn't even know what a troll or a thread was.
This elicited a response something like: "You've had a blog for almost three years and you don't know what a thread is? Give me a break. Wanna know what a troll is, look in the mirror you piece of shit!"

And, so, I did lose almost three years of blogging, recovering only the posts that some of my readers had shared or had stored on their hard drives. I remember getting "what happened to your blog?" e-mails from the Lidgeleys and my mom to name a couple.

I could do no more than start a new blog (this one) and hope that (maybe since Google bought out Blogger) their technology is more advanced now when it comes to detecting malware and spam and trolls and phishers (whatever those are, Chuck, if you're reading LOL) etc.

But, I do blog now from the Sacred Heart computers which are open to all residents of the building, some of whom exposing themselves and the computers to certain risks, due to their naivety and gullibility. "Hey, I think I won a million dollars!" one likeable, but somewhat mentally challenged, resident recently exclaimed from behind one of the computers.

And so, yes, I had quite a start when I opened my inbox to see that I had received notice that a comment had been made on that 9 year old relic from the Blogger help forum. I immediately did a full backup of the blog; before even reading it.

After I calmed down a bit, I determined that someone had commented on the topic which had been fallow since 2010, and so this "follow up comment" which it was, was mailed to me.

It had initially ran through my mind that Chuck Croll in a never ceasing pursuit had finally caught up to me, troll that I am, and was going to find a way to have this blog removed (because of all the spam that it is disseminating.)*

*one of the things that that made Chuck Croll suspect that I might have been trolling the help forum back then was that, in describing my blog and what it meant to me, I filled in details about my life like: "Right now I'm in St. Augustine where I've gotten the idea to learn Brittany Spears songs and stand in front of her likeness which is in the front window of the wax museum, and perform them." At that time (2009) Ms. Spears was still one of the most searched for entities on the web, and somehow it was very troll-like of me to have slipped her name into a help forum comment -and in a new thread, at that -D' oh!!

About a year ago, I got a friend request on Facebook from none other than Chuck Croll, from Martinez, California. I wondered how he had gotten to me on Facebook. I wondered if at some later time he realized that I had never been a troll and wanted to apologize to me after all these years, and console me over all the work I had lost.

I declined the request, not wanting to touch him with a 2,800 mile pole, kind of fearful of someone who provides technical solutions to problems that are baffling ordinary users; thinking that he might have put my e-mail address into some kind of troll tracking database and had finally gotten a "hit" for me on Facebook.

If I talk to an expert who tells me that I have nothing to lose by friending him on Facebook, I might do it.

He has thousands of followers because he still provides technical help to bloggers, for "advanced web designing" for example.

Part of me wants to see if he wants to apologize, or perhaps offer an explanation: "We were using a flawed paradigm that was giving us false negative readings in certain rare instances such as yours. I retrieved your blog but had no way of contacting you. I wound up reading it and found it entertaining and I feel just terrible about having called you a troll. Is there anything I can do to make up for it, can I wire you a couple thousand dollars?"

And part of me wants to let sleeping dogs lie.

You Know You've Made It When You Follow Kenny Rogers

This Elvis Costello thing has put butterflies in my stomach.

Butterflies are both the bane of a musician's existence and a good sign, signifying that he is at least passionate enough about what he is doing to feel physical symptoms (queasiness, jitters, vomiting) at the thought of an impending performance.

Totally bombing produces a minus 90 on the emotional scale (akin to seeing your dog hit by a car) but that is the stake which must be put up in order to go for the +125 of being hugely successful (akin to how Evel Knievel probably felt, at times).

It should be just another busking endeavor for me, yet, I know the fervor of Elvis' knowledgeable fans, and can already imagine the enthusiasm with which they will welcome a guy whose performance reenacts a famous scene and depicts the lore of their hero having landed a U.S. recording contract by busking outside of an RCA music executives convention, back in the mid 70's.
I can also imagine that a slew of songs might be requested of me which I wouldn't attempt, out of reverence for them, and the fact that I hadn't practiced them enough to do them justice.

This is partly a result of my laptop having fried almost a year ago now, and the resulting loss of my ability to listen repeatedly to the songs, playing along with them, slowing them down, if helpful, and having the lyrics in front of me in another window.

I would love to be able to supplement the songs that I know, which all come from the 80's, with at least one or two newer songs, like "Church Underground," Brilliant Mistake" or "Five Small Words."
The show at the Saenger Theater will be there a week after Kenny Rogers plays, tomorrow night.
One way that I could have one of those songs in my repertoire would be to spend 15 of the 20 dollars that I have on me now on a CD player/radio which is for sale at the Goodwill at that price, and then to get someone to burn the new songs onto a blank CD using their computers after downloading the songs from, which is where I had gotten 1,200 hours of music when my laptop was up and running.

There are other solutions, but I don't want to spend money on temporary ones which will just bleed money away from the ultimate replacement fund for a new laptop. Buying a new phone that has the ability to store mp3 files might be another inexpensive solution.



alex carter said...

According to this:

There are nine Charles Crolls's in Martinez, California, all of whom are the same one.

I'm pretty certain he lives in Martinez, California because that is where his parents live and thus he must live, in his old bedroom with the Revell model planes hanging from the ceiling and that his parents have lovingly kept, not knowing that he actually started 'em but traded other toys to some other more skilled kid to finish and paint.

My advice to you and to anyone reading this, is that if you are making a living in the real world doing something like busking, that any blabbering on the internet is a mere frill. The internet will not feed you, help you when you're down, or anything. I see endless posts on the "assistance" area of Reddit, a popular internet site, and all those people asking for gas money etc would get help much quicker, really get help at all, by simply getting out a marker and some cardboard and making a sign and appealing to the real world for the solution to their real world problem.

This Croll character was probably a real whiz in the days of Windows 3.1x and keyboard macros, but the fact that he's hiding out in Martinez, one of the least fashionable places you can be in the Bay Area and still be (grudgingly) accepted as "yeah, OK, I guess you live in the Bay Area...." tells us a lot.

Daniel McKenna said...

Yeah, for the guy to be so cock-sure that I was a troll; because he assumed that I was whomever was using the computer at the shelter as a proxy -and I couldn't tell him otherwise (as if it never occurred to him that that could be the case)- made him seem obtuse, despite his technical understanding.
A scary kind of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" person.
It would be like if someone found your phone lying somewhere and called in a bomb threat with it; and detective Chuck thought he had been so clever in tracing it to "you" that he just didn't want to hear of any other possibility, because it would mean that he had been wrong.

You didn't mention Chuck's collection of rare fish that he actually had to get license to keep in a special aquarium, because they are on the endangered species list, all of which he named after silent movie stars...

Funny how locations and status go hand in hand out there; I always gleaned that the line "She's got a flat in Encino," from Frank Zappa's "Valley Girl" had some kind of inside meaning...

alex carter said...

Well, we've got tons and tons of people who used to have good, or at least decent, jobs in tech 30 or more years ago and now that's all gone except for a tiny upper crust who tend to be from all over the world, having the one characteristic in common that they're upper-middle-class from birth. I don't care whether you're talking about Jobs, Zuckerberg, Gates, any of the most recent wunderkinder, they're all born and destined to be upper-middle-class to wealthy and it really doesn't matter what they do; they know the people, hire the peons to do the actual programming, and all's well as long as you're born into that class.

Joke's on those who actually thought that if they studied hard and kept their noses clean they'd do any better than they did when mowing lawns over the summer in high school.

That's obviously what's happened to this Croll fellow, just like it's happened to you and me and any of a number of people you or I know, who trained to be techs or engineers and are now homeless.

Croll's just not handling it as gracefully as most.