The Story of Spaz
There's a story I've been meaning to post here on phonelosers.org for the past 8 years or so. The story of some guy we used to have fun battles with back in 2003, just a year after all that insane Curtis The Superhacker stuff happened. Both inspired, in fact, by Heywood. He's the guy that used to post funny stories on major-losers.com and messedup.net and who I really wish would start doing that again.
The problem with posting this guy's story, though, is that every time his story is posted anywhere, he flips out about it and starts making phone calls and writing emails to hosting companies, usually succeeding in getting these stories taken down. He claims that we've been harassing him or that the stories are slanderous and that we're just making up things to try and ruin his life. So here's what I'm going to do, just to keep everyone happy. I'm going to tell the story as best as I can remember it, but I'm not going to put his name anywhere in it. Not even his first name. Not even in pig latin. Not even a palindrome of his name. Not even his initials. Not even in meta tags or hidden HTML. This is simply a true story of an anonymous guy who I'm going to refer to as Spaz. He can't complain about that, right? RIGHT??
I can't remember what part of 2003 it was that this all started (it could have even been late-2002, but I'm not sure), but the whole Curtis thing seemed to be winding down and I'd become a regular on the messedup.net forums. Heywood started telling me about this guy named Spaz and what an incredible, uh...spaz he was. One of my favorite stories I've heard about him is when Heywood & Co. spotted him in a store and he was wearing a police scanner on his belt. An emergency call sounded over the scanner and Spaz jumps into action, ripping the scanner from his belt and yelling into the scanner, "This is Spaz, I'm on my way!" and running out the door. Keep in mind that a police scanner can't hear a person at all. It's only for listening. Also keep in mind that even though Heywood just told me that story again less than a month ago, I'm sure I completely butchered it.
You get the idea, though. Spaz is living in some bizarre fantasy world where he's an important guy who has to fly out of stores because someone needs him. He always had this odd fixation about being an EMT, yet never could seem to make such a seemingly easy thing happen. He even ran an EMT website back then, with all kinds of information about being an EMT. (Yes, I know I have no right to make fun of anyone for having odd fixations, since I'm writing this on my phone-obsessed website.)
So it all starts with Heywood writing an update on one of his websites about Spaz. Spaz sees the article and immediately calls up Heywood's webhost and causes Heywood's site to be yanked from the internet. From what my aging mind can recall, they go in circles like this for awhile - Heywood posts a hilarious article about Spaz and then Spaz spazzes out and gets the hosting company to completely remove the website. I like to think that this was easily accomplished because it was back in 2003 when this interweb thing was still relatively new and that webhosts just didn't know any better, but I guess we'll soon see if it's still that easy since Spaz is currently in the middle of dealing with my host's abuse and legal departments. (More on that soon...)
Keep in mind that at this point Heywood was doing nothing more than posting funny stories about Spaz on his website. Yes, they were stories that used Spaz's real name, but they were all in good fun, there just to entertain fans of the website by making fun of Spaz. Having Heywood's websites taken down meant that we were losing hilarious content about Spaz, Curtis The Superhacker and other random musings from Heywood. We were also losing all of our forum posts since Heywood sucked and never made backups of anything.
One of the articles about Spaz detailed how Heywood was Googling Spaz's name and email addresses, looking for other fun gems on him. He ended up finding something that surprised all of us - an old post on the usenet archives where Spaz asked if anyone had any pornography of 9-to-14-year-old girls. (I might be slightly off on the ages, but you get the idea.) The post was made in a binaries group, where people often traded pornographic pictures with each other, including child pornography. The email used to make this post belonged to spaz and was also used to ask questions about Linux in other usenet groups, which was another thing Spaz was into at the time. The post was made in 1999 and I'm guessing that Spaz was new to the internet, just like most people, and didn't realize that his post would remain in the archives forever.
Well, not quite forever. Spaz was able to contact Google (or maybe it was still DejaNews back then) and convinced them to remove that post from the archive forever, probably claiming that someone posted it on there by spoofing his email address. We were all thoroughly impressed with this feat, because it seems like getting a 5-year-old post removed from usenet would take quite a bit of effort. We never even got to save the original text from the post either. Well played, Spaz...
I think we ended up finding out that Spaz worked at a grocery store's bakery when a friend of Heywood's happened to see him working at the counter. (Heywood and Spaz lived in the same town and often bumped into each other.) Realizing that we now had a way to get back at him for taking down a website we loved, we immediately began calling up the bakery. In most of the calls I personally made, I asked for him by name and said I was calling about the car he advertised in the paper. I used different voices and had the staff there convinced that Spaz had placed his 1979 Dodge Colt for sale and had listed his work's number for it. His boss wasn't happy about this at all. When I called her to ask about the car, she began lecturing me that Spaz should not be listing a work number for personal use, and then she gave me his home phone number. I was kind of shocked at this being dropped into my lap without even asking for it. We now had Spaz's home phone number, which he shared with his roommate. The next day, Spaz quit his job, walking out during his shift. (There are recorded phone calls of all of this, which I won't share here out of complete admiration and respect for Spaz.)
Of course, Spaz's home phone number spread and people began calling him there. By the time Heywood called and talked to his roommate, the roommate had already decided that he was going to kick Spaz out. The roommate was really nice and talked to Heywood for awhile, telling him that he was sick of Spaz's shit and he was kicking him out not only because of our calls, but because of "other issues that he needs to deal with" and that "he's made too many of his problems my problems." This was after just 3 months of being roommates. The way this guy talked about Spaz in the recorded phone call convinced me that Heywood's stories about Spaz were completely legit. Spaz had some crazy issues.
Since we had so much fun with his phone numbers, I decided to try and find out where he moved to. I began acquiring phone numbers to random family members of his, asking them all where Spaz was. None of them had very good information for me, but everyone I spoke with seemed to completely hate him. His aunt told me, "He better not come around here because I don't wanna see him." and his stepbrother said, "I would never let him over here." and also told me that his mom kicked him out of her house for stealing from her. (We later found out it was for assaulting his mom.) When I called his mother, she told me that she had a restraining order against him and that the police came and removed him from the home. She didn't seem sad by this; she seemed pissed that she even had to talk about him with me. She was clearly disgusted with her son.
Months passed and we heard nothing from Spaz. I've completely forgotten how we ended up finding out where his new job was, but we found that he was working at a wireless phone store inside a mall. I found a mall directory and began calling all the other stores in the mall and sending them to the wireless store to ask for Spaz. I'd use various ruses, such as telling a store manager that we caught a shoplifter who also appeared to have a lot of merchandise from their store or I'd beg Subway to deliver a sandwich to me. I think we ended up sending some pizzas there too. Anything to cause random people to come into the store and ask for Spaz. I'm going to have to ask Heywood to remind me how he found out about Spaz's reactions to this, but he told me that Spaz would go nuts when these people showed up, and would yell things at the other employees like, "You see!?! You see what they're doing!?!? I told you!!!"
Around the end of 2003 is when I wrote a perl script that would text random cell phone users with Spaz's new phone number. (I can't remember how we ended up with Spaz's new phone number this time.) I ran it for a few days so that Spaz's phone rang nonstop with people wanting to know why he was paging them. This was a time when the term "texting" wasn't too common and most people didn't even know their phone was capable of text messages. I called his number a few times myself, pretending to be a person who was paged, and Spaz gave me all of Heywood's contact information and encouraged me to press charges against him. Someone else who answered the phone at his house told me I was "the 90th caller," so I guess the script was really effective.
It was soon after this that we completely lost interest in Spaz and left him alone more or less forever. Heywood and I would still talk to each other occasionally and we'd laugh about all the horrible things we did to Spaz. Occasionally he would tell me that he bumped into Spaz in a store or something and that they'd talked to each other, but we never tried to track him down again. Spaz will tell you that we've harassed him nonstop for 13 years straight, but it actually ended at the very end of 2003, with the text messaging script.
And that's where we come to more recent events, here in 2011. Once again, this is not my story to tell, so I hope that Heywood will someday write out all the details about this on one of his own websites so he can correct all the factual errors I'm sure to make. It was about a month ago that Heywood walked into a bar, not noticing that Spaz was in the bar too. Spaz saw Heywood first and he jumped up and ran out the back door of the bar. The guy who was with Spaz approached Heywood and asked what that was all about, then told a confused Heywood what just happened.
The man turned out to be Spaz's landlord and he lived in the same apartment building as Spaz. Heywood told the truth about his past with Spaz and the landlord found the whole thing really amusing. In fact, the landlord mentioned that he really wanted Spaz kicked out of his complex for various problems, including creeping out the other residents and randomly giving gifts to little kids that lived there. Spaz had told the landlord all about our harassment and told him that he legally changed his name because of us, but he wouldn't tell the landlord what his name used to be.
Let me repeat that - Spaz legally changed his name because of us! Today I found out that this occurred in 2005, which was at least a full year after Spaz had any contact with me or Heywood, aside from occasionally bumping into Heywood in public, where Heywood would do nothing more than smile and have a conversation with him. I could be wrong about this, but I don't believe that Spaz's legal name change had anything to do with us. I'm betting it was more likely because he did something that he needed to hide from. It makes no sense at all that a name change would do any good against us, especially with him and Heywood always seeing each other. If we were seriously out to get Spaz, Heywood would follow him whenever he saw him in public.
Heywood gave the landlord Spaz's old name and they both had a great time drinking beer and swapping crazy stories about Spaz. The landlord even handed over Spaz's current cell phone number. Heywood began texting all of this brand new hilarity to me and we decided that the next night's Phone Show would be dedicated to our war with Spaz. It ended up being a really fun show where we discussed our history with Spaz and Heywood updated us on the new events. A couple of regulars, r0xy and cyko, joined us, turning the show into a messedup.net reunion. The live show even had a few extra listeners that night - Spaz's landlord and a few of the landlord's friends.
And, of course, we attempted to prank call Spaz on the air. He didn't answer our calls, but we left a few messages on his voicemail. And I should point out that these were the last calls we made to Spaz and that we don't plan to call him again. We didn't give out his number to the listeners and I threw his number away after the show was over. It's not that I'm suddenly trying to be mature by not bothering people all the time, but the Spaz stuff happened so long ago and I don't see what can be gained by making any new calls to him. And no, I'm not trying to protect myself by saying that we will never bother Spaz again. If I were worried about that, I wouldn't be typing out this giant confession of the horrible things we did to him in 2003.
Spaz was pissed about the prank calls, but somehow didn't realize that they were from us. He thought that the landlord was fucking with him and he began caller I.D. spoofing hangup calls between the landlord and some other guy. The landlord continued to keep in touch with Heywood, telling him about all the Spaz craziness he had to deal with. A week later, the building's property mangaer called Heywood to ask questions about Spaz. They were hoping to find lies on Spaz's rental application so that they could throw him out.
I stopped hearing new Spaz news for the next week, but then just last weekend, Heywood sends me a text late at night, telling me that he just ran into Spaz at a completely different bar. Heywood spotted Spaz first this time and walked right up to him, drunkenly asking, "Hey, Spaz, have you gotten any interesting phone calls lately?" Spaz had a meltdown and began screaming at Heywood. Bouncers came over, trying to understand what was going on. Details are spotty for me, but I think it ended with Heywood volunteering to leave the bar.
I really don't understand how Spaz didn't immediately know that those prank voicemails were from us since he'd just seen Heywood at the bar that previous night, but now Spaz knew that Heywood had his phone number. This, of course, caused him to look into phonelosers.org, where he found Cacti Radio's website and The Phone Show archives with an entire episode dedicated to him. He probably even listened to this week's show live, where I did a short, drunken update about him.
All this leads up to the email I received today. Keeping up with his reputation of kicking ass at getting websites taken down, he wrote my host to tell them that I'd been slandering him and harassing him for 13 years. I'm not sure where the 13 years comes from since that would be around 1998 and I'd never even heard of Spaz until 2002 or 2003. Time travel, perhaps, from the time we traveled back to 1999 to plant that fake kiddie porn request on Usenet. Here's the letter I received, his real names replaced with Spaz:
TO: Abuse Department
My name is Spaz and I am writing to find out how I may file a complaint with your company about one of your hosting customers. Your customer hosts the domain 'CACTIRADIO.COM' and he runs a radio show where he has been streaming slanderous content about me. This person along with a few others have been harassing me for about 13 years and has in the past used web hosting to post websites with false information about me.
I need to know what my options are and whether or not you can remove the content pursuant to your terms and conditions sections 8.11 and 8.12. Examples of content they host on your servers can be found at the following URL with the most recent being on 03/08/2011.
Just so you have some history on this, my name used to be Spaz until I paid a court to legally change it to Spaz in 2005 as a result of this repeated harassment. If you require proof of this name change then I can provide you with legal paperwork showing it.
It is my goal to work with 1&1 directly to resolve this matter as quickly and peacefully as possible without the involvement of law enforcement or other legal action. I am however, prepared to go that route if I need to but I think it would be in the best interest to work together to stop this harassment. 13 years is too long and I am frankly tired of dealing with it.
The abuse department forwarded a copy of his email to me, and they suggested to Spaz that he forward a formal complaint to their legal department email. I wrote back to the abuse department, explaining to them that I run an internet radio show whose guest a couple weeks ago talked about the Spaz things that happened in 2003, but I've yet to hear anything more from anyone at my hosting company. I did email Spaz with a simple "LOL," though. He wrote me back with this:
I don't understand what your issue is with me since I've never personally met you nor done anything to harm you in any way. This is a bit childish for a man your age and you really should find another hobby. I am too old for your games and have better things to do with my time. One of these days you will get caught and punished for your behavior and then we shall see who has the last laugh. You can go ahead and say whatever you want about me but your accusations lack any merit and you have no evidence to support them.
Just what makes you so special and better than everyone else that allows you to go harassing people online? Is it to bolster whatever low self-esteem you have? It makes me imagine all the horrible things that happened in your life that turned you into a person that everyone hates.
Now, do not ever email me or call my phone again, I have no interest in having any form of contact with you and I never answer calls from people I don't know so don't waste your time. If you choose not to respect my wishes then it will constitute harassment and it will be dealt with. Keep in mind that I am documenting everything. You think you are invincible but that's what they all say until they get caught.
I replied with an "LOL U MAD?" and I've yet to receive a reply with anymore superhero quotes. Who knows why he doesn't understand why I would have an issue with him attempting to remove content from my site. This is the first time I've ever had someone try something like this with me, so I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully my host will be more understanding than Heywood's numerous hosts in 2003.
I may come back and update this story with more details if Heywood or the other people involved back then decide to remind me of other things that happened. And I will definitely keep everyone posted on any further happenings regarding Spaz. I'd like to thank Spaz for motivating me to finally write out these events. I wish I'd written about them back when they were happening so I could have remembered more details, but this will have to do for now.