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Current issue : #47 | Release date : 1995-04-15 | Editor : Erik Bloodaxe
IntroductionErik Bloodaxe
Phrack LoopbackPhrack Staff
Line NoisePhrack Staff
Line NoisePhrack Staff
The #hack FAQ (Part 1)voyager
The #hack FAQ (Part 2)voyager
The #hack FAQ (Part 3)voyager
The #hack FAQ (Part 4)voyager
DEFCon InformationPhrack Staff
HoHoConNetta Gilboa
HoHoConCount Zero
HoHo Miscellanyvarious
An Overview of Prepaid Calling CardsTreason
The Glenayre GL3000 Paging and Voice Retrieval SystemArmitage
Complete Guide to Hacking Meridian Voice MailSubstance
DBS Primer from American Hacker Magazineunknown
Your New Windows Background (Part 1)The Man
Your New Windows Background (Part 2)Substance
A Guide To British Telecom's Caller ID ServiceDr. B0B
A Day in The Life of a Warez BrokerXxxx Xxxxxxxx
International Scenesvarious
Phrack World NewsDatastream Cowboy
Title : HoHoCon
Author : Count Zero
                              ==Phrack Magazine==

                 Volume Six, Issue Forty-Seven, File 11 of 22


   Yep, grab hold of yer brainstem cuz here comes another mind-numbing,
   alcohol-soaked, synapse-shakin', reality-bending review of HOHOCON!!

                 >>HOHOCON 1994...The Insanity Continues<<

                        Direct from the keyboard of
            Count "Funk-Master of L0\/3 and Mayhem" Zero *cDc*.

(what follows is my subjective, semi-truthful, self-centered,
quasi-chronological tour of HoHo '94...if you're not mentioned in it,
then you obviously didn't buy me a drink)

"It starts"..
12.29.94, Thursday
--------------
Logan Airport, Boston, Massachusetts
6:29 AM
Our flight leaves in one hour.  Decided to pull an all-niter from the day
before.  Rather than beating my body out of REM sleep at this unholy
hour, I opt for the familiar slow death of sleep deprivation.  No matter.
The tablets of ephedrine pulled me through, and now I sit in an airport
restaurant smoking Camels and waiting for something to happen.

As usual, it does.

Deth Veggie, Iskra, and Basil arrive, ready for action...we board the
plane and jump into the sky.   "I like this airline...Delta....it's
not just an airline, it's a Greek letter, a symbol of change..." I remark.

"Uh, yeah," comments Veggie. "I wonder if we'll finally discover the
Meaning of Life at this con."  He strains his massive legs against the seat
in front of him, weak airline plastic buckling under the force.

"Fuck metaphysics..." I say, flipping through a wad of cash in my pocket.
"I'll tell you, Veggie...the cDc T-shirts you made are fabulous. You will
surely make heaps of $$$.  *That's* the most important thing!"

Veggie grins widely.  We give each other the sekrit cDc handshake and rub
our silver cow-skull talismans.

Always temper metaphysics with materialism.

Arrival, Thursday afternoon
---------------------
We belly-down in Austin, and grab a cab to the wonderful Ramada.  Outside,
there is a major highway under construction.  Huge vehicles of
construction and destruction mull over piles of dirt and concrete.
Signs of human life are minimal.

"The Ramada at the End of the Universe...Drunkfux always chooses such
scenic locations" I note.  "We can witness the creation of a mass transit
system *and* celebrate our hacker brotherhood simultaneously."  The entire
landscape appears desolate and hostile to organic life.  Nervously biting
my lip, I immediately spot a Dunkin Donuts over the horizon..as does
Basil.  We both have keen survival instincts.

The nearby location of the 24-hr House of Caffeine and Baked Goods marked
in our minds, we enter the hotel.

"The room is $70 a nite," the woman behind the front desk offers.  "We're
with the HoHoCon," says Veggie.  "Don't we get special rates?"  "Heh..
HoHoCon...yes, that means our rooms must cost twice as much," I joke.
The woman behind the front desk looks blankly at me...unaware.  "Like a
deer in the headlights, " I tell Veggie as we collect our keys and walk
to our room.  "And soon, Bambi will be eating a chrome grille..."

A "Suite of the El33tE" sign is hastily drawn up and hung outside our
door.  Veggie unpacks his 17-lb solid concrete Mr. T head and places it
on a table.  The concrete bust's rough base immediately gouges deep
scratches in it with a low grating noise....  "The 'T'
approves," says Veggie.  I have no reason to doubt him, so I remain
silent in awe.

We find that Joe630 and Novocain are also here early...they invite us
into their room to read a large sample of 'alternative zines.'  The
eclectic magazines are fascinating, and I promptly spill a glass of water
on their couch to show my appreciation.  "Uh, just don't trash the
place, " Novocain tells me.  "Of course not," I reply.  "I'm just in a
high entropy state right now..."  I immediately spill my ashtray to
prove it.  (It always helps to follow up thermodynamic theory with
physical proof...I am a true Scientist.)

At some point, we flee after Joe630 demands "hugs" from us...something he
continues throughout the conference.  "Grrrrr...touch me not, boy...I
will not submit to your fondling," I tell him behind clenched teeth as
I back out of the room.  "I'll only hug a man if he's buying me drinks
or I'm trying to lift his wallet..."

Later that night, we hook up with Ixom and Nicko...we invite them
into our room for drinks and a philosophical discussion.  Ixom's new
beard, long and flowing red like the fire of a Duraflame log, mesmerizes
me.  I proceed to take notes on our conversation as Ixom and Nic begin
to debate.  Soon, I begin to suspect they have been drinking a bit
beforehand.

"I like these lights when they're off."

"Are we in the Information Age?"
"Dude, shut up."

(Nic, to me) "Dude, I like your poetry, but just shut up."

"She was like 14, 15, you know, 11, 12..."

"He's always in the bathroom...y'know, he has rabies...diabetes?....
you know."

"I don't need Valium, I'm down on life...." -Veggie

"Heady stuff," I think, jotting notes furiously.  Nic begins a photo
shoot of the Mr. T bust, and we are all fascinated at his skills in
capturing the inanimate object's true nature.  "His true calling is
film," I think as Nic rolls painfully on the floor to capture Mr. T's
pout from a novel angle.  "I must see these prints.."  Nic promises to
give us copies, as soon as he figures out how to remove the exposed
film from the camera.  I suddenly feel the need to drink more.

Friday
---------------
We awake and plan to head into Austin.  Basil finds an ad for a store in
town called "The Corner Shoppe."  "They will give us a free pair of
sunglasses with this coupon!" she exclaims.

"They will give us sunglasses, and much much more..oh yes..." I think.

Rodney, our journalist companion from Canada, joins us in our trek to
the city.  'The Corner Shoppe' turns out to be a small shack-like
store...with a large tent structure in front.  Animal skulls, exotic
hides, trophy mounts, blankets, arrowheads, Indian mandellas, silver
jewelry, rugs, pottery, and plaster sculptures abound...  We wander
over to the tent and begin to browse.  "Look, they have plaster busts
of Elvis and Beethoven on the same shelf," Basil remarks.  "This is
truly a Store of Symmetry," I reply, as I run my fingers over a large,
bleached cow skull.  The papery-smooth bone is cool and dry on my hands,
and I wonder about the fate of the rest of the mighty beast.  I imagine
the live cow roaming fields, chewing cud, powerful flanks driving it up
and down verdant hills of grass.  A skull is more than an object, it is
a link to the once-living creature...  "To this favor, she must come" I
mumble to myself, lost in introspection.  "What?" asks Veggie?
"Nothing," I reply, shaking the thoughts from my mind.  "Let us go
inside and secure the sunglasses."  Never forget one's true purpose.

All the native creatures of Texas are inside the store...albeit, dead.
Stuffed, desiccated, mounted...and all available for purchase.  "Do you
have a scorpion mounted in a bolo?" I ask the proprietor.  "No, well, we
did, but you know, Christmas...we were cleaned out," she sullenly
replies.  "No problem," I grin back at her.  "I am disappointed, but not
dejected.  You have a fine establishment here."  She smiles back and
begins to show me an assortment of desiccated rattlesnakes.  "Of all
creatures, reptiles remain the most lifelike in death," I affirm.  She
smiles nervously and points me towards the stuffed frogs.  "Silly woman,
these are mere amphibians," I think to myself, but I follow her anyway.

Veggie offers the other employee a sacred cDc silver cow skull talisman
as a gift.  "Say, this is nice..never seen anything like it....I rope
steer, and was going to put a silver cross on my baseball cap...but I
think I'll put this on it instead," he says excitedly.   "Zero, this
*proves* that cDc is more popular than God!" Veggie whispers to me in
private.  "Undoubtedly," I respond.  We bask in the moment.

Iskra finds an elephant skull lurking on a cabinet.  We are amazed at
the cranial capacity.  I purchase a fine cow skull (complete with hanging
hook).  After a few hours, Basil finally selects a pair of sunglasses
(free) and we begin to walk aimlessly around the fringes of the city.
Entering a Salvation Army store, Rodney begins to film us as we pick
through the remnants of other people's lives...  "Are you guys in a rock
band?" another customer asks me.  "Yes, I play Extended Keyboards,"
I answer back, my attention lost in a milk crate full of used '80s
cassette tapes.  Memories for sale...wholesale...  We buy some plastic
guns and leave.

Later, we stop for food at an Indian restaurant.  "Inexpensive buffet...
cool.." I think.  However, the curry chicken is full of bones.
"Grrr...I am not pleased...these bones anger me..."  "But the vegetables
are pretty good," comments Veggie.  "I need meat...I need to tear and
rend flesh, " I snap back, on the verge of making an ugly scene.
Leaving the restaurant, we immediately purchase hard liquor for the
trip back to the hotel.  Basil buys some Goldschlager.  Veggie, some
Everclear and V8 juice....  Rodney and Iskra, a large assortment of
beer.  Still filled with anger, I buy a pint of Southern Comfort out
of spite.

Friday night, many people arrive.  "Rambone!  Crimson Death!  Holistic!"
I exclaim as I see my old, dear friends.  Rambone's hair is much longer,
Holistic is noticeably more hirsute, and Crimson Death looks remarkably
the same as last year.   We begin to drink heartily, and I promptly pass
out on the foot of my bed.  "Damn, Zero is *out*," says Veggie.  "Let
us cover his body and fill his arms with silly items and film him,"
someone suggests.  Drunkfux captures my body on display for the video
archives.  An hour later, I awake refreshed and only mildly humiliated.
"I was merely recharging," I tell everyone.  "The mark of a professional
alcoholic is the ability to *pace* oneself."  Noticing that I have
finished the Southern Comfort, I decide to forage for more liquor.
My hunt is successful to the point that I cannot remember the rest of
the evening...

Saturday, the "official" conference
-------------------

"Ugh," my brain tells me as I wake.  "Stay out of this," I tell my
malfunctioning organ.  "We must attend the conference and discuss hacker
things."  Rolling down to the conference room, we find dozens of people
waiting in line.  Flashing our cow skull talismans, Veggie and I part
the masses and proceed unhindered to the front row of the room.  Iskra,
Veggie, Basil and I seat ourselves directly behind a video projector.
"Here, amuse yourselves," Drunkfux remarks and hands us a SuperNES...
Several games of Mortal Kombat ][ later, I realize I have forgotten all
the fatalities.  "Damn, I need to rip out some spines," I think.  We
notice the long tables at the end of the room filled with people selling
things.  Fringeware has a large assortment of T-shirts, jewelry, and
books...other people are selling DTMF decoders and cable-box hacks.
"Merchandising...cDc needs more merchandising," I tell Veggie.  He
responds by pulling out a large box of cDc T-shirts and hawking them to
the conference attendees.  Naturally, they sell like cold bottles of
Evian in the middle of the Sahara.

Feeling a need for nicotine, I head out to the lobby area for a quick
smoke.  "Rambone!" I exclaim as I spot him smoking in a corner.  "How
ya doin this morning?"  "How do you think?" he replies from behind dark
sunglasses.  "Oh, yeah," I respond.  We stand together in a
post-alcoholic haze for a few minutes before saying anything.
"Where's Crimson Death?" I ask.  "Where do you think?" Rambone replies.
"Oh, yeah," I answer numbly.  Same as it ever was.

Crimson Death pokes his head into the lobby sometime later...
"hey, hi"...then disappears back to his room for more sleep therapy.
Erikb shows up and starts selling LoD shirts.  "I'm staying outta there,"
he replies when I ask if he's going inside the main conference room.  A
Japanese man is fruitlessly trying to feed the Coke machine a dollar
bill.  The machine keeps spitting out his crumpled bill like a
regurgitated leaf of soft lettuce.  Feeling slightly ill, I re-enter
the conference room.

First speaker...the main guy from Fringeware, Inc.  He apologizes for
rambling, then proceeds to ramble for an hour or so.  I cannot focus
on his talk, and try to count the ceiling tiles.  Joe630 approaches us
and says "you're in my seats..I reserved them!"  "Hug me and you're a
dead man, " I growl.  He wanders off.  Basil and I amuse ourselves by
playing with the plugs in the back of the stacked VCRs and the video
projector.  Plug and play, all the way.

Next speaker...some guys from the Prometheus Project.  They are damn
intelligent and have a lot to say, all presented very professionally
(a bit *too* professional for this crowd...they could have mixed in
some cartoons or something with their textual overheads).  Most of the
conference attendees seem to have the attention spans of gnats, and many
appear to nod off.  Too bad...the future of digital cash, encryption,
and Underground Networks over conventional TCP/IP...very rad stuff
(http://www.io.com/user/mccoy/unternet for more info).  I plan to
investigate more ...definitely.

Another speaker...some guy talking about computer security...I don't
catch his name, since I begin to have a slight nic fit and bolt for
the lobby and my smokes.  (Isn't this moment-by-moment review fascinating
and oh-so-true to life?)

Damien Thorn comes up and talks about his current cellular articles
and projects.  He's apparently releasing a video on "cellular hacking"
(Cellular Hacking: A Training Video for Technical Investigators)...shows
a clip of it..damn hilarious.  More like "MTV and Cops meets Cellular
Hackers"...tech info mixed with funky music and hands-on demos/skits...
I gotta have it (mail to Phoenix Rising Communications, 3422 W. Hammer
Lane, Suite C-110, Stockton, CA, 95219 for info).  Altho he says he is
nervous about talking in front of everyone, he is very articulate...
good show, man.  He demos some DDI hardware for snarfing reverse-channel
data...nothing really new, but nice to see.  Veggie starts playing with
his cow skull talisman on the overhead projector, while Basil begins to
make twist-tie sculptures of cows and other animals.  I attempt to make
a twist-tie bird.  "What is that, a dog?," she laughs.
"My art is wasted on you," I growl, teeth bared.

Veggie gets up and talks about Canadians blowing themselves up after
reading an old file of his on how to make pipe bombs.  After he sits
down, I suggest he release a new file.  "Veg, man, you can call it 'An
Addendum on How to Make Gasoline Bombs'...tell everyone it is a
supplemental file to something you released years ago...include in it
the note 'I forgot this safety circuit in my FIRST release of 'How to
Make Gasoline Bombs'...you MUST include this crucial safety on the
bomb...or it just might go off prematurely in your LAP....like, on a
bumpy subway in New York'...it'll be a riot, dontcha think?"  Veggie
just glares at me and cracks his knuckles.  It sounds like a heavy dog
padding on thin, brittle plastic.  "I don't think so," he mutters.  Oh
well, it was just an idea.  I ponder my own dark, sick sense of humor.
Perhaps I need therapy.

Grayarea gets up and begins to read off a pre-prepared speech on her
laptop.  Her speech is too quick for my alcohol-byproduct-sodden
synapses to register accurately.  I keep staring at her dress...bright
tie-dye...mesmerizing...it's actually quite cool.  Suddenly, Loki gets
up in the audience and the accusations fly back and forth between them.
You kicked me off IRC.  You called my office at work.  You are doing
this, you are doing that.  Both are getting into this verbal slugfest
in a major way.  I feel the bad karma in the room hanging heavy like
blue-green cigar smoke.  "Can't we all just get along??" I yell, but
no one seems to hear me.  I don't know who is right or wrong (it's
probably somewhere in between...the truth always gray, right?), so I
don't hypothesize.  All I do know is that I'd never want to piss off
Grayarea...she's damn strong on her convictions and won't take shit from
anyone.  I think she'd look better up there wearing a big ol' leather
jacket with studs...terminator style.  "One tends to assume that people
wearing tie-dye gear are quiet, meek, very soft spoken,
non-confrontational types....it is a camouflage that suits her well,"
I think.

Finally, Steve Ryan gets up and speaks about some new computer crime
laws passed in Texas.  A lawyer working with the Austin EFF, he's always
got something funny and informative to say.  The new laws define
"approaching" a restricted computer system as being illegal, as well as
defining a "biochemical computational device" as a computer system.  In
other words, if someone comes up to you and talks to you, they have
"approached" your personal "biochemical computational device"
(read: brain), and are technically prosecutable for "hacking" under Texas
law.  Hoo yeah!  Steve's whole speech is very cool, and I am only
disappointed in the fact that he is the last person to speak....it's
running very late and I have the attention span of a *hyperactive* gnat
at this point..  But had it been anyone else up there, most of the
conference attendees probably would have nodded off or wandered out the
room.

After Steve, the conference fragments as people leave or buy last minute
items from the "vendor tables."  I buy a neat piece of jewelry...a
little plastic doll arm tightly wrapped in twisted wire and metal.
I pin it to the lapel of my jacket.  "I'm ready to rock, let's party!"
We leave in search of alcohol and assorted mind-enhancements.

In the hotel restaurant, we gather to plan our New Year's Eve excursion.
All of our synapses are jammin' to various biochemical beats, and I
order a chicken fried steak to fuel the fire in my skull.  "Veggie,
your pupils are the size of dinner plates," I tell him from behind a
mouthful of steak and gravy.  "Let me touch your jacket...is it blue
or green?" he replies.  "It is both...yet neither," I respond,
pulling my arm out of his clutches.  Later, we secure a ride with
Ixom and Nicko into Austin...destination: Sixth Street.
"Say Nic, did you ever see that movie 'Heavy Metal'..y'know, when
the aliens are trying to land their spacecraft in the huge space
station?" I yell above the whine of the engine, digging my nails into
the passenger seat.  "Nope," he replies, and we suddenly veer across 4
lanes of traffic.  "Perhaps it is better this way," I think.  Life
imitates art, then you die.

Holistic and I find Ohms.  We queue up and wait to enter the house of
techno-funk.  "I know this place...I feel at peace," I tell a middle-age
drunken woman in front of me.  She stares back with glassy eyes and
feebly blows on her party horn.  "Yes, I know," I reply and look at
my watch.  11:55PM.  Five minutes later, I walk into Ohms.  A flyer on
the wall has a graphic depiction of a man screwing a woman with a CRT
for her head, the title "Dance to the Sounds of Machines Fucking."
Everyone begins to cheer and yell as I step through the inner doorway.
"Either it is now 1995, or I appear to have fans," I think.  Ya, right.

I order Holistic and I some screwdrivers.  As the waitress is pouring
the vodka, she suddenly look distracted and our glasses overflow with
booze.  Grinning at me meekly, she squirts just a dash of orange juice
in each glass and hands them too me.  "Sorry, they're a bit strong,"
she apologizes.  "No burden," I reply warmly.  "Wow, that was weird...
but bonus for us!" Holistic says as he sips his drink with a wince.
"No, that was a sign of the cow," I smirk, fingering my silver cow skull
talisman on my neck.  "You'll get used to it."

Ohms is filled with smoke, sweat, flashing lights, and the funkiest
techno music I have ever heard.  Wandering outside, I see someone has
set up several computers with PPP links to the net...they are attempting
to use CU-SeeMe videoconferencing software with other sites around the
world.  "Nice computer, are you responsible for this network?" I ask one
of the operators as I open the machine's PPP config file and quickly
peruse the dialup # and entire login script under the person's nose.
"Oh, I don't know how they work..I'm just playing with this Fractal
Painter thing," she replies.  "Yes, I thought so...Holistic, next round
on me..." I exclaim as we leave.

There are several robotic arms on the stage clutching strobe lights,
occasionally twisting around and pointing into the crowd.  Holistic,
Basil, Crimson Death, and I begin to dance with insane purpose.  Four
hours later, we are still dancing.  Holistic eventually leaves for the
hotel.  The remaining three of us dance until we have no more body
fluids to exude.  "I love you guys," Crimson Death smiles as he grabs
both me and Basil in a bearhug and kisses us on the forehead.  "Yes,
this is bliss," I reply.  Suddenly we see Rambone at the bar...he is
wide-eyed and sweating more than a human should be.  "Well, perhaps
bliss is relative," I think.  Rambone leaves the club.  Later, we find
Bill and ride safely back to the hotel.  It is 6:00AM.

We find Veggie and Iskra in our room.  They have been staring at
Veggie's "Hello Kitty" blinky lights and writing stories all night
long.  "Read this, it's good!  Read it NOW!" Veggie exclaims.  "If it is
good now, it will still be good in the morning...I shall sleep now," I
answer through a haze of exhaustion.  Several minutes later, my
remaining higher cortical functions shut down and I am enveloped in sleep.

Sunday, early afternoon
-----------------------

Crimson Death stops by our room to say goodbye.  "Here is my new address
and such..I've written it on this paper and folded it into an origami
bird for you," he tells me.  "Functional art...I dig it, man," I
answer and shake his hand.  The rest of the day passes lazily, until
that evening when we pile into Drunkfux's van and head for Chuck-E-Cheeze
for dinner.  "God in Heaven, they serve BEER here!" I exclaim, quickly
ordering a pint.  Several slices of pizza and glasses of beer later, we
are all playing skee ball, video games, and air hockey.  Basil is deftly
beating everyone at air hockey (including myself).  "I'm into more
intellectual games, " I grumble.  "Say Swamp Ratte', let us play a
stimulating game of 'Whack-a-Mole'."  A real thinkin' man's game, by gum...
He whips my ass.  "Damn moles, " I grumble again.

Many "spring echo" plastic microphones are purchased...when yelled into,
one's voice is given an echo audio-effect, and Drunkfux begins to
announce the play-by-play of the air hockey games in his best Howard
Cosell voice.  I see Damien Thorn, Carol (the journalist), and a dozen
other HoHo attendees cavorting around Chuck-E-Cheeze...yet the restaurant
has technically closed 30 minutes ago.  No one is attempting to make us
leave.  "We dominate this establishment, but it can't last forever," I
think.  Deciding it's a good time to cash in my tickets won from skee
ball, I walk over to the ticket cash-in counter.  I notice the man
behind the counter is counting them by weighing them on a scale.
"Hrmmm...I wonder if I dipped them in beer...the increased weight would
increase my.." but my thoughts are stopped short.  Too late, the
restaurant is surely closing now, and everyone is leaving.  "Next time,
muahahahaha." I plot and scheme.  The giant plastic monkey (costing 500
tickets) will surely be mine...next time.

Back at the hotel, I glance at a local newspaper in the lobby.  On the
front page is a story of 2 people shot and killed in Planned Parenthood
clinics in Brookline by some sick 'right-to-lifer'.  "Goddamn, that's in
my home city...Boston!", I think.  Quickly reading the story, I feel
sickened that someone could kill like that.  I entertain a brief
fantasy....me sitting in the clinic in the waiting room....me seeing the
sicko pull a rifle out of a bag and pointing it at the defenseless
receptionist....me swinging my pump-action Mossberg 500 12 gauge shotgun
out from under my long coat....and me walking six rifled deer slugs up
the scumbag's spine.  Doom on you, sucker.  Violence is nasty, but it is
a final resort sometimes.  I think how I'd have no reservations defending
another human life with deadly force.  "An armed society is a polite
society," I think, mentally quoting Robert Heinlein.  If all those clinic
workers could pack heat, people would think twice about trying to
threaten them.  People have the right to choose how they live their own
fucking lives and control their own damn bodies...they shouldn't have to
die for it.  I read how the police are planning to increase "officer
visibility" around the clinics.  "Ya sure, us poor citizens are too meek
to defend ourselves...let's let big bro' handle it..," I think.  I file
the entire incident in my mind under "yet another reason to watch your
ass and carry a big stick."

I go back to the room and drown my reality-dosed anger by reading the
ultra-violent comic book "Milk and Cheese" (most highly recommended..buy
it...now!).  I ponder one of Cheese's most memorable quotes: "I wish I
had a baseball bat the size of Rhode Island, so I could beat the shit
out of this stupid-ass planet."  Sometimes, yes.

Later that night, Rika (the Japanese correspondent) gives us a private
viewing of Torquie's video on hacking.  We all agree it is very good...a
great deal of coverage of the international scene...Germany...the
Netherlands...even a clip of someone boxing in Malaysia.  I fall asleep
feeling content.

Monday, *TREMENDOUS DAMAGE*
--------------------
Monday arrives like a lamb...we wake late and hang around our room.
Swamp Ratte' decides to take a shower.  "I'm just trying this concept out...
if I like it, I might do it again," he says.  After the shower, he gives
the concept a big "thumbs up" and tells us of his plans to incorporate
it into his regular personal hygiene routine.  "This shower idea could be
the Next Big Thing," he says ominously.  "Change is good...and so is
conditioner," I comment, combing the snarls out of my own hair.  We call
downstairs to check on the jacuzzi suite we had reserved for tonight.
We are curtly informed that they are all booked.  "What, you promised us,"
I gasp.  "Damn you, then we shall check out of this pit....sayonara!"
Two hours later, we receive notice that all HoHo attendees still in the
hotel are being kicked out "due to the *tremendous damage* incurred on
the hotel this past weekend."  "What Tremendous Damage??  I'll show them
tremendous damage!" Veggie vows, leaping for the door.  The rest of us
manage to convince Veggie that his plans to drive to the closest hardware
store and buy a box of crowbars and sledgehammers is probably not the
best thing to do.  "Don't worry, Veg, " I say, comforting him.  "We
shall find another jacuzzi, no doubt."

We pile into Drunkfux's van and search for a new hotel in the center of
the city.  On the way, we swing back into The Corner Shoppe, where
Rodney films some more of our antics amongst the dead critters.  Rambone
buys a long bullwhip (it's a hobby, he says), and Swamp Ratte' gives an
impassioned speech for the camera on the joys of authoring.  We finally
drop off Rodney at the airport and bid him farewell on his voyage back
to the Great White North.

The downtown Marriott ends up being our final destination.  After
visually checking out the jacuzzi and pool facilities (no jacuzzi in
the room, sigh, but a very nice public one open until 11:00PM),
Drunkfux, Basil, and I head out in search of swimwear.  Veggie, Iskra,
Swamp Ratte', and Rambone remain in the room...and eventually
head for the bar.  We return ready for aquatics.  The three of us soak
in the jacuzzi and swim in the pool, and finally we all retire to our
hotel room.  "Damn, everyone looks like beached squid...let's go out to
Emo's tonight!" I exclaim, trying to win them over.  Veggie, Iskra,
Basil, and Rambone appear dead to the world.  "Here, I have some
ephedrine left over from the other night...it's over-the-counter...and
will make your toes tap."  Reluctantly, they agree to partake.  A few
minutes later, Rambone and Veggie are wrestling on the bed, and I am
experimenting on Drunkfux with Rambone's bullwhip.  "Gosh, I think
these pills are stimulating," remarks Rambone.  "Yes, and let us not
waste it...to Emos!" I cry.  We arrive at Emos and spend the evening
playing pinball and listening to the jukebox.

Returning to the Marriott, we are all still wired.  "Let us watch 'The
Crow' on the tele," I suggest.  "Mayhem and Love at it's best!"  Most
agree, and I sit riveted for the entire film.  "I am morphine for a
wooden leg," I quote mentally from the original graphic novel.  That
line never got into the movie, but I think it is one of O'Barr's best.

Tuesday
-----------------
Not much happens...we wander the city...bid farewell to Rambone at the
airport...check out the Fringeware store at 5015 1/2 Duval Street in
Austin...and generally chill.  Erikb shows up, and Drunkfux wires the
hotel room for a video interview with him and the rest of us as we all
lounge on the two twin beds.  At one point, Drunkfux, Basil, and I are
alone in the room when I call downstairs for room service (I sometimes
have a need for funked-up potato skins, pronto).  A knock at the door...
Drunkfux answers it wearing nothing but a towel around his waist and a
towel on his head (having just showered).  Ushering in the room service
guy, I tell him "just put the tray on the table, kind servant"  I
absentmindedly push aside Rambone's coiled bullwhip.  Suddenly realizing
the potential misinterpretation of my situation, I glance behind me to
see the video camera on tripod pointed at the beds, video equipment,
monitors,  and Basil wearing her leather pants, curled up on one of the
many tousled blankets, dead asleep.  "Uh, huh....thanks...." I stammer
as I slip the guy a fiver.  I try to think of something funny to say
like "oh, we're making a DOCUMENTARY," but the glazed look in his eyes
tells me we are beyond the point of no return.  "Well, these are the
rumors that legends are made of," I think as I close the door behind him
and wolf down my skins.  They are teeming with toppings.

That evening, I take a late-nite swim by myself in the pool.  The water
is heated, and by swimming under a small ledge, one is able to actually
swim to the outside section of the pool under the open sky.  Steam
rises in thick curls into the crisp night air, and as I float on my back
I am able to see the stars.  Never have I felt so relaxed.  "Like an
amoeba in the primordial soup, I live in the gutter yet strive for the
stars," I paraphrase softly to myself.  Only the stars hear me.

Wednesday (last day, YES, we EVENTUALLY go back home)
-------------------

Waking at the ungodly hour of 5AM, we make our early flight back to
Boston.  Swamp Ratte' and I sit in the hotel lobby waiting for our shuttle
to the airport.

"I'm going to write about this HoHoCon again...we can put it in
cDc #300," I tell him.

"Cool," he replies.  "What's it going to be like?"

"I dunno...the same as last time..maybe I'll mix in some weird dream
sequences."

"How about the cDc members fighting the Power Rangers and whippin' their
sorry asses?"

"Yeah, that sounds surreal enough!"

We make our goodbyes, and on the way to the airport the shuttle bus
driver from the hotel asks us "so are you with the team?"

"Uh, what team?"

"You know...the Power Rangers team...the ones putting on the show...they
are staying in our hotel.  I thought you were with them.  They're actors
putting on a live Power Rangers show across the country."

"No, no, we're not with them.  Please leave us alone."

My mind is pulled apart by this lattice of coincidence.  I decide to leave
the dream sequence out of my phile.  This, Veggie, THIS...is a sign.

I don't talk to the others much during the flight home.  Perhaps it is
because I know the adventure is over and I am saddened slightly.
Perhaps I am merely tired.  Most probably, it is a combination of the
two.  I quickly depart from the airport and without goodbyes grab a cab
for the L0pht.  I spend that evening alone at the L0pht, surrounded by
Machines of Loving Grace and the solitude of blinking electronic devices...
I am a bit happier.

Woop de doe, dat's the show.

Count Zero *cDc*

***
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