Since June of 1998 I’ve resided in a small Illinois town on the Muddy Mississippi called Alton. And recently, somewhat against my will, I’ve finally moved away from there, across the country and into a small Oregon town. In the seven years that I’ve resided in Alton, I’ve spearheaded many projects designed solely to irritate local residents and to amuse myself and/or friends. It’s hard to say whether or not Alton will miss my various forms of harassment and schemes. In one sense, my friends and I really pissed off quite a few people. But on the other hand, many more people laughed as a result. It’s not easy to weigh the good/evil in all of my schemes. For the most part I guess I don’t care since I was rarely the butt of the jokes.
Below is a brief synopsis of almost all the havoc that’s been caused by myself and friends. This should give everyone a fairly clear view of how much of a burden on society I really am. And Oregon an idea of what to expect to ensue for the next decade or so. I’m only including Alton-area incidents from the past seven years, even though my assult on the area goes back several decades to include horrible things I did as a kid, the cat shit in a purse incident, the Dino Allsman incident, looting Wood River’s 7-Eleven, etc. Most of the things listed here, hard-core visitors will remember. But quite a bit of it has never been published until now.
- UFO Scares: In the early 2000’s I decided that a UFO scare would be a good way to stir up the Alton residents and possibly make the newspapers. My first attempt at creating fake UFO sightings involved glow sticks and helium balloons. It took just 6 balloons to carry a bright glow stick into the sky. But it didn’t really linger there too long and it was completely out of sight within 15 minutes. It’s unlikely anyone noticed. A 2nd attempt with a glowstick produced equally disappointing results. A 3rd attempt was made when RijilV was visiting and we tried to make hot air balloons out of candles and plastic bags. Our plastic bags were too heavy so we didn’t managed to launch anything very high. RijilV left town before we ever got around to making a 4th attempt with the proper size of plastic bags. Even though my UFO scare attempt was a complete failure, I’m listing it anyway.
- McDonald’s Sign: This incident has become one of the most visited pages on the site – one day I noticed a sign in McDonald’s parking lot that could use a little spicing up. I produced my own professional-looking sign with some suggestive wording on it. And a few months later, I did another one and topped off the whole thing with a prank call to the manager who wasn’t amused.
- Soda Cup on the Car: This one was pretty simple and juvenile – EvilCal and I lined the bottom of a Hardee’s soda cup with magnets, stuck it to the top of my Dodge Shadow and then drove around populated areas, laughing hysterically at all the people who tried to tell us that we left our soda on the car.
- Eastgate Cinema: In 2003, my brother and I went to see The Matrix 2 on opening weekend at Eastgate. Murd0c knew I was going to see it. So 45 minutes into the movie the projector shuts down, the lights come on and a theater employee starts yelling that there’s an emergency phone call for Brad Carter. It turns out that Murd0c and a few others on the PLA voice bridge, impersonated state police and talked the theater manager into shutting off The Matrix 2 on both screens on opening weekend just to have me paged. That was some impressive social engineering – making a full house of 2 screens (probably at least 500 seats filled) unhappy all at once. It’s hard to feel guilty about this since The Matrix 2 sucked so bad.
Another incident at Eastgate Cinema was when we managed to change the movie recording line’s outgoing greeting to a bunch of porno titles. Murd0c and I called up the theater and convinced them to tell us the brand of their answering machine and the secret code on the machine that allowed us to change the greeting. The new porno greeting lasted most of the afternoon and evening, then they completely removed the machine for a few days until they could buy a new one. A year later, an assistant manager of the theater emailed me and seemed to be amused by the incident. She said there was a large “incident report” filed about the porno greeting which included portions of my website. She claimed she would get me a copy of the report but she never came through with it. I have no idea how Eastgate knew that I was responsible – the lady that emailed me also knew that I was responsible for the McDonald’s sign.
- Wendy’s Spelling Bee: My brother noticed an obvious misspelling on the Alton Wendy’s sign and decided to call me about it. Amy and I immediately went to work with making prank calls to the Wendy’s employees. We convinced an employee that we were with a radio station and doing a spelling game. When the employee spelled the word right, we told her she was wrong, argued with her about it and then referred her to the sign outside to prove ourselves right. The next day, the sign was changed.
- Target’s Walkie Talkies: A year or so before moving to Alton, Colleen and I acquired some walkie talkies from a Target store in Oregon. After screwing with the Oregon Target a few times, the walkie talkies ended up unused for years. We were happy to find, after moving to Alton, that the Alton Target store used the exact same two frequencies and PL tones on their walkie talkies that the Oregon store did. Evilcal and I spent a few day/nights talking to the employees, requesting bizarre price checks and generally causing all kinds of store manager unhappiness. This kept up for much of a year until I finally fried two of the walkie talkies by giving them too much power and giving the other one away to PhusionByte. Several years later, RijilV and his friend caused similar confusion at the Alton Target for a few days with their Yaesu radios.
- Happy Birthday at Hardees: EvilCal and I drove around town putting signs on fast food drive-thru boards, encouraging customers to do silly things. We listened to the results on a police scanner, while videotaping the fun. The Hardees video encourages Hardees customers to sing Happy Birthday for a free meal, resulting in some very nice off-key singing.
- Taco Bell Takeover: Using Yaesu radios, my friends were able to assume control of a local Taco Bell’s drive-thru. Instead of talking to the employees inside the store, they ended up talking to us. And they sure didn’t like it when “the employees” told them they were too fat to order so much food. At one point, we even videotaped the manager of Taco Bell coming out to our car to explain all the drive-thru craziness to us, then an employee talking to us about the strange drive-thru problems.
- Elephant & Bird: This started out as boredom and quickly turned into a fun little project. It’s a puppet show, done with green screens about phone fraud. It includes scenes from several locations around the Alton area, such as the upper Alton post office, the Wood River Radio Shack and a downtown Alton pay phone. In the end, the phone fraudster puppets get thrown into Alton’s jail. Oddly enough, we didn’t annoy any local residents with this project.
- Drive-Thru Shenanigans: Amy and Tami call me up late one night and talk me into going out with them to mess with fast food drive-thrus. We take the Happy Birthday incident a little further this time to include telling bad jokes and singing any song the customer wants.
- What’s Your Bid?: The users on the PLA Forums came up with the idea of “Phone Mobbing” where we would all call into certain phone numbers for various purposes. Our second mob was organized by me – I got a bunch of forum members and site visitors to call into WBGZ’s Saturday call-in show called What’s Your Bid. Our goal was to say the word “cactus” as often as possible. But this quickly escalated into saying lots of cuss words on the air. Lots of hilarity ensued that morning and the host of the show summed it up as being an “hour of foolishness.”
- Alton Online: I think the idea of an Alton area web site started out as being somewhat legitimate. I even published a paper newsletter for about a year that was distributed in local computer stores, grocery stores and libraries. But at some point, I turned the entire thing into a huge parody of Alton with fake news stories and fairly amusing images from around the area. The site still exists of this writing, with all of the old content intact.
- Rusty at Winair: My friend Amy frequently called businesses I was at and harassed the employees so that I could be amused at their reactions. One day, while in an air conditioning shop, she calls up the Rusty the owner of the store and says a bunch of random silliness to him while I stand there waiting in line, listening and snapping pictures of him on the phone with my camera phone. After the call ends, Rusty tells us all how insane it was. Then more customers come in and he tells them how insane it was. I go in a day or 2 later and he’s still talking about it! Days after that, we prank him again and we use a caller ID spoofing service to make the prank call appear to come from his own home. He’s shocked when he dials *69 only to reveal his own phone number. He immediately sends the police to his house to catch the burglars who are harassing him. We can only assume that the police must have thought he was insane. Several other similar incidents happened around town whenever I went into a place, thanks to Amy. But Rusty was one of the more memorable ones.
- Remote Control TV Watch: This isn’t too impressive or creative, but it was fun enough to cause me to write a small article about. I’d purchased a watch from Radio Shack that had a built-in TV remote on it. We had lots of fun with that, changing the channels and turning off TVs in bars and restaurants around Alton. Wow, it sounds even less impressive now that I’ve written about it.
- Freecycle Chaos: Being a frequent user of the Alton Freecycle group, I became annoyed with a certain user of the service. So I spoofed an email from her and posted a message to the group offering all kinds of sexual toys and pornos for free. The lady completely flipped when it happened, posting numerous emails to the group swearing that she wasn’t responsible for the posts, threatening police action, traces, etc. I posted more messages by her, she posted more rebuttals and threats. Other users on the group would tell her to shut up about it, we would post as her and lash back at them. She actually managed to get a member of the Alton Police department to sign up for the group and look around. He unsubscribed a few days later. By the time all the Freecycle chaos ended, everyone was more or less annoyed with her and she ended up disappearing from the group. The whole incident only lasted maybe a week or 2, but it sure livened the group up for awhile.
- Dash for Cash: In 2003, boredom turned into police questioning when I drove to Glen Carbon, Illinois to try filming some pay phone pranks on my own. I sat in the back seat of my car with a video camera pointed at a pay phone that I was calling. My plan was to pretend to be a radio station DJ and get them to run to a location to claim some money. But I never got the chance since a policeman showed up and ruined all my fun. After they let me go, I moved on to the St. Louis riverfront where I succeeded in making a few people run to a nearby riverboat to claim nonexistant money. Me, EvilCal and his girlfriend repeated this prank in 2004 but I never got around to releasing the footage of it. I should quit being lazy and do that…
- Webcam Perverts: My friend Amy was constantly bombared by local guys on Yahoo Messenger, begging her for sex. So she started giving them my address and they would show up at my house so we could watch them on the live webcam that was pointed at the front porch. A few times I answered the door, feigning confusion when they asked for Amy. I would keep a digital recorder running in my pocket just in case anything hilarious was said. But nothing truly hilarious ever happened with that.
- RBCP’s Porch Show: I had a couple of security cameras pointing at my porch and I always had religious people showing up at my house, trying to pray with me or get me to go to their church. So I decided to hook up a couple of VCRs to the cameras, add an intercom and videotape myself having fun with them. Unfortunately, the religious people must have gotten wind of my plan since they stopped showing up soon after this. But I did manage to get a couple of guys from the Church of Jesus Christ on tape, admitting that they canibalize girlscouts.
- Food Coloring on Pay Phones: EvilCal and I drove around Alton one day squirting food coloring on pay phones handsets, then hiding nearby with a video camera and calling them. While it seemed hilarious to make people pick up pay phones and smear food coloring on their faces, it sure didn’t produce very entertaining video.
- Do you Like Paper???: EvilCal and I attend the 2003 Alton Halloween parade with a scheme to promote phonelosers.org and notla.com. We’re not sure if it worked, but EvilCal sure was great at getting the crowds all excited about receiving our advertisements. He had both kids and adults begging for them.
- I Heart Satan: Long after the RBCP’s Porch Show idea was abandoned, some religious people showed up at the door, trying to give me some kind of literature. I said no thanks and they left, going down the street to spread the Word to other neighbors. Stupidly, they left their van parked right in front of my house. I searched Google for some satanic literature, planning to leave it on their windshield. I ended up finding an “I HEART Satan” t-shirt which I quickly turned into a bumper sticker. I ran out, stuck it on their bumper and snapped a picture. The thought of them, tooling around in their van all morning to spread Jesus literature while sporting a pro-satan bumper sticker is just beautiful.