Thursday, October 20, 2005

What Day Is This?
Somehow I am in Maryland again. I came in on Sunday night, and I have spent the past four days between two cities. My suitcase is now full of mostly dirty clothes and somewhere between a condo I crashed at and the dirty hotel I am now in ... the clean clothes got all mixed together. I have resorted to sniffing undershirts and socks because nothing has that neat "folded" appearance since about Tuesday.

My skin looks yellow. Maybe it's the flourescent lighting. It could be that most of my face has peeled and fallen off after getting a vicious sunburn over the weekend. And then there is that smell. Perhaps I imagine all this because I am homesick. But I sware that I smell like a cheap hotel. I brought my own shampoo, and good soap, but I can smell the stale chlorine stench rising from underneath my rumpled undershirt.

My first night into town, I drove in at about 1:15AM. I was given the address, and electronic door-code to a Condo in Baltimore. When I spun up the sidestreet just outside of downtown I got a flash of the building front. It was a townhome located right off of the street, with absolutely nowhere to park in front. As I circled the block all I could find was bumper to bumper park cars, homeless people, and what looked like a pack of drug addicts (I would later discover that I was two doors down from a rehab center). Heading down a narrow alley, I came to an empty space with a sign hanging over it. It read "Private Drive". I parked there. I was probably asking for it, so I wrote a note which read something like "I am a visitor to this address ... please don't tow me away ... if you need me to move, call this cell phone". Then, I staggered into the house in the darkness. The first thing I noticed was an open laptop, and a lot of shoes by the door. Someone was living here, and they were probably fast asleep. I should be quiet. And so I removed my shoes, and tip-toed upstairs in the dark. Using my cell phone as a faint lighting device, I made my way into an empty bedroom and shut the door.

This condo was amazing. Everything was very clean and new looking. I had a bed, a full closet, and a high-def' TV for myself (and cable of course). The following morning I awoke, and went to the basement to shower as whoever else was living here might not like me taking 'their' bathroom. I ended up meeting the tennant a few days later. I had assumed it was a man judging by the size the sports shoes by the door. It was in fact a really tall middle eastern woman (with large feet). She attempted to have a conversation with me about where to park my car, and how to lock the door from the outside using the electronic doorlock. But it seems she spoke very little English. And so for the rest of my days there, "hello" and "see-ya" were about all we said to one another in passing.

Going from the condo to a filthy motel room was just .... well it sucked. In the condo, I had a nice selection of about five different access points to choose from for my wireless abuse. In the dirty hotel, I have to walk or drive down the street to access anything. My last night in the condo I had made my way into a really busy public network of some kind, and performed a man in the middle attack (Ettercap). In the process I ended up catching someones SSL certificate transfer ... which allowed me to capture all sorts of ... incriminating stuff. I was having a quick IM conversation with my buddy the Discount Man when I said "this is the point at which I become a criminal!". I smiled, I shut the lid, and I went to bed.

When I got into my hotel room the other night, I walked in to a haze of intense heat. The air conditioner was running at full blast. I walked to the wall, grabbed the thermostat, and upon twisting the dial to try and turn it off - the little dial popped off and spun around on the floor. After fiddling with it a bit to get it to shut off, I stomped over to the air conditioner and attempted to set it on "max cool", but the little dial just spun endlessly and didn't really seem to do anything. Yeah, it was one of "those".

I usually pop off my shoes and put them into the little slots under the TV stand that are sort of make shift shelves. But this room had drawers in it (a luxury). So I slid open to put my shoes in it, but there was a pile of stuff there. Here ... is what I found.

  • Two bundles of unpaid bills and letters - These bills told a story. They all belonged to a Mr. Eugene Williams in Florida. Most of them were unpaid hospital and doctor bills. But there were also various notices from two residences in Florida, and a couple of postcards. A few of the post items were addressed to a cancer clinic in Maine (presumably where Eugene was coming back from when he stopped in Maryland).
  • Two "doo-rags" - I didn't know that they made "doo-rags" that were all ready shaped like a human head, and with velco support. Neat!
  • Soiled Washrags - Uhm ... the 'stains' in these hotel rags were ... yellowed ... and uh ... well I didn't pick them up with my bare hands. For that matter, I doubt the hotel wanted them back.
  • Microsoft Street Maps 2005 - This is really nice software, and it cost Eugene $60 at Best Buy (still had the sticker on it). Hopefully he found his way back home without it.
  • Herbal Tea - This SURE looked like weed. But then I am such a nerd that I don't know what weed smells like or really even looks like. This stuff was very finely ground ... and I don't think they do that with weed. Anyhow, it was double-ziplocked ... and it weighed like 4 pounds. So if it WAS weed, Eugene probably cried long and hard over it.
  • Socks - What kind of man carries four pairs of thick black socks?
  • Hospital Parts - You know those things that they stick to you at the hospital for monitoring and stuff? I had a full set of those. On one end was a sticker that read something like "hey, don't take this home".

I obviously had no use for semen-stained towels (the hotel had provided me clean looking semen-stained towels of my own). And since I don't smoke weed, or drink that flavor of tea, I didn't really have much use for any of the other stuff. I could probably make a few bucks with the software on eBay. But this poor shmuck was coming home after being treated for cancer. And I like to think I am a nice guy.

I ended up grabbing a trashbag and using it to grab all of this stuff and toss it into a Denny's bag that was floating around the drawer. I threw my shoes back on and marched to the hotel counter. Lifting the bag up onto the desk I said, "hey this is going to sound wierd ... but I just checked into 119, and I found someones stuff in the drawer". And the hotel guy says "oh, someone is living there?". "Jesus! - I hope not, you just rented that room to me". Maybe he was confused about what I was saying. At any rate I showed him the cellular phone bill which was rubber banded with the other materials, and suggested "maybe you should call him and see if he needs this back". Likely, he threw away all the gross looking stuff, and put the mapping software on eBay. But ... I did my part.

One more day to go. Tomorrow afternoon, I will finish class (early I hope), and I will be back on the road heading home. I have made no plans to take a class next week. I just want to come home and be with my family for a week. Then I can decide if I want to travel again any time soon. Five days from home is ... an eternity.

Oh, and eventually I should throw away the half a pizza that's been sitting in the back seat of my bug since Tuesday. Although I am becoming accustomed to the smell.

Did I mention getting stranded with what seemed like a dead battery? Another time. I am done here and I have a dirty hotel I need to get back to.

Historic Comments
Whee! Wardriving story. Just add more technical stuff next time, like a packet capture log or something for us without the ability to wardrive to carouse through.
SiliconSnake | Homepage | 10.22.05 - 12:10 pm | #

May your every wish be granted in the near future (when I have some real time and motivation to go out and do some damage).

-Ray
Ray Dios Haque | 11.04.05 - 3:07 pm | #

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