As a bit of variety for our readers, I’ve decided to throw together a periodic humor piece inspired by Simon Travaglia BOFH. It’s not exactly an angry rant… but it is Friday — you deserve a few laughs. For those new to the HoS series, the first episode is here.

I’m sitting in Hellalate shotgunning espressos, staring at a blank sheet of paper, trying to figure out what I can possibly do to force Li to confess. If I had weeks to perform this task, there are a myriad of things I could possibly do to “persuade” Li. But as it is, I am very short on time as the Expulsion Committee is hearing my case in two days. As I stare at that blank sheet, I a single question comes to my mind:

“What Would Jack Bauer Do?”

Realizing that shooting Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in some sort of overly dramatic gun battle would likely land me in the pokey, I start reading the bog-paper better known as “Uni News and Views” out of shear frustration. Turns out the Uni Basketball team lost badly (no surprise) and that some bra-burning feminist group called “Womyn Against Male Oppression” is handing out pepper spray and contact info for the local abortion clinic as part of their most recent PR initiative. How typical of the Uni. The campus police forcibly busted up the AK-47 benefit raffle for “Americans for Private Ownership of Crew-Served Weaponry,” but those pinkos allow Gloria Steinem wanna-bes to hand out real weapons on camp…. hang on. What would Jack Bauer do, indeed.

In a flash, I’m out of Hellalate (which is good, because their coffee has a 75% chance of causing gastro-intestinal distress in those who have not yet mastered the Shaolin art of “Iron Colon”) and onto the Quad, tucking in my tee-shirt and putting on a pair of those ultra-dorky librarian glasses that now seems all the rage. I pause for a moment to get into my new ultra-wimpified persona as I approach the WAMO desk.

“Pardon me,” I whimper, trying my best to sound the emasculated puppy these man-haters view as the only tolerable lifeform with a Y chromosome. “I was contemplating my own tragic failings in preventing the true liberation of womyn from The Patriarchy.” Eyes perk up. I continue laying it on as thick as I can as I inch closer to the box of pepper spray. “I know that as a man, I cannot truly be part of the solution, which must come from the power of womyn themselves, but what else can I do to help other men see the light as I have? How can I help free my sisters?” The three women at the desk, two of which appear to be typical man-hating lesbians (the matching “Dyke & Proud of It” tattoos on their arms give that away), seem to be spellbound by my rhetoric. I slip into a more inspiring voice and start employing exaggerated gestures as I start slipping canister after canister of pepper spray into my pocket. “How can I join the fight against the oppressive phallo-centric system that condemns my sisters to
violence? How can I convince other men to abdicate their position of power allowing womyn to bring an end the war, injustice and violence that are rooted in the oppression that comes part in parcel with men? How, my sisters? How can I do this? Teach me your ways of wisdom!” I end with crescendo and flourish, reducing the two lesbians to tears, and leaving the third, a quiet brunette with a WAMO t-shirt, with a puzzled look on her face. Unlike the dykes, she probably saw through my act, but lucky for me, she didn’t see my slight of hand.

After moments of taking all of WAMO’s literature and consoling the crying lesbians, I high-tail it away from the desk before they can realize their pepper spray supplies have been decreased by about 45%. After a half-hour long session in the can (curse you Hellalate!), I finally stagger to freedom. Despite my crunch for time, I swing by the gym to take a shower, because after all that (and I’m not referring to the side-effects of the espresso) I feel seriously dirty.

Equipped with more pepper spray than I would need to neutralize the national guard, I head over to Ray’s Music Exchange to pick up a copy of the 1995 re-release of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, and not just because I’m a fan of Iron Butterfly, but because Li really, really hates the song. I also pick up a really, really cheap mp3 player, extra batteries a pair of crappy speakers. Two more stops and I’m almost ready: the local hardware store for some quick-drying glue and the local auto-parts place for a cheap car battery. After raiding the lab for a soldering iron and several other key pieces of equipment, I’m off the The Love Nest to do some assembly.

What’s my plan? Well, you’ll just have to wait for my next installment to find out, but to give my readers a bit of excitement before the next episode comes out, I encourage you to post your favorite plan of revenge using the tools listed above, plus anything that I can find in the lab. If it’s better than mine, I’ll credit you and adjust my plan accordingly. Who says that Hell’s Own Scientist isn’t flexible (at least when his academic status is on the line)?

As a bit of variety for our readers, I’ve decided to throw together a periodic humor piece inspired by Simon Travaglia BOFH. It’s not exactly an angry rant… but April Fool’s is over, and you still deserve a few laughs… For those new to the HoS series, the first episode is here.

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It’s about 9:30 in the morning when I roll into the office (so sue me, the sun woke me up and I couldn’t get back to sleep), when to my shock and horror I see the department’s two morbidly obese systems administrators (I’ll call them Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum) leaning on our lab table.

“Excuse me, gentlemen,” I lie, oozing charm. “What seems to be the cataclysmic event which has caused you two troglodytes to risk exposure to the dreaded day star?” Oh well, no charm after all. Drat.

“Very funny,” snorts Tweedle Dee. His cheese-it devouring PLP continues, “You know why we’re here.”

“No, I don’t,” I respond, because I honestly have no idea whatsoever.

“Yes you do,” responds Tweedle Dee, tapping his softball bat against his empty palm. When the last time he could run to first base without having a coronary was, I don’t know. But I don’t like the mafioso-style intimidation.

“Listen, here junior hitmen. Either you tell me why you’re here, or I’m on the phone to the university EEO to complain about the ‘hostile and abusive’ workplace environment you’re creating,” I snip back.

“We’re here about your Nessus activities,” counters Tweedle Dee.

“I don’t know anything about…”

“Save your lies for the expulsion committee. We know you ran Nessus against the departmental servers.”

“And you know this how?”

“It was coming from your server.”

“Which anyone in the research group has access too.”

“Yes, but it was running scans that require root access.”


“Pretty damning, isn’t it?” adds Tweedle Dum, obviously salivating over the thought of finally getting the best of me.

“No. It wasn’t me, but I’ll find out who it is. Nobody roots my server and gets away with it.”

I storm out of the lab and head for The Love Nest, dialing my old college roommate on my cell phone. By the time I get down there, I’ve got him on the hands-free as I’m busy sifting through the server logs.

“Well, it looks like I got myself rooted,” I gripe, staring at what looks like Martian poetry in what should be my /var/log/messages file.

“What great joy,” says the disembodied voice over the phone. “Local or remote exploit?” the voice continues.

“Well, assuming the logs haven’t been doctored, there were three users on. One of which was me.”

“And the other two?” the voice asks.

“One was Amy, and there’s no way she’d know enough to root my box, and the other….”

My face darkens.


“And this should mean what to me?” inquires the voice.

“He’s the cowboy who cracked my memory chip in half a few weeks back.”

“Well, that’s pretty damning. Any router traffic logs?”

“I can’t get those without the cooperation of the very admins who are trying to get me kicked out of school in the first place.”

“True. But it is unlikely they’d fake those just to get you thrown out. If they’re even half-competent, they would have checked those to rule out external penetration before coming after you.”

“You give them too much credit.”

“Perhaps,” notes the voice. “But if they want to get you, a smoking gun pointing to an external source won’t be good enough. Even so, they have you where they want you.”

“Come again?”

“Think. Since there was no external penetration, someone with root access did the dirty deed. You have a log that strongly suggests Li did it, but they can claim you doctored it to save your own tail. Your historical animosity towards Li will aid their case.”

“So? They’ve got no proof. I get off scott free.”

“No. They can’t get you expelled, but they can question your competence as an admin, and make a compelling argument that you’re a security risk…”

“Bloody hell! What they really want is root on my machine for themselves,” I exclaim.

“Correct,” the voice responds. “Which means that unless you can give them an ironclad case against this Li fellow, you’re hosed.”

“Bugger all! How the heck do I do that? As you said, any evidence I present will be suspect.”

“Correct. Consider this thought exercise. Say you wanted to invade a country.”

“You mean, like Iraq?”

“Precisely. You need casus belli, otherwise nobody will buy it. How do you get a reason for war, if the other party isn’t going to give it to you?”

“Get someone else to manufacture one, like WMDs!”

“But who? Someone like…”

“George Tenet,” I exclaim, knowing full well the price of a Presidential Medal of Freedom these days.

“Who has…”

“The credibility I lack. After all, why would he be making this crap up?”

“Back to your case: Who has the credibility to condemn Li which you lack?”

“The Advisor?”

“But would he really back you over his Chinese slave labor?” the voice questions.

“Uh, no.”

“Right, so the only other person who could condemn Li would be….”

“Li himself!”

“Correct again. You need a confession.”

“Thanks, you’re a lifesaver, man,” I say as I hang up, grab my coat and head to Hellalatte, a coffee bar who’s only redeeming quality is that it’s not in the building. If I’m going to get Li to turn himself in, I’m going to need one heck of a plan…

To be continued…
Thanks to longtime reader, Angry Sysadmin for providing the inspiration for this story