It’s Wonderful…

I dream of you, chips chips chips, du du du du du

It was just a song, but one that Starbucks seemed to have on a tight loop.  Every time I’d walk into one of the four Starbucks I had on rotation I’d hear the song – I’d hear it twenty times.

The first few times I heard that old crooner belting out the difficult-to-understand lyrics, I enjoyed myself.  Old timey music in a coffee shop is not unexpected, and not even unwelcome.  Plus, I’d never heard this particular song before.  For a coffee giant renowned for doing whatever pleased the masses, hearing something new was a pleasure.

Trying to do work, I didn’t mind the background drone of sappy, pappy romantic lyrics.  After the first few times around that four song playlist I didn’t even notice the music anymore.  I was lost in my own world, my brain was occupied with the computer code slipping from my fingertips.

At some point, however, my subconscious started sending up warning signals.  If ears could get repetitive stress injury, mine were getting carpal-tunnel.  I walked in three hours earlier and the four song playlist, looping approximately every 20 minutes, was still on repeat.  It was time to find a new study spot.

Over the next month I’d hear the playlist on every visit to a Starbucks.

Cuz I……… ain’t got no b-ahhhhhhh-dy, and there’s nobody cares for me

I get it Louis Prima, you’re just a gigolo.  Fine man, I don’t judge.

Hey mambo, mambo Italiano, HEY MAMBO, MAMBO ITALIANO

After a while they weren’t singing to me, they were clearly instructing me to do something.  “Hey you, get up and mambo like an Italian.”  I was not about to mambo Italiano, but I was having a hard time concentrating.  Each time I could brush it off for a little while, but eventually the music would get to me and I’d have to leave.  I visited some of the locally-owned coffee shops, but the convenience of -bucks kept drawing me back a few times each week.

One evening I was the last person left in the store.  The staff had retreated to a back room to clean up before closing time, presumably.  By then I was a regular at this place, surely they wouldn’t mind changing the music for a bit.  They were stuck there all day, the music must get exhausting…

I walked to the edge of the counter and peered around it, towards the back room, trying to avoid breaking the sacred invisible barrier between corporate and customer.  “Hey, you guys back there?”

There was no response.  I was sure I had just become that pestering, asshole customer who was interfering with the end-of-day rituals.  Underneath the swinging door leading to the back room I could see the blue glow of a bug light.  “Anybody home?”  I was already the asshole, I might as well try to redeem myself with ingratiatingly-pitiful humor.  Still no response.

I decided to break the unwritten rule and venture past the invisible barrier.  I looked over the swinging door.  There was no bug light, in its place were four metal cylinders with one foot-square windows.  A UV-blue light was coming from three of the windows.  Only an exterior service door led out of the room, where had the employees gone?

I pushed through the swinging door and walked over to the closest six-foot tall cylinder.


The music was louder back there, and I couldn’t resist shaking my butt a bit.  I wasn’t sure what a mambo was exactly, but Lou Bega had assured me that there were at least five different types, so I was probably accidentally doing one of them.

The impulse became an imperative as the volume grew, and I felt unable to stop mamboing.  My arms were just shaking rhythmically then, and one leg was doing the stanky while the other was doing the twist.  This was no known dance, and definitely not a mambo.  I was close enough to see into one of the cylinders now, and Clara stared back at me.

When the end comes I know, there was just a gigolo, life goes on without me.

In the past I’d wondered if I knew how to make the latte, the cappucino, and the double-shot chai, because I had watched the baristas so many times.  Apparently I do.  I see my body below me serving customers, pulling espresso shots, blending frapps.  I have no control over the extremities, though I seem to be using the same silly cordialities I used in life – “take it easy, man,” then a peace sign as they look over their shoulder and exit.  I don’t know what I’ll do now, but this limbo my conscious is in isn’t too bad.  I might even say,

It’s wonderful, wonderful, it’s wonderful, ha-chaddita-cha

Open Port

Every now and then when I’m at a coffee shop I wonder what ports I’ve got open on my home network.  Normally I don’t have any ports open within Nmap’s default port list.

Starting Nmap 6.01
Initiating SYN Stealth Scan at 16:41
Scanning myRouter [1000 ports]
Discovered open port 1111/tcp on myRouter
Completed SYN Stealth Scan (1000 total ports)
Not shown: 999 filtered ports
1111/tcp open lmsocialserver
Read data files from: /usr/local/bin/../share/nmap
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 184.69 seconds
 Raw packets sent: 1999 (87.956KB) | Rcvd: 3 (212B)

Crap.  What’s that?  Port 1111 should not be open.  It wasn’t last time I checked, less than a month ago I think.

ssh myRouter
user@myRouter:user# netstat -ln
Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address Foreign Address State 
tcp 0 0* LISTEN 
tcp 0 0* LISTEN 
tcp 0 0* LISTEN 
udp 0 0* 
Active UNIX domain sockets (only servers)
Proto RefCnt Flags Type State I-Node Path
user@myRouter:user# netstat
Active Internet connections (w/o servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address Foreign Address State 
tcp 0 48 myRouter:ssh coffeeShop:10493 ESTABLISHED

Well, netstat on the router doesn’t show anything weird (these are cut down a bit).  SSH is listening, the webserver is listening on, domain is listening, and my current SSH connection is open.

I have to forward a port on my laptop through a computer at home to access the router’s admin webpage, but when I do I don’t find anything unusual.  I find nothing that suggests that port 1111 is forwarded anywhere.  Running iptables on the router doesn’t show anything unusual, either.

Furthermore, netcatting to 1111 from the router yields a “connection refused”, as does netcatting to it from any computer internal to the home network.  Netcatting to 1111 from the coffee shop, however, yields a completed connection but no obvious clues as to what the remote server is.

I use the router’s admin webpage to forward port 1110 to a home server, on which I’m running a listening netcat.  I’m able to connect to the internal netcat from the coffee shop.  I try that again on ports from 1111 to 1113 and find that I connect to the strange remote server when 1111 is “forwarded”, the connection times out on port 1112, and the connection works again when 1113 is forwarded.

So, what could it be?  Perhaps the router has a rootkit, or some strange feature I didn’t know about, that listens on port 1111, blackholes 1112, and doesn’t permit me to see the port configuration on the router itself or from inside the network.  Alternatively, the cable modem has some administration server set up on 1111 and blackholes 1112.  There’s some evidence for this option, as other folks have noted cable modem admin software running on port 1111.  A third option is that my Internet provider has something listening on that port at some other point along the connection.  This seems least likely, but not impossible.  (I guess a fourth option is that the coffee shop’s ISP had something listening there).

Both of the last two options suggest some kind of misconfiguration on my Internet provider’s part.  Now I’d like to listen to the packets between my cable modem and router, but I’m at a coffee shop.  Instead, I tell the router to reboot and try to SSH into it (and a server internal to the network for good measure) and port 1111 at the same time.  I find that the port 1111 connection completes, but both SSH connections fail.  Now it’s almost certain that the port 1111 connection is not to anything I own.

Unfortunately, by the time I got home later that evening the port 1111 listener had disappeared.  I used my cellphone’s Internet connection and a remote server to verify the disappearance.  The trail had run dry, but at least I was fairly certain that odd connection didn’t signify a rootkit on my network.

Mustache November

For some reason November is now Mustache November.  Now we’ve got two months out of the year where we have to grow mustaches?  I don’t get it.  This is supposed to be some statement about masculinity or something?  Whatever.  You don’t have to grow a mustache, ride a motorcycle, or drink whiskey, to be a man (although admittedly all those things are awesome).

Men should know how to stop a toilet that’s overflowing, and we should know how to change a tire.  The dudes over at Art of Manliness have compiled a bunch of things every guy should know.  The link is to a list of 31 things every man should know before heading out on his own.  Here’s something else:

Potential Navy SEALs face many challenges … [a] challenge every candidate must complete is the Underwater Knot Tying Test. During the first phase of BUD/s, students are taught five knots–the Bowline, Square Knot, Becket’s Bend, Clove Hitch, and Right Angle–which they’re required to tie one at a time underwater, each on a single breath hold.

How would you do on this test? Why not take it yourself and find out? Below, we provide instructions in both photograph and video form on how to tie the five required knots, and then set down the test conditions you’d experience at BUD/s, along with a video demonstrating how the test is performed.

I think everyone can agree that is bad ass.  So bad ass it split that word in two.  When will you ever be required to tie a knot underwater?  You never know – that’s the point.  You probably really only need to know one of those knots though – the square knot is easy and effective.

These are really things that everybody should know how to do, not just men.  It’s not good to be stranded on the side of the road because you can’t change your tire.

Also, Mustache November is some kind of prostate cancer awareness thing, so it’s not too ridiculous.